For vapers, what’s one of the worst experiences imaginable and extremely common? That’s right - you’re enjoying your vape when suddenly it starts to develop a burnt taste. Without a doubt, it can put off beginner vapers quick enough to switch back to smoking, which is not recommended. Plus, because there are several ways this can happen, it truly stumps some vapers, in particular when they add a new coil.
To get over the hump and back to vaping your favourite e-liquid flavours, we have compiled a useful how-to guide that covers the lot. Nevertheless, from years in the vaping industry, we have found two key issues - not priming your coils and 'chain vaping' - that keep cropping up. Manage these and you’re on the fast track to beating that dreaded burnt taste from your vape.
‘Dry Burning Taste’ vs ‘Dry Hit Vape’
Like clockwork, one leads to the other. Any seasoned vaper will have no doubt experienced the dreaded burning taste when vaping, more commonly known as a ‘dry hit' or ‘dry burning’. This happens when your coil has burnt out and to prevent this from happening, you need to understand the scenarios that can lead to a coil burning out quickly.
Every time you press the fire button on your device, this sends a current to the coil to heat it, the coil which is directly attached to the wick then allows the e-liquid to react to the heat and turn it into the vapour which you’re used to. A burnt wick is typically caused by not having enough e-liquid soaked into the cotton when the coil heats it, leaving a horrible burnt taste.
Not Priming Your Coils
First on the list is a quick and important routine that goes a long way to keep your vape smooth, enjoyable and flavoursome. Vapers often find their coil begins to burn and lose its taste if repeatedly used for weeks on end without swapping for a new one. This is just one mistake. However, another common error when replacing a coil is not priming it with e-liquid before hitting that fire button.
To rectify this, when replacing your coil, add a couple of drops of e-liquid directly onto the cotton before filling your tank and putting your device back together. This will give your wick a head start in soaking up some e-liquid so you can use the device more quickly after replacing the coil. Even after priming, when filling the tank, it’s always a good idea to leave your device for a good 5-10 minutes before using it. This will ensure that your wick is completely saturated with e-liquid, and therefore eliminating the risk of a burnt coil on your very first hit.
You can even do a couple of handy tricks with your coil to keep your vape in good order. With a pair of tweezers, pinch it lightly to spread heat across the component evenly. In turn, it will heat more of the coil and not overheat certain areas leading to ‘hotspots’, which can cause that burnt taste.
Top tip - Add some further drops of e-liquid to the inside of your cotton surrounding the coil. For that additional bit of effort, even with no black burn stains, it can help to remove the bad taste.
How to Prime Your Coils
Following the steps above will allow you to prime your coil with ease. But it also depends on the device you’re using and the kind of coil material you use too. Providing you prime well by adding a few drops to your coil beforehand, fill up your tank with the right amount of e-liquid and leave it to saturate for 5-10 minutes, that should be sufficient. If you forget to do any of these measures, more than a one-off will affect your device and your vaping budget.
It’s easy to sit and vape continuously but did you know that doing this can severely impact the life of your coils? Every time you vape, the heat from the coil is transferred into the e-liquid and soaked onto the wick, turning it into vapour. The longer you chain vape, the less time the e-liquid in your tank has to soak into the wick again. Over a short period of time, your wick could become dry and it will result in a dry hit, and the need to replace the coil. Before burning out, you could also find that it impacts the quality of the vapour production you’re getting.
You can comfortably vape for a few minutes and shouldn’t suffer a dry hit, but once you’re done, leave your device for a short while and give your wick time to re-soak. As they say, patience is a virtue. If you wait longer, that will allow more time for the e-liquid to saturate on the wick. A happy wick will then transfer good e-liquid content which the coil can use to produce quality tasting vapour. It will also allow the coil to naturally cool too and not overheat.
However, for former smokers, taking a puff frequently and in quick succession, known as ‘chain-smoking’, is the only technique they know. This becomes an issue after making the switch to vaping, whether as a replacement or simultaneously with cigarettes. This is because using a similar technique through 'chain vaping' can be harsh on the throat due to the thicker vapour.
One handy technique to slow down the routine is by changing e-liquid often. Not only do you enjoy new flavours more frequently but also reduce the risk of ‘chain vaping’ the same e-liquid. Taking the time to clean your tank and switch e-liquids will upset the rhythm.
Another solution to reduce chain-vaping which is popular with more vapers of all levels, in particular, beginner vapers (ex-cigarette inhalers) is nicotine salts.
What are Nic Salts?
The solution for those who switch to vaping - nicotine salts. When vaping for the first time, the consistency of the vape inhaled can be different from smoking. Typically e-liquids that are high in Vegetable Glycerine (VG) will seem much thicker, meaning a tricky adjustment initially for new vapers, especially those trying to cut out smoking cigarettes, seeking an alternative to getting a nicotine fix.
Step forward salt nic as the perfect replacement for cigarettes, which is filled with thousands of other bad chemicals as well as nicotine. What’s great about nic salts is this is an e-liquid often high in Propylene Glycol. This means you can enjoy a much thinner substance in your vape and yet enjoy a stronger nicotine hit in your throat. Smokers often seek a similar sensation and this is the closest you’ll get. Plus, because it’s a thinner e-liquid, nic salts provide less damage to your coil and reduces the chance of clogging up your wick which leads to the burning sensation and taste when you vape. Don’t forget to pair the right vape with your chosen nic salt for the best result and to reduce the chances of burning your coil.
Why a Thicker or Sweeter E-Liquid Can Lead to Burning
Whether you vape often or casually, all sorts of gunk can build up in your coil leading to a burning taste. This is just one reason from many why you might experience this sensation. If you enjoy sweet flavours, expect a thicker content that could clog your device if not cleaned regularly. Should you follow this practice weekly and consistently, you’ll need to replace your coils much less often.
Top Tip - Choosing a premium brand doesn’t just mean better flavours. Also, you’ll find a higher quality product that uses fewer sweeteners. In contrast, the cheaper brands tend to top up the e-liquid with more sweeteners to dilute the product. This caramelises quicker, leading to a thicker content which burns the coil faster.
What Else Could Be Causing a Coil to Burn?
Although less common, we’ve noted some other reasons below why you may be getting a burnt taste when vaping.
1. Overpowering Your Device
Every coil is designed to be used within a certain wattage and temperature range. This ensures that you get the best vaping experience. If you power your device higher than your coil allows, and the device doesn’t prevent it from being used in this way, you’ll be vaping more e-liquid than the wick can soak up. This will result in your coil burning out much quicker than it should.
It’s important to decide which pod, mod or vaporiser is best for you on a personal level. To avoid burning your coil, always try and vape less often at a lower wattage. Pairing a Sub-Ohm device with a high PG and nicotine concentrate could be damaging to your coil. For advanced vapers, an adjustable mod is typically the preferred choice.
Meanwhile, beginners get on well with small pod devices to soak and top-up your e-liquid with ease before vaping. However, it’s important to note with pods that air bubbles can form which impacts the coil if not addressed. Simply give your compact vape a light shake to solve this minor issue.
2. Running Your E-Liquid Too Low
If you’re not keeping your tank topped up, the wick may not be able to draw enough e-liquid from it to soak. Initially, each vape will have less vapour production and begin to lose its flavour. That’s a telling sign that it needs to top up or you’ll receive ‘dry hits’. Continuing to ignore the signs leads to ‘dry burning’ and eventual coil replacement.
3. Mouth to Lung Devices
Typically Sub-Ohm tanks and more powerful devices are designed for both mouth to lung and direct to lung operation. With longer draws to create larger clouds, you could potentially overheat your coil and burn the wick. Just be mindful of how long you're firing your device.
As stated earlier, a pod device paired with nic salts will lead to less pressing of the vape because the nicotine content is much stronger, requiring less vapour or need for nicotine.
4. Temperature Control
In a similar scenario to overpowering the device, having your device firing at a higher temperature than the coil supports could result in burn out very quickly. The difference here is that any device that allows temp control can also prevent a coil head from burning out as you can directly control the temperature at which the device is firing.
Just turning the temperature down slightly could have a huge impact whilst the difference in vapour production would be minimal. In the long run, it’s not just the temperature of your coils that matter.
How you store your e-liquids and the outside temperatures when vaping also matter. For instance, on a hot summer day, your VG e-liquid will thin and a PG high tank will thicken. Therefore, keeping them at an optimum temperature based on your preference is important. Always store your vape at the right room temperature to avoid disappointment.
5. Too Much Cotton In Your Wick
Without saturating your wick, typically made from natural organic cotton material in e-liquid, your coil will overheat and potentially burn out. Another dilemma is having too much cotton wrapped around the coil. This means you will have to top up your vape tank more frequently to ensure all of the wick is saturated all the time. A greater surface means more time waiting in between vapes to allow optimum prime levels.
Why Does My Vape Taste Burnt Even With a New Coil?
Follow the above steps and it’s highly unlikely your new coil will have any issues. The only chance it might be the case that you’re still feeling a burnt taste is if the coil is of bad quality. Doing your research to pair the right coil material with the correct device will go a long way to solving this issue that still affects a lot of vapers.
Likely Reason for Burnt Taste
Ultimately it depends on your device and capabilities that it has. Chain vaping and coil priming are the biggest causes of getting that dreaded burnt taste. Therefore, making sure you’re taking the steps noted to prevent it means you’ll probably find the problem is solved. If not, you can try fixing the less common problems. Once you work your way through the list of unexpected reasons for that burnt taste, ruling them out will hopefully leave you with the clear problem which can be removed to return to what you love - satisfying and smooth vaping. Should there be any further questions about that burnt taste when you vape, one of our team is happy to help.