Why Does My Vape Taste Burnt? 7 Remedies for a Fresh-Tasting Tank

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A burnt flavour is something we all try to avoid. Not only does it taste horrible and smell like a campfire, but it also causes irritation of the throat and disturbs your vaping experience.

Unfortunately, it’s fairly common to get a burnt flavour from time to time. But the good news is that there are steps you can take to prevent it so you can keep your vape tasting delicious.

Wet coils
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1. Let the coil saturate

When you first start off with a fresh coil, the cotton pre-installed inside of the coil will be completely dry. If you fire your vape at this point, the heat of the coil would burn the cotton instantly, likely leaving a charred flavour that will remain even after e-liquid is absorbed.

To make sure this doesn’t happen, you’ll want to let the coil soak in a full tank of e-liquid for at least five minutes before firing your device.

Additionally, for some coils, you can do what’s called “priming”—applying e-liquid directly to the cotton inside of the coil. This will speed up the saturation process and get you vaping faster.

Vape mod showing wattage level
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2. Keep your wattage in check

Beware—your wattage can sometimes wander. Whether you’ve thrown your mod into your bag, your pocket, or just changed the tank, the wattage level on your vape can accidentally make its way outside the recommended level. If it’s too high, it can cause your e-liquid to dry up and start burning the cotton, leading to that foul burnt taste.

Some mods include a “lock” feature that prevents accidental power adjustment from mashing the buttons. On most vape mods, you can do this by holding down the up and down buttons simultaneously (if this isn’t the case, check your mod’s user manual).

When changing your tank, be sure to adjust the wattage accordingly to avoid burning your coil straight away.

Vape tank with e-liquid
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3. Stay on top of your e-liquid level

If you weren’t already aware, e-cigarette coils are made of a metal wire wrapped around cotton. Normally, e-liquid will wet the cotton to produce vapour and prevent burning, but if the e-liquid in your tank is running low, it increases the risk of your coil running dry and tasting scorched.

Preventing this is fairly simple—just make sure that the e-liquid in your tank always covers the exposed cotton of your coil so that it stays nice and wet.

Vape with clouds of vapour
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4. Don’t chain vape

“Chain vaping” is the act of continuously puffing on your vape over a short period of time. Not only is it a not-so-great habit, but it can also cause your coil to dry out if you don’t leave enough time for it to re-absorb e-liquid. This can lead to premature coil burnout, and ultimately, that bitter, burnt taste.

To avoid this, try to leave a few minutes in between each puff of your vape. This should give it adequate time to draw in more e-liquid and get nice and saturated for your next puff.

If you’re having a hard time putting your vape down because of cravings, you may want to consider increasing your nicotine level, upping the amount of nicotine inhaled on each puff, leaving you feeling more satisfied with less frequent draws.

Dripping e-liquid onto RDA coils
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5. Use a thinner e-liquid

Aside from flavouring and nicotine, e-liquid is made up of two main components: propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin. Propylene glycol (PG), which is primarily responsible for carrying flavour and providing a throat hit, is fairly thin. Vegetable glycerin (VG), used to produce smoothness and a higher volume of visible vapour, is a lot thicker.

Each e-liquid flavour will have its own specific ratio of PG and VG. Because of VG’s thickness, e-liquids with a higher ratio of VG to PG will maintain the thickness in the e-liquid, and can take a lot longer to absorb into the cotton of the coil than high PG e-liquids.

If you’re getting dry hits regularly, seemingly without cause, you may want to take a look at the PG/VG ratio of your e-liquid. If it’s high in VG, try switching to a flavour with a lower VG level so that it will saturate the cotton in your coil faster.

Burnt coil firing
Image credit: www.vaping.com

6. Replace your coil regularly

This is a big one! While coils will last for a while, they’re not made to last forever. Over time, the saturated cotton in the coil will break down, and the heat of the wire may begin to give it a permanently burnt flavour.

In general, it’s recommended to replace coil heads every two weeks or so, but this is highly dependent on how often you’re using your vape. The more you use it, the more often you’ll want to replace the coil.

Disassembled vape tank
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7. Rinse your tank

If you’ve taken all of the above steps and are still tasting that bitter, burnt taste, it might be due to charred residue remaining in your tank.

To get rid of this, you’ll want to empty any e-liquid (the e-liquid could have picked up this flavour as well), remove the coil, and disassemble your tank. You can then rinse the base, glass and top cap of your tank under warm water (don’t use soap—this can leave a gross flavour in your tank as well).

Upon reassembling the tank, be sure to install a new coil and fill it with new e-liquid. Let it sit for five or more minutes, and vape on! This should remove any remnants of the burnt taste.

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