Why does my vape taste burnt?

5 common reasons why your vape tastes burnt

Man getting a burnt taste from his e-cigarette device
Hi everyone, Chloe here.

So, have you ever been happily vaping away and then you start to get a nasty, burnt taste coming from your e-cigarette? Well you’re definitely not alone! One of the most common issues people experience when using an e-cigarette is getting a burnt taste. This can be very, very unpleasant. But what causes it!? Well, there's a few reasons this might be happening and hopefully this blog will explain some of the main causes and help you avoid it!

Let’s get straight into it! Here are the 5 most common reasons why your vape tastes burnt:

  • Not priming your vape coil correctly
  • Using too much power on your e-cigarette device
  • Chain vaping!
  • Using a high VG/PG ratio e-liquid
  • Not changing your vape coil regularly enough

Let’s chat about each one in turn.

1) Have you primed your vape coil?

A very common mistake that people make is not knowing (or forgetting) that you should always prime your vape coil. This means making sure the cotton wick which is inside your vape coil is fully soaked in e-liquid before you start vaping on it.

Inside a vape coil showing cotton and wick ready for priming

Remember, inside your e-cigarette device there is a vape coil, which is basically a coil of wire wrapped around a small piece of cotton wool. When you vape, the wire coil heats up and vaporises the e-liquid which has soaked into the cotton wool. As the e-liquid in the cotton vaporises, more e-liquid flows in from the tank. This process is known as wicking.

However, if the cotton touching the coil is not fully wet with e-liquid, then the cotton will singe or burn leaving a nasty burnt cotton taste in the coil that is almost impossible to get rid of, no matter what you do afterwards!

Depending on what kind of e-cigarette device you have, the way you prime your coil may be slightly different. With enclosed pods there isn't much you can do other than just filling the pod with e-liquid and leaving it aside before vaping on it. I would recommend waiting 10-15 minutes or so to make sure the e-liquid is fully soaked in.

If your tank or AIO (all-in-one) device has removable vape coils, I would recommend priming your new vape coil as much as possible before putting it inside your device. Some coils are more enclosed in their shell than others but there will be somewhere where the white cotton is exposed. This is where your device gets the e-liquid from, it's often some small holes around the coil.

Priming vape coil with My Vape Box e-liquid to prevent burnt taste

Start dripping a few drops of e-liquid on those holes, the wick should absorb them fairly quickly at first! Keep going around the coil until it seems that the coil is taking a lot longer to absorb the e-liquid or not absorbing it at all. Then put your coil into your device and fill it up. I would still leave it aside for a few minutes just to make sure! As long as your coil is primed, and the cotton wick is fully wet and saturated with e-liquid, it should not burn and you will get a lot of vaping time from your coil.

If you need any advice on priming your particular coils, we are always here to help you.

2) Using too much power on your e-cigarette device

It's important to keep your e-cigarette device below the maximum recommended wattage setting for your vape coil. This information can usually be found on the packet or almost always on the vape coil itself.

Let’s give an example. The “1.8 ohm” Nautilus X coil has a recommended power range of 12 to 16 watts. Even though the NX30 mod e-cigarette device can provide up to 30 watts, it's important to set your power for the coil you are using. If you have a variable wattage e-cigarette device, make sure it's set to the correct level. Too much power and you will almost certainly burn the cotton wick!

Some devices will be able to supply way more power than is suitable for your vape coil, putting 80 watts through a coil designed to be run at 12 watts will burn it almost instantly! Most devices will enable you to lock the power up/down buttons, it's a good idea to do this so you don't accidentally change it. 

3) Chain vaping!

It's a simple fact that if you are vaping more e-liquid than your wick is absorbing then it will dry out and burn.

If you are taking puff after puff on your e-cigarette device or taking several very long draws without putting it down for a moment, then the cotton may not be able to wick fast enough. Most modern devices are very good at wicking the e-liquid and will be able to keep up with even the most demanding vapers, but if you are experiencing a burnt taste on your third or fourth puff, then this could be your problem. Just leaving 10 or 15 seconds after every couple of puffs might be enough to stop this happening.

4) Using a high VG/PG ratio e-liquid

VG vs PG characteristics of a vape e-liquid

Viscosity of your e-liquid is something that will always slow wicking down and high VG liquids are almost always the thickest. There are devices and tanks that are specifically designed to work with 70% and Max VG liquids but many smaller devices will struggle to wick fast enough with these liquids, especially if you are chain vaping. If you are continually getting a burnt taste from your device and you are using an e-liquid with a VG ratio of 70% or above, then I would recommend trying a 50/50 PG/VG e-liquid to see if that helps. It should be a thinner consistency and will enable your wick to absorb the e-liquid faster.

5) Not changing your vape coils

If you have primed your vape coils well and are using them within the correct power range you may still find your vape starts to taste burnt after a while of using it. This might happen after a few days or a few weeks. Experienced vapers will know that a nice new fresh coil will often provide much better flavour than one you've been using for a week. This kind of burnt taste is unavoidable and the reason that we all need to replace vape coils after some time. It's not the cotton that's tasting burnt in this case it's just the build-up of residues that aren't being fully vaporised and start to clog your vape coil and cotton.

Sweeteners are a common cause of these residues as are e-liquids and flavourings with a darker colour. You may be able to minimise this with clear coloured liquids that have minimal flavourings and sweeteners but eventually they will start to build inside your coil and may cause a burnt taste. So when this happens it's time for you to replace your vape coil!

So, there we go, the 5 most common reasons why your vape tastes burnt. I hope today's blog has helped solve the problem for you if you were getting the burnt taste too. Of course if you have any other questions, or if you’re having other problems or trouble with vaping or your e-cigarette device, do just let us know by email us or putting it down in the comments section below. We’re here to help!

Thanks for reading this blog and have a lovely day.

Chloe – My Vape Box




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