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Why Does My Vape Taste Burnt? 5 Fixes to Prevent Burnt Hits

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Vape tasting burnt? Find out why and the easy fixes you can make to get vaping again.

ape device at cloud of vapor background

If you’re new to vaping, there’ll inevitably come a time when you’ll go to vape and get a horrible burnt, dry taste. Fortunately, it doesn’t mean your vape’s on the way out and that you need a new one, and sometimes, the fix is super simple. We’ve listed the top reasons your vape is tasting burnt along with why and how you can fix it. You’ll be back to enjoying your nicotine fix and flavours in no time.

1. You Haven’t Let Your E-Juice Sit

Why the burnt taste?

Before we talk about why not letting your e-liquid sit can cause your vape to taste burnt, we first need to look at how e-cigs work.

Every e-cigarette has an atomiser, whether you vape a cigalike, a vape pen starter kit or a flashy box mod with temperature control, adjustable wattage and all the bells and whistles. This plays a vital function — when you fire the device, it’s the atomiser that gently heats the liquid to create vapour and the great taste you’re used to. Every atomiser has some sort of wicking material, usually cotton, that soaks up the liquid. If you use a vape that takes replaceable coils, you’ll see the cotton poking out from the holes that surround the coil and allow the juice to soak in.

When you fill-up your vape with liquid and fire straight away, there’s a chance that instead of heating the liquid, your vape will vaporise the wicking material instead. Because the liquid hasn’t soaked into the cotton, it’ll burn the cotton instead, leaving a harsh, burnt taste in your mouth. This can especially be the case when you’re using a new coil, as it’ll be completely dry.

So what’s the fix?

If you’re getting a burnt taste immediately after filling your tank, chances are that it’s because you haven’t let your juice sit. Leave the juice to soak in for at least 5-10 minutes before vaping again and you’ll probably find that the burnt taste disappears. However, if you’re still getting a burnt taste, you’ve probably damaged the coil and will need to swap it out for a new one.

If your vape uses replaceable coils, all you need to do is dismantle your tank, unscrew the burnt coil and swap it out for a new one. If you use a cig-a-like or pen-style vape and are getting a burnt taste, you’ll need to swap out either the cartomiser (for cig-a-likes) or clearomiser (the clear tank that screws onto your battery).

Pro tip: If you use a tank with replaceable coils, you can prime your coil before screwing it into your vape. This can help prolong the life of your coil and prevent burnt hits. Jump to our section on preventing burnt hits and learn how to prime your coil.

2. You Need to Change Your Coil

male master installs a vape coil

Why the burnt taste?

Coils have a life, and once they’re on their way out, you’ll start to experience a dry, burnt hit more often. If you’re experiencing more burnt hits than not, it’s a sign that you need to replace your coil. Prolonged vaping using the same coil will eventually wear out the wick, which evaporates your e-liquid to create vapour, causing that nasty burnt taste.

So what’s the fix?

This is a simple fix: all you need to do is remove your worn-out coil, dispose of it, and put in a new one. How you do this will depend on your tank, but you usually need to unscrew either the top or bottom of your tank to access the coil, and either unscrew or pull it out before slotting in a new one.

Before you replace your coil, though, you might be able to fix it by giving it a good clean.

If your vape uses a cartomiser or a clearomiser, you won’t be able to replace the coil, so you’ll need to simply screw on a new one.

3. You Need to Top Up Your Tank

Why the burnt taste?

We’re all guilty of getting carried away occasionally without keeping an eye on the tank. Before you know it, you go to draw on your vape kit and get a nasty burnt taste, and when you check it, you’re running on empty. Vaping without liquid causes a burnt hit simply because there’s no liquid left for your device to heat.

So what’s the fix?

Top up your tank! Try to keep an eye on your tank as you’re vaping and top up when you’re running low. If you vape a cigalike, you’ll know when you’re running out of juice because the hit and flavour you get won’t be as intense. Again, the fix is easy: just swap it out for a new one.

4. You’re Using the Wrong Juice

Holds in hand Refills rda juice from a bottle

Why the burnt taste?

Not all vapes are made the same, and there’s a chance you might be vaping the wrong type of juice. Whether you’re new to vaping or have been vaping for a while, you’ve probably come across the following terms: VG, PG, sub-ohm, 50/50 — but what do they mean?

VG: Vegetable Glycerin, commonly abbreviated as VG, is an ingredient in every type of e-liquid. They’re commonly mixed with PG and nicotine (and sometimes just PG, if you vape nicotine-free juice). When you vape high-VG juice, you’ll get a smooth throat hit and plumes of vapour.

PG: Propylene Glycol, or PG, is where all the flavour lies. If you vape high-PG liquids, you won’t get as much vapour, but the flavour from your vapes will more than make up for it.

Sub-ohm vaping: Sub-ohm vaping is a catch-all term for vaping low-resistance coils. All coils have a resistance, with higher resistances more suited to mouth-to-lung vaping (just like how you’d inhale when smoking), and lower resistances suited to direct-to-lung vaping (where you inhale as you vape, rather than taking it into your mouth and then inhaling).

50/50: This is simply the mix of PG and VG in your liquid. 50/50 liquid signals equal parts VG and PG, making them suited for use with most devices and high-resistance coils. You’ll also encounter ratios of 70/30 and 80/20, indicating that there’s more of one ingredient than another.

So why the mini vaping lesson?

Because using the wrong type of liquid in your device can cause your vape to taste burnt. If you’re using high-PG, high-nicotine liquid in your sub-ohm tank, your device is unlikely to function properly.

Likewise, sub-ohm vaping typically relies on higher-VG liquids, as VG is thicker. Even if you don’t get a burnt hit using 50/50 e-liquid in a sub-ohm tank, you’re likely to get a harsh, dry hit, which isn’t too pleasant either!

So what’s the fix?

The easy fix is to make sure you’re using the right e-liquid for your vape. On our store, you can quickly see at a glance whether your chosen vape juice is suitable for your device, but a general rule of thumb is if you’re using a vape pen or a high-resistance coil (1ohm+), opt for 50/50 e-liquid or nicotine salts. If you’re using a box mod with a low-resistance coil, you can vape sub-ohm liquids high in VG and shortfills.

You’re Vaping at High Power

black ecig electronic cigarette display

Why the burnt taste?

This is a common problem with vapes with variable wattage. Some vape kits have either a fixed wattage, so they’ll pump out the same power (give or take a few watts) every time you vape, while some devices can intelligently adjust the wattage automatically by sensing the resistance of the coil installed. Other devices, though, like box mods, let you manually adjust the wattage.

This is great for intermediate or advanced vapers looking for more control over their vape, as you can tweak the settings to find the “sweet spot”. But there’s also a downside to this: you can burn your e-liquid by vaping at high power.

If you set your wattage sky-high, you can strain your coils, which can lead to more frequent burnt hits.

So what’s the fix?

If you’re getting burnt hits from your variable wattage device, consider knocking down your wattage a notch or two. Always refer to the instructions that came with your vape or coils, as these will tell you the recommended wattage. If in doubt, it’s always better to start off in the lower range and gradually increase your wattage until you get your desired flavour and vapour.

Don’t forget that if you’re swapping between coils of different resistances, you’ll need to adjust your wattage to match. Vaping at 70 watts on a sub-ohm coil might hit the sweet spot, but if you jump up to a mouth-to-lung coil, you can quickly damage your coil by forgetting to knock it down.

How You Can Prevent Burnt Hits

Sooner or later, you’ll get a burnt hit and need to either top up, replace your coil, cartomiser or clearomiser, or turn down the power, but there are measures you can take to prolong the life of your coil and prevent frequent burnt hits.

Don’t chain vape

With your vape permanently in your hand, it can be tempting to use it often, but constantly vaping, or chain vaping, can heat your device quickly and put pressure on your coils.

Try to minimise chain vaping by leaving your device for at least 15 seconds before firing it again. Putting it in your pocket or locking your device can help with this.

Prime your coil

Priming your coil is a quick, easy and effective way of prolonging the life of your coil. By doing this, you help your coil soak up the e-liquid, preventing the wick from burning when you use your device.

Before installing a new coil, prime it by dropping a few drops of your e-liquid directly into the hole at the top of the coil. Just two or three drops will do, as you don’t want to flood your coil, which can cause spitback when you vape. Also add a single drop of liquid on each of the juice holes around the coil, where you’ll usually see the wicking material behind it or sticking through. This will help saturate the wick with e-liquid, preventing your vape from burning the cotton.

Then, once you’ve installed your coil and topped up your tank with liquid, take a couple of dry hits by drawing on your vape without hitting the fire button. This suction will draw the liquid into the coil. Try not to do this more than five times; otherwise, you risk sucking e-liquid into your mouth (equally as unpleasant as a burnt hit!).

Refill regularly

It goes without saying that if you keep your tank topped up with e-liquid, you’ll be able to minimise burnt hits from there being no liquid. When you vape, take a quick glance at your tank — or quickly pop out your pod if you use a refillable kit — to gauge your e-liquid level. If you have less than half left, it’s worth topping up soon before you vape away the rest of the liquid.

Now you know why your vape tastes burnt and how to fix it. If you’re looking for new coils for your device, fancy upgrading to a new vape kit or just want to switch to a disposable to minimise hassle, the Electric Tobacconist store has everything you need, with free delivery on all orders over £20!