Vaping can be a very pleasurable experienced when everything is working correctly. However, at some point, many vapers run in to an issue where a vape tastes burnt which is usually a follow-up from dry hits.
Please don’t be steered away or give up on vaping if this happens to you. For beginners, this is not the way vaping is supposed to be.
Vape Tastes Burnt
It can be very annoying, one minute you’re experiencing crisp clean flavorful clouds of vapor and the next minute your vape tastes burnt like charcoal. Fortunately, this issue is easy enough to overcome just by tweaking your vape a little.
In the following, we will help you overcome those dry hits and terrible tasting vape experiences.
A Dry hit from your vape mod is the first sign that your vape could start putting out some undesired burnt tasting vapor. Dry hits are one of the worst things a vaper can experience. This can ruin your vape experience and prevent many new vapers from vaping. They are largely due to E-Liquid not getting to the coil and being vaporized. If the liquid doesn’t get to the coil then the vape will be dry and eventually cause burns. There are many reasons why E-Liquid doesn’t get to where it’s supposed to.
Let’s take a look at some of the major causes of burnt coils and what you can do to prevent them:
1. Coil Aging Taste
A coil or atomizer should never burn your throat or have a burnt cotton taste. If you’re experiencing this then there is a good chance you have an old or burned coil. It’s a good idea to pay attention to the date that you install each new coil. After a certain amount of days or weeks, you may have to routinely swap out and replace that old burnt coil. Vaping on any coil for a prolonged period of time will cause residue to build upon the wire of the coil that causes really bad tasting dry hits. These can be really difficult to clean in pod systems or sub-ohm tanks and the best course of action is to simply replace your burned coil with a new one.
2. Prime New Coils
Learning to prime your coil heads will also help prevent immediate and future burnt taste. When you first install your atomizer put a few drops of e-liquid on the holes leading directly to the wick or the wick itself if possible. After saturating your wick fill your tank, and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Maybe give it a few shakes to make sure the e-liquid is being absorbed so that the process of feeding the coils will be carried out properly.
If your wicks are not saturated with e-juice then you risk burning the cotton. This will not only lead to that burnt tasting vape but poor wicking for the life of that atomizer coil or cartridge replacement. This is the most common fix for sub ohm tanks but may also be helpful in dealing with rebuildables as well.
3. New Coil Break-in Period
On new coils, you will find that they require less power to produce great clouds and flavor. This is because new coils do not have any residue or build-up on the coils yet.
Start out at a low wattage setting. Then increase it by a few watts and take some test puffs until you find your ideal point. Tweaking from a lower wattage setting, you can find a setting that has just the right balance of warmth, flavor, and clouds. As your coil ages, you will want to step up your setting.
Keep in mind the maximum power range suggested by your coil head. If your vape tastes burnt then it’s possible you are applying too much wattage. The suggested wattage is printed on the coil head, or in the user manual that came with your cartridges or coil replacements.
4. Vape Airflow
A frequent and common problem with many tanks is how they are built. The chambers or tank sections are a vacuum. It’s hard for e-liquid to move around and feed the wicks because there is no place for the air to escape. If your wicks are not being fed properly then they are dry and they produce dry hits which is accompanied by a burnt vape taste.
You can let your vape sit and try to catch up with the wicking process or you can take matters in to your own hands.
Most tanks will have a top-fill system. If you crack or unscrew the top of the tank just a little you will see air bubbles pop up and rise. This is a signal that the device is now feeding e-liquid properly. Just don’t leave it unscrewed too long or the tank will start to leak.
For some devices unscrewing may not be an option. To try and force the feeding you and try sucking really hard and blowing into the atomizer in quick short patterns. This should jar up some bubbles, allow e-juice to saturate the wicks and eliminate the burnt taste.
5. Wattage Set to Burnt
As said previously, replacement coils come with a suggested power rating. That means that your coils have been tested at certain wattage settings and these are the best performance recommendations stated by the manufacturer. The tests are based on the number of coils and the size of the E-Liquid ports. By turning up the wattage you may not receive better clouds and flavor. It’s simply a limitation of the coil and there might not be a way to get the e-juice to feed any quicker. When you use higher wattages the coil burns off e-liquid faster. If the coil’s wicking cannot keep up this will lead to dry hits.
The general rule is to vape by taste. As long as it tastes good, you are at a good setting.
6. Prick the Cartridge
Sometimes the sheet of cotton wrapped around the coils in replacement cartridges is just so compacted that it is impenetrable by e-liquid or doesn’t allow e-liquid to quickly saturate the coils. You can try taking a small safety pin and creating some small puncture holes where the metal cutouts are in the base of the cartridge that exposes the wick.
Try very small holes and not too many to start as you risk creating feed holes that will allow too much e-liquid to pass which will create leaks.
7. Temperature Control for Taste
The use of a mod with temperature control can help prevent dry hits and burnt taste. Using a temperature control mod with nickel, titanium or stainless steel coils allows you to limit the temperature of your vape. When you set a temperature limit this reduces the chance of pumping too much power in to the coil.
A vape tastes burnt when there is too much power vaporizing e-juice faster than the liquid is fed to the coil
8. Vape Thinner E-Liquid
If you still get a burnt taste from your vape, and you’ve tried all the suggestions above, then this could be caused by your e-liquid.
E-Liquids come in a variety of VG and PG ratios. Unfortunately, some atomizer coils cannot handle high VG e-liquid because it is so thick. VG and PG are e-liquid bases where PG is much thinner in consistency and delivers stronger flavor. Experiment with a lower VG and higher PG e-liquid until you find the right balance for your replacement atomizer or coil.
Most e-juices will have their VG / PG ratio printed on the label. The more VG it contains, typically results in thicker slower feeding e-liquid.
9. Chain Vaping
Not all atomizers are created equally. Some wicks absorb e-liquid faster than others, and there is a good chance that if you get burnt taste, you may need to give your wicks more time to reabsorb or soak up more e-juice. If your vape tastes burnt and you really want to chain the vape, consider looking for an atomizer that has faster wicking capabilities or temperature control.
In general, Sub-ohm tanks and clearomizers do not feed as quickly as rebuildable atomizers. If you like to chain vape you may want to consider an RDA (Rebuildable Drip Atomizer) or an RTA (Rebuildable Tank Atomizer).
10. Hotspot Taste
These are much easier to diagnose with rebuildables but the issue can still be prevalent in replaceable atomizers.
A common cause of vapes tasting burnt is when your coil has a hot spot. A hotspot is when the coil is heating up unevenly. When coils burn unevenly the vapor production tends to lack. We compensate by turning up the wattage. Turning up the wattage in this case usually doesn’t produce more vapor or flavor, it burns the wicking material around the coils.
It is a very unpleasant vape! Hot spots can give your vape a burnt metallic taste, even if your wicks were completely saturated. If your vape tastes burnt you may not be able to see a burned point on your wicks because they are still completely saturated.
Even if your wicks show no sign of burning, remove them and try to fix the coil heating displacement. This is not possible with pod cartridges and the only thing to do is try a new cartridge.
If you can get at your coil, remove the replaceable cotton wick. Then get your coils to pulse evenly by pinching them lightly with a pair of tweezers or even gently scraping them with a small screwdriver. Also, check that they do not touch any part of the inside of the atomizer.
Be careful, do not pinch or scratch your coils while pressing the fire button unless you are using a non-conductive tool such as a ceramic clamp. You also don’t want to move the coil while it is in a red state as you could break the coil.
11. Proper Wicking
A large number of rebuildable atomizers, particularly RTAs, can be difficult to saturate. If you do not use enough cotton, or whatever absorbent material you use, it may leak. However, if you jam too much in the wick holes the atomizer will have a hard time feeding the e-liquid. This will leave you with dry hits and eventually you will have a burnt tasting vape.
Talk to people who have the same atomizer as you and find out which method worked best for them. Usually, it’s a balancing act, but all atomizers will have specific needs.
Experiment with more cotton, or less cotton, until you find the perfect amount for your installation.
12. Clean Burnt Coils
Keeping your atomizer cartridge or coils gunk-free can help prolong and maximize vape life. After a certain amount of time, you will get a residue that builds up on your coils. If your vape tastes burnt it might mean it’s time for a cleaning.
Dirty gunked up coils are one of the most common causes of dry hits. Keep your coils fresh and change your wicks at least once a week to avoid these bad shots. You can disassemble your atomizer and try some of the following cleaning methods:
- Water Rinse – The coils with warm water
- Soak in alcohol – To clean and remove all the debris
- Dry burn – Remove the wick and fire the mod to burn up all the debris.
NOTE: It is not advised to dry burn. If you are going to do it, use very low heat and do not let the coil get bright red. Remember to rinse the coil afterward of metal particles.
If your coils are charred or extremely dark after cleaning, they must be replaced. Using juice without sweeteners can help prevent this.
13. Cold Weather Can Cause Burnt Taste
Yes, sometimes the weather can really have an effect on your vape. In particular the temperature of the air. If it is cold outside the juice inside the device may thicken and will not feed properly. A cold day can make a PG dominate juice similar to a high VG juice. This can lead to dry hits and burns. Avoid extreme weather conditions to avoid this burnt vape taste.
The causes of burnt taste could be a combination of things mentioned above, so use it as a reference. If you tried all the methods, chances are you will not get a burnt hit anytime soon.
At this point, you should have a better understanding of the different causes of burnt tasting vapes and how to prevent them. Vaping is supposed to be delicious, when your vape tastes burnt or you get dry hits something is wrong. Do not let this discourage you from switching to a more pleasant and safe alternative to smoking.
Many vape beginners may not realize that it is not supposed to burn their throats. Vaping is not smoking and it may take a while to get used to inhaling the vapor. But once you learn how to fix and customize your vape you will discover a whole new world.