Why Does My Vape Taste Burnt?

By Dr. Annie Macpherson
Updated: 2018-12-12


Why Does My Vape Taste Burnt?

Your new juice has just arrived, you have patiently been waiting for it and you can’t wait to vape it. You open up the package, you load your tank up and you prepare yourself for a blissful hit. The only thing is, you don’t get a blissful hit, you get a very burnt taste.

We have all been there before. There’s a couple of things you can do to guard against the dreaded burnt hit but first we have to discuss what actually causes a burnt hit. For the purposes of this discussion, we will be specifically talking about Sub Ohm Tanks with factory coils. A lot of the principles and techniques we use here can be applied to other atomizers as well.

Wattage Is To High

This may seem very obvious but a lot of times it is overlooked, especially with new vapers. You need to make sure that you read the rating on the coil. Most sub ohm coils have a overall wattage rating as well as a best of rating printed right on the coil. The coil will read something like this, good for 40 to 120 watts with a best of range of 60 to 85 watts. This means that the coil is capable of being vaped as high as a 120 watts but up to 85 watts is where you are going to get the maximum flavor.

Is My Tank Full?

Believe it or not.

This is a common mistake that a lot of new vapers make. A lot of times the wicking ports of a factory coil are located in the middle of the body of the coil. If you do not have a full tank or if you are below those wicking ports, the coil will not wick properly and you might get a burnt sort of taste.

  • Priming Your Coil
  • Time For A New Coil
  • Quality Control
  • Sweet Juice
  • Juice Viscosity
  • External
  • Environment

Priming Your Coil

A lot of vapers fail to prime a coil before they start vaping.

The active priming is simply taking your coil and adding a few drops of juice to the exposed cotton or wicking material. We also recommend that you prime the wicking ports and paint the wicking material that is showing through the ports with juice. This gets your cotton started and when you put that coil into a tank full of juice it makes it wick a lot quicker. We also suggest even with a primed coil, that you let your coil sit in a full tank for at least 2 to 5 minutes. You may even want to close the airflow and give it a few dry pulls before you start vaping. If you see bubbles on the dry pull, that’s a really good sign.

Time For A New Coil

I’ve had people tell me I’ve been running this coil for 4 weeks and it still tastes like the day I installed it. I take it hit on that coil and it’s the nastiest thing that I ever tasted in my life. Some people just get used to a taste and they really can’t distinguish between having a bad coil and a fresh coil. If you install a new coil for that person they will be shocked at how good the flavor is.

  • Most sub ohm coils will last anywhere from 3 to 7 days on the conservative side, with moderate vaping.

  • This will also depend on what kind of juice you are running through the tank and at what wattage.

The reason mesh sub ohm coils have become very popular is because the flavor is fantastic and the coil longevity is a lot longer than a traditional coil.

Quality Control

Unfortunately, whenever something is mass produced there can always be issues with quality control. Sub ohm coils are no different. Sometimes you just get a janky coil. Sometimes you can fix it, sometimes you cannot. Most of the time when you do have a coil that is tasting burnt right out of the box, it’s probably because the wicking material is too tight.

Here is a pro tip.

  • Take a safety pin and poke a hole through the cotton wicking ports.
  • This may loosen up the cotton and actually make the coil vape the way it was made to vape.
  • You can also use this trick towards the end of a coil life and you may be able to extend the life of a coil for another day or two.

Sweet Juice

A lot of commercial juices have a ton of sweetener added to them.

These are the juices that you will see experienced vapers referring to as Coil Killers. The reason they are Coil Killers is because the sweetener caramelizes on the metal heating element of the coil and it gunks it up. This will also give you a very burnt taste if your coil gets gunked up enough. It’s the reason a lot of people are really enjoying mesh sub ohm coils. They tend to burn hotter, quicker, and not get his gunky as traditional wire coils.

Juice Viscosity

Some juices are just thicker than others.

The viscosity of your juice will play an important role on how efficiently your tank wicks. The higher the PG ratio, the thicker the juice will be. Let’s face it, some tanks just do not do well with thick juices. For those types of tanks, we recommend that you find a juice with a lower PG ratio.

External Environment

Believe it or not.

The external environment that you vape in has an effect on how well your tank actually vapes. This is especially true when it comes to really cold weather. Tanks do not do well in an outdoor environment of under 30 degrees. You will notice that your tank will have a hard time wicking, especially if you are using a very thick juice.


Why Does my vape taste burnt?

There are multiple factors that will affect whether you get a burnt hit or not.

We went over most of the obvious and not so obvious ones today. Some of them can be mitigated and some of them cannot. For instance, it’s the luck of the drawer if you just happen to get a bad coil. There’s really nothing you can do about that. That type of circumstance is actually out of your control. There are certain things you can do that we discussed in this article to control whether or not you get a burnt hit or at least lessen the likelihood of one. One thing you do have to remember though, once you do start to get a burnt hit it, there really is no going back from there. That coil is pretty much shot or at least on its last leg. The time to install a new coil will come sooner rather than later. We urge you to try some of the tips in this article, that will help you lessen the chances of getting that dreaded burnt taste. Keep living that vape life.

And this is the reason why does my vape taste burnt

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Dr. Annie Macpherson
Dr. Annie Macpherson

Annie has a PhD in Genome Stability from the University of Sussex. She has first-hand experience in cancer and human disease research. This allows her to provide us with new and unbiased insights into the ongoing research of the public and health effects of vaping. She loves an adventure, and has travelled through South East Asia and Australia working for Vaping Insider.