Why Does My Vape Taste Burnt?

Don’t become another dry hit meme! Find out why your vape tastes burnt and fix it now.

If you’re in the mood for some quick entertainment, go to Google and type “dry hit meme.” See anything familiar? We bet you do, because every person who vapes has experienced a burnt taste at one time or another. Nothing in the world can go from absolutely delicious to completely vile quite as quickly as a vape that’s producing a dry hit or one that tastes like burnt sugar because its atomizer coil is covered with black residue.

Man vaping with gas mask on

The bad news is that experiencing an occasional burnt taste when vaping is something that’s definitely going to happen to you at one time or another. When you’re sucking on an 80-watt heating coil all day, there’s always a small chance that things won’t work exactly as they should.

The good news is that, when your vape tastes burnt, it’s always due to a specific preventable cause. Therefore, knowing the most common causes of dry hits and burnt flavours when vaping makes it a fairly trivial matter to minimise those sets of circumstances. Let’s begin!

Why Does Your Vape Taste Burnt?

If you get a burnt taste when vaping, it’s because one of two things is happening.

  • You’re getting a dry hit. That’s what happens when e-liquid fails to feed through to your atomizer coil’s wick. With no liquid to cool it off, the atomizer coil becomes red hot and emits noxious fumes. A dry hit is terrible while it’s happening, and it often leaves a long-term effect behind by burning your coil’s cotton wick. Even a tiny burned spot on the wick can ruin the flavour of an atomizer coil.
  • Your coil is covered with residue. The residue comes from sucralose, the most common e-liquid sweetener. If your e-liquid tastes sweet like candy, it probably contains sucralose. Although it’s very common in e-liquid, the issue with sucralose as a sweetener is that it doesn’t vaporize. It creates a layer of gunk on the atomizer coil that thickens, darkens and eventually burns. A thin layer of sucralose residue on your coil will create a flavour that tastes like burnt sugar. A thick layer will prevent e-liquid from reaching your coil efficiently, creating an effect much like that of a dry hit.

So, why does your vape taste burnt? You can determine the cause simply by looking at your atomizer coil. If it’s covered with sticky black residue, sweetened e-liquid is the cause of your problem. If that’s the case, the solution is simple; you can stop using sweetened e-liquid, or you can put up with poor coil life.

If your vape tastes burnt because you’re getting dry hits, though, the solution is a bit more complex because dry hits have several common causes. We’ll explain how to prevent the four most common causes of dry hits.

Keep Your Tank Full

The most common cause of dry hits is actually incredibly simple – dry hits happen when you forget to keep your tank full. You don’t ever want to use a tank until it is completely empty.

Do you see the white openings on the side of your atomizer coil? Through the openings, you can see the coil’s cotton wick. E-liquid reaches the coil by traveling through those openings and soaking into the wick. If the e-liquid in your tank doesn’t cover those holes, the wick isn’t getting e-liquid – and that leads to dry hits. Keep your tank topped up.

Reduce Your Wattage or Puff Duration

Dry hits can happen if your atomizer coil burns e-liquid away more quickly than the wick can replenish itself, and that will happen if you’ve set your device’s wattage too high or you’re puffing too deeply when vaping. If you experience dry hits when you’re trying to extract bigger clouds out of your vape, it’s a sign that you need to consider buying a more capable sub-ohm tank. In the meantime, lower your device’s wattage or reduce the duration of your puffs.

Adjust Your E-Liquid’s VG/PG Ratio

Do you use a small device such as a pod vape? If you do, it’s time to start paying attention to VG/PG ratios when you buy e-liquid. The smaller your vaping device is, the smaller your atomizer coil’s wick openings are. As we’ve just explained, dry coils lead to dry hits – and a thick high-VG e-liquid can have trouble getting through the wick openings in a small vaping device. If you use a pod system, stick with nicotine salt e-liquid for the best possible performance.

Check for Hot Spots When Building Coils

If you use a rebuildable atomizer and build your own coils, you’re already familiar with the importance of checking for hot spots because you do it every time you mount your coils to your atomizer. Did you know, though, that it’s equally important to check for hot spots again after you’ve threaded your wick through the coil and added e-liquid? If you don’t have firm contact between the coil and the wick, you’ll experience dry hits even when your coil seems completely wet.

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