Even if you’re a new vaper, you probably already know that replacing your vape coil periodically is one of the most important aspects of maintaining a vaping device. It’s so important, in fact, that we’ve devoted an entire article here at Vapekit to explaining how to replace a vape coil the right way. Replacing a vape coil correctly is incredibly important because it’ll help to ensure that the new coil will last as long as it possibly can. Before you get to that point, though, you need to know when your vape coil needs replacing. If you replace your coils too soon, it means that you’re spending too much to vape. If you continue using a coil when it’s well past its prime, you’re probably not going to have a very enjoyable experience. We want to prevent both of those things from happening. Knowing when to replace your vape coil isn’t just a matter of understanding how to maintain your vaping device — it’s also a matter of prolonging the life of your equipment The important thing isn’t understanding when a vape coil needs replacing — it’s knowing why your coils burn out and what you can do to make them last longer. You already know when your vape coil needs replacing — it’s time for a new coil when you’re no longer happy with the flavour quality of the coil you’re using. If you really want to get the most out of your vaping experience, though, you need to know why that’s happening. So, why do your vape coils burn out?
The two key components of any vape coil are the heating surface — which vaporises your e-liquid — and the wick, which delivers e-liquid from the reservoir to the heating surface. When a vape coil no longer delivers an acceptable flavour, it’s because of a problem with one of those two components. Either the coil’s wick is burned, or the heating surface is covered with residue. In either case, the coil will produce a burned flavour — although the nature of the flavour will change depending on the specific problem affecting your coil. To understand what you can do to make your vape coils last longer, you need to know whether the wick or the heating surface is the source of the problem. That’s what we’ll discuss next.
When a vape coil has a burned wick, the extent to which the coil’s flavour is affected depends on how badly burned the wick is. If the wick is only slightly burned, you may just detect a bit of irritation in the back of your throat when vaping. If the wick is badly burned, though, you may notice the distinctly unpleasant flavour of scorched cotton when you vape.
There’s an easy way to tell if a coil needs replacing because of a burned wick. When you remove the coil from your vape tank, look at the heating surface through the top of the coil. The metal will probably still be white and shiny. To confirm, you can disassemble the coil by removing the metal cap from the bottom of the coil and pushing the heating surface and wick out through the top. Unwrap the wick and examine it. If you see a black spot on the cotton, it’s burned. Even a very small dark spot will cause a noticeable change in the coil’s flavour. There is no way to fix burned cotton. Although it’s technically possible to repair the coil by replacing the cotton, you’ll probably find that it’s not really worth the trouble. It’s far simpler to replace the coil. If you find that you’re constantly burning your coils’ wicks, use these bits of advice to help your coils last longer.
Always install a new coil properly by priming the wick and allowing the coil to rest for several minutes after filling the tank. These steps ensure that the wick will be completely wet when you begin using the coil.
Avoid vaping at extremely high wattage settings. Always keep your device set to a power level within the recommended power range for the coil you’re using. Remember that you may need to vape at an even lower wattage if you prefer very long, deep puffs.
Don’t chain vape.
Always wait a moment between puffs to give the wick time to absorb more e-liquid.
When a layer of residue forms on the heating surface of your vape coil, it means that you’re using e-liquid sweetened with sucralose. Sucralose is a potent sweetener that can enhance vape juices with flavour profiles like fruit and candy. It’s become very common in recent years for e-liquid makers to sweeten their products, but sucralose has a major downside in that it leaves a dark residue behind that slowly robs a coil of its flavour.
If your coil needs replacing because of residue, you’ll notice a gradual change in flavour as you vape. At first, you’ll notice an exaggerated sweetness when vaping. As you continue using the coil, though, the layer of residue will become thicker. At that point, you’ll notice a strong “burned sugar” note when vaping. When you replace the coil, you can confirm that it has a layer of residue by looking at the coil’s heating surface; it’ll be dark and discoloured. If you find that sucralose residue is causing you to replace your coils more often than you’d like, there’s a very simple solution for that problem: You can stop using sweetened vape juice. While it’s undeniable that sucralose is very tasty, it’ll also drastically shorten the life of your vape coils. If you’re a heavy vaper, you may find that a new coil installed at the beginning of the day has already begun to taste like burned sugar at the end of the day. Switching to unsweetened e-liquid can extend the life of your vape coils from a day or two to a week or more.
Regardless of the type of vaping device that you use, coil replacements are a regular part of your life. Modern vape tanks make changing the coil as easy as possible, but that doesn’t make coil replacements fun. If you really want to do things right, then replacing your coil means disassembling and rinsing your tank, taking out the old coil, twisting in the new one and priming the new coil before putting everything back together and refilling the tank. It’s a process that you might find yourself putting off for “some other time” on those days when you really don’t feel like doing the work – and with that, we arrive at this article’s central question - when to change a vape coil?
The short answer is that you should change your coil when you’re no longer getting a good vaping experience out of your tank, but this is a topic with plenty of depth for those who care to explore it further.
Ready for some exploration? Let’s do it.
Further Reading: Vape Coils: Ultimate Buying Guide
Think about how much you look forward to experiencing the amazing flavour and vapour production that you can only get with a brand-new coil. Vaping never gets better than that, right? As you use the coil, though, you’ll notice that certain gradual changes will begin to take place.
The coil will become less responsive when you press your device’s fire button. It’ll take slightly longer before the coil begins producing vapour.
The coil will produce less vapour than it did when it was new.
The flavour of your e-liquid will begin to change. A note of burned sugar will begin to cover the e-liquid’s more subtle notes.
If you’re trying to get the most usage out of the coil that you possibly can, you may continue using the coil even as the changes mentioned above take place. Eventually, though, you’ll reach a point at which it seems like you’re getting dry hits even though your tank isn’t empty. You may also feel irritation in the back of your throat when vaping. At that point, you can delay no further and need to change your coil as soon as possible.
If you replace your coil as soon as the flavour begins to change, you’ll have the best possible vaping experience. Whether you can do that without going through an entire box of coils in a few days, though, depends on the longevity of your coils – and coil longevity depends more on your choice of e-liquid than on the coil itself.
How long does a vape coil last? It should last several days before it requires replacement. In some cases it is even possible for vape coils to deliver excellent flavour and vapour production for weeks. If you aren’t getting that level of longevity from your coils, continue reading for advice about how to make your coils last longer.
If you aren’t getting the kind of coil longevity described above, it’s most likely because you’re using e-liquid sweetened with sucralose. Sucralose is a potent sweetener that can make an e-liquid taste almost like candy. Many people enjoy e-liquids with sweet flavour profiles, so sucralose is a very common ingredient in vape juice these days.
As tasty as it may be, though, sucralose can cause your vape coils to burn out quickly. That’s because sucralose doesn’t turn to vapour when it’s heated; it caramelises and burns. The burned sucralose residue sticks to your atomizer coil, and it becomes gradually thicker as you continue vaping. The layer of sucralose residue – vapers call it coil gunk – is the reason why you start to taste burned sugar after using the same coil for a while. It’s also why you start to experience irritation in the back of your throat when your coil is at the end of its life.
Is sweetened e-liquid shortening the life of your coils? If you can taste sweetness on your lips when you vape – almost as if you’ve been eating candy – you’re almost definitely using e-liquid with sucralose.
There’s an easy way to confirm that sucralose is the culprit causing your coils to have poor longevity.
When you remove a coil from your tank, examine the metal through the holes at the top of the coil assembly. Is the heating wire black? You’ve got coil gunk.
If the heating wire is still white, it’s possible that you killed your coil by burning the wick. You can confirm that by disassembling the coil. Pull the cap off of the bottom of the coil assembly and push the heating wire and cotton wick out through the top of the coil assembly. Unwrap the cotton from the heating wire. If the cotton has a black spot, it’s burned and consider this a message for when to change a vape coil. Even a tiny black spot will have a negative effect on flavour when you vape.
Making your coils last longer is fairly simple if you know the reason why your coil life is poor. If you followed the steps above, you should have the answer to that question.
If your coils are burning out quickly because of coil gunk, you have two options. You can either put up with the poor coil life and replace your coils every day or two, or you can start using unsweetened e-liquid. Even with unsweetened e-liquid, coil longevity can vary. It’s common for people to get several days of usage out of each coil with unsweetened e-liquid. With an e-liquid that isn’t heavily flavoured – such as a plain menthol e-liquid – you may get weeks of life out of each coil.
If your coils are burning out quickly because the wicks are burned, the source of the problem isn’t your choice of e-liquid. Rather, it’s that your coil is drying out when you vape. A vape coil can become extremely hot during operation. To prevent overheating, the coil must have a constant supply of e-liquid from the wick – and if the wick is dry, it’ll burn. To prevent your coil’s wick from burning, follow these tips .
Keep your tank topped up when vaping. Don’t try to use your tank when it is nearly empty.
Vape within your coil’s recommended wattage range. If you tend to vape at the top end of that wattage range, keep your puff length short. If you prefer longer puffs, you may need to lower your wattage.
Don’t use a high-VG e-liquid if your coil has small wick openings. If your e-liquid is too viscous, it won’t absorb into your coil’s wick quickly enough. (Further reading: PG/VG Ratios Explained)