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How to Avoid Dry Hits and Burnt Out Coils

There’s nothing worse than taking a hit off your vape and expecting to enjoy your favorite e-juice but instead getting blasted with a nasty, scorched taste and a thoroughly unpleasant throat hit. If you have yet to experience this, rest assured that you don’t want to. Ever. When a dry hit occurs, it can ruin your taste for the day, irritate your throat, and it will almost certainly ruin your coil head.


What Causes Dry Hits?


The main causes of dry hits are pretty simple if you understand how your device works. The number one cause of a dry hit is an empty or depleted tank. Your tank’s atomizer works to heat up your juice and turn it into vapor. When there isn’t enough e-liquid in your tank, the wicking material in your coil isn’t getting re-saturated with excess liquid from the tank, which causes the coil to become hotter, up to and until the point that instead of vaporizing liquid you’re burning cotton (or whatever else you’re using as a wicking medium).

If you have a tank full of juice and you experience a dry hit, one cause might be poor priming. It’s always a good idea to prime your coil when you install a new one, and it’s particularly important with high-powered sub-ohm coils. Priming is super easy - just drip some e-liquid on each visible area of wicking until it looks saturated, then you’re good to go - click the link above for a more detailed how-to.

Do you chain vape? That’s another potential cause of dry hits. When you take hit after hit after hit without pause, your wick doesn’t have enough time to absorb more e-liquid, and when there’s no liquid to vaporize your coil (unless it’s running in a temperature-limiting setting) is just going to continue heating without liquid to cool it, causing the wicking material to eventually burn - burnt cotton tastes terrible.

Checking your power setting is also a good idea to avoid dry hits. You’ll want to make sure that you’re vaping in a wattage that is ideal for the coil you’re using. If you’re using a wattage that’s too high, your coil is going to go bad very quickly, and it won’t be an awesome experience.

Finally, the issue may be with your PG/VG ratios. VG’s higher viscosity means that it’s thicker and takes longer to be absorbed by your wicking, so if you aren’t giving the liquid the time to soak in between draws, you’ll probably have a few dry hits.

Lastly, dry hits might be an indicator that your coil is burnt out, especially if you notice a lingering bad taste that won’t go away. If your coil is past “just a little burnt” you will know! That’s when those throat hits become unbearably strong and taste like burning juice and cotton.


How Do I Know if My Coil’s Burnt Out?


This one is pretty easy to detect, as you’re going to notice a consistent burnt taste that doesn’t go away. Burnt coils occur for a lot of the same reasons that dry hits do: vaping on low or empty tanks, using the wrong wattage, not priming your coils, and chain vaping. However, sometimes coil heads just die - it could be that the wire has been fried or the wicking material has just passed as much juice as it can without becoming gunked up. If your coil is burnt out, then you need to replace it. As a rule, coils should last anywhere from one to three weeks depending on how much you vape.

Tips to Avoid Dry Hits and Burnt Coils

  • Always top off your tank. Don’t let your juice level reach below the visible wicking when and where possible.
  • Prime your coils
  • Check your airflow
  • Check your wattage
  • Avoid chain vaping—giving your vape a chance to rest between each hit will keep your wick from burning and you from experiencing dry hits.
  • Keep track of how long it’s been since you changed your coil. When it starts tasting the slightest bit burnt, that probably means you should change it out.