How Long Do Vape Coils Usually Last?

David Rice

11th Apr 2023

How Long Do Vape Coils Last?

One of the benefits of open-system vaping hardware is that you can re-use your tank or pod and coil many times over, saving money compared to closed-system pods that have to be thrown away every time they're empty. Still, you'll eventually reach a point when it's time to retire your old coil and reach for a new one.

We're going to discuss this topic from two different angles. First, we'll discuss disposables, which are pods or tanks with built-in coils that can be refilled but not rebuilt. Next, we'll dive into traditional clearomizers (and some modern pod systems) that have coils which can be replaced without disposing of the tank itself.

Refillable Disposables

Some open-system devices are meant to be refilled, but they're still disposable. This mostly applies to pod mod offerings from companies like Suorin, but some manufacturers are now producing acrylic clearomizer tanks for traditional mods with a coil that's permanently fixed in place.

In the long run, these systems are preferable to closed-system, pre-filled pods for a pair of reasons. First, you'll be able to choose your own e-liquid and nicotine strength, rather than being limited to just a few offerings from the mod manufacturer. Second, once your pod is empty, you'll be able to refill it yourself – up to a point.

Most disposable pods and tank are designed to be used 5-6 times, though as with anything vaping related, your mileage will almost certainly vary. If you try to vape on a completely empty pod, for example, you could burn the wicking that draws liquid from the tank to the coil – once your wick has acquired a nasty burnt taste there's pretty much no way to recover and it's time to replace the coil.

The e-liquid you use also plays a role in coil life. Thick, heavily-sweetened dessert and bakery flavors could gunk up a coil and begin producing an 'off' taste after just a few refills, while lighter fruity flavors might tolerate ten top-offs or more before the coil and wick begins to show signs of wear.

Flavor is another consideration to keep in mind, particularly if you like to experiment with a handful of different liquids. Since disposable pods and tanks aren't easily cleaned, there's a good chance that some residual flavor from your last tank will influence the next one. If you're switching from a fruit flavor to a cheesecake, let's say, this might not be a problem – you've just added a fruit topping to your dessert. But on the other hand, you might not be as excited about adding a hint of cheesecake to your new pina colada vape.

If you're sticking with one flavor, or with a handful that generally agree with one another, go ahead and keep re-using your pod or tank until you notice a significant decrease in the amount of flavor or vapor, or until your liquid starts to acquire a burnt taste. When any of those happens, it's time to make a switch.

Replaceable Coils

Most modern clearomizers, and to a certain extent the pods in new-generation devices, come equipped with a tank that has a removable atomizer element. This is called the 'coil,' although it really encompasses the atomizer, heating coil, and wicking all in one.

Replacement coils are going to be the cheapest and most environmentally-friendly way to vape. Because they produce the least amount of waste, it means you're throwing less in the trash and the manufacturer is paying to produce less material, passing those savings onto you.

The same rules apply when it comes to changing your coil – don't mix flavors you don't think go well together and replace your coil when it shows signs of wear. But these devices offer an added benefit of disassembly for cleaning.

Say you want to make one of those strong flavor changes, but your coil isn't burned out. No problem – pop out your old coil and toss it in a zipper-lock bag or other container until you're ready to switch back to the flavor you were vaping (labeling the container with what flavor is in the coil wouldn't be a bad idea). From there, you can rinse out the tank with warm water, dry it out, and install a fresh coil, assured that you're not going to end up with any peanut butter fudge in your raspberry lemonade.

Wrapping Up

You'll note here we talk about coil life in terms of tank fills, and there's a reason for this. Some vapers may top their tank up twice or thrice a day, while others might go two or three days between fills. That's why saying that a coil lasts 'three weeks' or 'just a few days' isn't really a fair comparison. Depending on how much you vape, what kind of e-liquid you prefer, and even what power setting you use, the time answer is going to be different for everyone.

The biggest factor in coil longevity is taking care of your device. Never let your tank run all the way empty – it's probably best to top up when you fall to about ¼ full, just to be sure you don't risk burning your wick and instantly destroying the whole atomizer. Vape lighter liquids with a minimum of added sweetener to avoid gunking coils, or be prepared to change a little bit more often if extra sweet is your favorite treat. Above all, remember that in the grand scheme of things an occasional coil refresh is still a lot cheaper than a pack of cigarettes, so don't force yourself to endure a bad vape when you could easily be getting the flavor you deserve.