Coils are some of the most overlooked elements of the vape device. These small pieces of wire can eb seen as just that, another of the many parts that make up the complex vape device. The coil however, is more than just a wire, it is the lifeline, the circulatory bridge between battery and atomiser. Put simply, the vape device won’t work without a coil. It’s the same as having the heart but no veins to connect the blood to the body.

It is for this very reason that when your coil begins to degrade, you’ll see a lessened performance in your vape device. One of the main giveaways to a tired coil is a terrible brunt taste, which will be subtle at first but begin to overwhelm all other tastes whilst vaping for prolonged periods. Say goodbye to your favourite UK e liquid and say hello to the nasty taste of a burnt wick singing your throat.

So why do coils burn, and how can you prevent it from happening?

The importance of the coil

As mentioned above, the coil is the element of the vape device which transfers heat and electricity from the battery to the atomiser. The atomiser is another piece of metal which is surrounded by wicking cotton, which is usually made with organic cotton and is saturated with the e juice. The e juice is continuously replenished from the tank of the vape device or if you are using a dripper device, is directly dripped on from a hole above the atomiser. When the atomiser is heated up by the coil, by association, the vape liquid saturated wicking cotton is also heated up, creating the tasty vapour you inhale.

What is a burnt coil?

The coil is made of metal. These can range from kanthal to nichrome, and like with any metal, these will break down when exposed to heat. Therefore, coils are marketed as temporary, and you can find coil replacements in every vape supplier, both online and in store. Sadly, all coils will break after a month, hopefully longer, but there is a lot you can do to ensure as long a life as possible.


There are several ways that wicks become damaged prematurely. The first is overcooking. If your vape device is high powered and heats up quickly, excessive vaping will heat up the devices insides to the point of the vape liquid on the coil and atomiser breaking down. In this instance, it is not the coil itself which breaks down, but the vape juice around it because of the hot coil. The Propylene glycol in the e liquid will break down to form the toxic chemical formaldehyde, and this I what you will begin to inhale when you experience that burnt taste.

Burnt wick

When the e juice is running low in your device, or the coil itself is becoming too hot, the wick will begin to burn. When a wick becomes too hot, it will begin to burn, seeing as it is made from plant-based cotton. Again, this will mean you are inhaling “burnt” material as opposed to the vaporised e juice which makes vape juice the cleaner smoking cessation tool that it is.

How do you combat a burnt coil?

So, when it comes down to it, how can you prevent your coil from burning? Now that you know the conditions in which this all too often occurring anomaly can take hold, you can now take the necessary steps to stop it from happening.

Don’t chain vape

When you really enjoy your e juice, it is easy to vape it all day. That’s why many juices are marketed as premium “all day vapes” with high VG and less nicotine, making the taste more palatable and the hit a little less harsh. The more you chain vape though, the hotter your vapes inner components become, paving the way for a burnt wick and juice cooking. Give the device a rest and let it cool down. If you can’t help but chain vape, then make sure you’re using a lower power mode.

Change regularly

Keep a tab on the taste in your device. Make sure that if you are a regular vape user, that you change your coil every four to six weeks.

Clean your coil

If you’re not quite ready to throw it away, give your vapes inner components a scrub down and rinse every once in a while. The coil can be removed of gunk and any potential blockages with a simple rinse in warm water, or for a more vigorous rinse, try ethanol solutions for washing away that clingy grit.

Higher PG and less sweetener

Use juices that are high in PG, to increase the runniness of your juice. Those sweeter juices are higher in sweetener, which can congeal into sugary substances around your coil, leading to overcooking.

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