Vaping was always meant to be a cheaper alternative to smoking – but that’s definitely not the case for you if you need to buy new vape coils or vape pods every couple of days. In fact, coils and pods are the two pieces of vape gear that have become more expensive over the years – not less – because although a box of coils costs about the same today as it always has, you only get two or three coils in a box today, while you used to get five in a box. Coils are bigger and bulkier, and they cost more than ever to make. The manufacturers include less coils in a box because they know that vapers don’t want to pay $39.99 for a box of five coils.
Have you noticed, though, that vape coils these days just don’t seem to last as long as they used to? After just a day or two of using a new coil, do you look inside your tank and see a formerly white coil that now looks completely dirty and black? Back in the day, you used to get at least a week of use out of each coil. What’s happening?
This article is going to explain how to make your vape coils and pods last longer. We’re going to describe all of the reasons why you aren’t getting the life you expect out of your coils, and then we’re going to tell you about a few simple steps that you can take to get dramatically more life – sometimes several weeks – out of each coil that you buy.
We’re about to make vaping cheaper, tastier and more fun. Let’s begin.
So, why aren’t you getting an acceptable amount of life out of your coils? There are two reasons why your coils might be burning out fast, and we’ll describe them both.
By far, coil gunk is the most common reason why vape coils don’t last as long as they should. If you’re new to vaping, though, there’s probably one big question on your mind.
What is coil gunk?
This is your coil on sucralose.
Coil gunk is residue that collects on your coil as you vape. Although almost all of the flavoring ingredients used in e-liquid have the potential of creating residue, sucralose is by far the biggest contributor to coil gunk because, unlike most vape juice ingredients, it doesn’t vaporize fully. When you apply heat to sucralose, it caramelizes and burns. It becomes very sticky – almost like burning sugar – and creates a thick coating on your atomizer coil. The coating grows thicker and thicker until vaping becomes unbearable, and at that point, you have no choice but to replace the coil.
There are two reasons why coil gunk is a bigger problem today than it once was. The first reason is that the vast majority of e-liquids nowadays contain sucralose. E-liquids are sweeter than ever, so they create more coil gunk than ever. The second reason is that today’s vape coils are more powerful than ever. The more e-liquid you use, the more sucralose you’ll go through – and the faster coil gunk will form.
The second reason why your vape coils may burn out quickly is because your coils aren’t staying wet while you vape. That can happen for several reasons, which we’ll describe below. A vape coil becomes extremely hot, extremely quickly. A cotton wick is wrapped around the coil, and the coil almost instantly vaporizes all of the e-liquid held in the wick.
New e-liquid needs to flow from the tank to the wick, thus keeping the wick wet. If that fails to happen, the wick dries out – and dry cotton burns in a fraction of a second. If your coil’s wick has even a tiny burn, you’ll taste a change in flavor when vaping.
So, are your coils burning out quickly because of coil gunk or because your wick is dry? There’s an easy way to tell: Just take a look at your coil when you’re replacing it. If you look through the top of the coil and see that the metal wires look black and sludgy – not clean and white – your coils are burning out because of coil gunk caused by sucralose residue.
If the wires still look white, though, it’s likely that you’ve burned your wick. You can confirm that by taking the coil apart and pushing the wires and cotton out through the top of the coil assembly. Unwrap the cotton. Do you see dark spots? The wick is burned, and the problem is that your coil isn’t sufficiently wet.
If your coils are burning out quickly because of coil gunk, the solution is simple: Stop using sweetened e-liquid. Does your vape juice taste almost as sweet as candy? Does it leave a sweet film on your lips when you vape? Your e-liquid contains sucralose, and that’s the reason why your coils aren’t lasting as long as they should. You’ll experience dramatically longer coil life if you start using an unsweetened e-liquid instead. You can alternatively start building your own coils, but that won’t make your coils last longer; it’ll just make them cheaper.
When you look at the side of a vape coil, you’ll see several openings. Through the openings, you’ll see cotton. When you vape, your coil’s cotton wick becomes dry and replenishes itself by absorbing vape juice through those holes.
When you examine your tank, you’ll see that the coil’s wick holes are slightly elevated from the bottom of the tank. If you vape until your tank is nearly empty, in other words, you’ll reach a point at which the level of e-liquid in the tank is below the wick openings. At that point, the wick is no longer replenishing itself as efficiently as it should.
If you try to use your tank until it is completely dry, you’ll risk burning the wick. Keep your tank topped up to prevent that from happening.
When your coil’s wick is working efficiently, you can vape with long, deep puffs – pausing for only a moment between puffs – without worrying that you’ll burn your wick. That’s because the wick is absorbing new e-liquid as quickly as the coil as vaporizing it.
If you operate your vaping device at a high wattage, though, the coil will vaporize the e-liquid in the wick almost instantly. The wick will dry out more quickly than it can replenish itself. If you prefer short, quick puffs, that may not be a problem. By the time your coil’s wick is dry, you’ve already released your device’s fire button. If you’re a long, slow puffer, though, you could be burning your coil’s wick.
Do you ever detect a slight burning sensation at the end of a long puff? You’re most likely burning your wick. A single long puff might not ruin your coil instantly, but over time, it’ll definitely shorten the coil’s life.
When you replace your tank’s coil, look at the etching on the side of the coil. You’ll see a recommended wattage range. Vape product manufacturers choose those wattage ranges using automatic machines that puff for about 2-3 seconds at a time. If your puffs are longer than that, you need to set your vaping device to the low end of your coil’s wattage range. The coil is safe to use at the high end of its recommended wattage range only if your puff duration is within that 2-3 second range.
Vape juice contains vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol, and the ratio of those two ingredients determines the performance of the e-liquid and the type of vaping hardware that works best with it. That’s because VG is much thicker than PG. Therefore, a 50/50 VG/PG blend – such as the blend used for most nicotine salt e-liquid – is fairly thin, while an e-liquid with an 80/20 VG/PG ratio is much thicker.
A bottle of e-liquid will usually specify its VG/PG ratio on the label. You can use that information to ensure you’re buying vape juice that’s appropriate for the tank or vaping device that you’re using. Pod systems, for example, usually work best with a VG/PG ratio around 50/50. If you’re using a powerful sub-ohm tank, on the other hand, your hardware is optimized for a thicker e-liquid that contains more vegetable glycerin.
Your e-liquid’s VG/PG ratio can have a major effect on the life of your coils if you use a smaller device like a pod system. That’s because the atomizer coil in a pod system has small wick openings that work best with thinner e-liquids. If your e-liquid is too thick, it’ll have difficulty flowing through those small openings, and your wick may dry out as a result.
If you’re experiencing poor coil life with a pod system – and you’re randomly experiencing an unpleasant burning sensation when vaping – the VG/PG ratio of your vape juice is the first thing you should check.
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