How To Prime A Coil

How To Get The Most Out Of Your Vape Coil | How To Prime A Coil, Coil Cleaning & More…

Adam WinterCoil Building 4 Comments

As you might have guessed, this post is all about getting the most out of your coil… But what do we mean by that? Learning how to prime a coil? Cleaning your coil rather than replacing it?

Yes and no. It’s true that knowing how to prime a coil is important before you take that first hit. If you don’t, you run the risk of a dry hit and a burnt coil before you even get started!

And cleaning a coil (if you do it right!) will make your coil last longer. We’ll show you how to prime a coil AND clean it thoroughly below.

But if you really want to prolong the life of your coil, there are also a few things you can do (and a few things to avoid!) that make all the difference. Keep reading and we’ll cover these too.


Ok, so let’s assume you’ve been vaping the coil that came installed with your tank. Everything’s great, but you’ve noticed a drop in flavor and vapor production and you’ve decided it’s time to change the coil.

How to prime a coil; step by step

  1. Remove the old coil from your tank. But don’t throw it away – we can use this dirty coil when we show you how to clean a coil later on.

  2. *optional* – While you have your tank stripped down, it’s worth giving it a clean. Usually just giving it a wipe down with a kitchen cloth is enough to get rid of any dirt or residue.

  3. Remove the new coil from its packaging and check to make sure everything is Kosher. Specifically the ‘O’ rings; you want to make sure they’re fitted correctly and aren’t lose.

  4. Before you install the new coil, drip 3-5 drops of e-juice into the wick. Most coil heads will have a visible opening at the top or sides where the wick is visible.

  5. Insert the new coil into your tank and make sure everything is screwed in properly.

  6. Grab your e-juice and fill up your tank. Leave the tank standing for 5-10 minutes, allowing the e-liquid to fully saturate the wick.

  7. We’re nearly done. But before you fire your mod, simply take a few draws on the tank. Be careful not to draw too hard during this step though, otherwise you could flood your coil.

And there you have it, now you know how to prime a coil. We’re not quite done yet though…

For the first few puffs on a new coil, you should decrease the wattage of your mod to approximately half of the wattage you usually vape at. Take a few draws at this wattage and then slowly increase in increments every few draws until you hit your sweet spot!

Ok, so I know how to prime a coil. But…


It’s impossible to say exactly how long a coil will last before you need to clean it (more on this later!) or replace it. It depends on how you vape, what type of e-juice you’re vaping and what wattage you vape at.

However, generally speaking you should get anywhere from 2-4 weeks of moderate vaping out of each coil. ‘Moderate’ being the key word here; if you chain vape you’ll significantly decrease the lifespan of your coil.

Each time you fire your mod, you deliver electricity and heat directly to your coil. It’s this heat that reacts with the saturated wick and produces vapor. When you repeatedly heat a coil to vaporise your e-juice, it leaves behind a sticky residue that (over time) will ‘gunk’ up your wick and coil.


If you’re asking yourself this question, you probably don’t need to change your coil just yet. It’s usually pretty obvious when the coil needs replacing, for one of several reasons:

  1. Flavor – The most common sign your coil needs changing is a reduction in flavor. This can run the gambit from mild flavor loss to full on burnt tasting vapor. If you notice the flavor you’re vaping is muted, you don’t need to panic just yet. BUT, if you’re getting burning dry hits despite having plenty of e-juice in the tank, be careful. The odd hit won’t hurt you, but repeatedly vaping a burnt coil could expose you to potentially dangerous chemicals.

  2. Vapor – As your coil reaches the end of its lifespan, you’ll notice a reduction in vapor production. Keep in mind this won’t always be a drastic reduction. And it could also be caused by something other than your coil. If everything else is topped up and working perfectly, poor vapor production could be a sign your coil is passed its best.

  3. Gurgling – If your vape has suddenly started gurgling when you take a hit, it could be that your coil needs changing. There are other possible causes, but a vape coil at the end of its lifespan will often gurgle (or make other equally unpleasant sounds) when you inhale.

  4. Leaking – If you haven’t changed your coil for a while, leaking could be a sign that you need to swap out that bad boy. As with gurgling and poor vapor production, leaking isn’t always a result of a dead coil, but it’s worth keeping in mind. The last thing you want is the leak causing damage to your vape mod, especially if it’s as simple as changing the coil.


So now you know how to prime a coil and what to look out for when it might be time to change your coil… But is there anything you can do to make your coil last longer?…


There are several things you can do (and several things you should avoid!) that will help you get the most out of your coil, regardless of your vape set-up.


  • Prime your coil
  • Buy authentic coils
  • Vape at lower wattage
  • Wait 5+ seconds between hits


  • Chain vape
  • Let your tank run dry
  • Dry burn your coil
  • Vape sweetened e-juice
  • Vape high VG e-juice

Hopefully by now you know that priming you coil is a no brainer. But some of the other tips on this list are maybe not so obvious:

Buy authentic coils – It’s not always easy to spot dodgy or fake coils. But wherever possible you want to try and buy from a trusted source. Cheap, fake and poorly manufactured coils are a ‘dime a dozen’ and are likely to burn out a lot quicker or not even work at all!

Vape at lower wattage – We all know that one guy that brags about vaping at 250W… But the truth is it’s often unnecessary. Not to mention the fact it places far greater strain on your coil. We’re not judging if that’s your thing. Just know that vaping at a higher wattage will burn out your coil faster!

Wait 5+ seconds between hits – If you’re vaping too quickly, you’re not giving your coil (or more importantly, your wick!) time to absorb enough e-liquid to produce a hit. If your wick isn’t properly saturated, you run the risk of a dry hit which is never good for your coil.

A little trick here; when you take a hit, release the firing button just before you finish drawing. This will draw e-juice into the coil and help saturate the wick ready for your next hit.  

Chain vaping – Same principle as above. If you’re constantly vaping, you’re placing more strain on your coil and preventing the wick from fully saturating. I know it’s fairly obvious, but the more you vape, the quicker the coil will run out.

Letting your tank run dry – Have you noticed a pattern yet? Dry hits are bad for your coil! It’s always a good idea to keep your tank topped up with e-juice. This way, you know your wick isn’t going to have a hard time saturating and you can avoid the risk of firing on empty!

Dry burning your coil – Ok, so the jury is still out on this one. Dry burning your coil is more often associated with RDA/RBA coil building and is used to ‘clean’ the coil of any residue or burnt wick.

It’s pretty effective for cleaning homemade coils in the short term. But repeatedly dry burning your coil can affect the lifespan and ramp up time, so keep that in mind.

It could even be dangerous! We won’t pretend to be an expert, but check out this article at VapingPost for more information.

Vaping certain e-liquids – The best e-liquids to avoid are those with added sweetener or colourings added to them. These juices tend to ‘gunk’ up your coil, especially if you’re vaping at higher wattage.

A little trick here; learn how to mix your own your own e-juice. It’s much cheaper in the long run and I like having control over what I’m putting into my body.

If you want to know how to mix your own e-liquid, take a look at our guide here. Just be mindful that you mixing at a higher VG ratio is also likely to clog up your coil as VG is naturally sweet.


Now we’re going to take a look at the process of cleaning a used coil. You can’t beat a fresh coil for flavor and vapor production. But if your coil/wick isn’t too burnt and you’re in a pinch, just follow the below steps.

How to clean a coil; step by step

  1. Remove the used coil from your tank and set it on a kitchen towel – the wick will be ‘gunky’ and discoloured.

  2. Run the coil under warm running water to clean some of the ‘gunk’ from the wick. This will remove some of the residue, but is unlikely to remove it all.

  3. Submerge the coil in a small glass container filled with ethanol or vodka and leave it to soak overnight. Lemon juice or vinegar can also be used as a last resort but we don’t recommend it. You’ll have to clean the coil thoroughly after to get rid of any unpleasant taste!

  4. Re-rinse the coil under warm running water to remove any residue. At this point you should notice the stubborn ‘gunk’ from your wick is starting to dislodge.  

  5. Rinse the coil again in distilled water to remove any impurities from the tap water. The chemicals present in tap water may not be healthy or safe to vape!

  6. Gently blow through the coil head to remove excess water. Most coils will have an opening at the top and/or the sides where the wick is visible.

  7. Leave the coil/wick to dry naturally during the day or overnight. It’s tempting to speed up this process but you shouldn’t force dry the coil as this may damage the wick.

  8. If you’re able to reach it, you can even use a needle or pin to fluff up the wick. This helps to aerate the wick and improve saturation.

And that’s it, you’re now ready to screw the coil into your tank and get back to vaping your favorite e-juice! Just keep in mind, if your coil is especially ‘gunky’, you may need to repeat the above steps more than once!

Also, don’t be disheartened if the wick doesn’t return to a pure white color. Although cleaning the coil will make it last longer, it’s not a ‘cure all’.

There are other coil cleaning methods, such as using a food steamer to remove the ‘gunk’. Unfortunately, I can’t confirm how effective this method is… To be blunt, I think my wife would skin me alive if she caught me using it for my vaping gear.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my new coil taste burnt?

If you didn’t prime your new coil before firing your vape, your wick wasn’t fully saturated. When you fire your mod and heat your coil, that heat will easily burn your wick if it isn’t fully soaked in e-juice. It is also possible you have a faulty coil. Either way, the best thing to do is replace it. Just remember to prime the coil before you fire your mod!

Are dry hits bad for you?

Dry hits don’t just taste awful. A burnt cotton wick could also release acrolein, a toxic chemical. While the occasional dry hit shouldn’t do you any harm, you definitely don’t want to be repeatedly vaping a burnt coil!

Why is my coil burning out so quickly?

Letting your tank run dry, vaping at high wattage or chain vaping are all common culprits when it comes to coils burning out fast.

Your best bet is to keep your tank topped up and your wick properly saturated. Also, don’t place too much strain on your coil. Take a break in between hits to allow enough e-juice to reach your wick and coil. Remember, the more you vape, the quicker you’ll go through coils.

And there you have it folks! Hopefully by now you know how to prime a coil, how to clean a coil and how to make your coil last longer! Please share this post and feel free to leave a comment below…

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