Whether you are vaping dry herbs, oil or wax concentrate, there are a variety of reasons your vapor could taste burnt. We have listed the possible reasons this could happen and how to avoid it.
Wick coils are most susceptible to dry firing. The cotton wick is designed to soak up the oils or wax concentrate. It should only be heated after it is properly moistened. One of the most common reasons why vapor tastes burnt with a wick coil vape is because the coil was heated before it is ready. Once the wick coil is burnt, if it still operates, the taste will forever be impacted until the coil is changed. If the coil cannot be changed, the entire cartridge will be shot. This problem can be easily avoided by making sure the coil is never empty when firing up the vape. Also, it is recommended to not to fill a wick coil atomizer tank or cartridge with a dry concentrate. If the concentrate does not have enough moisture to hydrate the wick, it could burn out even if the atomizer is filled.
Most atomizers have recommended wattage/voltage settings. Make sure you do not exceed this recommended value. At the very least, it will affect the flavor, tasting metallic or burnt. Using an atomizer above its recommended setting will also reduce the life of the atomizer and could burn it out immediately. This is very important with pre-filled cartridges as you will lose all the concentrate in the cartridge if the atomizer burns out. If the cartridge does not have any maximum voltage listed and you are using a box mod or other variable voltage vape battery, start with the lowest setting and work your way up. If the flavor tastes off at all, use a lower setting to protect your atomizer. Most refillable oil and e juice tanks will have a recommended limit so just make sure to stay within these parameters. Again, if it tastes burnt or metallic, lower the temperature setting immediately.
Coils can burn out from excessive power but also from excessive heating without proper rest. Most vape pens will have an auto-shut off after 10-15 seconds of constant heating to protect the coils. However, you can usually fire them up immediately. If your vapor tastes burnt, you might not be letting the coil cool down enough between vape hits. Just wait 10-30 seconds between pulls until your vapor tastes normal again. Not waiting enough time between hits is not likely to ruin your coil permanently so there is usually no need to replace the coil from this, but it could easily cause a burnt taste.
Your vape could be at its lowest setting but the battery is just too powerful for the attached vape cartridge or oil. Many oil pens and wax vapes have built-in battery protections so they will not even fire if mismatched but this is not always the case. In this instance, the cartridge may not burn out completely, but the excessive power could impact the taste. The best solution is to just try a lower power battery.
Dry herbs vape pretty quickly, and after a few puffs, all the flavor and beneficial compounds will be vaporized and your herbs will start tasting like burnt popcorn. If you open the heating chamber, you will notice your herbs have a light brown color. This is the time to pack fresh dry herbs into the heating chamber. When vaping wax, first your wax will melt, coating the atomizer in liquid and you can continue to vaporize this until most of the material is gone. However, it is important not to heat a dry coil, so if it starts to taste off, try adding in a bit of fresh wax before all the residue is gone. With oil or e juice, there may be a little liquid left in the cartridge, but it isn’t close enough to the actual atomizer. When your cartridge is low, make sure to hold the vape upright to allow the remaining oil or liquid to drop into the bottom of the atomizer until it is all gone.
If a vape coil is pushed past its limits, it could start tasting bad before it burns out completely. Also, if you vape a low-quality wax, the residue may leave a funky flavor on your coil permanently. We recommend replacing the coil if your vapor tastes off every time.
Not all vape parts are created equal, and the vapor flavor is definitely affected by poor quality coils. Wick coils are one example that has lost out to ceramic and quartz competitors. Wick coils are much more susceptible to dry firing and often do not provide the quality of flavor that ceramic and quartz coils offer. Even pre-filled cartridges can sometimes come with a bad atomizer. Like with any technology, even if high quality, there is a small chance of DOA components. If you get a new cartridge that will not fire at all or has a terrible taste from the beginning, tell the shop where you purchased it. They will most likely replace it for you.
It is easier to clean the vapor pathway or mouthpiece on some vapes more than others. Often residue can build-up along the vapor pathway, eventually causing a burnt or sour aftertaste. This rarely happens with oils and vape juice, but is common with dry herbs and wax. Dry herbs tend to cause the quickest buildup of flavor-affecting resin and thus are usually easy to clean. Consult the cleaning guide for your vape to make sure, but most mouthpieces can be cleaned using a cleaning brush and rubbing alcohol. Just make sure to rinse the mouthpiece in warm water after cleaning and let it dry completely before reattaching it to your vape.
This is fairly uncommon with oils and e juice but poor quality products will not taste as good. However, low-quality wax will most likely leave a nasty tasting residue on your coils and is near impossible to get rid of. Before replacing your coil, first try to remove the residue. Being careful not to put pressure against the actual coils, you can scrape all the residue from the atomizer and place it on the wax coils once again. Vape this residue until it is almost completely gone. It might taste nasty while you are getting rid of it but it could save you from replacing the coils completely. If the vapor still tastes bad after doing this, we recommend replacing the coils.
When you buy a new dry herb vaporizer, we always recommend priming the heating chamber by heating it on high while the chamber is empty, for a minute or two. This will burn away any leftover particles from manufacturing that can impact taste. With quartz or ceramic coil wax pens, we recommend doing the same. It is very important you do not do this with wick coil vapes as you will ruin the coil from dry firing.
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