What’s a coil and why do I change it?

Chances are you’ve already had a brew today. Don’t worry, we’re already on our third. But did you know your kettle heats up water for your tea the same way an open-tank vape turns e-liquid into vapour? *drum roll please* Introducing the coil, a tightly wound and highly conductive piece of metal wrapped around a wicking material saturated in vape juice. Wow, that was a mouthful to say. Power from the battery heats the coil, allowing the e-liquid to be atomised (big science word) into a vapour. And voila. You inhale the vapour, and well, vape!

The mortal coil

Sadly, coils do have a natural lifespan – they’re not immortal beings. After a while they burn out and need to be changed with a fresh one, especially with free-pour devices where the coil needs to be replaced to optimise the performance of the vape. 

How quickly a coil burns out changes from user to user and depends on the intensity of usage and how long you leave your vape between sessions. Therefore, it’s difficult to guesstimate exactly when a coil should be changed. But in general an average vaper may need to replace their coil somewhere between 2 and 5 weeks. A heavy vaper might need to change their coil more regularly. Makes sense, really. 

Worrying about looking out for the signs of when you need to replace your coil? Don’t worry. It’s easy to notice when your coil is heading south.

Tastes like burnt toast

You know that taste when you leave your toast in the toaster for a minute too long? When the vapour from your e-cigarette starts to taste like that, you know it’s time for a change. In this case, the problem’s not with your e-liquid, but the coil you’re using to atomise it. If you refill your tank with fresh vape juice and you can still taste burnt toast, it’s confirmation that you need to change your coil. 

Not your dulux colour chart

If your vape device has a clear window that lets you look inside, you can take note of the colour of your vape juice. The majority of e-liquids are clear or light yellow, but if your coil is burnt out it’s likely your liquid will be leaning more towards the darker orange or brown side of the dulux colour chart. This is your sign that the burnt coil is interfering with your vape liquid and needs to be changed.

Difficulty drawing

If your vape feels more difficult to draw from than when you first started – basically if it’s taking you a lot of effort to pull in to inhale – it’s a sign that your vape isn’t functioning at peak capability. This is because the coil is burnt out so it makes it harder for you to convert the e-liquid into vapour. Watch your white trousers because sometimes this also causes vape juice to leak out! 

Snap. Crackle. Gurgle.

No, we’re not talking about Rice Krispies. If your device starts to make crackling or gurgling sounds when you inhale it means the coil is no longer efficiently atomising your e-liquid into vapour. This is another surefire way to know when to replace your coil.

Vaping knowledge is vaping power

Look out for the above clues to know when to change your coil. Keeping an eye out for these signs and spotting them early can help keep your device in good nick and reduce any internal damage. In a nutshell, unless you’ve specifically bought burnt toast flavoured e-liquid, your coil time is up.