Vape Guides

Why Does My Vape Taste Burnt?

Hemok Wang
Hemok Wang
Jan 6, 2023
Why Does My Vape Taste Burnt?

Flavor is one of the biggest features of vaping and one of the main things separating vaping vs. smoking. Cigarette smoke has an incredibly harsh flavor, but that should never be the case with vaping. You should never taste anything burnt, harsh of “off” – and that’s why you’ll probably feel an immediate sense of alarm when your vape doesn’t taste right.

You’ll probably feel especially alarmed if this is your first experience with vaping, and you’ve never experienced anything other than a burnt flavor from your device. In that case, it’s especially important to fix the issue because your first vaping experience should always be a great one. Otherwise, you might just return to smoking.

If your vape tastes burnt, we’re here to tell you that it’s definitely not a normal situation – and more importantly, you can definitely fix it. In this article, we’re going to help you understand why your vape tastes burnt, and we’re also going to walk you through the steps needed to resolve the problem.

What Makes a Vape Taste Burnt?

If your vape tastes burnt, you can’t troubleshoot the issue properly until you understand the cause – and that’s where we’ll begin. We’re assuming here that your vape tastes burnt with every puff. In other words, the issue is permanent rather than intermittent. If you’re an experienced vaper, you already know that you can resolve the issue by replacing your pod or coil. Before you do that, though, you need to know why your vape tastes burnt if you want to prevent the problem from happening in the future.

There are two reasons why your vape may acquire a permanently burnt flavor.

  • The coil is overheating or drying out when you vape, and that has caused the coil’s cotton wick to burn. In this case, you’ll experience an extremely harsh flavor when vaping because you’ll actually be tasting singed cotton.
  • E-liquid residue has collected on the coil’s heating surface. The residue has become very thick, and it has begun to burn when you use your device. In this case, you’ll taste a “caramelized” or “burnt sugar” flavor that will eventually overwhelm the flavor of your e-liquid.

Whether your vape tastes burnt because of e-liquid residue or a burnt wick, the condition is permanent; you can only resolve it by replacing the coil. If you’re tired of replacing your device’s coil or pod constantly, though, you need to know why the issue is happening.

As we mentioned above, those two conditions have slightly different effects on flavor even though both taste burnt. You can tell what the problem is based on what you taste when vaping. If you taste burnt cotton, your coil has a singed wick. If you taste burnt sugar, your coil is covered with residue.

If you have a vape tank or pod system with a replaceable coil, there’s another easy way to tell why your vape tastes burnt – you can look at the coil when you remove it from your tank or pod. If the coil’s heating surface looks black and gunky, it’s covered with residue. If the heating surface is still white and shiny, the coil probably has a burnt wick.

Before we discuss specific solutions, we should note that it’s also possible for a vape to taste burnt intermittently. In that case, you’ll notice a burnt flavor when puffing on your device – but you’ll only notice it some of the time. The rest of the time, it’ll taste normal. In that case, your coil is probably drying out when you vape, but the wick may not be singed yet. If your device has adjustable power, you need to decrease the power level.

With that information out of the way, what can you do to prevent your vape from tasting burnt?

How to Prevent Your Vape from Tasting Burnt Because of Coil Gunk

Burnt e-liquid residue – commonly known as coil gunk – is the most common reason for a burnt taste when vaping. That’s because most modern e-liquids are heavily laden with sucralose, and sucralose doesn’t vaporize when it’s heated – it caramelizes and eventually burns. All flavors can eventually contribute to the formation of coil gunk, but sucralose is by far the worst offender.

So, how can you stop your coils from burning out if coil gunk is your main problem? In that case, the solution is actually fairly simple – you should stop using sweetened vape juice. Although most mainstream e-liquids are now sweetened, it’s still possible to find e-liquid without sucralose if you search a little. When you switch to sucralose-free e-liquid, you’ll find that your coils will last dramatically longer before they start to taste burnt.

What can you do if you’re happy with your existing e-liquid and don’t want to change anything? In that case, you can switch to a smaller device such as a pod system. Pod-based devices usually generate smaller clouds than larger vape mods, which means they also consume less e-liquid. The less e-liquid your device uses, the more slowly the residue will form.

How to Prevent Your Vape from Tasting Burnt Because of a Burnt Wick

Next, we’ll discuss what you can do to stop your coils from burning out if the primary problem is a burnt wick. In this case, the main cause of the problem is that your coil’s wick is drying out when you vape. The wick supplies e-liquid to the coil, and that helps to control the coil’s temperature. If the wick dries out, the coil will begin to overheat and glow – and in that case, the cotton wick will almost certainly burn.

There’s no way to fix burnt cotton. If your vape tastes burnt because of a singed wick, the only way to fix the problem is by changing the coil. You can, however, prevent future coils from burning out prematurely by following these simple steps.

  • When you install a new coil, always prime it properly by putting a few drops of e-liquid on all exposed cotton surfaces. This helps to ensure that the e-liquid will penetrate through to the center of the wick. After filling your tank or pod, wait 5-10 minutes for the e-liquid to absorb fully into the wick before you start vaping.
  • Vape at a moderate wattage if you have a vaping device with variable power. When you install a new coil, make note of the suggested wattage range printed on the side of the coil. Set your device to the low end of the suggested range and increase the wattage only if you aren’t satisfied with the flavor.
  • Always wait several seconds between puffs. When you puff on your vaping device, the coil vaporizes the e-liquid suspended in the wick. That leaves the wick dry, which means that you could burn the cotton if you puff on your device again right away. Wait several seconds for the wick to absorb more e-liquid from the tank or pod.

Why Does My Vape Taste Burnt with a New Coil?

As we’ve mentioned repeatedly in this guide, the only way to fix a vape that tastes permanently burnt is by installing a new coil or pod. What should you do, though, if your vape still tastes burnt – even with a new coil? In this case, it’s highly likely that your coil’s wick has a dry pocket. That usually happens for one of three reasons.

  • You didn’t prime the coil when installing it. Always put a little e-liquid on the cotton to ensure that the vape juice absorbs completely.
  • You started vaping right away after installing the coil. It takes several minutes for the wick to become completely saturated with e-liquid. If you start vaping immediately after installing the coil, the wick may burn.
  • Your device isn’t set to the correct wattage for the installed coil. Always start at the low end of the coil’s suggested wattage range to prevent the coil from overheating and burning the wick.

Why Does My Disposable Vape Taste Burnt?

In this article, we’ve focused on troubleshooting a burnt flavor with tank-based and pod-based vaping devices. What if you use a disposable vape? In that case, you don’t have to worry about keeping your tank or pod full, and you don’t have to worry about replacing your coil. Since there’s nothing about your device that you can modify, you might wonder what you can do if a disposable vape tastes burnt.

If you’re using a new disposable vape and have never experienced a pleasant flavor when using it, it’s very likely that the nicotine strength you’re using is too high for your needs. Try using a lower strength. Also, remember that the wick in a disposable vape can dry out if you vape at too quick a pace. To prevent that from happening, always wait several seconds between puffs.

If you’re having trouble finding a disposable vape that doesn’t taste burnt or cause throat irritation, we strongly recommend looking at our Aquios vaping devices. Available in both disposable and pod-based formats, these devices are designed to use a special water-based e-liquid that’s smoother than anything else on the market.

Hemok Wang
Hemok Wang

Hey! Hemok here, a vaping enthusiast with a passion for helping people quit smoking. My uncle was diagnosed with lung cancer a few years ago after smoking for more than 40 years. I do understand that quitting smoking isn't only a physical issue but also a mental one. It's just hard to go "cold turkey". I believe that vaping is one of the best solutions to make the switch only if you do it in the right way, and that's why I am here to share :)