Atomizer Popping and Spitting

When your e-cigarette’s atomizer is popping and spitting, it can make the experience of vaping thoroughly unpleasant. At best, you might swallow e-liquid. At worst, you may actually burn your tongue. Either way, you’re going to miss out on a lot of flavor and vapor. Pretty frustrating, right? Thankfully, it’s not that hard to eliminate atomizer popping or atomizer spitting — or at least avoid the most unpleasant effects. Want some tips? We’ve got 11 of them below. Read on!

Wattage Setting Too Low

atomizer-popping-wattageAre you using a sub-ohm vaping setup? If you are, then you’re probably using a tank with fairly open airflow. When you inhale, the air that you force through the tank helps to increase the efficiency of the wick, drawing more e-liquid to the coil. If your wattage setting is too low, though, it’s going to take the coil longer to reach a temperature sufficient to vaporize e-liquid effectively. Since e-liquid will begin to enter the atomizer chamber before the coil gets up to temperature, you’ll flood your coil.

Now, think about what happens when you boil a pot of water. The water at the bottom of the pot boils first because it’s closest to the flame. Bubbles rise to the surface. If you flood your atomizer, the same thing will happen. The e-liquid that touches the coil vaporizes first. The vapor has to travel through the e-liquid that’s clogging the atomizer, though — so the atomizer spits e-liquid into your mouth.

In this case, you can prevent the atomizer from spitting by increasing your e-cigarette’s wattage so it vaporizes the e-liquid more efficiently.

Airflow Setting Too Open

atomizer-spitting-airflowDo you prefer a cooler vape? Maybe you’d rather not increase the wattage of your e-cigarette, then. Still, you’ve got to do something about too much e-liquid reaching the coil to prevent the atomizer from popping and spitting. Try reducing your tank’s airflow setting to reduce the amount of e-liquid that gets to the coil. Don’t simply puff harder on the e-cigarette to compensate, though. Let the difference in air pressure do the work for you.

Most sub-ohm tanks have collars at the bottom allowing for adjustments in airflow. Simply twist the collar to expose less of the opening.

Atomizer Too Wet or Flooded

atomizer-poppingAre you using a rebuildable atomizer? If you are, then you’re the one who controls the amount of e-liquid that reaches the coil. When you drip e-liquid into the atomizer, you need to be careful not to add so much that you drown the coil. Otherwise, the coil will spit e-liquid. Luckily, many rebuildable atomizers have very open chambers and wide drip tips — so your atomizer isn’t likely to spit e-liquid into your mouth. You will experience decreased vapor production, though.

Are you using too much e-liquid when dripping because you’re constantly getting dry hits? If so, remove the atomizer enclosure and look inside your RBA when you get a dry hit. Look at the wicks. Are the ends of the wicks still wet, even though the middles are dry? Trim off the wet portions, allowing the ends of the remaining wicks to just touch the atomizer’s drip well and act as tiny mops. You’ll experience less dry hits, and you’l stop flooding your atomizer as a result.

Atomizer Wicking Too Quickly

atomizer-spittingOverly fast wicking isn’t usually a problem with rebuildable dripping atomizers or sub-ohm tanks with pre-built coils. With rebuildable tank atomizers, though, the wicks can sometimes work too efficiently. If too much e-liquid center chamber, the coils will flood and the atomizer will begin popping and spitting. Since an RTA also has a chimney leading directly to the mouthpiece, you’ll most likely end up with e-liquid in your mouth as well.

In an RTA, the wicks bridge an area of very low air pressure — the tank — with the chimney, which is exposed to the outside environment. When you rebuild your RTA, it’s important to use enough cotton to really fill those holes. Otherwise, e-liquid will seep into the atomizer more quickly than the coils can vaporize it. Just be careful not to use so much cotton that you actually block the holes. Otherwise, you’ll end up with dry hits and hot spots.

If you have an RDA, using the correct amount of wick is still important. If you use too much wick, you’ll choke the coil. If you use too little, you’ll create gaps between the coil and wick. Either way, you could end up with atomizer popping and spitting.

Whether you’re using an RDA or RTA, here’s a good rule of thumb. If you’re using so much cotton that you find it difficult to force it through the coil, you’re probably using too much.

VG/PG Ratio

Are you using an e-liquid comprised of mostly propylene glycol? Are you using it with a sub-ohm tank? You may need an e-liquid with a different VG/PG ratio. Propylene glycol is thinner than vegetable glycerin. It also vaporizes at a lower temperature. Sub-ohm tanks, though, tend to have large wick holes and operate at higher temperatures. You need to use a thicker e-liquid with a higher VG/PG ratio with a sub-ohm tank because a thinner e-liquid will cause constant coil flooding. A flooded atomizer pops and spits constantly.

Poor Seal

If you have a sub-ohm tank or RTA, it most likely uses several threaded joints and o-rings to keep the e-liquid inside the tank. That isn’t all they do, though; they also keep the e-liquid out of the atomizer enclosure. Check your tank carefully to confirm that all of the o-rings are in place and not stretched out. Also, disasemble and reassemble the tank to make sure that nothing is cross-threaded. If e-liquid gets inside the atomizer enclosure, the coil will flood. You’ll end up with uncontrollable atomizer popping and spitting until you fix the problem.

Twisted Coil

Twisted coils are known to cause quite a bit of atomizer popping and spitting. If you have a tank or RBA with a twisted coil, braided coil, Clapton coil or anything of the sort, it may be difficult to avoid a bit of occasional spitting. People twist and braid resistance wires to create atomizer coils with the greatest possible surface area. If a coil has more surface area, it’ll generate more vapor.

atomizer-spitting-twisted-coil-build

A twisted or braided coil build can often cause atomizer spitting.

Unfortunately, though, a twisted coil also has plenty of extra nooks and crannies in which e-liquid can collect. Every once in a while, the e-liquid will pool, and the atomizer will pop. If you’re using any type of twisted coil build, there isn’t much that you can do about occasional atomizer popping and spitting. If you’re twisting or braiding your own coils, you can alleviate the issue a little by making sure that your twists or braids are as tight as possible. If you’re using pre-made coils, read the workarounds at the end of the article for additional advice.

Narrow Drip Tip or Chimney

When you inhale from your e-cigarette, all of the vapor isn’t actually going to get inside your mouth. A little of the vapor condenses inside the chimney or drip tip. Eventually, some of the condensed vapor can form droplets that remain stuck and block the flow of vapor. When that happens, the atomizer eventually pops and spits e-liquid into your mouth.

You can often prevent an atomizer that’s popping and spitting by simply using a wide bore drip tip. Since e-liquid can’t condense and form droplets inside the bore of the drip tip, it falls back to the coil. If you’re using a tank with a narrow chimney, you may of course still experience occasional problems — but they’ll be less common. RTAs often have very wide chimneys; switching to an RTA may eliminate atomizer popping and spitting entirely.

Atomizer Popping and Spitting Workaround 1: Vertical Coil

Do you have a tank or atomizer with a horizontal coil? Horizontal coils have plenty of benefits, but you should know that the vapor travels in a direction perpendicular to the direction of the coil. Take a look at the two videos below:

From the videos above, you can see that with the vertical coil build, the atomizer is popping and spitting e-liquid away from where the drip tip would be. So, if you build your own coils, building vertical coils is an easy way to alleviate getting hot e-liquid in your mouth. Most of it will splash against the inner all of the atomizer instead.

Do you use a sub-ohm tank with pre-built coils? If you love the vapor production but hate the atomizer spitting, try one of the two additional workarounds below.

Atomizer Popping and Spitting Workaround 2: Angled Drip Tip

atomizer-popping-swivel-drip-tipHave you ever wondered what those funny looking swiveling drip tips are for? Now you know. If an atomizer is spitting, the droplets hit the bend in the drip tip instead of going into your mouth. A very long drip tip can alleviate atomizer spitting, too. If your vaping setup doesn’t allow you to prevent spitting, you can at least keep the e-liquid out of your mouth.

Atomizer Popping and Spitting Workaround 3: Pipe Screen

atomizer-spitting-pipe-screen

If your atomizer is spitting a pipe screen can prevent the e-liquid from reaching your mouth.

As you may have noticed, more and more pre-built atomizer heads are coming with screens over the coils. The reasoning behind this is fairly simple — almost every atomizer pops and spits sometimes. If you can’t prevent it from happening, you can at least minimize the annoyance it causes. When the atomizer spits, the droplets of e-liquid hit the screen instead of exiting through the drip tip.

Your tank doesn’t use atomizers with screens? You can fix that by putting in a screen of your own. Simply get a pipe screen, cut it to fit the size of your tank’s drip tip or chimney and push it somewhere below the opening of the drip tip. Remember, though, that pipe screens are metal and could be conductive. Don’t push the screen down so far that it touches the atomizer coil.

Having trouble getting a pipe screen to fit inside your tank’s small chimney? No problem. Cut the smallest circle possible, and then cut a radius into it. Fold the circle into a cone, and then you’ll be able to push it down into the tank’s chimney.

Conclusion: You Can Avoid a Popping and Spitting Atomizer

When you have an atomizer popping and spitting hot e-liquid into your mouth, it really removes a lot of the pleasure in the vaping experience. If you build your own atomizer coils, though, knowing what causes atomizer popping means that you can alter the aspects of your build that cause it. If you use a tank with pre-built coils and love it apart from occasional atomizer spitting, simply use one of the workarounds listed above. Your atomizer may still spit, but it doesn’t have to bother you.

Author: eCig One Staff

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22 Comments

  1. Hi ,how do I stop spit bk I’ve got a Aspire Plato and it’s really bad for spitback I use decent eliquid as don’t like the cheap stuff it’s nasty even my itaste kroma has a lot of spitback that’s why I brought my Plato now that’s doing it can you plz help 😊

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    • Hi Rachel,

      Spitting is very common with all-in-one devices. Since the coil is at the bottom of the tank, vapor has a long way to travel, so condensation tends to collect in the chimney. Also, airflow can cause difficulties since the coil is so deeply submerged. In either case, the coil floods — and that’s why it’s spitting. We have a few tips that may help:

      1. Check all of the o-rings to make sure that one of them isn’t stretched or broken. The o-rings are your first line of defense to prevent e-liquid from getting where it shouldn’t be.
      2. Clean the coil and chimney after each time using a full tank. You might have good results if you hold a folded paper towel over the coil while blowing through the drip tip. That should clear out the chimney and remove the excess e-liquid from the coil.
      3. Use a unicorn bottle or syringe to fill the tank more precisely and avoid flooding the coil. Don’t fill the tank all the way — especially if the coil and chimney are removed. If the tank is already full before you install the coil and chimney, the e-liquid in the tank will have to go somewhere, and it’ll take the path of least resistance. Most likely, you’ll end up with a flooded coil.
      4. Try adjusting the airflow. If there isn’t enough airflow to equalize the reverse air pressure of your puffs, e-liquid may oversaturate the cotton and flood the coil. If the airflow is already fully open, try reducing it.
      5. Try increasing the power level. If the power level is too low, the vacuum created by your puffs could draw e-liquid into the coil faster than the coil can vaporize it.

      Good luck!

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      • Also I have seen the Max VG juices will spit more. Try 60%VG/40%PG or 70%VG/30%PG mix to help lower issues.

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        • That’s a great tip, Dave. Thanks for adding it!

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      • thank you so much! I’m new to vaping and increasing the watts just a bit and adjusting the air flow worked like a charm!

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        • We’re really glad that the suggestions worked for you, Journey!

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      • Hello,
        I’m really glad I’ve found this! We need some help! I’ve vaped for 4 years and never had a problem. My husband makes all my liquids, 60pg/40vg 24mg. I’m visually impaired and need simple! I use subohm tanks, I’ve moved from kanger sub ohm over to Aspire Cleito and then for Christmas had a Melo 3 with a pico mega. I vape anywhere from 30 to 50 watts. More recently 33 watts for some reason, though i do have a new vape with 2 batteries and it just seems more powerful, but the way I look at it 30 watts is 30 watts! the Cleito had a new coil, started popping really really loudly and emitting a puff of vapour and liquid, when you can’t see properly it’s quite frightening! The boys at the shop said I needed either steel or not steel coils, sorry I can’t remember. They changed them and that was that. Then I had the Melo tank it was was beautiful and I wasn’t afraid lol. Put a new coil in that and bang it’s popping too, i prime it etc. What, after all this time am I doing wrong? I’ve just closed the air flow and it’s a bit better on the melo, I’ve not tried the cleito. This is only a recent problem, we’ve not changed nicotine or ratio, I like throat hit. But I’m finding myself wary of vaping, and afraid of the bangs. I’ve started to fire it quickly not in my mouth to get the big bang out of the way. I stealth a lot at work, so need it to be quiet again!But I just don’t know if I’m being inept or something. Am I vaping too low for the coils? I was vaping at 30w on the melo coil that came with it no problem but the new coil, nope. Maybe it’s a bad coil? Maybe we need to higher team vg (throat hit lover though) I’m an advocate of vaping and safety and whatnot but I’m at a loss to fix this for myself. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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        • Sadly, Nic, we do not have either of those tanks and couldn’t provide specific advice for your hardware over and above the general advice that we’ve written here. Hopefully a reader can chime in with a bit of advice.

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  2. hey i have a smok skyhook with dual fused klaptons and it keeps spitting no matter what am i doing something wrong thanks.

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    • Have you tried using a different type of coil, Paul? Twisted, braided and Clapton coils do tend to spit more often than some other types of coils. Using a bit more wicking material may also help.

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    • I had the same problem if its the pre installed ones shut off a bit of the top airflow 2 or more slots closed and turn it up to 85+ stops the spitting youll get the odd pop but thats it!

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  3. Thank you so much for this! I’ve got an evic aio that I had deemed useless.

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    • Hi Melissa,

      The eVic AIO is one of the e-cigarettes that we hear about the most when it comes to the coil spitting. Which tip fixed it for you?

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  4. i exclusively use tcr settings. initial power matters a lot here. too little and it never reaches temp though no spit back. too high and it causes spit back. too much cotton reduces spit back but too much cotton taste. too tight coil and there is no flavor…. vaping is an art 🙂

    here is what I do… spit back is actually good when it is limited. flavor is quite good.

    once you get the juice flowing nicely then try reducing power. I use tcr settings… initial firing voltage matters a lot.

    if you like higher power like everyone else then vape harder. try to make airflow smoother that is no angled blockage. wide bore works best. see ijoy combo rtda with wide bore. that works better though I have to vape very hard.

    try coil with fixed gap. impossible to acheive with handmade one so I tried readymade one with two held by bridge.

    minor spitback actually brings out best flavor so try different ones. wires are so cheap and it is fun to try different designs. though I go only for simple design and play around with resistance and gaps and cotton.

    treat spitback as friend. esp minor ones. happy vaping.

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  5. Thank you so much for this article i upped my wattage and I’m pleasantly surprised by the best hit I’ve taken in a while again thank you

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    • We’re really glad that the tips worked for you, Dennis!

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  6. I’ve bought a lite ego small little thing but got give weak juice so went to different shop got a 50/50 what was recommended in the vapur shop so I took it all apart cleaned it drained it and changed air flow and wattage but spitting like mad and quite hot and gurgling constantly really frustrated only had it 6 days and already spent £65 thought it would cut smoking and costs

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  7. Billy,

    The all-in-one devices are often some of the worst offenders when it comes to popping and spitting. Take a look at our VaporFi VAIO review to learn about the experience we had with a similar device. The tips that we provided in this article should help with almost any all-in-one device. If you have no success, you might consider using an e-cigarette with an external tank instead. External tanks don’t have the same airflow issues that some built-in tanks have.

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  8. My vape was spitting boiling liquid out and kept burning my tongue and sometimes burned my skin. I read in your article that if you up the wattage it prevents it from spitting, which it did. Thank you.

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    • We’re really glad that our tips improved your vaping experience, Darren!

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  9. I have just bought a 40w vapestix machine and it spits and pops liquid. I have turned it up to 40w and almost closed over the airflow regulator. It sort of works but what I want to know is does it take time to purge the flooded coil? I must admit I in my excitement filled the unit pretty quickly.

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