E-cigarettes have evolved an incredible way since they were first introduced. No longer are they as fickle and unreliable as they once were at the dawn of the vaping revolution. Unfortunately, problems still do happen from time to time. Of these, the most common problem is probably an e-cigarette that produces no vapor. We’re here to help. If your e-cigarette isn’t producing vapor, this guide should help you resolve the problem with any type of vaping setup.
E-Cigarette Not Producing Vapor: The Root Causes
There are four common culprits that tend to act as the cause for no vapor or an amount of vapor that is so small that it may as well be none.
These causes are:
- A dead battery
- A dry atomizer coil
- A heavily flooded atomizer
- A poor electrical connection between the e-cigarette and atomizer
If you experience problems e-smoking, then the first thing you should do is to ensure that your battery is fully charged. If you have an e-cigarette or mod with an integrated lithium ion battery, it should have a light or display that alerts you when the battery’s charge is too low.
If you have a mechanical mod, though, you’ll need to use a meter — or a charger with a built in meter — to determine the voltage of your battery. It is never safe to continue using a completely dead battery in a mechanical mod. Note that we also have a full article elsewhere on this website devoted to fixing mechanical mods.
The next step is to check the atomizer to ensure that there is e-liquid present. Pre-filled cartomizers or disposable cartridges will likely need to be swapped out to ensure that your heating coil isn’t running dry.
If you’ve just added e-liquid to a tank or dripping atomizer, make sure that you haven’t added too much or spilled liquid down the center air tube. If an atomizer is flooded, it’ll likely produce very little vapor. You may also notice a gurgling sound.
Occasionally, pre-filled cartridges and cartomizers can arrive from the factory slightly over-filled. This is essentially the same problem as a flooded atomizer, but most pre-filled cartridges are sealed. If you continue using the cartridge, you’ll likely clear the blockage and normal vapor production will resume.
With any vaping setup, a paper towel can be greatly helpful in clearing a flooded atomizer.
No Vapor With a Sub-Ohm Tank
If you have a sub-ohm tank that isn’t producing vapor, the experience can be truly awful because you’re most likely burning your cotton wick, too. To troubleshoot a sub-ohm tank that isn’t producing vapor, begin by looking at the side of the tank. Can you see the wick holes on the sides of the atomizer coil? Does the liquid in the tank cover the holes fully? If not, you need to add more liquid.
If your sub-ohm tank produces no vapor and doesn’t even make a sound when you press the button, something isn’t making a proper connection. If you have a mechanical mod, stop using it immediately. You might have a hybrid mod that isn’t compatible with the tank you’re trying to use, which is known to cause e-cigarette explosions. Does your mod have a hole allowing the tank to directly touch the top of the battery? You have a hybrid mod. Bring it and your tank to a vape shop for advice.
If you have anything other than a hybrid mod, make sure that the pin inside the mod’s top threading touches the bottom of the tank. Many mods have spring loaded pins to accommodate a wide variety of attachments with no fuss. However, some mods have center pins that require manual adjustment. If you see something that looks like a screw head in your mod’s threading, it’s adjustable. Usually, the threading will be reversed, meaning that you’ll need to turn the pin clockwise to raise it.
Still having a problem? Disassemble the tank, remove the atomizer coil and replace it with a new one. Make sure that you’ve primed the new coil by wetting the cotton with a bit of e-liquid. Some people also like to force additional e-liquid to a new coil by closing the tank’s air vents and taking a few “primer puffs” without pressing the e-cigarette’s fire button.
If your sub-ohm tank still isn’t producing vapor, make sure you’re using a mod that actually supports sub-ohm vaping. A 0.5 ohm atomizer, for example, isn’t going to work with an eGo e-cigarette because the eGo can’t handle the 7.4 amp load. It also won’t work with older regulated mods such as the original ProVari because it’ll trip the over current protection.
Are you using a temperature control setup? If the power level of your device is set too high — or the temperature limit is too low — your e-cigarette may stop producing vapor almost as soon as you push the fire button because the coil exceeds the temperature limit. Assuming that the tank has sufficient e-liquid remaining, you can resolve this problem by decreasing your e-cigarette’s power setting or increasing the temperature limit.
No Vapor With a Rebuildable Atomizer
A rebuildable atomizer is capable of producing the most vapor possible from an e-cigarette. Rebuildable atomizers are also very inexpensive to maintain, since buying wire and wicking material in bulk costs very little. Unfortunately, though, rebuildable atomizers are also prone to problems because humans often can’t wrap and assemble coils with the precision of machines. If your e-cigarette isn’t producing vapor and you’re using a rebuildable atomizer, we’ve got a few tips for you.
If you have a mechanical mod, stop using it immediately. Diagnose the problem before you attempt to use the e-cigarette again, because most e-cigarette explosions that happen during use happen with mechanical mods and rebuildable atomizers.
If you have a regulated mod, you should already know if your rebuildable atomizer has a short because the screen of your e-cigarette will display a message warning you. Regardless of the type of device that you’re using, though, you should remove the rebuildable atomizer immediately and check the coil’s resistance with a meter. We like this model from SMOK, which has an internal battery that lasts quite a while between charges. The resistance meter will tell you immediately if the coil has a short.
If the coil doesn’t have a short, you need to be certain that you have a mod — or a battery if your mod’s battery is removable — that can handle the load generated by the coil. To use a rebuildable atomizer safely, it is crucial that you understand Ohm’s law as well as the capabilities of your battery.
If you’re certain that your atomizer coil doesn’t have a short and that your e-cigarette supports a coil with the resistance you’ve configured, the next thing to do is make certain that the atomizer’s center pin is touching the pin in your e-cigarette’s threading. Again, if you have a hybrid mod, stop here until you’re certain that your rebuildable atomizer is safe to use with hybrid mods. If necessary, adjust the center pin using the instructions given earlier in the article.
Is the atomizer badly flooded? Is there a lot of gunk built up on the coil and wick? Both of these problems could lead to your e-cigarette not producing vapor — or producing almost none.
No Vapor With a Polyfill Cartomizer
Are you using a polyfill cartomizer with a removable top cap? This type of cartomizer — popularized by makers such as Boge and SMOK — uses polyfill or cotton wadded around a center air tube. The atomizer coil is quite small and usually positioned around the middle of the cartomizer. Because e-liquid has to get through quite a bit of filler material before reaching the coil — which makes filling a bit of a challenge — it’s pretty common for a cartomizer to produce no vapor. If you’re filling the cartomizer from the top, the filler material might look wet even though the coil itself is still dry.
We suggest filling cartomizers with a syringe or needle tip bottle cap. By inserting the needle between the filler material and the inner wall of the cartomizer, you can force e-liquid directly to the coil.
No Vapor With a Top-Coil Clearomizer
A top-coil clearomizer has its atomizer coil positioned close to the tip. Two silica wicks lead from the coil to the bottom of the clearomizer. Top-coil clearomizers tend to produce very warm vapor since the atomizer coil is so close to the mouth. However, top-coil cartomizers don’t always wick efficiently because they have to fight gravity.
If your e-cigarette isn’t producing vapor and you’re using a top-coil clearomizer, make sure that it still contains plenty of e-liquid. If you have a variable-voltage or variable-wattage device, you may need to decrease the power level. Because top-coil cartomizers don’t wick efficiently, a power level that’s set too high could lead to the coil not getting sufficiently wet between puffs.
Some people have managed to improve the performance of their clearomizers by disassembling them and feathering the wicks gently with tweezers.
No Vapor With a Bottom-Coil Clearomizer
Since a bottom-coil clearomizer has the coil — and therefore the wick — at the bottom, it doesn’t have to fight gravity to draw e-liquid to the coil. This is the clearomizer configuration that most people prefer today, but bottom-coil clearomizers still occasionally have problems of their own.
If you’re using a disposable clearomizer with a permanent coil, you’ll probably find that the center tube leading out of the clearomizer is quite narrow. Sometimes, vapor can condense in the narrow tube and impede the flow of vapor. You can put up with the reduced vapor production and continue using the e-cigarette until the blockage clears, or you can draw firmly on the e-cigarette to clear it manually. Note that you’ll probably get e-liquid in your mouth if you do this. Alternatively, you can blow hard through the clearomizer the next time you refill it.
If you have a bottom-coil clearomizer with a replaceable atomizer, most of the tips above under the sub-ohm tank category apply to you. After all, sub-ohm tanks are more or less the same — just with very low-resistance coils.
Did You Fix Your E-Cigarette With This Guide?
With this guide, we believe that we’ve covered how to fix an e-cigarette that isn’t producing vapor with virtually every type of vaping setup that’s currently in use. Did you fix your e-cigarette with this guide? Do you have a solution that we’ve missed here? Leave a comment below!