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.


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


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.