“Why is my vape coil getting hot?”
It’s a question that you’ve probably asked yourself more than once as you’ve begun to explore the world of cloud chasing and sub-ohm vaping. Maybe your tank’s mouthpiece has begun to feel uncomfortable against your lips. Maybe you’re getting a burned taste when you vape. Maybe you can feel the heat from your coil radiating through your mod. Whatever the symptom, an overheating vape coil can be more than a little disconcerting. So, is your vape coil getting hot? Let’s examine some of the possible causes and learn about what you can do to fix the problem.
Have You Reduced Your Tank’s Airflow?
One design feature that’s particularly common among modern sub-ohm tanks is extremely wide-open airflow holes that encourage the formation of enormous vapor clouds. The problem with extremely open airflow, though, is that plain air becomes a major part of what you’re inhaling. Some people end up closing air tanks’ intake vents slightly for a more flavor-forward vaping experience. As soon as you do that, though, you’ll learn that those intake vents also serve a second purpose: They provide fresh air that helps to prevent your vape coil from getting hot. If you reduce the size of your tank’s intake vents, you’ll need to compensate by vaping at a slightly lower wattage.
Are You Using a High-Mass Coil?
Have you noticed how big and bulky some cloud chasing coils have gotten? If you’re using an RDA, you might have decided to pick up a package of pre-wrapped alien coils. If you’re using a tank, you might be using something like a tank from the SMOK TFV12 series with its take-no-prisoners 12-wire duodenary coil heads. Either way, you’re vaping with a coil that has a significant amount of metal mass. It takes some decent wattage to get all that metal up to temperature, and with the coil’s high mass, it’ll retain its heat for a while after you release the fire button. During a lengthy vaping session, you’ll feel that heat radiating throughout your mod.
So, your high-mass coil is getting hot? You’ve got two options. The first is to put a bit more space between puffs. Give the coil a moment to come down a bit closer to room temperature before puffing again. The second option is to trade your coil for something that gets the job done with a lot less mass. There’s a reason why so many people are switching to mesh coils lately.
Is Your Tank’s Mouthpiece Getting Hot?
These days, it’s rare for vaping product manufacturers to give their tanks metal mouthpieces; metal is just too good at transferring heat. If you own a vape tank made more than a year or two ago, though, your tank may have a stainless steel drip tip. A while back, tanks like the Aspire Triton and the Horizon Arctic helped to make that design all the rage. Those tanks and others like them also heralded the beginning of the trend toward ever lower coil resistances — and their mouthpieces could get quite hot. If your tank has a metal mouthpiece that gets hot when you vape, you’ll want to swap it out for a plastic mouthpiece that doesn’t conduct heat to your lips.
When it comes to replacement drip tips for tanks, there are three popular options.
- Resin (HDPE): often has a swirly pattern
- Delrin (POM): usually matte black
- Ultem (PEI): translucent orange
Take a look at this chart, courtesy of Precision Punch & Plastics. Between the three popular drip tip materials, Ultem has the highest heat resistance and may be the best choice for extremely high-temperature vaping. For non-extreme sub-ohm vaping scenarios, though, any of the three materials work well. If you like the look of a particular material — or simply like the way it feels on your lips — choose that one.
One thing worth noting is that many of the replacement drip tips that you’ll find today use the wide 810 form factor. Many older sub-ohm tanks use the narrow 510 form factor. If your tank’s mouthpiece is around the same size as a cigarette filter, it’s a 510 mouthpiece. You can find 510-to-810 adapters that allow you to switch between the two sizes. You can see the difference between the two sizes in the pictures above. The resin and Ultem mouthpieces are 810 drip tips. The Delrin example is a 510 drip tip.
Does Your Coil Have a Hot Spot?
If you build your own coils or use pre-wrapped coils with your RDA, it’s likely that you’ll encounter hot spots. A hot spot is a section of a coil that glows much more brightly than the rest of the coil due to uneven spacing between the wraps of the coils. It’s important to eliminate hot spots before using a coil because a coil that heats unevenly will never give you a good vaping experience. It’ll always create hot, harsh vapor that doesn’t taste right — and since it’ll quickly burn through the wick, things will only get worse from there.
You’re most likely aware of hot spots. You already know that you can eliminate them by gently pushing the wraps of the coil together — or pulling them apart — with a pair of ceramic tweezers. What you might not realize, though, is that you can also encounter a hot spot if your coil touches the inner wall of your RDA when you replace the RDA’s top section. You’ll know that’s happening because the coil will become extremely hot, and the vaping experience will be absolutely horrible. If your vaping device has a built-in resistance meter, you’ll also notice that the coil’s resistance has changed drastically from before you replaced the RDA’s top section. This is a scenario that you need to correct immediately. It doesn’t just make for a terrible vaping experience; it’s also a potentially dangerous short circuit situation.
Is Your Wick Going Dry?
The one cardinal rule of vaping is that your coil’s wick must always remain wet. Do you like a very warm vape? Do you like to push the limits when it comes to big clouds and intense flavor? If your coil is getting too hot, you’re probably pushing things a bit too far and drying your coil’s wick out before it can pull more e-liquid from your tank. You’ll know that’s happening because you’ll see burned spots on the wick when replacing your coil. If that’s the case, you need to tone things down. Try one of all of these three things.
- Try an e-liquid with a VG/PG ratio that favors PG for faster wicking.
- Lower your device’s wattage.
- Take shorter puffs and wait longer between puffs.
Have You Tried a Temperature Control Coil?
Temperature control is a vaping technology whose time seems to have come and gone. While you could once expect to find at least one titanium or nickel coil available for any given tank, today it isn’t even a given that you’ll find a stainless steel coil for your tank since kanthal mesh is all the rage. Even today, though, any decent regulated box mod has a temperature control function available as long as you can find a coil made from the correct material. Temperature control vaping requires just two things:
- A vaping device that supports temperature control
- A coil made from nickel, titanium or stainless steel
Any modern device will support temperature control mode with all three of those materials. Some older mods may not support temperature control mode with stainless steel coils. You can think of temperature control vaping as being more like “temperature limiting.” You’ll set a maximum temperature for your coil as well as a “preheat wattage” that determines how quickly the coil heats up. When the coil hits the maximum temperature, your device drops its power to cool the coil off.