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How to Prime Your Vape Coils

Sep 05, 2022

Priming is basically a way of ‘breaking in’ your new coils. It doesn’t take long to prime your vape coil and it’s super easy, so every vaper needs to know how to do it.

Priming your new coils allows the vape juice to fully saturate the wicking material. This means that the wick will be full of e-liquid and will not burn when you fire the device, causing the horrible burnt taste known as a dry or burnt hit. 

Here’s everything you need to know about priming. 

All about vape coils

Every vape has a coil. The coil is housed in the vape tank or pod and sits above the batteries but below the drip tip (mouthpiece). 

Also called an atomiser or atomiser head, the coil consists of a piece of metal which is usually twisted into a spiral shape. In and around this is the wick, a piece of absorbent material (usually cotton) which becomes saturated with e-liquid

When your battery sends power through the circuit, the coil gets hotter and heats the e-liquid in the wicking material. This causes the vape juice to vaporise, turning into the delicious vapour that you inhale through the drip tip.

When the e-liquid in the coil turns into vapour, e-liquid from the tank saturates the wick ready for your next puff.

Why prime your coils?

Avoid dry / burnt hits

By priming your coils before use, you can avoid getting burnt hits when you first use your vape. Dry or burnt hits are a horrible experience that most vapers unfortunately encounter at some point when vaping. These occur when the wick is not properly saturated with e-juice, causing the dry cotton to burn when you take a hit. 

Make your coils last longer

Priming your vape coils will also extend their lifespan, helping them last longer so you don’t need to replace them as frequently. 

Enjoy better flavours

Primed coils also provide better and richer flavours from your e-liquid. For the best vaping experience, priming your coils isn’t just a good idea — it’s a necessity!  

When do you need to prime your coils?

You need to prime your coil every time you buy a new coil. Priming may seem like a pain, but we promise it’s worth it as it will reduce the frequency of replacements. 

However, you don’t need to prime your coils if you are using a vape kit with pre-filled pods. Any pre-filled disposable or closed pod kit will be ready to use. 

How to prime your vape coils

There are a few different ways to prime your vape coils. The first and simplest method of coil priming is to attach the new coil, fill your vape tank with e-liquid and leave it for at least ten minutes before vaping. This gives the e-liquid a chance to saturate the wick. 

A better way to prime your coils is to drip e-liquid directly into the air holes in your coil before replacing it in the vape tank. This ensures that e-juice gets into every nook and cranny of the wicking material. Add a lot of e-juice; the cotton needs to be fully saturated. After waiting a few minutes, put the new coil in your vape tank and fill with e-liquid. 

Remember: before you start vaping as normal, don’t forget to take a few quick puffs (primer puffs) from the mouthpiece without firing the device. This way, the coil will not heat up but the e-juice will be pulled through the cotton wick for better saturation. 

How long does it take to prime vape coils?

At an absolute minimum, you should prime your vape coils for 5 minutes. The longer you prime them for, the better, so up to 30 minutes is ideal.

The length of time you leave the wick to saturate also depends on the type of e-liquid you are using. High PG e-liquids saturate fairly quickly thanks to their thin consistency, whereas vape juice with a high VG content will take longer because it is more viscous. 

How frequently should I replace my vape coils?

At the bare minimum, vapers should expect to change the coil in their vape once a month. Depending on your vaping habits, it will likely be more frequent than this. Heavy vapers often change their coils once every few days, while regular vapers will change atomisers once every week or two. Even if you vape fairly infrequently, it’s a good idea to switch to fresh coils once a month. 

How do I change/prime a sub ohm coil?

Changing and priming the coil on your sub ohm vaping device follows many of the same principles as MTL devices, but it can be a little more complex if you opt for rebuildable coils. Here’s a short video explainer on how to change and prime sub ohm coils:

How do I know when it’s time to change my coils?

There are a few tell-tale signs that your vape coils need replacing. 

Your e-liquid has a burnt taste

If you experience an unpleasant burnt flavour when you vape, this is a sign that your coil needs changing. The burnt flavour is a result of your wicking material burning, leading to you inhaling burnt cotton. When you experience this, you’ll need to change your atomiser immediately.

Your e-liquid tastes different or weaker

Another sign that your vape coil may need changing is that your vape liquid tastes different or weak. This might indicate that the e-liquid has formed a layer of gunk on your coils or wick, preventing you from enjoying the full flavour. If this happens, you know it’s time for a replacement. 

Your vape is gurgling 

A gurgling noise from your vape tank is another potential sign that you need to replace your coils. If the gurgle continues after changing your coils, there might be something else wrong with your vape, so it’s best to stop using it.  

What can I do to extend my coil lifespan?

If you feel like you are changing coils too frequently, there are a few things that you can do to extend coil life. 

Avoid chain vaping

Chain vaping (taking lots of hits from your vape in quick succession) is terrible for your coils. This is because it doesn’t allow enough of an opportunity for the cotton wick to re-saturate with e-liquid, increasing the risk of burning. To increase the longevity of your vape coils, make sure that you leave a gap of at least 30 seconds between puffs on your vaping device. 

Switch your e-liquids

E-juices that are heavy in artificial sweeteners also cause a build-up of residue in your tank as they can caramelise on the coil as they’re heated. These include e-liquids with super sweet and strong candy flavours. If you want to make your coils last longer, switch to more neutral vape juice flavours, such as menthol.


To get the best performance out of your vape, making sure your new coils are primed is a necessity. Fortunately, priming is a simple and easy process. With these coil maintenance tips in mind, you can enjoy a great vaping experience and extend your coil life. 

Need to stock up on replacement coils? You can find our wide range of coils here, including replacements for a wide range of vapes by InnokinSmokVooPoo, and more. 

To find out more e-cig maintenance tips, read our guide.