Cartomizers are usually pretty cheap, and a lot of people prefer to throw them away after a single use. Most e-cigarette companies even advertise them as disposables, but why would you want to throw away a perfectly good cartomizer when you can easily refill it with e-liquid, get the same vaping experience and save some money in the process. I refill my cartomizers up to ten times before tossing them in the trash, and today I’m going to tell you how to do it.
Whether you’re using KR808 or 510 cartomizers, the refilling process is exactly the same. First thing you have to do is unscrew the cartridge from the battery. If you’re as lazy as I am, you might one day be tempted to refill it while still attached, but I can tell you from experience that’s a very bad idea, especially if you’re using an automatic battery. There’s a big chance e-liquid will leak through the lower end and straight into the battery, frying it. And even with manual batteries, leaking juice is pretty messy, so take my advice and unscrew your cartomizer before refilling it. If you’re trying to refill prefilled cartridges, either use the same kind of e-liquid or clean the cartomizers first, as mixing two different juices can result in some pretty disgusting flavors and renders the cartridge unusable. Now on to the refilling:
The Drip Method
This is the easiest and most common way to refill a cartomizer. To remove the plastic cap on the top end of the cartomizer, simply use a thumbtack or something sharp enough to fill into the small hole and pull it off. They come off easier if you’re using blank cartomizers like Boge or Smoketek, but some e-cigarette companies prefer t glue the plastic caps to the cartomizers to discourage users from refilling them, so you might have to put some muscle into the jerk. Sometimes the cap is glued on so tight that it breaks when you try to pull it off. Don’t freak out, you can use the cap from an old cartomizer or add a nice drip tip as a personal touch. Some cartomizers have a small rubber ring over the filler material, don’t forget to take that out too before adding e-liquid.
If you can see the filling material around the center whole of the cartomizer clearly, you’re ready to drip some juice into it. But before you do that, take a look at the wicking material around the whole and check for brown burn marks. If the wick is burnt you’ll get a nasty taste no matter how much fresh e-liquid you add, so it’s best to throw away the cartridge and grab a new one. If everything looks good, it’s time to refill. Hold the cartomizer at a slight angle and start dripping e-liquid. The idea is NOT to drip into the center of the cartridge but on the sides, into the filler material. Slowly spread the juice evenly until it becomes saturated. Standard-size cartomizers can hold around 1.1 ml of e-liquid, or around 25-30 drops. If you see a puddle formed at the top of the filling material which doesn’t get absorbed after two seconds or so, you probably overdid it. Take a piece of paper towel to remove the excess juice, and also blow through the battery connection end just to be sure.
That’s pretty much it for the drip refilling method. Once you’re done, it’s best to wait a few minutes before using the cartomizer, to allow it to wick the juice properly and avoid burns. Put the cap back on, screw it on to the battery and you’re ready to vape.
The Condom Method
Also known as the “push method”, this is a good alternative for vapers who have a tough time removing the plastic or rubber caps of their cartomizers. It’s very straightforward but it’s only recommended for use with manual “push-button” batteries or sealed automatic batteries, because leaks are almost guaranteed to occur, since there’s really no way to check how much of the e-liquid is actually absorbed by the filling material. Manual batteries are leak-proof, meaning the excess liquid can’t get inside the battery and ruin the circuitry.
For the condom method, you’re going to need one of those rubber covers that come on both ends of the cartomizer, specifically the one without the center seal. Fill it with about 10 drops of e-liquid, then insert the cartomizer with the battery connector end towards the cover all the way down. This forces the juice up into the cartridge, where it is absorbed by the filling material through the center wick. After a few seconds, pull out the cartomizer, wipe the excess liquid with a paper towel and repeat the process until the juice is no longer absorbed.
I personally am not a fan of the condom method. It’s more time consuming, a lot messier and you end up wasting a lot of juice, but there are people out there who don’t like taking tings apart, and this works great for them.
Remember, cartomizers are designed as disposables, and after a while the built-in atomizer will either fry, or produce much less vapor than usual. To prolong its life, make sure to refill it before it runs out of e-liquid completely. The choice between propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin juices also affects the lifespan of the cartomizer, as VG is much thicker and favors gunk buildup on the heating coil.