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How to Refill Cartomizers – Two Easy Methods

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.

25 Comments/Reviews

  • Dave Page says:

    Very informative review — too bad I had to throw away 100+ 10Motives ‘disposable’ cartomizers before finding this out — empty replacements costing more than the filled ones! Bad Karma 10Motives…

    As an aside, if you want an e-liquid refill that is like inhaling wood-glue, then I can heartily recommend UltraVape e-liquid — as nauseating a smoking experience as I have ever had…

    • bcrob says:

      Hi Dave, just read your reply as I was about to try ultravape refill kit. I have just ordered their nicolite compatible menthol cartridges and although it’s not as nice as nicolite I reckoned I could adapt due to the cost savings and wondered what flavour you had? I also will be retrieving all the old cartomisers I was about to bin!!

      • Sharon Goulet says:

        Just wanted to add a tip That
        I use when refilling,the drip in is the best way,but, I place a rounded tooth pick in the center, of my cart,that prevents any liquid from leaking into the battery. After its filled remove the pick and move on to the next cart.
        Thus a neat refill without any liquid damage to the inner battery.plus this saves me alot of cash.Good luck to all,and I might add
        I buy Bullsmoke products,the best I have found check them out,u won’t be sorry!!!!!

    • ultravape says:

      Hi Dave, Im Andy from ultravape, its a shame you did not contact our support team, its very clear that you have received a bad batch, we will be more than happy to replace these items for you, at the time of your purchase we were in the process of making uk based products and you received our old china based supply, we would really love for you to try are new uk based products which are massively improved in flavour, please contact us for your free replacement items.

  • Billy says:

    Great article. I use the “drip” method. I have a question though. Having refilled both the used-up prefilled V2 carts and the V2 blank carts I have noticed a big difference between the two when there really shouldn’t be any difference at all.

    The prefilled carts that I refilled myself taste MUCH better, they just taste like the e-juice I put in there. But the blanks taste nasty. All I taste is the rubber from the end cap. Horrible. Have you had this problem? What am I doing wrong?

  • Dave Page says:

    Hello ‘Andy from ultravape’.

    You say that “…its a shame you did not contact our support team”. The thing is, I DID contact you with my complaint — on October 17th — to no reply. I guess you thought that it would be ok to ignore my complaint, and are only here now because my review of your liquid is doing your sales no favours.

    You say that “…at the time of your purchase we were in the process of making uk based products and you received our old china based supply”. Frankly, it beggars belief that you acknowledge having an inferior product (of unknown safety) yet where happy to continue profiting by its sale.

    Your reply here tells one all they need to know about your products and sharp business practices, and my review of your product both here and on Amazon are both accurate and warranted.

    • UltraVape says:

      Hi Dave, we can not find any sales log to your name, please provide any data that can assist us to locate your sales log

  • Matt says:
    5 stars

    Ha! Fantastic place to be providing customer support… on a public comment thread… very professional! #JustSaying

    As for the article – fantastic! I had absolutely no idea they were reusable (my recently purchased vapourlites starter kit being my first foray into the world of e-cigs). I can confirm I just tried the first method (slightly before my cartomiser ran out) and filled with “NicoHit UK Tobacco” 24mg liquid. Unfortunately I’ve just noticed this isn’t the UK made “premium” product, but I will be much more selective when I have the cash. This works well, though. Great stuff. Thank you.

  • KJ says:
    5 stars

    Very good article full of great tips. Just to add a tip of my own… I’ve found that a small allen key is the perfect tool for removing the cap from even the glued in pre-filled cartomizers as the angle gives great leverage. Be careful not to push it in too far though, otherwise you risk damaging the wadding.

  • Chris says:
    5 stars

    Best laugh i have had all day
    (Thanks Andy from UltraVape)

    Thanks for the info very helpfull.

  • RobCee says:
    5 stars

    Hi all, just to say, I prefer drip filling 510 carts and find the small corkscrew, on a multi-tool knife, ideal for flipping the plastic cap out.
    Happy vaping guys 🙂

  • Mr kite says:

    I’ve been refilling these for a while (a few months before I read this article) and I think that it ends up spraying droplets of liquid into my mouth, no matter how careful I am about refilling it into the cotton only.

    The admiral brand of liquid seems to be the perfect viscosity for doing this.

    But again, even if I only partially saturate the cotton, liquid ends up in my mouth with a tingling\numbing sensation.

    I’m not saying nicotine in vapor form is good for you, but I’m assuming liquid nicotine is worse. So, be careful with the liquid and wash your hands/mouth immediately upon contact.

    • JS says:
      4 stars

      You need to purchase a “drip tip” you can get them from an online e-cig retailer for very cheap. I get them for around 30 cents a piece, it helps prevent liquid from getting into your mouth.

  • tony says:

    Excellent site
    Pack of five carts here in
    lreland costs 10 euro
    theiving scum..

  • dale says:

    Just an additional piece of information. Using a screw is a great way of lifting the end caps off. Great tip for refilling the atomizers. I have found myself without my clearomizer from 10motives. Rather than forking out for a new one the old atomizers fit the newer batteries and have got hold of some old atomizers. They are looking to replace it, so great customer satisfaction so far. But use a screw to drill into the centre hole and lift the end cap out with minimal effort and damage.

  • David Green says:
    4 stars

    Dave Page – just thought I’d add that I sent Ultravaoe three emails regarding a faulty product. Got automated acknowledgements for all three but not one reply. I received an incorrect part in the post as a replacement(!!) but not one reply to my emails.
    I have switched to Jacvapour as a result

  • Brock says:
    5 stars

    Great walk through on the refill of dry carts. Just wanna say I havery been using the drip method for couple years now and the best tool I have found for the tip pulling is a cork screw. 8 find the tis are less likely to fly off and get lost.

  • aznwashed says:

    The cover for my cartridge wont unscrew and im un able to get the cartridge out.. can someone tell me how im able to unscrew it without breaking it…

  • anne says:

    how long does 1 electronic cigarette cartomizer last for

  • Jonathan says:
    5 stars

    Great tutorial and very usefull since the shipping costs for prefilled Vapour2 (before known as V2) cartomizers became so ridicilous high that I was looking for a way to refill my used cartomizers.

    Really, since the beginning of this year free shipping suddenly became only free if you order for 50€ or more. A pack of 5 cartridges costs 9,49€ and the shipping costs are 14,47€. I’am not going to pay more that the actual value of my order for the shipping costs, so I’am into e-liquids now.

    Anyone an idea how many times you can refill such a V2 cartomizer?

  • Jes says:

    I have noticed the flavor seems to change after refilling 10, or more times. I am guessing there is a residue that is being concentrated after a dozen, or so uses. Does anyone know of a technique to clean the, “Filter”, portion, of an e-cig?

    • snookered says:

      yes, you can soak it in rubbing alcohol. make sure to let it dry very well before using (I would suggest soaking overnight, and then let it dry all day, just to be sure and safe)

  • Sue says:

    I cannot figure out how to fill this thing. I bought it 2 years ago, someone filled it for me and when that was gone, I haven’t used it since. I’ve read all the posts and the article, I just don’t get it.

  • Mike Welch says:
    5 stars

    I started refilling Mark Ten ecigs about 6 weeks after switching from actual cigs. The tar intake was catching up with me, plus I would only smoke outside so I didn’t stinch the house. I threw away 20 or so carts before wondering if this could be done. I thought I was a genius but today thought I’d see if anyone else has been doing it. So,mless of a genius and more of aware of the bleeding obvious then.

    I bought a vapor “pen” because I wanted more smoke but really don’t like it as much as the Mark Ten, which is about the size of a typical classic cig, have better battery life than the vapor pen I paid $50 for, and are readily available in every convince store I’ve visited.

    I haven’t had to clean mine out. In fact I’m using a menthol cart right now. The menthol fades of course and the atomizer/consumable is usable like any other. I have had some that taists terrible and after reading this post realize it is because I fried the woven tube thingy on the original fill. Tastes like burned toejam mixed with fingernail shavings and earwax, and we all know what that tastes like.

    I fill mine to the point that it won’t soak in then remove the excess with the dropper. I do get it in my mouth from time to time but it tastes sweet and doesn’t bother me.

    I am a little concerned about inhaling glycerin glycol though.

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