My E-Cigarette Tastes Bad, What’s Wrong with It?

Although it doesn’t happen very often, some vapers have reported burnt or metallic tastes when using electronic cigarettes. There are a number of factors that can determine these off-putting aftertastes and we’re going to go through the most common.

The first thing that comes to mind when detecting an unpleasant taste is there must be something wrong with the e-liquid. It’s true that not all juices are of high quality, and it’s recommended you always source your stuff from a reputable vendor, but most times the burnt or metallic taste has less to do with the e-liquid and a lot more with the condition of the atomizer/cartomizer and the way you’re using the e-cigarette.

Electronic cigarette components don’t necessarily have to be old or overused to produce a fowl taste. In fact, often times, what you’re tasting are are manufacturing and machining residues on brand new atomizers or cartomizers. These include machine oil, coatings, traces of adhesives and coatings on the silica fibers of the wick. Sometimes e-cig consumables contain too much of these things and the e-liquid absorbs them giving you a nasty aftertaste. The best and safest way to get rid of it without damaging your unit is to burn through the residues by using the e-cigarette without inhaling. Just puff on it a few times and you’ll notice the bad taste begins to go away. There are other ways of removing the unwanted chemical stuff on your cartridges, if you’re not comfortable using them in their current condition. You can clear away the excess primer by blowing air from the top and bottom ends of the cartomizer, rinsing with alcohol and blowing again. It’s a very effective method, and beats soaking the parts in water or strong solvents that can affect their performance.

The burnt taste is usually caused by two major factors – a dry wicking material or gunk buildup on the atomizer coil. There probably isn’t a single electronic cigarette user who has never gotten at least a slight burnt taste. It happens every time your cartomizer/cartridge gets dry and the coil starts burning the filler.It’s important to regularly add more e-liquid as you vape, to prevent the polyfill material from getting burned. A clear indicator that you’re running low on juice is the drop in flavor and vapor production when you draw on the e-cig. Although it happens to a lot of vapers, those who ignore the slight burnt taste and continue to vape, will end up ruining the cartomizer. Once a large part of the filler material has burned, the nasty taste is virtually impossible to get rid of, and you need to use a brand new cartridge.

Most electronic cigarette companies will have you believe their cartomizers are disposable components meant to be thrown away after a single use, when in reality they can be refilled and used several times without any kind of difference in performance. But just like the classic atomizers, if you’re using a ticker, vegetable glycerin-based e-liquid, the coil will get covered in gunk residue pretty fast. If this happens, no matter how much e-liquid you keep adding, you’re going to get a disgusting burnt taste with every draw. That’s because every time the coil heats up, it keeps burning the gunk along with the juice. Fortunately, you don’t need to throw your atomizer/cartomizer away if you don’t mind getting your hands a little dirty.  A simple rinsing will get rid of most gunk buildups, but in extreme cases you’ll have to use the dry burn technique, which basically means removing any filler from the cartomizer and heating up the coil until all the residue is charred making it easy to remove. It’s a painstaking process, ans commonly used on atomizers, not cheap cartomizers.

In some cases there is actually nothing wrong with the electronic cigarette or the e-liquid. New vapers tend to use the e-cigarette more than they need to and that sometimes mutes their taste buds, making it feel like they’re getting dry hits. Long-term use of menthol has been known to cause this more than other flavors, but it can happen with pretty much any kind of e-liquid that is vaped in excess. Regularly switching flavors is recommended to prevent taste bud muting from occurring. The good news is it’s only temporary and you’ll get you’re taste back in a week or two.

20 Comments/Reviews

  • Legion says:
    4 stars

    Im curious about the “shards” that build up in my e-cig. Is that youre talking about burning away?

  • Alex Goven says:
    4 stars

    I did something risky as I was getting tired of that burnt taste. I stuck the mouth end of each rechargeable e-cig in some raspberry tea, had my fingers above each cartridge and inhaled. I stopped when the cartomizers cooled above the threadings from the tea rising up. The cartridges were ruined (not really unexpected), but after putting new cartridges on, the taste was much cleaner. You could probably do as I did but with old cartridges and instead just dip the very ends of the cartridges and cartomizers in water, alcohol or tea where the threads are. Tea with sugar added might work better than water since we all know that sugary beverages do a great job at dissolving dried saliva. I would use sugary teas with the fewest ingredients, such Peace Tea, Pure Leaf or a balanced home brew. Sugar water or alcohol may do the trick for all I know, but store bought tea is what I had readily available at the time.

  • Alex Goven says:

    I forgot to mention that with the cartridges I made useless, I had done a few draws pulling the liquid out of the ends of the cartomizers. I would do this before putting on new cartridges because water will ruin the e-liquid in the new cartridges.

  • Mimikim1234 says:
    5 stars

    Alex, are you using an atomizer with cartidges, or cartomizers?

  • Amanda says:
    5 stars

    The center post of my vision vivi nova tank keeps collecting water condensation at the point that connects to the atomizer. I’m not sure why this effects the flavor and vaping so much but it does. I have to screw off the replacement head to clean the center post of moisture, which is not e-liquid, and in the process, waste whatever was in my tank or else vape in frustration. The fogging happened during dry burn as well, and I opened and cleaned the center post several types of tiny water droplets until it stayed dry
    And now flavor and enjoyment has dropped off again, pretty sure the moisture is back. Has anyone else encountered this frustration? It’s as if the moisture hinders an adequate connection to the atomizer/ wick from the battery… It’s driving me crazy! Any ideas on how to prevent the condensation? Thank you!

  • MC says:

    i just bought a new cartrige and it tastes like burning, i tried to puff at it and twist it and it still does taste bad, this is so annoying as i just bought it.

  • kyle says:

    i have a hot vape e go twist and im getting horrible dry hits Ive had it for about 2 mouths now and ive gone through 4 wicks already idk what to do

  • cig says:

    Iv had 3 tops and 3. Batterys in less then a week with 3 different lIquids and everyone one of them after a couple of hours taste burnt the battery and eveything smells burnt what is wrong with it

  • chrisitna says:

    Just got the pcc itaste AIO. the personal charging dock is awesome but every juice cartraige ive tried just tastes burnt and no vape comes out. the battery is fully carged and i tried 6 cartraiges all taste terrible and give me no draw of vapor. Did i buy a bad batch or am is this operator error here?

  • Dustin says:

    if you taste ammonia on and off then you may have a kidney problem, in which case you may want to pace yourself and look into that.

  • Joe says:

    As soon as I added some more liquid the burnt taste went away. I just got my e cig and have a clear mini tank I thought it had enough fluid.

  • Joe says:
    4 stars

    Try halo g6 e cigs they are very well made. I just got one and it’s great!!

  • james says:

    Kangertech pro tank 2 is the way to go, and always make sure your priming the wicks before you use them, meaning draw on the tank/cartridge several times before pressing the button, failure to do so will result in burnt wicks, especially so in long wick setups

  • Garry Knox says:

    Hi

    I rinse my Kangertech Protank components
    under the steam jet of my espresso machine
    and this gives good results. It blows out the nasty carbon particles and because its so easy to do
    I tend to clean more or less each time i fill the tank.
    Hope this helps you guys

  • Nicholas Hammack says:
    5 stars

    the burnt taste for me, was caused by vapeing on a low or empty cartomizer. this causes the coil toburn & then i always tasted the burnt taste until i replaced my coil & refilled my tank (cartomizer) hope this helps. the vapor cig has helped me quit smoking cold turkey. i wouldn’t trade it for anything.

  • Cale says:

    I’m upset with this… I’ve had my e-cig half full while having to suck very hard for long periods of time. I’m guess this lead to irreversible residue build up. (To an extent)

    Each puff taste like a sweaty gym sock left in a zip lock for days. It’s horrid. I’ve tried burning it while giving the odd puff. It did not get any better.

    I hope this hasn’t cause any short term effects on me. I kept smoking it for a week with not too horrid taste, but very noticeable.

    I thought it was due to me puffing on it all day and my taste buds getting used to the good taste and only tasting the bad. (Over use.)

    I’ve been feeling pretty shitty from it, and again I thought maybe it was due to the amount of nicotine. Maybe it was, I’m not sure if nicotine level 18 is bad to be puffing it all day.

    This has helped a lot. Also I’d like to say I’ve only had these two e-cigs for a month, max. I will now take it easy when using, and keep the juice topped up.

    Thanks so much!
    Any info, questions, or comments on my situation, feel free to email me at CaleBarrett@hotmail.ca
    I’d appreciate some more insight.
    (It’s an EVOD)

  • seth says:

    Evods are awesome for the price.as long as you’re using good juice they have an awesome taste.using 100% vg will burn out the atomizers pretty quick.good news tho.they’re cheap.I’ve tried alot of the cheaper vapes including the kinds that mimic cigarettes (i.e.blu) no comparison.a variable voltage battery helps too.

  • Derek Milton says:

    I use jac vapour great product no issues

  • Stuart allen says:

    Am a roll up smoker just bought a blu vap never had one before it’s working fine but I can’t take it down have primed it but it hurts my chest is it me hhheeeeeelp want to like it but can’t smoke it

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