Even if you’re fairly new to vaping, the process of filling a vape tank probably seems so incredibly simple to you that it hardly merits a full article of its own. You just open it up, squirt in some e-liquid and get back to vaping, right?
Actually, like so many other aspects of vaping, filling a tank is an activity that’s simple on the surface but can become even more rewarding when you take the time to understand what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Even more importantly, there is one type of refill procedure – filling a tank when it’s new or after installing a new coil – that absolutely must be done correctly, or you’ll risk ruining the coil.
So, whether you’re filling your vape tank for the first time or the thousandth, it’s very worthwhile to take the extra moment required to do it right.
Filling a Vape Tank With a New Coil
Most modern vape tanks are pretty forgiving if you happen to make a small mistake during a refill. The one thing you shouldn’t do, though, is use a new coil without priming it first. When you prime a new coil, you get the cotton wick completely wet with e-liquid before you begin using it. That’s an important step because you could burn the cotton if you vape with a coil that isn’t completely wet. A coil with a burned wick will always produce a burned flavor; there’s no fix for that. So, in this case, it’s extremely important that you do things right the first time.
To prime a new coil, simply take a bottle of e-liquid and use it to “paint” the coil’s exposed with openings with juice. The e-liquid will form bubbles on the cotton for a moment before soaking in. Don’t forget to wet the wicks at the top of the coil as well. When you see no more dry cotton, it’s time to put the tank back together and fill it. Wait at least five minutes for the cotton to become completely wet before you start vaping.
When you begin using a new coil, it’s also a good idea to start with your vaping device set to a slightly lower wattage than you would currently use. Begin dialing the wattage up when you’re sure that the coil is working normally.
Filling a Vape Tank That Opens From the Top
Most vape tanks today open from the top because that’s what most vapers prefer. If you have a tank that opens from the bottom, you have to remove it from your device before you can fill it. A tank that opens from the top is both more convenient and less messy, so that’s how most tanks work these days.
Opening the Tank
The easiest way to learn how to open your vape tank is by consulting the manual. If you don’t have the manual, then the next best option is to look for a marker somewhere near the top of the tank. You can usually open a vape tank in one of three ways.
- Look for a marker at the top of the tank and push gently against the marker. If the tank’s top hardware moves, you have a sliding tank.
- Look for a button at the top of the tank and press it. If the tank’s top hardware opens, you have a flip-top tank.
- If you see no markings at the top of the tank, try twisting the tank’s top hardware. If the hardware twists off, you have a twist-open tank.
A few vape tanks have child-resistant caps. If that’s the case, you may need to twist the tank’s top hardware while pushing or pulling it. There’s no universal standard for child-resistant tanks, so you may need to get assistance by searching for your tank’s instruction manual online.
You can find more advice in our article explaining how to clean a vape tank. The article also contains some useful tips that might prove helpful if your tank is stuck.
Filling the Tank
One good thing about using a top-filling vape tank is that a top-filling tank usually comes with other conveniences like silicone-sealed filling ports that resist leaking. A drawback, though, is that the filling ports are sometimes a bit on the small side. Position the nozzle of your e-liquid bottle over the filling port and squeeze gently to dispense e-liquid into the tank. Go slowly; if you try to fill the tank too quickly, you’ll end up spilling juice.
Regardless of the type of vape tank you own, remember that a tank’s filling port is never in the middle. The middle hole is always the air channel. In a top-filling tank, the middle hole leads to the coil. In a bottom-filling tank, it leads to the mouthpiece. Either way, you’ll end up with e-liquid on your hands – literally – if you put e-liquid down that hole.
Lastly, when you fill your vape tank, it’s wise to avoid filling it to the very top. When you draw air through your tank, a weak vacuum forms in the tank’s reservoir. The vacuum helps to prevent e-liquid from leaking out of the tank. For the vacuum to form, you need to leave a little room for air at the top of the tank when you refill it.
Filling a Vape Tank That Opens From the Bottom
As we mentioned above, bottom-filling vape tanks aren’t as common today as they used to be. That’s partially because it’s inconvenient since you have to remove a bottom-filling tank from your mod before you can refill it. It’s also because the modern standard for vape tank design simply doesn’t allow it. For a vape tank to open from the bottom, it needs to have an internal chimney and cage that keeps the tank’s glass enclosure in place. Otherwise, the glass would fall off – and the tank would empty itself – if you removed the bottom hardware to refill the tank. In a modern vape tank, the coil is also the chimney, and it’s the thing that holds the tank together. Top filling, therefore, is both best for convenience and necessary to hold the tank together.
If you have a tank that’s more than 2-3 years old, it’s probably a bottom-filling tank. You can also identify a bottom-filling tank because it’ll have a metal cage or chimney together and keeping the glass in place.
Opening the Tank
To open a bottom-filling tank, remove the tank from your mod and hold it upside down. You may find it useful to hold a paper towel under the tank’s mouthpiece to catch any errant drips. Twist the tank’s bottom hardware counterclockwise until it comes off. In most cases, the atomizer coil remains connected to the tank’s bottom hardware and comes out of the tank as well. Set the tank’s bottom half aside and continue holding the top half. Grab your bottle of e-liquid.
Filling the Tank
After you remove the tank’s bottom hardware, you’ll be left with the tank’s mouthpiece, glass enclosure, cage and chimney in your hand. The benefit of having a bottom-filling tank is that you don’t need to worry about getting your e-liquid through a tiny filling port; you can just dump it right in. Be careful, though, not to send e-liquid down the tank’s chimney. If you do that, it’ll flow straight out of the tank through the mouthpiece. The chimney also functions as a maximum fill line. When the e-liquid is near the level of the chimney, the tank is full. Don’t overfill the tank; it’ll leak if you do. Replace the bottom hardware. When you screw the tank back together, be especially careful not to cross the threads. If the threads are crossed, the tank may leak. Reconnect the tank to your mod.
Leave Extra Room in Your Tank When Driving at High Altitude
Are you planning to enjoy a drive in the mountains? If you are, you should know that vape tanks are highly prone to leaking during ascents of more than around 2,000 feet. That’s because the changing air pressure pushes the e-liquid through the coil and out the bottom of the tank. If you’re going out for a high-altitude drive, fill your tank halfway to mitigate leaking during your ascent. Alternatively, just hold off on filling your tank until you reach the highest-altitude point of your trip. Your tank won’t leak on the way down; it’ll only leak on the way up.