A gurgling vape tank is one of the most annoying problems that you can deal with as a vaper. It’s not so much that the noise itself is bothersome; the problem is really what the gurgling noise means. It means that there’s excess e-liquid caught somewhere in your vaping device, whether it’s in your tank’s air chimney or in the coil assembly. The e-liquid blocks airflow, hampering your device’s vapor production. Gurgling is also usually the first sign that your tank’s atomizer coil is flooded and that the tank is about to leak. If you don’t correct the small annoyance, then, it can quickly turn into a lot of lost e-liquid.
In this article, we’re going to teach you how to fix a gurgling vape tank.
What Causes a Vape Tank to Gurgle?
Gurgling can happen with both sub-ohm tanks and pod systems. It happens because e-liquid is caught somewhere in the tank’s air path – either in the intake vents or, more commonly, in the chimney leading out of the tank. The e-liquid blocks airflow, causing the tank to bubble when you vape. If you can figure out what’s causing the e-liquid to pool, you’ll fix the gurgling.
We’re going to discuss all of the different things that can cause a vape tank to gurgle in this article. You may have to do a bit of troubleshooting to determine which scenario applies to you, but once you’ve figured it out, you’ll find that the gurgling problem is fairly easy to fix.
Remove Excess E-Liquid From Your Tank’s Chimney
A modern sub-ohm tank has a wide chimney to facilitate smooth airflow and encourage the production of large vapor clouds. If your tank produces vapor with a large droplet size – we’ll discuss that in greater detail shortly – some of the vapor may condense while it’s still in the chimney, forming drops that drip back down to the atomizer coil. The drops pool on top of the coil, causing gurgling and popping when you vape. The easiest way to prevent this from happening is to get a new tank, which we’ll discuss shortly.
Until you get a new tank, though, you’ve got to do something to get the tank that you have to stop gurgling. The best way to do that is by rolling up a paper towel and pushing it through your tank’s mouthpiece. Run the paper towel all the way down the tank’s chimney until it touches the top of the atomizer coil. The paper towel will soak up the pooled e-liquid, eliminating the gurgling temporarily.
Upgrade to a More Modern Tank
When you vape, does the vapor have a “wet” character inside your mouth? Do you sometimes feel almost like you’re drinking your e-liquid when you take a really deep, long puff? Until recently, many sub-ohm tanks used twisted “Clapton”-style wire to generate big vapor clouds. Clapton wire has a large amount of surface area, which facilitates excellent vapor production. The downside of Clapton wire, though, is that it produces vapor with a large droplet size. That’s what leads to condensation in your tank’s chimney. Condensation leads to e-liquid pooling on your atomizer coil, and that’s what causes gurgling, popping and spitting. You can get the same cloud production without any of the associated problems if you use a tank with a mesh coil instead.
Some of the most popular mesh coil tanks at the time of writing are:
A mesh coil has high surface area like a Clapton coil, but the metal isn’t nearly as thick and heavy. Mesh coils create vapor with much smaller droplets, so the vapor has a “dry” character and doesn’t tend to condense in your tank’s chimney. Problems like gurgling, popping and spitting are virtually nonexistent with mesh coils.
Use Less Air Pressure When You Vape
If you’re using a pod system, the most likely reason why your device is gurgling is because you’re puffing too hard. Puffing too firmly disrupts your device’s normal airflow and forces extra e-liquid into the pod’s atomizer coil assembly. The e-liquid then begins to seep out of the pod’s air intake vents, or it travels up through the pod’s chimney and into your mouth. Either way, your pod system will gurgle when you vape.
If you want your pod system to hit harder, using extra air pressure when you puff is not the way to accomplish that. Puffing harder won’t make your device produce warmer vapor or bigger clouds. The way to get the biggest clouds out of your pod system is by taking long, slow puffs. If you’re feel like you’re getting weak hits from your pod system, make sure that you’re using nicotine salt e-juice with a high nicotine strength.
You might also consider upgrading to a more powerful refillable pod system that produces bigger, more satisfying clouds. Some of the most popular refillable pod systems at the time of writing are:
Clean Your Pod Between Refills
If you use a refillable pod system, you’re already aware that cleaning your pods is just about impossible since there’s no real way to disassemble and reassemble a pod as you can a vape tank. With a standard vape tank, cleaning is an important part of your regular maintenance routine because it can help to prevent problems like gurgling.
You can’t clean a vape pod in that way, though, so you’ll need to find another way to clear excess e-liquid out of your pod – and the method for doing that is actually quite simple. When it’s time to refill your pod, remove it from the device. Hold a paper towel over the bottom of the pod and blow hard through the pod’s mouthpiece. Blowing through the mouthpiece forces the excess e-liquid out of the pod’s intake vents and into the paper towel. If you do that each time you refill your pod, you’ll rarely experience gurgling when you vape.
Clean Your Tank Between Refills
As we just mentioned, keeping your hardware clean is equally important whether you’re using a pod system or a mod with a sub-ohm tank. If you’re a tank user, the great thing is that routine cleaning for a vape tank is extremely easy and only adds a few seconds to the time that it takes to change your coil. When you’re taking your tank apart to change the coil, give the tank a quick rinse in your sink.
After rinsing your tank, dry it thoroughly with a paper towel. Install and prime a new coil, and then piece the tank back together carefully, making sure that you don't cross the threads. Rinsing the tank removes excess e-liquid that might be stuck in the tank’s chimney and air vents. If you also follow all of the other advice in this article, keeping your tank clean will further help to minimize gurgling.
Don’t Use an All-PG Vape Juice
With almost any modern vaping device, the worst thing that you can do is use an all-PG vape juice. Propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin are the two base liquids used to create vape juice. PG is much thinner than VG. It also produces smaller vapor clouds and has a thin, wispy mouth feel. Most people who vape like the larger vapor clouds and fuller mouth feel that VG provides, so most e-liquids contain at least 50 percent VG.
VG is much more viscous than PG. To support an e-liquid with a significant amount of VG, a tank’s atomizer coil needs to have large openings that allow the wick to absorb the thick e-liquid efficiently – and since almost all e-liquids today contain at least 50 percent VG, most tanks have large wick openings to accommodate the thick e-liquid.
100-percent PG e-liquids are still available today. They’re mainly produced by Chinese e-liquid makers, and they’re intended for use in small cigarette-shaped vaping devices called cigalikes. If you’re not using a cigalike, you should not be using an e-liquid with 100 percent PG. With a more modern vaping device, the thin e-liquid will seep through the atomizer coil’s wick openings and flood the coil, causing gurgling and leaking.
If You Use an All-in-One Mod, Consider an Upgrade
In the mid 2010s, all-in-one vaping devices with built-in tanks were briefly popular. In this type of vaping device, the mouthpiece and chimney are the same unit, and the coil connects to the bottom of the chimney. Since the coil and chimney are both narrow and are submerged within the tank, this type of vaping device is extremely prone to gurgling. That’s because a submerged coil has poor airflow, and when your coil has poor airflow, you have to use more pressure when inhaling to get a satisfying amount of vapor. As you’ve just learned, using too much air pressure when inhaling causes excess e-liquid to get drawn into the coil assembly.
All-in-one vaping devices were a good idea for their time, but that time has passed. Stop the gurgling with a more modern device from the vape starter kits section of our website.