How to avoid dry hits on stock atomizer heads

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Vape coils are probably the most important part of any setup. They are responsible for transforming e-liquid into flavorful vapor and they come in all shapes and sizes depending on manufacturer.

If in the case of RTAs, RDA vapes and RDTAs the user has absolute control over the type of wire and wicking material, when it comes to standard sub ohm tanks it’s all about the stock atomizer heads. These cannot be altered or wicked in any way and are intended to be discarded once they become obsolete. They are manufactured on assembly lines and each model is designed for a specific type of tank.


A stock atomizer head consists of a metal body which houses the wire and cotton. Most of the times we have an airflow slot drilled into the base and multiple juice holes placed symmetrically on the body.

Stock atomizer head

It usually comes with threads that connect to the base or the chimney section of the tank. However, few tank models don’t have threads for the coils and in this case they can be press fitted into place.


The most important requirement for stock atomizer heads is priming. When using the device for the first time or swapping an old atomizer head for a new one, the coil needs to be saturated with e-liquid before going inside the tank. For this you can use your dropper or unicorn bottle to drip around 3-4 drops of e-liquid and let it get completely absorbed by the cotton.

Dry Hit

After that the coil gets placed inside the tank, the tank gets filled with e-liquid and it should stay like this for at least 10 minutes. By repeating this process each time you change coils you ensure they get properly soaked with e-liquid and prevent dry hits. Dry hits happen when not enough liquid reaches the wicking material and this gets burnt. Cotton is easily affected by dry hits and once you start getting a burnt taste it usually stays until you replace the coil.


The main reason for dry hits is using e-liquids that are inappropriate for the particular type of coils. High VG juices should only be used with high power tanks and coils with big wicking holes. Coils rated for 50W and above are usually good for the job.


Other reasons for constant dry hits include chain vaping and using the coils at a much higher wattage than designed for. As long as you take at least 10s breaks between puffs and check out the wattage marked on the coil to match the current output of the mod, you are all set.

Chain Vaping

Depending on manufacturer, model and operating wattage, some coils are intended to be used at high wattages. Atomizer heads rated for between 60 - 80W for instance will perform poorly when under powered. Tanks like the SMOK TFV12 work great at high wattages and they cope perfectly with high VG juices, like 80/20. On the other hand low output tanks like the Nautilus 2 require a much lower wattage and thinner e-liquids. 15W and 70/30 VPG e-juice would be a far better choice in this case.


When shopping for a new tank, always make sure to also check out coil availability. Coils and e-liquids are the only consumables you have for your vape and you will need a steady supply. If they are relatively cheap to replace and you can find them with at least three online shops or suppliers then you just know you made the right choice. Also the more diverse the coil options, the more versatile the tank and the better it will suit your needs on the long run.

Posted by Dave Allan

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Former pack-a-day smoker, I discovered electronic cigarettes back in 2011. Since then vaping has slowly turned into my hobby and my full time job. I’ve tested hundreds of e-cigarettes and mods across the years and constantly used my knowledge and experience to help others make the switch. I’m passionate about technology, I enjoy reading and I love big flavorful clouds.


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