It’s not nice when you suddenly realise you’re getting weak flavour – or no taste at all from your vape pen, tank or pod. But why does this happen?
Why can’t I taste my vape?
Weak or non-existent vape flavour often happens because of incorrect device wattage or airflow settings. But using the wrong vape liquids or those which contain too much VG can also reduce vapour flavour quality. Besides these factors, blockages, flooded tanks and the wrong mouthpiece can all make your e-cigarette vapour taste weak.
Here’s a short guide to help you identify which of these factors could be ruining the taste of your vape. You’ll also find some suggested solutions to get you back to enjoying your usual full flavour vape in no time!
Reasons why you’re getting little or no flavour from your vape
1. Your e-liquid is too heavy
E-liquid that’s too thick can flow sluggishly in some vape devices, resulting in poor vaporisation, dull flavours, or even no flavour at all. Some additives (sweeteners, flavourings, etc) can make e-liquids too heavy, but the main culprit is usually VG, or vegetable glycerine.
Almost all vape juices contain at least some VG to add smoothness and sweetness. But too much of it will simply wreck flavour quality of your vape. As well as being a very heavy base liquid, VG is also a poor flavour carrier compared to PG. This means it can take the edge off many complex vape flavours, like tobacco, coffee or green tea.
MTL devices (beginner vape pods and tank systems), are more likely to suffer from VG-related flavour loss issues as they tend to have smaller, more delicate coils and wicks.
How can I tell if my e-liquid is too VG-heavy for my device?
Check the PG/VG ratio of whatever e-liquid you’re vaping by looking at the bottle. If VG is above 50%, your vape liquid may be too thick to generate a strong flavour in your device.
Try also tilting your vape liquid bottle, and see how quickly the liquid moves. If it it’s really sluggish, this could be why you can’t taste much of whatever flavours you’re vaping.
Check your e-cig device (or the instruction manual) for recommended e-liquid types.
- Choose thinner, low-VG (25% for MTLs; 60% for direct-to-lung coils)
- If you can’t change your e-liquid, improve flavour by adding a few drops of water or PG to it to make it thinner
- Shake your e-liquid bottle before you refill your e-cigarette to mix ingredients properly
- Follow this rule of thumb: the smaller your coil (size and thinness), the less VG you’ll probably need in your e-liquid
2. Poor airflow
The wrong kind of airflow going into your device can also ruin the flavour of your vape. And too much air rushing onto your coil can dull vapour flavour even more than not enough air can.
Mouth-to-lung e-cigarettes are designed to work with restricted airflow to allow short bursts of intensely-flavoured vapour with even the shortest of puffs. This means they won’t give you as much flavour if you allow too much air in.
Likewise, direct-to-lung vapes work best with loads of airflow, but you can often improve flavour by restricting airflow a little.
How do I know if my airflow is too high?
Suck on your device and see how much resistance you get from each draw. If you’re getting short, airy draws with weak vapour, your airflow could be too high.
- If you have an e-cigarette with adjustable airflow controls, turn down airflow to see if flavour improves
- If you have no adjustable controls, find where air is flowing into your tank or pod and restrict it partially with tape (or a finger)
3. Vaping new coil too soon or without priming
Vaping on a brand new disposable coil without priming it first can make your vape taste of nothing, or even worse, give you a dry hit. This usually happens in tank systems that use replaceable cotton coils.
Normally, when you attach a new coil, the cotton inside it will draw up e-liquid from the tank after a while. But if you start vaping as soon as you’ve attached the new coil, liquid in your tank won’t have time to reach the heating element. And this gives you a flavourless – or weird-tasting vape as a result.
No flavour from a new coil?
Are you using a tank-style vape with a new disposable cotton coil? Did you wait a few minutes before vaping on your new coil or did you start vaping right away?
Open your tank and look inside of the coil. Can you see whether liquid has saturated the inner section? If it looks dry, you won’t get much – or any – flavour from your new coil.
- Prime your new blank coil with four or five drops of vape liquid once you’ve attached it to your tank – try vaping on coil and prime again if still no flavour
- If you can’t be bothered to prime, make sure to wait a few minutes before vaping on brand new coils to allow them to absorb flavour
4. The wrong mouthpiece
However good your vape device is, having a mouthpiece that’s the wrong size or shape can have a big impact on vapour flavour.
If your mouthpiece is too big and chunky, it can force your mouth to open too widely. This means that any vapour coming into your mouth goes straight over your tongue, so you end up tasting very little of it.
How do I know if my mouthpiece is killing flavour?
Notice how wide your jaw is set with your current mouthpiece in place. Which parts of your mouth are getting the most vapour? If flavour is only “passing through”, your mouthpiece may be too big to satisfy.
Look also at the the air hole in your mouthpiece, where vapour comes out. Ideally, it should be narrow enough to direct a really focused stream of vapour right onto the tip of your tongue. If it’s too wide, flavours will taste weaker and less satisfying on the whole.
- Swap your chunky mouthpiece for a smaller one with a narrower air channel for more focused flavour hits
- Avoid really wide drip-tip mouthpieces
5. Vapour is too warm
People often crank up their device wattage to get more strength and flavour from their vape. But when vapour from your e-cigarette gets too warm, some flavour frequencies, like bitterness and exhale tones can diminish or actually disappear.
So while warmer vapour can make your vape taste stronger, you may be in fact be missing out on the full range of flavours that your vape juice can offer.
Once you’ve got your airflow, choice of e-liquid and mouthpiece right, it’s worth checking to see if vapour heat is affecting how much flavour you’re getting.
- If you have a device with adjustable power settings, crank down your power to improve flavour quality (you may need to lift nicotine levels to compensate)
- If your pod vape or tank combo lacks adjustable power and vapour is too warm, try fitting a slightly higher resistance coil. This will heat more slowly to give you a cooler, richer-tasting vape
6. Blockages and flooded tank
Blockages inside your vape device can lead to weak flavour, or almost no flavour at all. Bits of tissue, dust, or congealed e-liquid can all block airflow going into and out of your device, and can make vapour taste dull.
Likewise, if your coil becomes flooded – or over-saturated with vape juice – you’ll also see a drop in vapour production – and flavour.
How can I tell if my e-cig is blocked or flooded?
Is your airflow stiff even with holes wide open? This could be dulling the taste of your vape. Check ventilation holes from the outside and (if you can dismantle your device) from the inside too. Check the air channel of your vape mouthpiece for flavour blockages too by unscrewing and inspecting.
When your device is flooded, it means your coil is getting more e-liquid than it can vaporise. Check for gurgling sounds and weak flavour from your vape pod or tank when you take a draw. These are likely signs of flooding and may be why your vape is giving you no flavour.
Have you put too much juice in your e-cigarette? Check recommended maximum fill levels for your device and adjust until flavours improve,
- Blow through air channels in your device onto a tissue between vapes to clear blockages to improve flavour production
- With tanks, remove coil and wash tank parts and mouthpiece with water to remove dust, pocket fluff and other rubbish blocking airflow and flavour
- Don’t overfill your tank with e-liquid
- Make sure seal rings (if you have any) are tight and not split
- Keep coils (disposable and reusable) screwed on tightly to avoid flooded tank
7. Worn-out coil or pod
Sometimes your e-cigarette may produce no flavour just because your vape coil or pod is simply worn out. At the end of the day, every coil or pod has a finite lifetime.
Whatever brand you buy and however well you look after your coils, chances are that both vapour and flavour production will start to drop after the first few days.
First (if unless you have a ceramic coil) the cotton or lint wick will start to lose efficiency. Then the heating coil (or element) will give out less and less vapour and flavour it finally dies.
Check whether your vape coil is worn out or dirty
If you’ve gone through all the other checks in this guide and you’re still getting poor flavour production from your vape, it’s worth checking your coil or pod for dirt or wear and tear.
How long have you been using your coil or pod? What kind of unit is it? Are you getting a burnt taste when you vape? What kind of e-liquid are you using?
If you can dismantle your vape coil, does the material inside it look brown, dirty, sticky or clogged up? Residue and gunk build-up should be easy to spot and will continue to ruin flavour if left to remain and fester.
- Extend the lifetime and flavour producing capacity of your coil or pod by vaping at lower temperatures, and by using thinner, less VG-heavy vape liquids
- Ceramic coils (which contain no cotton) can also give you more vape time and cleaner-tasting vapour in the longer term
- Check your pods / coils for wear and tear every few days and replace when necessary
8. Vaper’s tongue
If you’ve checked your e-liquid and vape device settings and you’re still getting no flavour, you might be suffering from Vaper’s Tongue.
What is Vaper’s Tongue?
Vaper’s Tongue means that all of a sudden, you can’t taste flavours in your usual brand of vape juice any more. You adjust your airflow and power, change your vape coil, refill your tank, but still you get no flavour. However, the symptoms of Vaper’s Tongue seem to disappear when people switch to a different vape juice flavour.
How does Vaper’s Tongue affect vapour flavour?
Experts believe Vaper’s Tongue affects flavour because the tongue becomes overstimulated by exposure to the same vapour flavours causing taste bud receptors to shut down temporarily.
What are the symptoms of Vaper’s Tongue?
- You can’t get any flavour out of your usual e-liquid however much you adjust your device settings
- You’ll probably have been vaping the same flavour e-liquid (and not much else) for a longish period of time
- Your sense of taste comes back as soon as you start vaping a different flavour vape juice
- Don’t stick to just one vape juice flavour – switch between different flavours to keep your tongue stimulated and happy!
- Get a tongue cleaner (many toothbrushes come already equipped with them) to clean fur off your tongue before you vape
- Drink enough water between vape sessions – a dehydrated tongue is not so good at detecting flavours
If you keep an eye (and a tongue!) on how your vape should taste – and what can go wrong, you’ll be a lot closer to sorting out flavour issues when they arise.
Otherwise, your local vape store will be able to actually look at your device and tell you what’s going wrong with your flavours. Happy vaping!