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How to Prime an E-Cig Coil

‘Priming’ is the process involved in making sure that the wicking material or cotton inside an e-cigarette heating coil is sufficiently wet with e-liquid before you begin to vape with it. Due to the detailed internal designs of some of the newer coils (atomiser heads, wicks, burners, coil heads), the e-liquid can take much longer to absorb.

In order to minimise the risk of experiencing a ruined coil and a burnt taste, just follow these simple steps and you will ‘break in’ your e-cigarette coils successfully:

  • Installing the coil and filling the tank

e-cig coils

For standard e-cig coils, just drip a couple of drops of e-liquid directly into the hole at the top of the coil in order to help with saturation. If you are using larger coils, you can also add a couple of drops onto the exposed cotton through the holes located around the coil.

You will normally need to fill the tank to its maximum level, but remember to bear in mind that there are one or two particular tanks, such as the Joyetech eGo ONE VT atomiser, where the manufacturer instead recommends leaving a small air pocket.  When you fill the tank, do not fill it above the central airflow tube.

Completely filling up the tank will guarantee that, when the liquid enters the coil’s wicking area (where the absorbent material or cotton is located) that a proper liquid level will be maintained during the entire priming process, and the resulting vacuum plays its part effectively

Then, screw everything back together securely, but do not over-tighten and risk ruining the seals, and always make sure the seals are seated correctly in order to prevent damage.

  • Priming

Let your filled tank sit waiting for a period of time. It can take several minutes in order for the liquid to be entirely absorbed, and completely saturate the interior of the new coil you have just installed. The liquid needs to fully saturate the coil before it is heated up, and there should be no dry areas of wicking or cotton inside the coil before pressing the fire button.


Thinner liquids are more likely to take less time. Thicker, more viscous liquids as well as those with a higher level of VG (vegetable glycerin) and larger coils are likely to take a little longer to prime.

You can also speed up the process by drawing on an e-cig without pushing the fire button, as this will help pull the liquid into the coil. Draw from the mouthpiece as normal, but do not press the battery button. This is known as a dry hit.

The suction created as you draw will enable the liquid to be pulled into the absorbent material inside the coil so that it then becomes sufficiently saturated. If you have adjustable airflow then this reduces the air coming in whilst you are priming. You can do this by covering the area with a finger, and if it still feels airy then you can do the same with a contact pin when it is not connected to the mod or battery.

Take a few gentle draws without pressing the battery button. Five draws is recommended, but it can vary depending on which device you choose. If you keep on drawing or suck too hard then the chances of getting liquid in your mouth or flooding your coil is more likely. All you need is the coil to be wet through.


Until you are familiar with your coils, let your device sit for a little while after filling. This could be anything from five minutes to half an hour before you try to use an e-cig. Take your time when installing a new coil and filling the tank, as if you are in a rush then you very well may make some mistakes. It is extremely easy to burn coils and get an unpleasant taste in your mouth, so take your time.

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