How to Prime a Vape Coil & Why It’s Worth Doing

Many vapers don’t prime their coils. This is a shame, as it massively improves the inhalation quality and increases your system’s longevity.

Priming is essentially making sure the coil you use is fully soaked in e-liquid. This lets it have a more consistent taste, minimizing popping and dry hits

The design on some newer models takes longer for the e-liquid to be absorbed when it’s poured directly into the liquid tank—which makes priming all the more important.

There are a few different approaches to take, depending on your system—this article will be a guide on how to get the most out of your coils by priming them. It’s not a very hard process, but the advantages are massive. 

Usually, pouring the liquid directly into the tank takes about 15 minutes for it to be ready, but priming it yourself reduces this down to less than 5 minutes.

If you have a sub-ohm coil, it’s almost essential to prime it. Sub-ohm coils operate at a resistance of less than 1.0 ohm, drawing a lot of power from the battery. 

More power equals more pressure on the coil to perform, so it’s very important that it’s completely soaked in liquid.

For sub-ohm coils, there are two key steps you need to take part in: priming and then breaking in your coil.

Priming Vape Coils

Step 1: When you’ve taken your coil out of its packaging, locate the exposed bits of cotton on the side. There are probably two, opposite each other, and they’ll most likely look like white circles.

Step 2: Get your vape e-juice, and place a few drops on one of the cotton spots. Start with one or two drops, just to give it time to fully absorb. 

The first drop takes the longest, as the cotton absorbs quicker when it’s already soaked. Initially, the liquid will sit on the coil like a dome or bubble, but once this has disappeared and gone into the liquid, it will be flat. 

The bit of cotton will be colored the same as the e-liquid.

Step 3: Repeat this process until the liquid stops getting absorbed into the cotton, and sits on it in the aforementioned bubble. It’s very important to not drown the coil and only to soak it a little bit.

Step 4: Repeat the process with the other bits of cotton you can see—there’s probably one or two more.

Step 5: Once you’ve done this, turn the coil upright. 

On most coils, you’ll be able to see a ring of cotton going around the inside. You want to prime this, too. 

It’s even more important as this is the part that gets vaporized first. Prime this until the liquid stops absorbing quickly.

That’s basically all you need to know about priming. It’s a process that takes very little time, but its payoff is massive. 

It’s definitely worth doing, although some users don’t bother. You can just plug the coil into the tank, pour e-liquid into the tank and wait 15 minutes for it to be ready, but not everyone has the patience to wait that long. 

I know I don’t, and priming is over in around 3 minutes anyway.

Priming & Breaking in Sub-Ohm Coils

Priming a sub-ohm coil follows the same steps above, only this time you need to break it in as well.

Breaking in a sub-ohm coil is very similar to letting a valve guitar amp heat up—you need to slowly get it ready to be used, rather than getting it to do its purpose straight away. Not breaking in can reduce the coil’s lifespan and give you unpleasant hits.

Step 1: To begin, you need to plug the coil in once it’s finished being primed.

Fill the tank up to its full capacity or to the maximum volume line. You don’t want to under-fill it, as this can prevent the coil from absorbing more liquid than you primed it with, and you don’t want to over-fill it as it can overwhelm the system.

Step 2: Then, if your vape is adjustable, set it to the lowest setting which is usually around 5W. Take a few hits at this power. 

You may not be able to taste much, but you wouldn’t at this power anyway. Four or five hits will do.

Step 3: Increase the power by 5W, and take another 4 or 5 hits. 

Keep doing this until you reach your usual power setting. I usually go at around 140 watts, in the middle.

Step 4: If your coil tastes dry, unpleasant, or lacking in flavor, stop increasing the power. Keep inhaling it at a low temperature where it tastes acceptable, and then move up slowly. 

You may need to take more hits on it than I suggested above.

If this doesn’t work, or only works to a certain wattage, you may need to remove the coil and prime it some more as it probably hasn’t absorbed enough liquid. To remove it, turn the system off, remove the tank, and then remove the coil from there.

Priming MTL Coils

MTL stands for ‘mouth to lung’ and these coils operate higher than 1 ohm. They’re the most common for those trying to quit smoking. 

To prime these, it’s even simpler.

Step 1: You need to put the new coil in as normal, and make sure the tank has a good amount of liquid in, with the tank almost full. 

Step 2: Because their design is usually different and they probably don’t have the exposed cotton, you just have to let the coil soak itself. It’ll be usable in around 10 minutes.

I would still use the method of using it at increasingly powerful settings, just to ensure it’s ready.

Final Thoughts

Priming your coil is really easy, regardless of what type you have. Even the best coils already manufactured for flavor usually get even better when primed.

It’s definitely worth doing, not only because it helps you get the most out of your coil, but it also makes it quicker to use, as priming time is quicker than just leaving it to sort itself out. Obviously, this can’t be changed with MTL coils, but such coils don’t take too long either.