The atomizer is a small part in an electronic cigarette which gets hot.
An atomizer head is also known as a coil head, or a wick, and users will often call them a burner. These are all words for the same thing, the heating element inside an e-cigarette device.
This heating element most often has absorbent wick, cotton or wadding inside (along with wire) which soaks up the e-liquid and when the atomizer is hot enough, it converts the e-liquid to vapour which is then puffed out by the user and looks similar to traditional cigarette smoke.
There are numerous different types of atomizer made by many manufacturers and they come in various different shapes and sizes.
Technology is rapidly advancing so new ones are being introduced on a regular basis, and their performance is being improved all the time.
This article has been written for the atomizers in some of our older style kit such as the Joyetech eCab, the eGo C, eGo T etc - these are e-cigs with a plastic cartridge which holds the liquid.
If you're using newer kit with a clearomizer type tank, for example Aspire, Kanger or iSmoka, please refer to this general user guidance which should be more relevant to your product.
Most of us are the same, we get something new and exciting and we want to use it straight away, and we may not take the time to understand the basics before we’re ‘trying it out’. However, when it comes to electronic cigarettes and their components, if the correct steps are not taken to ‘prime’ the new equipment it can result in poor performance, a burnt atomizer/coil/wick, and a shortened life for atomizers.
To avoid problems, it’s really important to ensure the atomizer is properly primed (procedure explained further down).
Atomizers have a limited lifetime, typically 1-2 weeks. If you're not a heavy vaper they may last a lot longer but thicker liquid will gunk them up quicker.
Ensure you carry out the necessary regular maintenance so you prolong the life of these consumables as much as possible.
The general rule is to keep atomizers moist with liquid - they shouldn't be too wet, ie flooded but they shouldn't be allowed to burn dry either.
Dry burning is a big subject in itself, and experienced users do deliberately dry burn certain types of atomizers in order to clean them. We are not recommending this process as there are so many variables but if you want to know more about this subject Google will help you.
Several factors affect the typical lifetime of an atomizer, this includes the voltage, the resistance, the amount of use and the e-liquid used in the device will also influence its life.
Using the best (the purest) e-liquid and lower nicotine strengths will help to extend the life of an atomizer, but bear in mind that even the purest liquids, flavours and nicotine will leave residues.
A predominantly VG liquid will leave more residue that one with more PG. PG v VG e-liquid comparison.
Regular cleaning is the most important factor in prolonging atomizer life and will help to reduce the build-up of residue.
Sometimes, even after you’ve carried out the initial filling of the cartridge and priming of the atomizer once, it’s still necessary to prime again to ensure that no air bubbles are blocking the flow of the liquid.
A good example of when this can be necessary is the eGo-T system (and the Joyetech eCab has the same system). In the eGo-T there is a spike directly in the centre of the atomizer that protrudes into the cartridge containing the liquid. If the cartridge is less than half full and the device is left in horizontal position for a period of time (this would take some time), then the liquid level could fall below the level of the wick (the spikey bit).
So if the wick doesn’t have liquid around it, it could dry out because the liquid has been replaced by air. When the e-cigarette is turned upright again, the air bubble could stop the flow of liquid from getting back to or through the atomizer.
Priming the atomizer again by puffing and blowing air through the cartridge and atomizer is the only way to ensure that the proper flow of liquid has resumed.
Expect your atomizers to become clogged with residue from vapourised e-liquid ingredients over a period of time.
Some liquids will cause more residue than others due to the different ingredients they contain, but in general darker colour e-liquids tend to clog atomizers more quickly than lighter colours, but this isn’t true for every single e-liquid.
As atomizers becomes clogged, they will exhibit signs that tell you they need cleaning:
If any of the above issues are happening, it’s recommended that you clean the atomizer before using it again.
By carrying out what is effectively preventative maintenance, you may be able to extend the life of the atomizer and improve or restore performance.
There are several methods for cleaning atomizers
“Blowing out” the atomizer is usually the first recommendation and can fix many issues without further ado. Simply remove the atomizer from the device, place your lips on the end that goes into the cartridge (the spikey bit) of the atomizer and blow firmly to push the excess liquid or residue onto a paper towel at the other end.
Ensure you wipe the area clean before you put your lips on it!
If you’re having problems with your eGo or eCab atomizers because the e-liquid isn’t getting into the atomizer, this information might be helpful.
If you’re experiencing, after putting a new atomizer in your unit, a few good hits, followed by a few bad hits, then no hit at all, in all likelihood the atomizer has been vaped dry and it may be ruined.
When you’re about to use a brand new out-of-the-packet atomizer (or using one that hasn’t been used for a while), follow these tips and prevent this happening to you.
E-LIQUID / JUICE INFO
COILS / ATOMIZERS
E-CIG TANK PROBLEMS
E-CIG BATTERY HELP
SUB OHM BASICS