It doesn’t matter if you’re a brand-new vaper or have been enjoying your vape for quite a while; the odds are pretty high that you’ve experienced at least a few vape leaks in your time. From a stray drop or two to an entire tank full of precious e-juice, no vaper wants to be faced with the frustration of a leaking vaporizer tank. And unfortunately, it doesn’t really matter what type of vape you’re working with – virtually nobody is completely immune to this all-too-common vape issue.
But luckily, there are plenty of easy fixes for a leaking tank, as well as a long list of preventive measures you can take to avoid it happening again. With this handy guide to why vape tanks leak and how to fix them, you’ll know exactly how to stay dry and get back to enjoying a wonderfully satisfying vape.
How Do I Know if I Have a Leaky Vape Tank?
Noticing that your vape tank is leaking might not be as simple as you’d think, especially if the leak is occurring when your device is in storage. Sometimes, a leaking vape tank can release just a couple of drops here and there, and you might not realize it until a significant mess has been made. Other times, a steadier leak leaves you with e-juice all over your hands or face – that’s a leak that’s tough to miss.
Ultimately, being generally aware of your vape and the shape it’s in will help you stay on top of potential leaks. If you notice that your device seems sticky or wet when you take it out of your pocket or purse, it’s pretty likely that there’s a slow leak.
Why is My Vape Tank Leaking?
There are a variety of reasons behind a vape tank that won’t stop leaking, most of which require no more than a few minutes and minimal effort to fix. Often, a leaky tank is a simple matter of user error and can be easily resolved with a small shift in your vape routine. Other times, a leak in your vape tank could be caused by a device defect, which might mean you need to replace a part – or maybe even opt to invest in a new tank altogether.
Whatever the cause behind a leaking vape tank, once you pinpoint the issue, you’re already well on your way to fixing it for good.
14 Tips to Fix a Leaky Vape Tank
Ready to troubleshoot a leaking vape tank? For the majority of vapers, it’s surprising to learn just how easy it can be to fix a tank that leaks. In fact, you might just discover that fixing the problem actually takes less time, effort, and frustration than cleaning up yet another e-liquid mess.
Here are our top 14 quick and easy tips to stop a leaking vape tank:
1. Make sure you’re filling your vape tank correctly.
Refilling a vape tank might seem like a no-brainer task, but did you know that there’s actually a certain technique you should be using? One of the most common causes of a leaky vape tank is an easy-to-make mistake that happens during the process of filling up the tank. All vape tanks are constructed with a central tube, which extends upwards from the coil to the device’s mouthpiece. When you’re topping off your tank, e-juice can sometimes spill into this tube. Unfortunately, that’s a perfect recipe for a leaking or gurgling tank.
Switching up how you fill up your vape tank will help you avoid getting e-juice in this tube, and thus head off a considerable number of leaks. First, picture yourself pouring a glass of your favorite beer or soda: your tank is the glass, and the e-juice is the beverage. Tilt the tank as you fill it, so that the e-liquid runs down the interior wall of the tank, completely avoiding the central tube. As the e-juice level gets closer to the top of the tank, slowly level out the tank and hold it straight.
If some e-juice still ends up in the central tube of the tank, all is not lost – you can clean it out pretty easily. Hold a tissue at the end of the tube, then carefully blow out any excess juice. Alternatively, tap the tank into a piece of tissue to get out any last drops.
2. Don’t overfill your vape tank.
It can be tempting to try to fill your tank all the way to the top, especially if you’re hoping to extend your vape time between refills.
But putting too much e-juice in the vape tank can actually cause leaks, and you’ll end up wasting your vape sessions trying to clean up a sticky mess. Instead, when you fill the tank, stop before the e-liquid level reaches the top. This small air pocket will create a natural vacuum inside of the tank, holding in the e-liquid and helping reduce leakage.
3. Screw all components together securely and properly.
A vape is a finely-tuned machine, one that requires all its parts to be properly assembled in order to work its magic and create that deliciously fluffy vapor you love. If even one of the various components of a vape isn’t screwed on correctly, the resulting gap can lead to a leak.
The most common sites where gaps happen are:
- Where the coil meets the atomizer’s base
- Where the base of the coil meets up with the tank itself
Even a tiny gap in either of these spots is more than enough to start a leak. The good news is that gaps are easy to fix and even easier to avoid altogether.
When you’re reattaching the atomizer head to the base (or if you have a top-coil tank, to the top of the tank’s central tube), take your time to screw it in properly. Also, don’t rush through the process of putting the base back onto your tank. Check your coil head, even if it’s been left alone because unscrewing the tank can sometimes cause the connection to become loose. With a few extra seconds and effort, you can be confident that everything has been securely attached.
One of the most common user errors that crop up during this process is called “cross-threading.” If you don’t perfectly line up the two parts you’re screwing together, cross-threading can cause an insecure seal or in extreme cases, ruin your tank altogether. Minimize frustration and use these simple steps to avoid cross-threading as much as possible:
- Line up the two components, paying attention to the threading.
- Turn it counter-clockwise, until you hear a small click.
- Finally, screw it together in a clockwise direction.
- Stop and start over if you encounter resistance or if it seems like the parts aren’t going together smoothly.
4. Don’t overtighten during reassembly.
When you consider that loosely connected components are a major reason behind leaking, it might seem like tightening everything as much as you can is the solution. However, overtightening can actually cause the leaks you’re trying so hard to avoid, as well as leave you with damaged vape parts.
Near the threading that connects the parts of your tank, you’ll notice a set of very small rubber rings. Called o-rings, these serve the important purpose of guaranteeing an airtight seal.
But if you put too much muscle into tightening the tank parts, you’ll put excess pressure on these tiny pieces and risk damaging them. Even the smallest split or break in an o-ring provides a route through which e-liquid can escape, and you’ll end up with a pocket full of e-liquid before you’ve even realized what happened.
The key is to find the sweet spot between too loose and too tight. Aim for a secure, snug seal, but don’t strain yourself to keep tightening past the point of no return.
5. Store your vape device in a vertical position.
A good rule of thumb is that anytime you aren’t vaping, keep your tank standing up. While a vertical position is most important when the tank is less than half full, making smart storage a habit is always a good idea. When your tank is half-filled (or less), some of the “juice holes” within the coil are positioned out of the liquid. As a result, vape juice can more easily seek out through these holes, leaking into the central tube or completely escaping through your device’s airflow holes.
6. Choose the right coils to suit your favorite e-liquid.
When you invest in a new tank, you’ll usually receive a few different replaceable coils in varying resistances. The reasoning behind this is that each resistance level is designed for a specific style of vaping, and typically better-suited for certain types of vape juice. Understanding which types of vape juice pair best with which coils will help you set yourself up for leak-free success.
Coils with higher resistance levels (think above 1 ohm) are engineered to provide a similar experience to a traditional cigarette. They are designed with smaller e-juice holes, which allow a smooth and steady flow when used with higher-PG liquids. However, if you pair a higher-resistance coil with a high-VG liquid, the thicker consistency can often gunk up the coil more quickly and lead to leaks.
In contrast, low-resistance coils (below 1 ohm) are an excellent fit for higher-VG e-juices. Because these coils are typically built with larger juice and airflow holes, the thicker liquid flows through them very well. But if you put a high-PG e-juice in a tank with low-resistance coils, the thinner liquid can easily flood the tank or spill out through the tank’s airflow holes.
7. Regularly replace damaged or mispositioned o-rings.
You’ve already learned that overtightening can damage your o-rings, but sometimes, it’s just time (or factory defects) that lead to o-ring issues. It’s normal for o-rings to degrade or shift over time, and very rarely, you have the bad luck of getting one that’s faulty right out of the factory. Making a habit of checking your o-rings will help you notice the earliest signs of damage, so you can make a quick replacement and avoid leaks.
First, take apart your tank (this is typically as simple as unscrewing the separate parts). Look closely at the rubber o-rings positioned at the base of the tank and on the coil head. If they look like they’re out of their correct position or damaged in any way, it’s time to replace them. Use a small tool such as a toothpick, a pair of tweezers, or a very small flathead screwdriver to remove the old or damaged o-ring. Then, replace it with a new one of the appropriate size and design.
Depending on when you bought your tank (and which one you purchased), you might already have some spare o-rings from the box on hand. Otherwise, you’ll need to grab a set – luckily, you can easily snag a quality set for usually just a couple of dollars.
8. Add in extra seals if your vape needs it.
There are a few models of vape tanks that benefit from extra sealing where the center tube meets up with the coil head. For example, some vapers with the Aspire Nautilus Mini or Aspire Triton have found that putting an extra layer of sealing in this area results in a serious payoff for very little cost or effort. If you’ve learned that you currently own a device that’s known for needing extra seals, you don’t have to completely replace the entire tank – instead, do a little DIY-ing with this quick fix.
Depending on your tank model, you can use either a spare o-ring or make one yourself. For example, some vapers with a leaking Aspire Triton elect to trim a silicone drip tip cover to function as an extra O-ring. Others, particularly those with a leaky Nautilus, simply use the lower O-ring from an extra coil to add on. Just place your choice of seal between the upper threading and the raised ridged section, and you have potentially revived a leaky tank within just a few minutes.
9. Bump up your power or voltage.
Flooding is a common cause of leaky tanks, occurring when the coil receives more vape juice that it can effectively vaporize. The excess e-juice has nowhere to go but out, leaking through the housing and causing a frustrating mess. However, increasing your voltage or power setting can help your device vaporize more e-liquid with each puff, so your coil will be able to do a better job of keeping up. Making this switch will also intensify vapor production, as well as highlight different flavor elements in your e-juice. If that’s not optimal for your vape experience, you can always opt for a different solution: extra wicking material.
10. Use more wicking material for your RBA.
If you’re vaping with an RBA (rebuildable atomizer) and running into leaking issues, it’s nearly always the wick that’s the culprit. When you’re wicking your coils, aim for just enough cotton to fill in the area surrounding the coil – but not too much, because air needs to flow through.
You should be able to fit the cotton through the coil without it bunching up on each side when you pull it. Not enough cotton means that there isn’t sufficient material to soak up your vape juice, which is a leak waiting to happen. Next time you wick your coil for an RBA, try adding just a bit more to see if that resolves the leak.
11. Try a higher VG e-liquid.
As we mentioned earlier in the guide, higher-PG juices are considerably thinner than their higher-VG counterparts. Sometimes, cutting down on leaks is as easy as swapping out your vape juice for one with a higher VG ratio. The thicker consistency will slow down the rate at which the liquid is pulled into the coil, which will help you avoid flooding and the resulting leaks – that’s a win-win.
12. Cut down on condensation by changing your technique.
Condensation is a normal byproduct of vaping, and one that you can’t completely eliminate. However, you can help minimize condensation by making a few small shifts in your vape habits:
- As soon as you hit the firing button, take a draw.
- Once you are done inhaling, remove your finger from the firing button.
- When you clean your vape (which you should be doing regularly), make sure you’re cleaning out any e-juice condensation from the central tube. Take off the tank, put a tissue beneath where it connects to your battery, and blow gently through the mouthpiece to clear any e-juice droplets.
13. Stick with soft, slow draws.
New vapers often don’t realize that their approach to inhaling requires a bit of practice, especially those that are coming to vaping after an experience with traditional cigarettes.
When you’re smoking a tobacco cigarette, a sharper draw is the key to receiving more smoke. But the same move on an e-cig or vape doesn’t have the same results; in fact, all it does it put you at risk for flooding the coil housing.
Instead, aim for a long and gentle puff, not a fast or intense one. You’ll enjoy a smooth, steady flow of vapor, and you won’t have to worry about flooding your coil and creating a leaking issue.
14. Choose your tank wisely.
Any experienced vaper will tell you that the quality of your vape depends largely on your set-up – if you go with the cheapest, off-brand equipment, you’ll likely find yourself disappointed. Instead, find a balance between budget and quality, and choose a vape tank that’s specifically designed to be leak-resistant.
One of the best parts about the world of vaping is that innovation comes at a fast a furious rate. There are always new advancements that improve the already-impressive selection of products on the market, and the best vape brands specifically engineer new products in response to vaper feedback.
Leak-resistant vape tanks are now easier to find than ever, so shop smart and invest your vape budget where it really counts. Popular leak-resistant tanks include the SMOK TFV8 Baby Beast Sub Ohm Tank and the Uwell Crown 4 Sub Ohm Vape Tank, each one offering top-notch performance and designs specifically created to cut down on leaks.
Maintain (or Upgrade!) Your Vape with Premium Products from VaporFi
Here at VaporFi, we’re all vape enthusiasts – so we know that there are few things more frustrating than a vape device that’s not performing as it should. But whether it’s a leaking vape tank or another common vape issue, you don’t have to settle for a vape experience that’s less than your best. Instead, stock up on top-quality vape supplies, devices, tanks, and more, right here at VaporFi.
We have everything you need to get your vape experience back on track, from replacement O rings and coils to brand-name vape tanks and premium e-liquids. If you’re thinking about starting from scratch and upgrading your entire set-up, VaporFi carries an impressive variety of vape starter kits for all price points, brand preferences, vape styles, and experience levels. Plus, with our everyday low prices and free shipping, stretching your vape budget has never been easier.
Make sure you always have all your must-have vape necessities on hand and make VaporFi your first and only source for all things vape.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Hazem.m.kamal
Gianna Del Monte is the Brand Manager at VaporFi. She has been in the vaping industry since June 2015 and has extensive experience in successfully managing and marketing a variety of new vapor product launches. Originally from New Jersey, Gianna has lived in the Miami area for the last 5 years.