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Why is My Vape Spitting, Popping and Gurgling?

25th Mar 2021

Man Holding Vape Spitting and PoppingSo you’ve picked up your vaping device, ready to inhale away on your new e-liquid and suddenly some hot e-liquid jumps up at your mouth? Spitting, popping and gurgling is a common issue that can happen to vapers of all levels. Rest assured there are ways to fix it - preventing that gurgling noise that sounds like an old-fashioned steam train leaving the station. A few simple tricks and you’re ready to get back to vaping, with an improved sound when you inhale.

Typically it happens to Sub-Ohm vapers who require more e-liquid in their tank at a higher heat. However, it can happen with vape pens and the odd vape pod too. No matter the level, nobody likes getting hot e-liquid in the mouth instead of vapour.

Reading this guide will explain why it occurs, plus give you all the necessary information to avoid this frequent mistake. Understanding why your vape may pop and spit e-liquid, with a few quick fixes, can not just save you time, but money and reduce unnecessary hassle too.

Why is My Vape Spitting and Popping?

We’ve all been there when vaping. Just like when water reaches the boil in your kettle, heating your e-liquid can produce a similar effect - bubbling over the surface and occasionally into the mouth. Not pleasant at all! If that liquid reaches the centre of the coil or even worse in the mouthpiece and does not change into vapour, here lies the main problem.

Unfortunately, there are a few different causes for your vape spitting and popping. This can range from the vape device being at too low a wattage, preventing the e-liquid from heating up correctly, to over-priming your coil. That’s when you saturate your wick (often organic cotton) with too much e-liquid. Other reasons include the airflow getting blocked because of water which forms from vapour condensation. That works its way from the tank through the passage connecting to the mouthpiece, often referred to as the ‘chimney’.

As you can see, there could be any number of reasons for your vape popping and spitting. But have no fear, we have a few solutions that work. Below are several ways to resolve the dilemma and get back to what you do best.

Methods to Fix the Issue

Although it may seem like a daunting task, you have just as many quick fixes to maintain a steady and enjoyable experience vaping. Here are our top picks:

  1. Careful not to overfill your tank! This will lead to coil flooding. Simply leave a bit of a room at the top to cover any unwanted mishaps.
  2. Another handy tip if you have a full tank is to wrap some tissue around the tank with the mouthpiece connected and puff a few sharp exhales. Other ways include tipping the vape on its side and blowing into the device or turning the wattage up (if it has a variable option), vaping the right side up and exhaling into your mouthpiece while pressing the fire button. Based on the YouTubeWoman Filling Vape With High VG E-Liquid social comments from this video, these methods proved popular with many vapers.
  3. Opt for a lower Propylene Glycol (PG) ratio in your e-liquid. If it is too high in PG, it will be thin, causing that frustrating crackling sound. This is due to your device flooding with too much e-liquid. It’s advised to vape at a high wattage using a Sub-Ohm device, a 70% VG to 30% PG, an ideal ratio for not just bigger clouds and temperature but reducing the chances of excess e-liquid entering your mouth. However, even if you have the right ratio, a clear sign that you’re flooding the coil is if your vapour production starts to decrease.
  4. Increase the wattage in line with the coil recommendations, not exceeding but preferably in the top bracket. Slowly work your way up in increments of 5-10W and see if that helps reduce the gurgling sound and spitting.
  5. Keep the device clean, especially by maintaining the tank and coil, to keep it clear of excess e-liquid.
  6. Ensure you take short and sharp inhalation to maximise flavour and create enough time for the e-liquid to heat into vapour effectively. Also, make sure you’re using the correct inhalation technique, read everything about MTL and DTL here.
  7. Reduce the airflow vent, adjusting to suit based on what wattage you vape at. If you keep it too wide open, more e-liquid will seep into the coil. However, don’t close the airflow completely either because that restricts direct to lung vaping. Essentially, find a happy medium level.

Does Popping and Spitting Only Occur With Advanced Vape Mods?

As discussed earlier, spitting and popping can happen to all types of vapes. Whether you use a vape mod or vape pod, simply treating your device with care can go a long way. Otherwise, you even run the risk of your vape leaking as well, which can be read in more depth here.

While pre-filled pods avoid the fuss of needing to add your e-liquid, most vapers tend to prefer topping up their e-liquid themselves. These days you can find starter kits that provide an impressively high wattage count should you need it. However, most vapers tend to go with a vape mod anyway because it facilitates a higher VG e-liquid ratio with greater ease.

Man Using Vape Mod

What is That Gurgling Sound?

Just like with a car, it can be off-putting and slightly worrying when you hear a noise you didn’t hear before. Similar to flooding an engine, you can do the same with your coil. When your vape begins to make a gurgling sound, you expect the worst. Because you’re dealing with an electronic device that has a heating element and liquid mixed together, some sort of reaction is expected. When there is too much e-liquid, not all of it will vaporise to create the vapour needed to inhale.

A little crackling typically happens whenever you vape because all of these parts are working together. It’s when the gurgling noise increases and intensifies that you need to take immediate action. What ends up happening is you get a damaged coil that requires replacing. The tips above can help to fix the issue, but regular coil changing is the easiest route for a smoother experience vaping. Another top tip that’s often overlooked but frequently happens - ensure your device is assembled securely. That could help to address that gurgling sound. Plus, whenever you top up your e-liquid, always make sure all parts are screwed in tight before hitting the fire button or activating the draw automatically from the mouthpiece.

Is E-Liquid Spitback Dangerous?

As we know, vaping e-liquid is a much wiser option as an alternative compared to smoking cigarettes. Organisations such as Public Health England (PHE), the NHS and Cancer Research UK tell us as much with yearly reports on the subject.

Containing vegetable glycerin, propylene glycol, sweeteners and nicotine (also available nicotine-free) in all e-liquids, it’s only the latter ingredient that exists in cigarettes. It’s an addictive substance but as PHE states ‘ electronic cigarettes pose no risk of nicotine poisoning to users'. So when you get e-liquid spit back containing all of the ingredients in your vape, any amount whether big or small will not cause bodily harm. (Image credit: PHE)

Public Health England Statistic on Vaping Harm vs Smoking


The way vaping continues to evolve, as it has done for more than a decade, the industry will only find more new technologies and innovations such as the ‘anti spit back drip tip’ to help vapers. To new vapers and even existing ones, the sound of gurgling or the spitting of hot e-liquid in your mouth does not sound appealing. However, now with this guide and a few tricks up your sleeves, you’ll be able to solve common problems that concern vapers.

Remember that it’s still a much better cessation tool for quitting smoking and proven twice as effective as other nicotine replacement therapies (NRT). A little bit of vape maintenance, choosing the right e-liquids and increasing the wattage where needed will help you not only find the perfect level to vape but create a quieter and safer inhalation too. If you have any further questions about the device you’ve selected spitting, popping or gurgling, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of the customer service team at V2 Cigs.