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Why is My Vape Spitting, Popping and Gurgling?

16th Nov 2022

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? Or perhaps you’re hearing a loud crackling sound every time you vape?

Not to worry, ‘spit back’, crackling noises, popping and even gurgling sounds are common issues that often occur regardless of the device, vaper using it, technique preferred and their experience level. Rest assured there are ways to fix minor setbacks such as these - you just need to know why they happen and adjust accordingly!

What we know is it’s the case with all vapes that they make some sort of noise, whether it’s a slight hissing sound or a bit of crackling.

Reading this guide will explain other reasons why spitting, crackling, gurgling and popping occur, plus give you all the necessary information to avoid these frequent mishaps. Quickly realising these issues and dealing with them correctly can not just save you time, but money and reduce unnecessary hassle too.

Why is My Vape Spitting?

We’ve all been there when vaping. Heating your e-liquid the wrong way can produce a shock effect - bubbling over the surface and occasionally spitting e-liquid drops into the mouth. Not pleasant at all!

Your vape spitting usually coincides with e-liquid collecting on the coil. This then heats at a high temperature in the wrong area instead of vaporising as normal. Just imagine a drop of oil or water landing on an oven hob when cooking, sizzling from intense heat and then beginning to crackle and pop. It’s the same when you don’t treat your vape correctly.

As well as coil heating in the wrong place, you may also be using vape juice that doesn’t match your device. One that may be too thin for the power and heat of your device. Priming the coil too much by adding more e-liquid than you need to or the vape juice getting stuck in the chamber from dragging too hard and for too long are other reasons why spit back may occur.

Rest assured it’s not damaging if a couple of drops of vape juice land in the mouth or on the lips, it’s just unpleasant more than anything!

And What About That Crackling Sound My Vape Makes?

Short and sharp crackling sounds from your vape tend to occur more with Sub-Ohm devices. They need more power and heat to vape high VG e-liquids from a low-resistance coil. But the thicker e-liquid also works in your favour to reduce the noise emitting from your device.

On the other hand, a traditional mouth-to-lung kit will require high PG thinner e-liquids that make a crackling sound for longer and louder because there is a lack of viscosity, taking longer to evaporate and block the noise from your tank or pod.

So it’s about picking and choosing what’s less irritating for you as a personal preference. Remember that any noises often tend to be louder when you get a new vape, which needs time to bed in the new coil and vape juice. Over time the noise should reduce.

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 vaping experience.

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.

Methods to Fix the Issue

From experience in the office and reading the thoughts of like-minded vapers that have come across the same issues on Reddit (don’t worry we’re all in the same boat), we have a few quick fixes and advice below - with the number one tip appearing to be the best way to solve crackling sounds and spit back:

Woman Filling Vape With High VG E-Liquid

  1. Occasionally vapers may gunk up their coils quickly by oversaturating them with e-liquid. Priming excessively by dropping too much e-liquid into the centre of the coils appears to be the main issue. So to prevent that happening, we advise those that get adjustable airflow (most devices) that you open the airflow up completely, activate the device and blow into the mouthpiece instead of drawing out the vapour through normal inhalation.

    This in turn clears out some of the oversaturated vape juice and prevents spit back because you’re reducing the pressure and not adding to the problem. This will allow the e-liquid to go back through the tank into the cotton without dampening the cotton wick too much. Do this after every refill of your tank and thank us later!
  2. Don’t overfill your tank. This will lead to coil flooding, like when you overflood a car with engine oil. Simply leave a bit of room at the top to cover any unwanted mishaps. Clean often with cotton buds or gently with damp paper towel edges to ensure no further gunk build-up or excess e-liquid.
  3. 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. Going too low can mean the e-liquid won’t vaporise correctly, leading to spit back.
  4. 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.
  5. Reduce the airflow vent, adjusting it 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 lung vaping. Essentially, find a happy medium level.
  6. You can sometimes get little drops of e-liquid that stick in the drip tip (mouthpiece). What’s best to do is hold the device firmly, put some dry paper towel on a surface and turn the vape upside down, flicking the mouthpiece onto the towel to allow any drops to seep out.

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.

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.

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.


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 a crackling vape 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. Even if spit back does occur, it’s not a serious threat to your health if inhaled.

Remember that vaping is still a much better cessation tool for quitting smoking and has 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.