Vapes are literally designed to get hot.
Your battery is there to supply energy to a coil, which turns a portion of that energy into heat and as a result, sending a stream of vapour up the mouthpiece for you to inhale.
But when you’re new to vaping, it’s natural to be a bit uneasy if you notice excessive amounts of heat coming from your device. Your finger might drift up to the base of your tank and make you feel like you just grazed the edge of a hot frying pan.
Or maybe you’ve heard one of the many scare-stories about exploding e-cigs and ended up a bit concerned when your battery became noticeably warm. The risk of something actually going wrong with your battery in use is very low, but it isn’t quite zero, so even seasoned vapers might get a little concerned if they notice heat coming from the battery section of their device.
But the key piece of advice is “don’t panic.”
In the same way you wouldn’t worry if an electric heater was hot to the touch or if your mobile phone battery got a little warm when you were on a call, your e-cigarette being hot is not a sign of impending disaster.
As long as you’re using a regulated mod (i.e. not a “mechanical” device, and coming with the usual electrical protections), there’s almost certainly no need to panic. To put the risk into context, the London Fire Service estimates that a smoker is 255 times more likely to have a fire than a vaper, showing just how much safer modern vape devices are than cigarettes. What’s more, modern vape devices have come a long, long way since the early days of vaping, with a multitude of safety protections as standard.
(You should, however, always treat batteries with respect, as outlined in our battery safety infographic.)
In most cases, your vape getting hot is pretty much nothing but you getting a little gung-ho in your vaping, but especially if it’s the battery rather than the tank that’s getting hot, it could be a sign of a genuine problem, so it’s worth looking into and sorting out.
After all, any battery, whether it’s a mobile phone, a laptop or a vape, has a (miniscule) chance of failing, and in the event something does go wrong it’s important to know what to do with it.
Here’s a brief guide to why your vape might be getting hot and how to deal with it.
Where Is Your Vape Getting Hot? And How Hot?
The first step when your vape is getting hot is to think about what the problem is and try to work out how serious it’s likely to be.
If your vape is getting hot, it will either be coming from the battery or from the tank, particularly around where the coil is connected. Of course, heat coming from one place will radiate to the other, so it isn’t always that easy to work out where it’s coming from. Feel the base of the tank where the coil is and around the battery section – the place where it’s hottest will be the source.
The other thing to think about is how hot it’s getting. In most cases, the heat will be coming from around your coil, but even with your juice and the outer body of the tank between the coil and your hand, it can still get hot to the touch. Generally speaking, you’ll be able to touch it to test where the heat is coming from without issues but you wouldn’t exactly want to grip it for a long period of time.
If it’s too hot to even touch briefly, it’s probably a sign of a more serious issue, and it’s worth grabbing a cloth or covering your hand with your sleeve and removing the tank in case it’s auto-firing. If the heat is coming from the battery section, this could be a sign of a serious issue and in the worst case scenario you might need to take action quickly.
The Most Common Cause of a Hot Vape: Chain Vaping/Hot Coils
Chances are, if you have a hot vape, it’s going to have a pretty common (and frankly almost boring) cause. It all comes down to that fact that part of your mod or vaping device is literally designed to get hot. Electricity going to your coil and heating it up is what turns your e-liquid into vapour, and the vast majority of the time, a hot vape is going to come down to this simple point.
As anyone with a temperature control device will know, the coil itself will often reach temperatures of 300 °C / 570 °F and potentially much higher. While the outside of the tank won’t get this hot, this source of heat is the most likely reason your vape is getting hot.
So if you’re “chain-vaping,” i.e. puffing pretty much continuously for an extended period of time, your coil will definitely get hot, and this will often make the outside of your tank noticeably hot too (especially at the base where the coil is usually located). This heat will be fairy concentrated, but it often still makes the body of your mod feel warm as well.
The type of coil you’re using can also affect this. For example, even a Clapton coil (made from a central core of wire with an outer wrapping that looks a guitar string) gets hotter than a standard coil. Generally
speaking, if the coil is more complicated than a simple wound wire it will probably generate more heat than a basic type. This is especially true if you’re vaping at a high wattage.
In the vast majority of cases, either chain vaping or vaping with a higher-performance coil at high wattages will be the cause of your vape getting hot.
How to Cool Your Vape Down
The good news is that this is by far the easiest issue to fix, really because it’s not really an issue at all.
Simply stop vaping for 10 minutes or so and the problem will sort itself out. Since the coil isn’t being heated, it will all simply dissipate and cool down fairly quickly.
Possible Causes If Your Coil Always Gets Hot When You Vape
But what if you’re using a straightforward coil and not chain-vaping, but your coil still gets hot enough to notice on the outside of the tank every time you vape?
If this is the case, it’s still probably quite a mundane issue, but you’ll need to actively do something to sort it out.
One possible cause is gunk around your coil preventing it from soaking up juice as effectively. When this happens, the coil gets hot, but all of the energy your device is producing doesn’t have as much juice to absorb it, and so the temperature increases much quicker. You’ll probably notice “dry puffs” when you’re vaping if this is the case, because the wick material isn’t fully soaked, leading to slight burning of the wick and overheating of the juice.
How to Cool it Down
The quickest and easiest way to fix this issue is to switch to a new coil. If you don’t have one or want to get the most out of your existing coil, you can try to clean your coil to remove the gunky e-juice residue. This won’t always be successful (there’s only so much you can accomplish with cleaning – eventually the coil is just dead), and it does take a while to let the coil dry out again after cleaning, but you can usually remove gunk by soaking the coil in warm water or grain alcohol.
Restricted Juice Flow
The problem caused by coil gunk basically come down to wicking, because gunk reduces the ability of the wick surrounding your coil to soak up e-liquid. This same issue can happen for other reasons too, including a restricted juice flow either because of the thickness of the e-liquid or some aspect of the tank’s design. VG is thicker than PG, and juices with high VG (70 percent VG or higher) may lead to the same wicking issue. Some tanks also have “liquid flow control,” which basically lets you close off the path from the tank to the wick, and if you have this set too low it can cause the same issue.
In either case, the result is less wicking, burnt hits and the possibility of your vape getting hot around the tank and coil area.
How to Cool it Down
This is another simple fix. If you have a liquid flow control on your tank, simply open it back up and the problem should resolve itself.
If you’re using high-VG e-liquid but you’re noticing a lot of heat and dry puffs when you’re vaping, your tank might not be up to the task. Either switch to a sub ohm tank and use the same e-liquid, or pick up some e-liquid with less VG and stick with the same tank.
However, in both these cases, the wick you were using could have been burnt already, so if you’re still getting dry puffs you might have to switch to a new coil.
Wattage Too High/Your Choice of Coil
Another potential cause along the same lines as the previous too is your wattage being too high or you using a type of coil that produces a lot of heat, such as Clapton coil, tiger coil or many exotic coil types. In either case, the level of heat isn’t really a problem in that it’s to be expected with higher powers and coils with larger amounts of metal to heat. If you follow the advice in the chain vaping section and just leave it for a while between sessions everything is fine.
How to Cool it Down
Aside from just leaving it and waiting for thermodynamics to do its thing, you can keep everything a more manageable temperature by simply turning down the wattage. If you have a complex coil, though, this will notably increase the ramp-up time (the delay between pressing “fire” and the coil producing vapour), so in that case it’s probably better to just accept that the coil runs hot. You can switch to a different coil or open up your airflow, though.
If The Vapour is Too Hot When You Inhale – It Could Be Your Airflow
If it’s the vapour that’s too hot rather than your actual device or tank, it’s likely down to the airflow and wattage combination you’re using. The higher your wattage, the higher temperature your coil reaches and the hotter the vapour will be coming out of the mouthpiece. The more open your airflow is, the more cool air from outside gets mixed in with the vaporized e-liquid and the cooler the vapour will be.
The combination of these two factors can produce hot vapour. If your airflow slot is quite closed off or you’re using a small airflow hole, and if your wattage is high, it will produce a much hotter vapour.
How to Cool it Down
Simply open the adjustable airflow on your device to cool it down. Some tanks have secondary airflow slots in the mouthpiece, and these are really useful for cooling the vapour down, so use them if you have them. This will often work without turning the wattage down, but you can always turn the wattage down too if it doesn’t make enough of a difference.
If Your Vape Battery Gets Hot…
The vast majority of the time, if your vape is getting hot, it won’t be your battery and one of the above solutions will help you address the problem. But in some rare cases, the source of the heat will actually be your battery.
Serious problems are very rare, so it’s probably still nothing to worry about. Batteries work pretty much fine in external temperatures of up to 60°C, and the inside of the battery can get even hotter when they’re in use. According to vaping battery expert Mooch, batteries reach an average internal temperature of 78 °C when operating at their limit, which he uses as a cut-off for working out the true maximum current rating of a battery.
However, if you’re noticing heat from the outside of your mod, then it probably means that the inside of the battery is getting extremely hot.
There is some unavoidable subjectivity about how hot feels too hot, but think about the temperature your phone battery reaches after a long conversation to give yourself an idea of how hot batteries can get. Of course phones are much slimmer than mods and you’re much less likely to notice a difference on the outside of your mod.
A reasonable rule of thumb is: if you take your batteries out and they’re noticeably warm, that’s completely normal. If they’re actually hot – to the point where they’re uncomfortable to hold – then you should take the situation more seriously.
That said, if you notice heat coming from the battery portion of your device at all, it’s still worth looking into, and in the very unlikely event that it’s a serious issue (such as the start of “thermal runaway”) it’s important to know what to do.
Stop Vaping and Put Your Mod Away From Flammable Materials
If you notice heat from the battery portion of your mod, the first (and most obvious) thing to do is to stop vaping. If the heat seems quite extreme or you’re concerned, the safest thing to do is to remove your tank, put the mod to one side (away from anything flammable) and wait to see if it cools down.
Look for Warning Signs on the Battery if You Can
If it’s a more gentle warmth and you feel it’s safe, you can remove the batteries and inspect them. If the batteries are hot to the touch, put them down on a non-flammable surface. Listen for hissing sounds and look for bulging on the body of the battery: these are signs of potentially serious overheating.
How to Deal With Overheating Batteries
If the batteries are hot but not bulging or hissing, it’s still worth being cautious, but it’s probably just a sign that you’ve run the battery close to or even above its limit and it will cool down gradually.
With bulging or hissing, the risk of explosions or fires is much higher, because it could be entering thermal runaway. This is essentially a positive feedback loop where internal heat destabilises the battery more and leads to more heat, thus affecting the battery more and so on. Unfortunately, if this is happening there isn’t anything you can do to stop it. If at all possible, move the battery or batteries outside and let it burn out.
You can use CO2 fire extinguishers or even just water on a battery fire, but if you’ve been able to minimize any risks to anyone in the house and yourself, you can just let it burn out and deal with it after it’s cooled down.
Serious Battery Problems Are Seriously Rare
It’s worth stressing again that these serious cases of battery failure are very rare. Battery University estimates the failure rate of lithium ion cells as less than one in a million, and for quality cells it’s likely less than one in ten million. This puts it as between 100 and 1,000 times less likely than being struck by lightning in your lifetime (and honestly I’d much rather have a battery fail on me).
If your battery is getting hot, it’s probably just the heat generated from use at high powers and nothing to be concerned about. Problems are also more likely to occur during charging than ordinary use (and the same rules apply – disconnect it from the power and look for signs of issues), but even then it’s far from a common occurrence when you consider how many vapers there are.
However, if there is a sign of a potential issue (if the battery is hot to hold and especially if it shows other signs like hissing or bulging) it’s much better to be over-cautious than to assume it will be fine.
You’ll probably never need this advice, but if you ever find yourself in a potentially dangerous situation, take it seriously.
If Your Vape is Hot – Don’t Panic, But Work Out What’s Going On
Overall, if your vape is getting hot, it’s likely due to the heat-generating coil in your tank, and you can address this in several different ways. If it seems to be coming from your battery, there is a good chance that it’s actually just heat from the tank warming the body of the mod. If it really is from the battery, it’s likely to just be heat generated by a high power drain (like when your phone battery gets hot on a long call). But if the actual batteries are hot to hold, you should take precautions and move them somewhere safe as soon as you can.
Your vape will get hot sometimes in normal use, but now you know how to diagnose the issue and sort it out, you’ll stay safe even in the worst case scenario.