Telephone Monday - Friday 9am - 6pm Call 0161 209 3566

Ecig Tank Guide - Complete Guide For New Vapers

Ecig Tank GuideYou can have the fanciest most badass mod in your hand but if your tank is not up to the job, for example, it's leaking or it's not delivering that hit you want, then your vape experience will suffer.

So let’s take a general look at all things tank. From your basic Mouth To Lung [MTL] and DTL [Direct To Lung] or Sub Ohm and we’ll touch a little on the seemingly endless list of other styles of tanks out there.

We’ll take a look at the common issues, us vapers, can have with our tanks and look at simple ways to both prevent and fix them. By the end of this

By the end of this ecig tank guide, you should be a lot more comfortable with getting the best from your tank!

First up a quick glossary of, at times, a bewildering list of different kinds of tanks.

Vape Tanks Glossary

  • MTL: Mouth to Lung – lower wattage use
  • DTL: Direct to Lung – higher wattage sub ohm vaping
  • RBA – Rebuildable atomiser
  • RDA – Rebuildable dripping atomiser
  • RDTA – Rebuildable dripping tank atomiser
  • Clearomizer – Tank made from clear plastic
  • Atomiser – The gizmo that turns liquid into vapour
How A Ecig Tank Works

We’ll get on to the rebuildable tanks later. Right now let's concentrate on the basic anatomy of both an MTL and DTL tank.

An MTL tank is for lower wattage vaping – thinner e-liquid [usually a 50-50 mix more on that later] and in my case at least higher nicotine levels.

However, both tanks are, in general, pretty much the same when we take them apart and look at the bits and bobs – excuse my technical speak there.

The Components

For this, we’ll be using the Aspire Nautilus 2 Tank – used predominantly for MTL vaping so ideal for newbies or vapers like me who like both styles of vaping.

I strongly believe this tank is an excellent piece of kit, that delivers superb flavour and given it’s used at lower power, it still manages decent cloud production.

OK - if take any tank apart and you’ll find:

  • The drip-tip
  • The top cap
  • The tank
  • Tank sheath – a protective cage on some tanks
  • The coil – including the atomiser
  • The base
  • O-Rings or seal rings


aspire nautilus 2 exploded tank view

It might all look a little daunting – especially for newcomers to vaping – but trust me. As the least technical person on the planet, I can take them apart and put them back together without any bits left over!

A good tip is to take your new tank apart as soon as you open the box – in some cases, you might need to as the coil might not be screwed in!

It is also a good idea to ‘sniff ya tank’!

No, nothing kinky lol – but you’ll be surprised, how many tanks out there arrive with a thin film of machine oil left on them.

It is rare these days but can and does happen – we’ll get to cleaning your tanks later.

How a Tank Works

Now, this is the case for both MTL and DTL tanks, as they pretty much do the same job, only the MTL tank will likely be at less wattage.

Once put together and filled with e-liquid, you press the fire button which heats the coil. The coil then heats up the e-liquid that saturates the cotton.  This all happens as you’re taking a drag which results in the clouds of vapour we all adore.

Obviously, the more power/wattage into the coil - theoretically the more vapour and flavour you will get.

Of course, this can vary with different tanks and especially the different coils and indeed the type of e-liquid used.

We’ll get onto coils and e-liquids later – but that in a nutshell is how an e-cigarette works.

Are All Tanks Created Equal?

Yes and No!

They may all have the same working components. However, there are some subtle differences.

First up and quite obviously the size of the tank.

Under the new TPD legislation all tanks sold in Europe from May 20th 2017, can only have 2ml capacity – I know it’s crazy, don’t get me started!

However, savvy manufacturers are working out ways to get around that. In some cases, with extension kits or as is the case with the Aspire Cleito EXO. Adding different sized coils to increase or decrease the capacity.

Some tanks allow you to use your own drip tip to get that ‘matchy-matchy’ look. Others can switch from MTL to DTL vaping by changing to a different coil.

And most important of all is to check the device you want to put your shiny new tank on has the right connection!

In general, there are two types of connection – there are a few more though very rare these days.

  • Ego Style Connection: predominantly used for ego pen style vape devices
  • 510 Connector: pretty much industry standard 5mm x 10mm = 510
510 ecig connector

You can get your hands on an ego adapter so as to fit a 510 tank on your device should you wish to – but not vice versa.

Most, if not all the vape gear sold on will have the 510 connection.

Join the Resistance!

It’s time to put our thinking caps on for a moment, I’ll keep this as simple as I can.

Getting the right wattage to your stock coil [the one that came in the box], is the most important part of vaping.

Let’s look at the two coils that come with the Nautilus 2.

aspire nautilus 2 coils

One is a 1.8 ohm whilst the other is 0.7 ohm.

You can also see that Aspire has kindly given you the correct wattage to use the coil.

The amount of wattage you send to the coil creates the voltage which then fires the coil.

The ohm is the resistance which, in simple terms is the amount of heat the coil can generate.

The higher the resistance – the less heat the coil can generate. The 1.8ohm does not need as much power as the 0.7ohm to fire the atomiser.

And you can see that clearly.

The 1.7ohm coil operates between 10 to 14 watts whilst the sub ohm [below 1.0ohm] needs a little more power, in this case between 18 and 23 watts.

Therefore the lower the resistance [the ohm figure] the more power/wattage it needs to turn the e-liquid into vapour.

Now that is an extremely basic explanation and if you are at all concerned or wish to find out more - I suggest you do your own thorough research. Or drop us a line and we'll try to help you out!

Suffice it to say, when we’re talking about MTL and DTL tanks – the stock coils provided pretty much have all that information etched on them.

I advise you to check and set your wattage correctly to avoid that dreaded burning taste!

Picking The Right Ecig Tank

This might sound obvious but getting the right tank – particularly if you’re coming off the stinkies – is perhaps the most important aspect of vaping.

The same can be said for the type of e-liquid you choose, which we’ll look at shortly.

I have seen so many people give up on vaping because they’ve bought or been sold the wrong set-up.

When it comes to all those fancy new high powered mods out there, most of them do allow you to vape at lower wattages.

The ever popular and extremely solid performing CoolFire IV TC 100, can hit as high as 100watts but also as low as 6watts.

There’s a lot of power in that mod and given it can take on a wide range of coil resistances it’s a great choice for someone who may be considering trying or moving onto sub ohm vaping at a later date.

I’m getting ahead of myself a little – but it is important that your device is capable of powering whichever coil you have in your tank!

MTL Tanks

In general, these tanks mimic the smoking experience – you inhale, hold it in your mouth, before drawing it into your lungs.

Tanks to consider: Aspire Nautilus 2 - Innokin T20 Prism

aspire nautilus 2 ecig tank

DTL Tanks

These are the sub ohm tanks, you inhale directly into your lungs, creating huge vapour clouds.

Tanks to consider: Aspire CleitoSMOK TFV8 Baby - Uwell Crown 3 Mini Tank

uwell crown 3 mini tank

I have seen far too many new vapers sold high powered mods, with sub ohm tanks and they’ve simply gone back to the cigs.

Nine times out of ten, the reason being sub ohm vaping is a whole different vape experience that in no way mimics smoking a cancer stick.

I’ll talk about nicotine levels in e-liquid shortly.

If you are a newcomer to vaping, desperate to quit smoking go down the MTL route, it’s that simple.

There’s plenty of time to ‘chuck those clouds’ – let’s get you to quit smoking first!

Choosing The Right E-Liquid For Your Ecig

We could write a whole new chapter on types of e-liquids but let’s keep this simple.

The basic contents, of pretty much all e-liquids out there, are PG [Propylene Glycol ] and VG [Vegetable Glycerine] – in some cases nicotine and of course flavouring.

VG is thicker than PG and thicker e-liquids ‘tend’ to work better in sub ohm tanks and coils.

Higher consistency VG e-liquids – particularly the sweeter flavours – can and do tend to wear out your coils quicker.

So next time you’re tempted by a delicious sounding e-liquid, keep one thing in mind.

A 50% VG and PG works better in MTL tanks. Whilst 70% VG/30% PG and upwards works better in sub ohm tanks.

As always there’s going to be slight differences depending on the tank and type of coil – but as a rule of thumb, that is a good guide.

Nicotine Levels

The nicotine level in e-liquid is measured in MG (milligrams).

In general, e-liquids are sold from 3mg nicotine to 20mg nicotine.

The higher the level of nicotine the harder the throat it.

In other words, someone transitioning from smoking to vaping would need a higher level of nicotine.

Not only will this help stop the craving for a cigarette, as your nicotine levels rise – more nicotine does indeed give a throat hit – which mimics the effect of inhaling a cigarette.

So for MTL vaping and whilst you, of course, don’t have to use a higher nicotine content it is preferable to help you quit.

As we’ve already seen most of the higher level nicotine e-liquids come in a 50/50% mix of VG and PG.

Given the coils are smaller – particularly the juice flow holes on the coils – the e-liquid needs to be a little runnier in order to get into the cotton inside the coil!

Obviously, with DTL coils, the juice ports are wider – there’s more cotton and the gloopier e-liquid is more easily soaked up!

Part Two: Using Your Tank

First up you’ll need to fill your tank.

There’s a variety of ways to do this depending on the design of the tank.

  • Top Fill
  • Side Fill
  • Bottom Fill


By far the easiest and cleanest is a top fill tank – a simple case of unscrewing the top and filling.

Bottom fillers can be a bit trickier and side fills whilst still around are not as popular these days.

If you’re unsure then remember what I suggested earlier – once you get your tank take it apart a few times – read the manual and you’ll be good to go.

Ecig Coils

Whilst the majority of tanks and even complete kits come with a coil already screwed in – it’s a good idea once you’ve taken everything apart to remove the coil.

Not only will this show you how it’s done – when it’s time to swap coils you’ll need to drain your precious e-liquid – it will also enable you to prime your coil and check the correct wattage required.

Before we get to priming, let’s look at when to change your coils.

It’s pretty obvious but as soon as the flavour dips significantly – if the vapour begins to taste funky or you get that horrible burning taste, then it's time to change that coil!

There is a school of thought that stock coils can be cleaned and reused.

There’s plenty of YouTube tutorial videos out there, however, I have tried them all and trust me, all the methods leave a weird taste with the coil never quite being the same – buy some fresh ones!

Increasing the Life of Your Coils

Generally speaking, an MTL coil lasts significantly longer than a DTL coil – that’s my experience anyway.

I currently have a Nautilus 2 MTL 0.7ohm coil on the go and a Cleito 0.2ohm coil.

The Nautilus 2 is set at 21 watts with a 50/50 e-liquid and I’ve so far had 3 weeks use and it’s showing no signs of dying on me.

However, the Cleito coil put in at the same time and operating at 67.5 watts is starting to show slight browning around the juice ports, which tells me it’s not long left on this earth – maybe a few more days.

So let’s look at some good practice to keep your coils going longer.

Priming Your Coils

When you look at your coil, you’ll see juice ports where you can see the white cotton peeping out.

Before you do anything else drizzle a tiny amount of e-liquid on them – not too much a drop will do.

This tells the cotton to begin sucking and once your tank is filled correctly, the already damp cotton will soak in much easier.

It’s a good idea to leave that standing for at least 10 minutes so the cotton has soaked right through to the core.

Remember if the cotton is too dry on the coil – you will get that horrible burning taste and ruin a perfectly good coil.

Cleaning Your Ecig Tank

We’ve already taken our tank apart and had a good look at the components.

If you detect that machine oil smell then you’ll need to clean it.

However, it’s also good practice to clean your tanks regularly – particularly when changing e-liquid flavours for obvious reasons.

I am a real clean freak and clean my tanks weekly.

All you need is hot water and maybe a soft cloth – some folks use detergent, I don’t.

Real vaping enthusiast use Ultra Sonic cleaners – something I’m yet to try but is on my shopping list.

It is advisable to let them air dry once you’ve cleaned/rinsed them out.

Keeping your tanks clean and removing the O-rings to get at those ‘gunky’ bits, will increase the lifespan of your tank and give you a much better vape experience.

Common Ecig Tank Problems

Like anything and even if you follow good practice things can go wrong.

So let’s look at a couple of issues we can have with our tanks.

Flooding the Coil

You get the sound of sucking the last bit of milkshake through a straw and a mouthful of e-liquid.

Generally, you’ve overfilled your tank causing too much liquid to flood the cotton and it can’t cope.

On some tanks there’s a max fill line – it’s a good idea to not go over that!

The remedy is to drain the e-liquid – take the tank apart and dry things off gently before putting the whole thing back together with less e-liquid!

It might take a couple of attempts for the cotton to lose saturation point – but you’ll get there in the end.

Make sure you pay particular attention to the mouthpiece as e-liquid might still be in there.

Help My Tank’s Leaking!

This can be annoying but by following a few simple, if a little obvious steps - you should solve the issue easily enough.

Make sure everything is screwed together correctly – not over tight or cross threaded.

Check the glass part of the tank for cracks.

If there’s any damage to the glass replace immediately – most tanks come with a spare if not see if the company offers replacements.

Check all the O-Rings. These are the little rubber seal rings you see at all the connection points. Again, most tanks come with a spare bag of these – replace any or all that are looking worn or loose.

Help I’m Getting a Burning Taste!

Yuk! I feel your pain.

We’ve all been there!

The reasons for that burning taste are usually for the most obvious of reasons.

It could be you’re sending too much power to your coil and it can’t cope – check your wattage!

The coil might be dry at the core meaning the e-liquid is not getting to the centre – you need to PRIME!

You could be chain vaping and the coil can’t keep up!

The e-liquid might be the wrong mix for the coil – see above.

Your tank might be almost dry – keep an eye on the juice levels and make sure the e-liquid is getting to the juice ports. You don’t need to keep it fully topped up but too low a level and the centre of the coil may dry out.

Finally, the coil might just have given up the ghost.

This could be down to length and amount of use. An e-liquid that has coated the coils and begun burning or more likely the coil has run its course.

Whilst we can never get a coil to last forever – we can eke out a few more days – even weeks – by following the simple steps listed above.


By choosing the right tank – the right coil and the right e-liquid, you will get the best experience out of vaping.

As I’ve already mentioned, far too many people give up and go back to the nasties because they have been sold the wrong set up. Follow the above steps and if you're still not sure, ask us and we'll be sure to help!

Get the right kit for your needs – especially the tank – and you can kiss goodbye to smoking and enjoy all those health and financial benefits that come with quitting.

And remember any issues you might have with either leaking or horrid tastes all have simple explanations and solutions.

Vape On!

8 thoughts on “Ecig Tank Guide - Complete Guide For New Vapers”

  • roy willis

    Thank you for a very clear and informative article.
    I've been vaping for the past 8 years but I found the content to be really helpful.
    Particularly, the information on coils and MTL/DTL were first class.
    Kind regards,
    Roy Willis.

    • vapour

      So good to hear Roy! I'm glad you found the article helpful. There will be more helpful articles like this to come over the next month, so keep your eyes peeled! Thanks again, Carla

  • Mark Cassell

    Although there was nothing I didn't really know in this or your other articles, I really wish I had bumped in to content like this when I first tried vaping, it would have probably saved me another 18 months- 2 years of smoking. Spent lots of money in vape stores after being being given poor information. Hours on hours trawling the internet for the right information. The chances of you giving up smoking are increased by so much, if you get the correct set up first time. Good work ! I will point anyone who is interested in switching to vaping in this direction.

  • Steve

    I cannot turn the cap on it comes up Locked click 5 x.
    But when I click it 5 times nothing happens..

  • Andres

    Hi, I’ve recently bought an Innokin Proton and have the mesh coil applied. I’m currently got it at 65 watts but I’m finding that my tank is heating up to the point we’re its dangerously hot.

    Have I not done something correctly or do I have a faulty product?

    Thanks in advanced.

    • vapour

      Hi Andres -

      How long have you had the coil in? Also, what is your vaping style? This is a common problem if you chain vape. If you're vaping 3/4 puffs on the bounce the tank will get very hot. It's not uncommon for tanks to get hot when vaping, some tanks get hotter than others.


Leave a Reply