How to refill electronic cigarette cartridges

Posted on August 28th, 2009 by Jack Stone

If you’ve had the pleasure of experiencing electronic cigarettes as a smoking alternative, you may be to the point where you want to experiment with different flavor nicotine solutions. Some brands’ cartridges are specifically meant to be refilled manually, while other brands’ cartridges, like those from BluCigs, are meant to be ordered prefilled. Although you can refill BluCigs cartridges manually, I’ve been told that it voids the product warranty, although, to be perfectly honest, I’m not sure how anyone would ever know you manually refilled cartridges should you need to get the product replaced under warranty. Anyway, here’s a little how to for those looking to save a little extra cash by manually refilling their electronic cigarette cartridges.

Buy Some Nicotine Liquid

The first thing you’ll need to do is purchase some nicotine solution, also known as “e-liquid,” from any number of different retailers online. If you’re looking for something with the strongest “throat hit” – that bite you feel in your throat when you hit a real cigarette – look at Totally Wicked. They ship from the UK, but are a very reputable retailer with a high quality liquid with a strong throat hit.

Some other brands you may want to look at purchasing, all of which I’ve sampled and all are reputable retailers of e-liquid, are PureSmoker, TrueVapor, and LiteCigUSA. My own personal favorite is the Menthol flavor from LiteCigUSA.

E-Liquid is most commonly sold in small eye-dropper bottles of 10ml each, but you can also buy bottles of 50ml or more if you really want to. Stick with the 10ml until you find something¬† you like, each 10ml bottle seems to last the equivalent of around a couple cartons-worth of smoking, so it’s plenty to start with.

Remove the old cartridge

Once you have a liquid, it’s time to remove the cartridge from the electronic cigarette. Most brands are pretty easy, and you probably assembled it when you first got the e-cig, so just slide the cartridge off the device, making sure not to lose the filler material inside the cartridge (usually a cotton swab looking material). That little fabric filler is what holds the e-liquid in the cartridge in contact with the atomizer wick.

Once you’ve removed the cartridge, simply drop four to five drops of e-liquid inside of the large opening of the cartridge so that it falls onto the fabric inside. Anymore than four to five drops and you may suck some liquid into your mouth the next time to hit the cigarette. If you find that four or five drops isn’t enough, repeat this process, adding one or two drops more each time until you get solid vapor production when taking a drag.

If you happen to drop too much liquid into the cartridge and end up sucking some through when taking a drag, just pull the cartridge off and stick a piece of paper towel down into the cartridge to suck up some of the excess liquid.

Replace the newly filled cartridge

Now go ahead and replace the cartridge the same way you took it off, make sure your battery is charged, and take a drag. Start with a really light drag at first to make sure you don’t suck any liquid through as a result of overfilling. Once you’re comfortable that you didn’t overfill the cartridge, enjoy your newly-refreshed electronic cigarette cartridge like normal.

I’ve found manually refilling cartridges to be fairly simple and a bit cheaper than purchasing prefilled cartridges, however, prefilled is the easiest way to go if you don’t want to mess with the manual refill process. The one thing you need to watch out for is dropping too much liquid into the cartridge, as this will end up being sucked through the tip the next time to take a drag. It’s not the end of the world if this happens, it just tastes bad. That’s all there is to manually refilling electronic cigarette cartridges.


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