WARNING: This product contains nicotine.
Nicotine is an addictive chemical.

WARNING: This product contains nicotine. Nicotine is an addictive chemical.

How to Fix a Disposable Vape Pen That’s Not Hitting

Are you struggling with a brand new disposable vape not working?

Even though we have seen a tremendous rise in the quality of disposables like those we’ve included in our best disposable vapes round-up list, it doesn’t mean they are free from issues.

The most common issue is that the disposable stops firing (or hitting) or drastically loses performance.

You could be one of the unlucky users that end up with a disposable that just won’t hit or fire. However, before you dispose of the device prematurely, there are some troubleshooting tips you might want to try.

However, before we cover some practical steps into how you might resolve the issue, first, it might help to understand more about the components of a disposable vape pen. So we’ll give you a quick rundown below.

What is a Disposable Vape?

Disposables are typically one use vape devices that are non-refillable. They are designed for ease of use, and to work straight out of the box. Nowadays disposables come in different shapes and sizes, and many also have extra features like rechargeable batteries or adjustable airflow.

You can also learn more about disposable vape pens in our beginner’s guide to disposables.

What is a disposable vape pen?

Different Types of Disposable Vapes

There are several different types of disposable vape devices on the market, all designed to be used with different substances. The most common of which are Nicotine, CBD and Delta-8. The important thing to note is that even though all of these types of disposable have different pre-filled substances, they all function in the same way. All of the underlying components will be the same, which therefore means so are the issues and fixes.

What are the Components of a Disposable Vape Pen?

What are the Components of a Disposable Vape Pen?

Most disposable vapes consist of three main parts: pre-filled pod/cartridge, coil, and battery.

Pre-filled Pod/Cartridge

Most disposables, whether it’s a nicotine disposable or CBD disposable, will come with an integrated cartridge or pod. Some may be classed as a disposable vape that feature a removable pod/cartridge – but typically, these are what we call pod vapes. This means there’s not much that can go wrong with connections between the pod and the battery, as it’s all integrated. In addition, the pod will have a mouthpiece at the top that allows the vapor to enter your mouth as you inhale or draw on the device.


The atomizer coil in disposables (the heating element) is integrated into the cartridge/pod and therefore, the device. The coil is surrounded by a wicking material that is soaked (or pre-filled) with e-juice. The coil is the part responsible for heating the e-liquid as it connects directly to the battery for power, and as it heats up, it will deliver vapor through the mouthpiece. Coils will have different resistance ratings, and some may be regular round wire coils, but with most new disposables, a form of mesh coil.


The final and very significant component is the battery. Most disposable devices will have a battery with a capacity ranging from 280-1000mAh. Typically the larger the device, the larger the in-built battery. However, with newer disposables, you may find they have a small battery that is also rechargeable via USB-C. Generally, the battery size is determined by the coil’s resistance and the amount of pre-filled e-juice in the disposable. The battery is designed to last as long as the pre-filled vape juice. This isn’t the case with rechargeable disposable vapes.

Other Vital Components of a Disposable Vape

There are a few other components of a disposable battery that enable it to function. The first will be some type of airflow hole.

This enables air to travel from outside up to the coil as it is heated and then out through the mouthpiece as you inhale.

Another crucial component, the auto-draw trigger, works in conjunction with the airflow.

Nearly all disposable vape pens rely on an auto-draw trigger to activate or fire the device. They do not have a designated fire button like regular vape pens.The auto-draw trigger typically sits beneath the coil, and as you inhale, the suction of air will trigger the switch, which sends a signal to the battery to activate and start heating the coil.

How to Troubleshoot a Disposable Vape Pen

How to Troubleshoot a Disposable Vape Pen

So now you understand a little bit about the mechanics of how a disposable vape pen works and its main components. However, what are some of the common signs that a disposable vape is not working properly?

Common Problems & Signs

  • LED light blinking
  • No vapor being produced
  • Airflow feels blocked
  • Intermittent firing 
  • Stops producing vapor after a few seconds
  • Device feels too hot
  • Burnt taste
  • Leaking vape juice

If you’re experiencing a disposable vape light blinking, our guide can help you diagnose and fix the problem.

How to fix a disposable vape

How to Fix a Disposable Vape

Now you know that signs to look out for and what might cause a disposable vape pen to die. Below we will cover some simple methods to get your disposable device working again.

1. Check the Battery

Most disposable vapes will have a battery indicator light somewhere on the device. If this light on your disposable vape blinks or is not glowing or lighting up as you inhale on the disposable, the issue may be that you have a dead battery. Sadly, if the disposable is not a rechargeable one, there is very little you can do to fix it, as it’s just a manufacturing error. However, if it is a rechargeable disposable pen, plug it into a charger, and the LED light should light up if it’s receiving power.

2. Give it a Tap

This may sound daft. But sometimes, air bubbles can get trapped in the cartridge or around the coil, preventing airflow. There could also be something blocking the auto-draw switch or airflow sensor. So try tapping or flicking the side of the disposable where the pod/cartridge section is (the top of the device). This may free up anything blocking the airflow and get you back on your way to vaping.

3. Dislodge Debris from the Mouthpiece

There may be debris in the mouthpiece, another culprit for blocking the airflow and preventing your device from firing.

It’s pretty common with disposables as they are usually in and out of pockets or bags and can easily pick up lint or fluff that gets stuck in the mouthpiece. First, check to make sure nothing is blocking the airway. If there is something there, use a toothpick or safety pin to try and remove it.

4. Check E-liquid level

Does your disposable vape taste burnt? The chances are a burnt disposable vape could be low on vape juice. Unfortunately it’s not easy to see the e-juice level on all disposables as the liquid is contained within the cotton surrounding the coil. However some disposable vapes may have a slightly transparent plastic shell, so if you hold it up to the light you might be able to detect the juice level. Dried cotton will be lighter than the saturated part that contains the juice.

There is also the possibility with some disposables that you can remove the mouthpiece. If you can, then beneath this you will find a rubber seal and then the cotton. If the cotton looks dry, then it’s an indication you are low on eliquid.

5. Avoid long and hard inhales

If your disposable vape is working intermittently then the issue could be with the way you are using the device. Many disposable vapes will have an automatic safety cut-off after 8-10 seconds of vaping. This is to prevent them from accidentally firing for too long and overheating the battery. So make sure you are not inhaling for too long on the device to prevent intermittent firing.

6. Avoid overheating – Take rests between hits

There could be several reasons your disposable vape is overheating. The most important step to take is to make sure you do not leave your disposable in direct sunlight or extremely hot conditions for too long. Another common cause of a disposable vape overheating is aggressive chain vaping. Make sure to rest between hits and puffs to allow your device’s battery and coil to cool down.

7. Avoid covering airflow holes

If your disposable feels blocked when you inhale, it could be that you are accidentally covering one of the airflow holes. Most disposable devices have the airflow hole on the base of the device (these are usually little slots or pinholes). Make sure you are not covering the hole when inhaling, because the disposable needs air to enter the device.

8. Consider a return, it Might be a Dud. 

No manufacturer is perfect, and with so many disposable vape pens entering the market at a low cost, sometimes it’s just a case of poor quality control, and you have received a dud. It could be that there are faulty internal connections, a dead battery, or a damaged coil. This might not have been the case when it left the manufacturer’s warehouse, but it could’ve occurred during transportation. You might have to cut your losses and invest in a new device if this is the case.

If it is a brand new disposable vape, then you might be able to get a refund or an exchange at the store you purchased it from if you have proof of purchase. You may also be able to contact the disposable e-cigarette manufacturer for a replacement of the faulty device.

9. Disassemble the device

At a very last resort if you have tried all of the above and your disposable is still not working, you may be able to disassemble it and fix any connection issues. However we must stress this is NOT advisable, unless you know what you are doing. Even though there are guides for taking apart certain disposables, all of the inner components are delicate. So not only will you struggle to reassemble them, you could be placing yourself at risk.

The Most Reliable Disposable Vapes (based on our expertise & extensive testing)

Our team of reviewers have tested thousands of disposables over the years. To perform in-depth reviews we always test a product in normal conditions, and at its most extreme. That way we can be sure any product we recommend has a good chance of being reliable to the user.

Below are some of our current favorite brands for reliability and performance:

Nicotine disposable brands

  • Elf Bar
  • Zovoo/Dragbar
  • Flum

CBD disposable Brands

  • CBDfx
  • Secret Nature
  • Koi

Delta 8 disposable brands

  • Secret Nature
  • Koi
  • TRE House

How to know if a brand of disposables is plagued with reliability issues

There are so many disposable vape brands on the market, and unfortunately not all are made by reputable companies with good quality control.

If you’ve already purchased some disposables or are looking to go for a particular brand we always suggest doing your research first. The best and easiest way is to do a google search with the brand name followed by ‘disposable vape not working’ or ‘disposable vape tastes burnt’. You will normally see results from forums and reddit with users complaining of issues.

Alternatively you can check out reviews of disposable products from sites like ours. If we’ve tested a disposable vape product we will let you know of any issues or faults that arise.

If you’re wondering how long does a disposable vape last? our guide explains the average lifespan and how to extend it.

The Bottom Line

Some disposable vapes are fixable with the methods above, but sadly as often is the case, some are not, and it’s just a bad unit that you’ve received. Of course, you could always contact the store you purchased it from or the manufacturer to see if you can be compensated, but as disposables are such a low cost, it might be a lost cause.

You won’t always be safe from errors from manufacturers, but it’s best to stick to vaping devices from trusted brands with a good reputation for quality control (like the ones we recommend). That way, you have less chance of ending up with a disposable device that won’t work.

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Danny Blanton
Danny Blanton
Danny Blanton, a seasoned writer with a decade of industry experience, offers expert reviews on vaping products and cannabis topics, ensuring our readers receive accurate, up-to-date, and valuable insights.
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