If you love e-liquids with sweet flavors, you know that sucralose is murder on vaping coils – and if you use a tank with pre-built coils, you know that replacement coils aren’t cheap. If coil gunk forces you to use a new coil every day, vaping can actually become more expensive than smoking. That’s why so many people now use rebuildable atomizers. When you build your own vaping coils, the only supplies that you need are wire and cotton. A single bulk purchase can give you the supplies necessary to build a new coil every day for months – and building your own coils also means that you’ll enjoy the best flavor and vapor production that the world of vaping has to offer.
Have you decided that coil building might be for you? If so, you’re going to need a rebuildable atomizer – and there are many types of RBAs from which to choose. Each type has its own strengths. In this article, we’re going to help you sort through the array of confusing acronyms and find the best rebuildable atomizer for your needs.
Rebuildable Dripping Atomizer (RDA)
Out of all the different types of rebuildable atomizers, the RDA typically offers the best vapor production and airflow while being the easiest to use. Rebuilding the atomizer is as simple as attaching the coils to the build deck and threading cotton through the coils. When you use an RDA, you’ll need to keep the cotton wet at all times. You’ll do that by “dripping” e-liquid from a bottle directly through the hole in the atomizer’s mouthpiece. If you forget to keep the cotton wet, you’ll experience a harsh “dry hit” when the atomizer runs out of e-liquid.
In addition to being relatively simple to rebuild, RDAs are popular because they offer excellent airflow and have build decks large enough to accommodate complex and powerful coils. It’s hard to beat the flavor and vapor production of an RDA.
The downside of using an RDA is that it doesn’t offer e-liquid storage like a tank. An RDA has a shallow well at the bottom and only stores as much e-liquid as the cotton can hold. After every few puffs, you’ll need to add more e-liquid. The need to add e-liquid constantly makes RDAs just about impossible to use while driving. It also makes them prone to leaking. You’ll never want to store your vaping device on its side if you use an RDA.
Rebuildable Tank Atomizer (RTA)
Aside from the fact that you build the coils yourself, an RTA offers much the same experience as a standard vaping tank with pre-built coils. In an RTA, the coil is submerged within a glass enclosure that holds a few ml of e-liquid – enough for at least an hour or two of vaping. The e-liquid flows to the atomizer through the wick openings on the sides of the coil assembly.
The benefit of using an RTA is that it eliminates the need to constantly add e-liquid as you would with an RDA. You’ll only need to refill the tank periodically as you do with the tank that you currently use.
Compared to RDAs, RTAs have a few drawbacks. The first is that an RTA typically has a smaller build deck than an RDA. Since the coil is submerged, airflow is poorer with an RTA than it is with an RDA. Although the vapor production of an RTA is not as good as that of an RDA, it is similar to that of any tank with pre-built coils.
The second drawback of using an RTA is that it may take a bit of time to determine the correct amount of cotton to use. If you use too much cotton, you’ll get dry hits because e-liquid will flow through the coil assembly too slowly. If you use too little cotton, the tank will leak.
Rebuildable Dripping Tank Atomizer (RDTA)
The RDTA is so named because it is essentially a hybrid that combines the features of an RDA and an RTA. In an RDTA, the build deck isn’t submerged within the tank – it’s above the e-liquid reservoir. The build deck has holes. When you build a coil, you’ll thread the cotton through those holes, and the capillary action of the cotton will bring e-liquid up from the reservoir to the coil.
Compared to an RTA, an RDTA typically has better vapor production because the coil isn’t submerged. Since the coil is above the e-liquid reservoir, it always gets plenty of air. With an RDTA, you also don’t need to worry about the tank dumping its contents – as can happen with an RTA – if you don’t use enough cotton for the wick.
Although an RDTA can offer excellent vapor production, the drawback of using one is that the wicking performance can be slow because the e-liquid has to fight gravity to get to the coil. You’ll need to wait a bit longer between puffs than you would with an RDA or RTA. In addition, using an RDTA means that you can’t store your vaping device on its side. If you do, the e-liquid will leak through the wick holes in the build deck.
A squonk atomizer has essentially the same design as an RDA except for the fact that the center pin is hollow. Squonk atomizers work with specific types of vaping devices usually called “squonk mods” or “squonk boxes.” A squonk box has a soft bottle of e-liquid on the inside. When you squeeze the bottle, e-liquid travels through the atomizer’s hollow pin and soaks in to the cotton.
Squonk boxes do have a few issues. The first is that having a bottle of e-liquid on the inside makes the mod larger than a traditional vaping device. The second is that squonk boxes can get messy on the inside and may require a bit of periodic cleaning. The benefit of using a squonk atomizer, though, is that you enjoy the superior vapor production and flavor of an RDA without the need to add e-liquid from a bottle constantly. Need more e-liquid? Just squeeze the squonk bottle – no need to drip!
~ Jason Artman
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