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Vaping 103: Atomizers and Tanks

Vaping 103: Atomizers and Tanks

Vaping 103: Atomizers and Tanks

Written by: Sam Stamper

There are three basic categories of e-cig atomizers: cartomizers, clearomizers, and rebuildable atomizers (“RBAs”). All of them serve the same purpose, although they hold and feed liquid to the coil differently. In this section, we will discuss the main differences and subcategories, of three basic types of electronic cigarette atomizers:

  1. Cartomizer - “Carto”

Cartomizers are found in most cig-a-like devices. Cartomizers consist of a metal tube with a coil in the middle that is suspended by filler material. The filler material must be fully saturated with e-liquid, then attached to the battery to use. When cartomizers go bad, they are replaced by an entirely new “Replacement Carto” unit.

a. Cartomizer Tank - “Cartotank”

Cartomizers can come with pre-punched holes in the metal tube from the manufacturer, allowing the use of a “cartomizer tank”, or “Cartotank” - held in place by o-rings. After saturating the wicking material in the cartomizers, the tank is partially slid on, and filled through the remaining space between the cartomizer, and the second set of o-rings, at the top of the cartotank. After the tank is filled, the cartomizer tube is slid into the second (top) section of the cartotank, ensuring the cartomizer tube’s holes are not blocked. When drawing on a cartotank, the user creates a suction that pulls e-liquid from the tank, into the filler material of the cartomizers (via the punched holes in the carto housing); keeping it saturated. Cartomizers and carto tanks are available here.

  1. Clearomizer Tank - “Clearotank”

Clearomizers use a string-like wick to bring e-liquid into the coil unit, keeping the heating element saturated and cool. Most clearomizer tanks are filled through a cap that is either on the top or the bottom of the tube. All of the clearomizers Mister-E-Liquid sells have the ability to replace the coil unit when it goes bad: the old coil unit simply unscrews from the base of the clearomizer tank, and a new one is attached. These are the easiest for beginners to learn how to use - as the user just has to take off the fill cap, fill the tank, replace the cap, let it sit without use for several minutes to allow the wicks to saturate, then vape. You can find Clearomizers from Mister-E-Liquid.com by, CLICKING HERE!!!

  1. Rebuildables/Rebuildable Atomizers - “RBAs”

Rebuildable atomizers require experienced knowledge in vaping, direct current (DC) electricity and circuitry, and are meant for advanced-level vapers, ONLY!*

Types of rebuildable atomizers include the following:

a. Rebuildable Dripping Atomizers - “RDAs”

b. Rebuildable Tank Atomizers - “RTAs”

Rebuildable atomizers can be either tanks, also called, Rebuildable Tank Atomizers (“RTAs”), where wicking material draws liquid from a reservoir into the heating coil; or a dripping style, also called, Rebuildable Dripping Atomizers (“RDAs”), where the user must carry liquid and refill the device every few puffs.

Dripping atomizers were some of the first devices on the market. Although, previously having declined in popularity due to being high maintenance, the “dripper” has become extremely popular once again because their high-performance capabilities have been recently utilized by “cloud chasers”. The user drips several drops of e-juice into the atomizer, until the minimum amount of wicking material is saturated, and then uses the device. Using a dripper requires the user to always have a vial of liquid on hand, as the maximum capacity of most RDAs is just a few drops. This can allow the user to take three to five puffs before having to “re-drip”, whereas tank systems can last for an entire day without filling.

Both RTAs and RDAs can allow the user to completely customize and fine-tune the experience they want to achieve from the personal vaporizer. By only replacing the material used in assembling the wick and coil, rebuildable devices also help minimize waste. Another benefit is that heating wire and wicking material are significantly cheaper than buying a replacement pre-manufactured coil or new cartomizers.

Common build materials are kanthal wire, silica, ekowool, and cotton. To learn more about the types of materials used to assemble wicks and coils, please visit, "Vaping Wick and Wire Types", in our "Vaping 301: Factors That Affect Vapor Production" section of Vaping University, by CLICKING HERE!!!

If you are an advanced vaper and feel comfortable with rebuilding, more information and build tutorials will be available in the 300 section of Vaping University.

*To read more about advanced-level vaping, including: direct current voltage (DCV),


...To Continue to Vaping 203: Ohm's Law & Advanced Battery Safety

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