6 Different Types of Vape Tanks

INTRO

Vapers can get very excited about the newest, shiny mod, but really mods are just power supplies.

Some have better battery life, others have simpler menus and better laid out controls, and some are better looking.

But as long as they can reliably deliver the level of power you want they don’t actually affect the quality of your vape very much.

The really important bit is the atomiser – that’s what does the actual work of turning your liquid into vapour.

There’s a huge variety of these on the market and it can take a few attempts to find the one that suits you perfectly.

All atomisers work on the same basic principle. Some form of wick carries liquid to the coil, which is heated by the battery. As the liquid comes into contact with the hot coil it’s boiled off to create an aerosol of gas and fine droplets, which you then inhale.

There have been a few experiments with different atomiser technologies, like ultrasound, but so far none of them have really gone anywhere. All the popular atomisers use the familiar wick and coil system.

As soon as you go beyond the basics, however, your options start to open up. For example, what sort of wick does the atomiser use?

Not that long ago almost all of them were silica – a woven cord of glass fibres. Now, most are cotton. There are plenty other wick materials around, though…

Steel mesh or rope, bamboo fibre and even ceramic rods have all been used, and some of them still appear from time to time.

Atomisers come in several basic types. Some of them are quite new; others have been around for a while, but are still evolving as the technology develops.

They all have their advantages and disadvantages, and it can be very confusing for a new vaper to know what to buy.

Here’s a guide of the most common different vape tanks you’ll come across, and they include:

  • Clearomisers
  • Tanks
  • Sub Ohm Tanks
  • Rebuildable Tank Atomisers (RTA’s)
  • Rebuildable Dripping Atomisers (RDA’s)
  • Rebuildable Dripping Tank Atomisers (RDTA’s)
TANKPROSCONS
1. Clearomisers
  • Relatively cheap
  • Refillable
  • Easy to use
  • Small capacity
  • Restricted airflow
  • Limited vapour production
2. Tanks
  • Bigger Clouds
  • Cheap to run
  • Adjustable airflow
  • Easily replace coils
  • Little more costly
  • Can be leaky
3. Sub Ohm Tanks
  • Huge Clouds
  • Better Flavour
  • Cheap to run
  • Adjustable airflow
  • Easily replaced coils
  • Cost more than tanks
  • Use more e-liquid
  • Can be leaky
4. Rebuildable Tank Atomisers
  • Cheap to Run
  • Huge Clouds
  • Highly Customise
  • Can be fiddly
  • Requires time to build
  • Expensive to buy
5. Rebuildable Dripping Atomisers
  • Usually affordable
  • Less fiddly than RTAs
  • Huge clouds
  • Excellent flavour
  • Frequent Refills
  • Requires time to build
  • Not for beginners
6. Rebuildable Dripping Tank Atomisers
  • Less fiddly than RTAs
  • Huge clouds
  • Large tank capacity
  • Less leaky
  • Requires time to build
  • Not for beginners
CLEAROMISERS

These are the most common choice for starter kits, which makes a lot of sense – they’re simple to use, don’t require any specialist knowledge and give a reasonably good vape.

Before clearomisers appeared most starter kits were, to be honest, pretty awful. They could be extremely fiddly and didn’t always work very well at all.

A clearomiser is basically just a clear tank, made from glass or plastic, with a top section holding the mouthpiece or drip tip and a bottom section that screws onto your battery or mod.

The heating coil can either be at the top with wicks hanging down into the tank, as in the popular CE4 style, or at the bottom of the tank; bottom coil clearomisers have a central chimney leading up to the drip tip.

Many CE4-style clearomisers are disposable; they can be refilled with liquid, but when the coil and wick start to deteriorate the whole thing needs to be thrown away and replaced with a new one.

These are the cheapest clearos to buy, but the most expensive to use long-term. Most other types of clearo – and some CE4s – have replaceable coils.

Because clearomisers are supplied with most starter kits they’re by far the most popular type of atomiser.

They’re a good choice for beginners or occasional vapers, but their performance isn’t outstanding and if you like big clouds you’ll need to look for something else.

PROS:
  • Relatively cheap
  • Refillable
  • Easy to use

CONS:
  • Small capacity
  • Restricted airflow
  • Limited vapour production

TANKS

An increasing number of high-end starter kits now come with a tank instead of a clearomiser, and they’re also the most common option for more advanced vapers.

A tank is basically a larger, more sophisticated version of a clearomiser.

It uses a replaceable coil head, like a clearo, but has greater liquid capacity – much greater, if you can find a pre-TPD model – as well as extra features like adjustable airflow controls.

Almost all modern tanks are designed for sub ohm vaping, making them ideal if you like high powered devices but aren’t so keen on the hassle of making your own coils.

Tanks cost more than clearomisers, but they’ll usually save you money in the long run. The coils are a little more expensive, but tend to last longer, so it evens out.

The real advantage of tanks, however, is that you get much better performance from them.

A modern vape tank can handle a lot more power than a clearo, so you get better vapour production and superior flavour.

If you have a decent mod you definitely want a tank on it rather than a clearomiser – the overall quality of the vape will be much higher.

One thing to watch is that almost all modern tanks can be prone to leak liquid out of the air-holes. If the coil is getting old or the sealing O-rings are dirty or damaged, stand by for escaping juice.

This can get annoying, so make sure to maintain your tanks carefully.

PROS:
  • Good vapour production
  • Cheap to run
  • Adjustable airflow
  • Easily replaced coils
  • Suitable for sub ohm vaping and higher powered mods

CONS:
  • More expensive to buy than clearomisers
  • Can be leaky

REBUILD-ABLE ATOMISERS

Clearos and tanks both use premade coils, but if you really want to get the ultimate custom vaping experience – and cut your running costs even more – there’s an alternative.

That’s to build your own coils and install them in a rebuild-able atomiser. These come in various types, which we’ll look at in a moment, but they all give you a lot of freedom over how you set them up.

Rebuild-ables are not suitable for beginners. If you don’t know exactly what you’re doing you can damage your mod by setting a rebuild-able up wrong.

The worst-case scenario is causing a short circuit and battery explosion.

REBUILD-ABLE TANK ATOMISERS

Rebuildable tank atomisers, or RTAs, follow the same basic concept as a standard tank.

The difference is that instead of installing a pre-made coil head, you build one yourself. If you like tinkering this gives you a huge amount of control over the vape.

It’s also extremely cheap, because instead of paying a couple of pounds for a new coil head it’s a few pence worth of wire and cotton.

RTAs are less popular than they were a few years ago, as standard tanks have approached the same level of performance.

A lot of older RTAs aren’t ideal for sub ohm vaping, which has now become a lot more mainstream.

Newer ones, like the Kayfun V5, have much more open airflow and can handle low-resistance builds easily.

PROS:
  • Very cheap to run
  • Good vapour production
  • Highly customisable

CONS:
  • Can be fiddly – not for beginners
  • Requires time and effort to complete build
  • Expensive to buy

REBUILD-ABLE DRIPPING ATOMISERS

These very simple atomisers, also known as RDAs or drippers, are the #1 choice among cloud chasers and anyone else who likes huge vapour production.

They don’t have a tank; after every few puffs you simply drip a bit more liquid directly onto the wick.

Their big advantage is a large building deck, which allows very elaborate multi-coil builds to be created.

A dripper on a high-powered mod can generate an incredible amount of vapour – but with the right coil design they’re very good for flavour, too.

Drippers are a good choice if you’re new to rebuildables. It can be extremely fiddly getting a decent coil built inside the restricted space of a RTA’s deck.

Drippers usually have a lot more room to work with, so they’re ideal for developing your building skills. They still need to be treated with respect though – mistakes can be bad news.

PROS:
  • Usually very affordable
  • Less fiddly to build than RTAs
  • Outstanding vapour production
  • Excellent Flavour if built correctly

CONS:
  • No tank – not good for taking out and about
  • Requires time and effort to complete build
  • Not for beginners

REBUILD-ABLE DRIPPING TANK ATOMISERS

The name is confusing; RDTAs are a sort of hybrid between the other main types of rebuildable.

They combine an RTA’s tank with a dripper’s big deck; the usual setup is a tank with the deck on top of it, and wicks hanging down into the tank.

RDTAs have several advantages.

You can create the same sort of amazing builds that are usually used on drippers, but also have the convenience of a big tank.

Some of these atomisers will easily hold enough for a full day’s vaping even with a multi-coil sub ohm build.

Because the coils and air-holes are above the tank they’re also a lot less likely to leak than a standard tank.

PROS:
  • Less fiddly than RTAs
  • Outstanding vapour production
  • Large tank capacity
  • Less leaky than standard tanks

CONS:
  • More expensive than drippers
  • Requires time and effort to complete build
  • Not for beginners

CONCLUSION

Atomisers are a very personal preference, and most vapers need some trial and error to find their favourite style.

The best bet is usually to start with a clearomiser until you’re used to vaping – its simplicity is a bonus here. The next step is a standard tank that can handle sub-ohm vaping; this opens up a lot more choices.

Finally there’s the decision whether or not to move to rebuildables.

Not long ago, almost all vapers who moved beyond clearos ended up using some form of rebuildable, because it was the only way to get really good performance.

Now it’s not so essential, thanks to the new generation of tanks. If you get into cloud chasing you’ll probably want a dripper, though, and some vapers just enjoy building.

Be sure to do your research if you decide to use any of the more advanced methods to ensure you do it safely.

Use whatever works best for you – there’s no “right” way to vape!

Which of these tanks do you prefer?

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