What Is Drip Vaping? Definition, Pros, Cons
When you read the online forums frequented by expert vapers, you’re going to see the term “dripping” quite often. Dripping is a way of keeping a vaping device supplied with e-liquid. It’s an alternative to using a traditional vape tank, and to do it, you’ll need to trade your tank for a rebuildable dripping atomizer (RDA). Dripping originated during a time when – believe it or not – vape tanks didn’t exist yet. Since then, dripping has gotten progressively better and better, and the RDA has evolved into a high-end piece of vaping hardware that experts absolutely love.
Vape tanks, however, have also improved over the years. Today, you can expect the performance of a top-quality tank to rival that of an RDA, which begs the question: is drip vaping even relevant anymore?
As you’re about to learn, dripping remains relevant to a great many vapers who have no interest whatsoever in touching a vape tank. In this article, we’ll explain the pros and cons of dripping. When you’re done reading, you should have a better idea of whether an RDA is right for you.
What Is Dripping, and What Is Its History?
In the early days of vaping, an e-cigarette stored its e-liquid in a hollow sponge-filled plastic cartridge that snapped over a semi-permanent atomizer. Sponges proved to be unreliable e-liquid delivery mechanisms. Early e-cigarettes offered unimpressive vapour production, and they could also be fairly unreliable. An e-cigarette would often randomly stop producing vapour even though the sponge in the cartridge was still wet.
The vaping community invented dripping as a way to make those early e-cigarettes more reliable. The user would pull the sponge out of a cartridge, drip e-liquid directly on the bridge of the atomizer and replace the cartridge – without the sponge – before vaping. Putting e-liquid directly on the atomizer ensured that the coil was always wet, so the e-cigarette would generate larger and more flavourful clouds. Eventually, people replaced the cartridges with hollow mouthpieces called drip tips, making it possible to simply send e-liquid down the drip tip’s centre hole before vaping.
How the RDA Became High-End Vape Gear
Although dripping significantly improved the performance of small e-cigarettes, it quickly became obvious that the experience of dripping could be even better with an atomizer specifically designed for the task. Enterprising vapers with the appropriate machining equipment created the first rebuildable atomizers, allowing anyone with some heating wire and cotton to build their own atomizers from scratch. Compared to the first-generation e-cigarette atomizers, rebuildable atomizers offered infinitely better airflow, flavour quality and vapour production.
There are still some small businesses producing boutique-quality rebuildable atomizers today, but most RDAs are now inexpensive commodities produced by the same Chinese factories that build most of the world’s vaping hardware. The fact that RDAs are no longer expensive, however, doesn’t mean that they don’t offer impressive performance. In the years since rebuildable atomizers were first introduced, though, vape tanks have only become better. Although an RDA still gives you the smoothest airflow possible in vaping, it’s no longer a guarantee that switching from a tank to an RDA will give you bigger vapour clouds because innovations such as mesh coils have made today’s vape tanks extremely powerful.
What Are the Benefits of Dripping Today?
So, if buying an RDA doesn’t guarantee that you’ll enjoy better performance than what you currently get with your vape tank, what’s the point of dripping at all? These are the primary reasons why dripping might be for you.
- Although switching to an RDA doesn’t guarantee that you’ll enjoy bigger clouds than with a vape tank, it is possible to get better vapour production with an RDA than with a tank if you’re willing to learn how to build more advanced coils. A simple dual-coil RDA build will not outperform a modern vape tank with a mesh coil.
- With an RDA, the atomizer coil isn’t submerged in e-liquid as it is with a tank. That means an RDA has wide-open airflow characteristics and makes it easy for you to take very deep puffs when vaping. If that’s the way you want to vape, you may like dripping more than using a tank even if it means that the switch will cause a slight decrease in vapour production.
- Dripping is the cheapest way to chase clouds. Pre-built coils for vape tanks are expensive, and that’s especially true if you need to replace your coil almost every day because you’re using a sweet e-liquid that leaves residue on your coils. Using a rebuildable atomizer only requires a spool of heating wire and some organic cotton, and both of those materials are available inexpensively in bulk. Buying your coil building supplies in bulk means that each coil can cost only a few pence instead of several pounds. That’s a significant reduction in your daily vaping expenses.
- Some people simply enjoy coil building. If you don’t mind the fact that building a new coil will probably take you around 15-20 minutes on average – and you enjoy the thrill of building something from scratch and seeing it work – then you might find that dripping is a very fun way to vape.
What Are the Drawbacks of Dripping?
At this point, you’ve probably come to the conclusion that dripping probably has some drawbacks. If there were no drawbacks, vape tanks wouldn’t be more popular than rebuildable atomizers. Your assumption is correct, and dripping does have a few drawbacks that you should be aware of before you buy a rebuildable atomizer. These are the drawbacks of dripping.
- Dripping can be messy. An RDA offers extremely free airflow because it has very large vents. If you add too much e-liquid to your RDA or leave your vaping device on its side, it’s liable to leak. When you use a device with an RDA, you probably shouldn’t carry it in your pocket.
- When you drip, you need to add e-liquid to your RDA after every few puffs. There’s no way to vape with one hand for long – and dripping while driving is definitely out of the question.
- Using a device with an RDA means needing to carry a bottle of e-liquid wherever you go. When you use a tank, on the other hand, you can fill the tank before leaving the house to run errands, and the tank will probably still have juice in it when you return.
- Building an RDA coil takes much longer than replacing a pre-built coil in a tank. Pre-built coils take seconds to replace. Building a coil from scratch typically takes 15-20 minutes even for experienced coil builders.