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Dripping vs. Sub-Ohm Tanks: Which Is Better?

dripping vs sub-ohm tanks: which is better?

If you’re an e-cigarette user on the hunt for more vapour, you have two options. You can use a rebuildable dripping atomizer (RDA) for dripping, or you can use a sub-ohm vape tank. If you use a sub-ohm tank, you’ll add e-liquid by filling a glass reservoir periodically. If you use a rebuildable dripping atomizer, you’ll be dripping (as the name suggests), or sending e-liquid down the top opening, a few drops at a time. Although sub-ohm tanks are presently the most popular e-cigarette attachments in the vaping community, there are plenty of people who prefer and love the experience of dripping. Here at Vapekit, we carry some of the best sub-ohm tanks on the market, but are sub-ohm tanks the right choice for you? In this article, we’ll provide some information that can help make your decision easier.


In the battle of a sub-ohm tank vs a rebuildable dripping atomizer, tanks are more convenient by far. Using them, you’ll spend far less time tinkering with your e-cigarette device and more time using and enjoying it. Here’s why.

Replacing Coils

Replacing a Sub-Ohm Tank Coil

Sub-ohm tanks use pre-assembled, self-contained atomizer coils. They arrive from the factory ready to use. To use a pre-made atomizer coil, you only need to open your tank, unscrew the current coil and screw in the new one. Wet the coil’s exposed cotton with a bit of e-juice, refill the tank and you’re ready to continue to vape. Replacing the coil in basically all the sub-ohm tanks available on the market requires about a minute or less. Such vape tanks make coil replacement incredibly convenient, so you don't have to waste a lot of your precious time and effort on this process.

Replacing a Rebuildable Atomizer Coil

rebuildable coilThe standard way to replace the coil in rebuildable atomizers is by making a new coil yourself from resistance wire. You’ll begin by cutting a length of wire — two lengths for a dual-coil build — and wrapping the wire tightly around a drill bit or coil jig. You’ll then trim the ends of the coil, place the ends in the mounting posts of your RDA and tighten the posts.

After checking the resistance of your coil, you’ll pulse power through it and make adjustments with a pair of ceramic tweezers to ensure that there aren’t any hot spots. Finally, you’ll thread some cotton through the coil for wicking and wet it with some e-juice. After all of that is done, you’re finally ready to vape. While changing the coil in a sub-ohm tank takes about a minute, rebuilding an atomizer typically takes around 15-30 minutes.

Adding E-Liquid

Adding E-Liquid to a Sub-Ohm Tank

You’ll fill a sub-ohm tank by adding e-liquid either via a filling port at the top, to the atomizer, or by removing the atomizer’s bottom cap and adding e-juice directly to the reservoir. Regardless of the filling method, you can fill most sub-ohm tanks in just a few seconds.

Dripping With a Rebuildable Atomizer

The main difference here is that a rebuildable atomizer has a wide mouthpiece leading directly to the atomizer coil. You’ll add e-liquid by dripping — adding e-liquid to the coil through the mouthpiece. Dripping is faster than filling sub-ohm tanks, but your RDA's capacity will dry out after just a few puffs, so you’ll need to drip constantly. The need to drip after every few puffs means that you can never go far without a bottle of e-liquid if you want to continue to vape. It also means that leaks are likely — and you shouldn’t even consider driving while vaping on an RDA. As easy as dripping is, carrying a bottle of e-juice everywhere you go is definitely not convenient. Sub-ohm tanks win in this key area, too.

Vapour Production

An RDA Has Superior Vapour Production

Two primary factors influence the vapour production of the atomizer coils: the surface area and the amount of air that passes over the coil during vaping. In satisfying those two factors, nothing compares to a rebuildable atomizer. A good RDA gives you plenty of room to build very large coils with lots of surface area. Would you like to build a coil using very thick low-resistance wire? Would you like to increase the surface area even further by twisting or braiding multiple wires? With a good RDA, you can build anything that you can imagine. An RDA also has free and open airflow that allows you to draw in vapour as quickly as your lungs will allow.

Sub-Ohm Tanks Lag Behind RDAs — But Not by Much

If everything else is equal, RDAs will produce more vapour than sub-ohm tanks — but the difference is small. Your ability to extract the most possible vapour from an RDA also depends on your performance in building coils. However, vaping product manufacturers caught on to the cloud chasing trend long ago and have gone to great lengths to create sub-ohm tanks that can compete with RDAs. While a sub-ohm tank may have slightly closed-off airflow compared to an RDA — it’s necessary to prevent leaking — today’s tanks produce more vapour than ever. If you choose the right sub-ohm tank, the cloud production will not disappoint you.

Flavour Quality

Flavour Enjoyment Is Subjective

When it comes to better flavour characteristics, the drip vs tank comparison is hard to determine as it is very subjective, and only you can decide whether your e-cigarette is producing the flavour you want. One thing that isn’t subjective, though, is that air and e-liquid do not taste the same. As you introduce more air into the vapour path, you’ll taste less of your e-liquid’s flavour.

Some people, therefore, feel that the airy draw of an RDA tends to dilute the flavour of the vapour. You can compensate for that by building larger coils or turning up the wattage of your e-cigarette, but doing either of those means that you’ll use your e-liquid more quickly. A sub-ohm tank can produce a clearer and more concentrated flavour to vape at lower wattage settings.

Coil Longevity

Sub-Ohm Tank Coils May Last Longer

dripping tanksHow long an atomizer coil lasts depends on two primary factors. The first factor is the type of e-liquid that you use. If you use an e-liquid that’s sweetened or heavily flavoured, it will leave residue in the form of a dark crust that collects on the coil and eventually burns, adding a harsh taste to the vapour. Atomizer crust — many vapers call it “coil gunk” — is a problem that you’ll have to tackle regardless of the type of e-cigarette attachment you use (RDA, RTA, sub-ohm, or other).

The second factor affecting coil longevity is the build quality of the coil. If the coil has no hot spots and stays wet consistently due to efficient wicking, it’ll last longer. A coil head for a good sub-ohm tank will have the perfect build quality and generous wick openings. It’ll last longer than an imperfect RDA coil. Many RDA users can build coils that are every bit as good as factory-made coils, but coil building is a skill that takes time to develop.

Initial and Ongoing Costs

A Sub-Ohm Tank Has a Higher Cost of Ownership

When you buy an RDA, you’re only buying metal gear. When you buy a sub-ohm tank, though, you’re often buying a lot more. Depending on how luxurious the package is, you may receive accessories such as an extra glass tube, spare coil heads and a set of replacement O-rings. Since sub-ohm vape tanks typically include many add-on items, they’ll usually cost more to buy than an RDA.

An RDA also has lower long-term costs than a sub-ohm tank. A replacement coil for a sub-ohm tank typically costs about £2-3. If you need to change your coil every day or two because you love sweet e-liquids that cause coil gunk, you’ll find that the ownership cost of a sub-ohm tank can quickly add up.

Buying Bulk Supplies Makes RDA Ownership Cheap

Next, let’s compare the sub-ohm vape tank vs. RDA ownership. With an RDA, you can buy your coil building supplies in bulk. If you buy a large spool of resistance wire and a big bag of organic cotton, you’ll have the necessary supplies for months — maybe years — of coil building. You won’t pay £2-3 each time you build a new coil — you’ll pay a few pence. The price reduction is dramatic when using an RDA rather than a sub-ohm tank.

Although an RDA costs less to use than a sub-ohm tank, it is important to remember that your time is also valuable. Suppose you need a new atomizer coil every two days, and building a new one takes you 30 minutes. That means you’ll spend more than seven hours on this process each month. Is it worthwhile to save a few pounds if the time spent building new coils reduces your work productivity or keeps you from your family? Only you can decide.


Pre-Built Coils Are Perfect, and Perfection Is Safe

Defects are possible in any factory-made product, but Chinese factories have been pumping out vaping products for nearly two decades now. Pre-built coils almost never have issues, and it is very safe to install them in your tank and vape without worrying about testing them for safety.

Things are a bit different if you use an RDA. It’s very easy to make a mistake that results in a short circuit when building a coil. Although a modern vaping device with power regulation can detect a short circuit, you shouldn’t trust your safety to your box mod. If you use an RDA, you should own a resistance tester. Test the resistance of every new coil before you connect your RDA to your mod.

The Bottom Line

People who love to vape flavoured nicotine have a wide selection of different products allowing them to place the e-juice in their e-cigarettes nowadays - apart from the aforementioned RDA and sub-ohm tanks, there are also other solutions, such as a rebuildable tank atomizer (RTA) or combined gear.

Which one you prefer depends entirely on you but in our opinion, sub-ohm tanks are better as they are easier to use, demand less time and effort, and are less prone to leaking. Choose your favourite system and have a good vape!