Are you an expert vaper? Are you looking for a new frontier to explore because you believe you’ve reached the maximum level of performance that you can get with a vape tank? Maybe you’re just a fan of heavily sweetened vape juice and are tired of spending a fortune on replacement coils. Either way, you’ve examined the pros and cons of rebuildable atomizers, and you’ve decided that you’d like to explore the wide world of coil building. As soon as you begin shopping for a rebuildable atomizer, though, one of the first things you’ll learn is that there isn’t just one type of atomizer that you can buy. There are, in fact, two primary types: rebuildable dripping atomizers (RDAs) and rebuildable tank atomizers (RTAs). Your choice is going to have a profound effect on your vaping experience because the two types of atomizers have almost nothing in common aside from the fact that using them means you’ll build your coils yourself. So, which type of rebuildable atomizer is right for you? In this article, we’ll explore the differences between RDAs and RTAs to help you make the right decision for your needs.
An RDA is a rebuildable atomizer that’s designed for dripping and has no e-liquid storage except a small depression that holds enough vape juice for a few puffs. You drip vape juice directly onto the atomizer's wick from the bottle, through the atomizer's mouthpiece. You’ll puff on the RDA a few times, and then you’ll need to add more e-liquid.
If you currently use a traditional vape tank, the idea of switching to an atomizer that offers almost no e-liquid storage might strike you as a little odd. Why would anyone want to use an atomizer that requires constant refilling? The reason why RDAs are so popular is because the coil isn’t contained within a glass enclosure, so it can be much larger. An RDA gives you a very large platform for coil building. That makes the building process easier, which you’ll like if you haven’t built your own vape coils before. The main reason why having a large build platform is so useful, though, is because it allows you to build extremely large and elaborate coils if you like. An RDA can give you the biggest clouds that you’ll ever get with a vaping device – and since the coil isn’t submerged in a tank, an RDA also offers smooth, open airflow that allows you to inhale deeply and easily.
As you’ve probably guessed, the design feature that allows an RDA to deliver such impressive performance is also its biggest drawback. Since there’s no e-liquid storage, you’ll have to carry a bottle of e-liquid everywhere you go if you use an RDA. Vaping while driving is impossible with an RDA, and you’ll have a mess on your hands – literally! – if you happen to use a bit too much e-liquid when dripping. With this drawback in mind, choosing between RDAs vs. RTAs is really a question of performance vs. convenience.
An RTA is a rebuildable atomizer that gives you the e-liquid storage of a traditional vape tank. At the core of an RTA, you’ll find a build platform that looks much like the build platform of an RDA. It’ll be smaller, though, since it’ll have a glass tank enclosing it. Once you’ve built the coil, using an RTA will be the same as using any other vape tank.
The major benefit of using an RTA is that it gives you the freedom of building your own coils along with the convenience of a tank. Unlike a traditional vape tank with pre-built coils, though, an RTA is much less expensive to own because kanthal wire and organic cotton are both very affordable when purchased in bulk. The cost savings of using an RTA can be especially considerable if you typically buy e-liquid that’s heavily sweetened. Sucralose leaves so much residue on a vape coil that you might find yourself wishing that you could replace the coil in your tank every day rather than tolerating the “burnt sugar” flavour of coil gunk in order to keep your costs down. When you use an RTA, you can replace your coil whenever you like without worrying about the expense.
The main drawback of using an RTA is that it requires all the effort of using an RDA without any of the performance benefit. While an RDA can be capable of producing enormous clouds if you’re willing to put in the time required to build more complex coils, an RTA will give you roughly the same performance as the tank you’re using right now. People don’t really use RTAs for the performance; they use them because they’re tired of spending a fortune on pre-built replacement coils. One thing to consider before you buy an RTA, though, is that your time also has value. When you use a tank with pre-built coils, unscrewing the old coil and screwing in a new one takes only a few seconds. Building a coil for an RDA or RTA, on the other hand, takes several minutes even if you’re an experienced coil builder. You should budget around 10-20 minutes for building a new coil – and that’s if you don’t make a mistake during the building process. Making a mistake often means that you need to start over from scratch. Switching from a traditional tank to a rebuildable atomizer always means that you’re committing to make a significant time investment each time you want to rebuild your coil. When you use an RDA, you get two benefits for the time spent – you save money, and you enjoy better performance. When you use an RTA, though, you don’t get better performance compared to a standard vape tank – you just save money.