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Vape Tank Buying Guide

Vape tank buying guide

Worldwide, e-cigarette tanks are by far the most popular accessories for vaping devices. If you’re new to vaping, buying an e-cigarette tank is the quickest path toward exploring the wide world of different e-liquid flavours. If you already vape, buying a new tank is the fastest and easiest way to experiment with your vaping experience. In this e-cigarette tank buying guide, we’re going to explain everything that you need to know about vaping tanks. When you’re done reading, you’ll understand the features that separate the different tanks on the market. You’ll also know which of those features your next vaping tank should have. Let’s begin!

Table of Contents

At a Glance: The Best E-Cigarette Tanks

SMOK TFV12 Prince

Type: Direct to Lung

The SMOK TFV12 Prince is perhaps the world’s most popular e-cigarette tank. SMOK includes it with many of their vaping devices, and its wide selection of coils helps to ensure that it can please almost anyone. Of all the vaping tanks on the market, the SMOK TFV12 Prince may strike the best balance between huge vapour clouds and reasonable e-liquid consumption. Although you’ll drain your e-liquid quickly with this tank, you’ll taste every drop.


Type: Direct to Lung

If you’re looking for a vaping tank that produces impressive clouds without consuming your e-liquid quite so quickly, the SMOK TFV8 Baby is a great choice. We love this tank’s convenient top filling port; just swing the top open when it’s time for a refill. We also love the tiny design that pairs beautifully with almost any vaping device.

Aspire Nautilus 2

Type: Mouth to Lung

The Aspire Nautilus series has always been famous as the vaping tanks of choice for those who seek great flavour above all else. The Aspire Nautilus 2 brings that philosophy to the sub-ohm age with a 0.7-ohm coil that generates some of the biggest vapour clouds ever seen from a mouth-to-lung tank. If you want to inhale as if you were smoking – and you don’t want to compromise on vapour production – you’ve got to try the Aspire Nautilus 2.

Aspire Nautilus Mini

Type: Mouth to Lung

The Aspire Nautilus Mini is one of the oldest e-cigarette tanks still in production, and there’s a good reason for that: It’s the ultimate upgrade for any small e-cigarette. The Nautilus Mini is svelte enough to fit on virtually any vaping device, and its modest power demands ensure that it won’t overwhelm even smaller vaping batteries. The flavour quality of the Nautilus Mini has made this tank something of a legend in the vaping industry.

What Are E-Cigarette Tanks?

An e-cigarette tank is an attachment that connects to a vaping device and allows the device to generate vapour. Unlike an atomizer – which provides a heating coil but almost no e-liquid storage – an e-cigarette tank provides a heating coil and e-liquid storage in a single unit. Just fill the tank to vape.

How Do I Use an E-Cigarette Tank?

Filling an E-Cigarette Tank

When you unpack a new e-cigarette tank, it’ll already have an atomizer coil installed and ready to use. To get started, you’ll need to fill the tank with e-liquid. Consult the instruction manual to learn whether you have a top-filling or bottom-filling tank. If you have a bottom-filling tank, you’ll unscrew the bottom metal hardware while holding the tank upside down. If you have a top-filling tank, you’ll unscrew the top hardware or twist it along a hinge to expose the filling port. Add e-liquid until the tank is nearly full and close the tank. If you’re using the tank for the first time – or filling the tank after a coil replacement – you should wait several minutes for the atomizer coil’s cotton wick to become completely wet before using the tank. The last step is crucial as a dry cotton wick burns easily.

Using an E-Cigarette Tank

After filling your tank and waiting for the cotton to saturate, the tank is ready to use. Puff on the tank’s mouthpiece while holding the activation button on your vaping device. Each puff leaves the tank’s cotton wick slightly dry, so wait several seconds after each puff before using your e-cigarette again. Don’t wait until the tank is fully empty before refilling it. On the side of your tank’s atomizer coil, you’ll see the holes that allow the e-liquid to penetrate the coil’s cotton wick. When the level of e-liquid in the tank is below those holes, it’s time to refill the tank.

Replacing the Atomizer Coil

When it’s time to replace your tank’s atomizer coil, you’ll do so by inverting the tank and unscrewing the bottom hardware. In most cases, the coil is mounted to the bottom hardware of the tank. Twist the old coil out of the tank’s base and twist in a new coil. Place a drop of e-liquid on each of the coil’s white wick openings and reassemble the tank. Fill the tank and wait several minutes before you resume vaping.

Should I Buy an E-Cigarette Starter Kit That Includes a Tank?

Every product in our E-Cigarette Starter Kit Buyer’s Guide includes a tank. If you’ve never vaped before, buying a kit with a tank is a perfect idea because you’ll know that the vaping device and tank are compatible with one another. If you’re an experienced vaper, it’s still wise because a vaping device that includes a tank often costs only slightly more than the device would cost on is own.

Will Other Tanks Work With My Vaping Device?

If your vaping device has a removable tank, it’s likely that the device will work with other tanks. To confirm that, you need to check two things.

Threading Type

A tank will only work with your vaping device if its threading is compatible with the threading on the device. In the early years of the vaping industry, manufacturers used several different threading types. Today, though, most manufacturers have settled on the 510 thread as the industry standard. If your device has 510 threading, virtually every tank on the market will fit on it.

Atomizer Coil Resistance

The lower the electrical resistance of an atomizer coil is, the greater wattage it will draw from your vaping device. To find out whether a tank will work with your vaping device, you should check the tank’s coil resistance and suggested wattage range. For example, one of the coils for the SMOK TFV8 Baby tank has a resistance of 0.4 ohm and a suggested range of 40-80 watts. When you check the specifications for your vaping device, you’ll see a minimum coil resistance and wattage range. For example, the Aspire SkyStar has a minimum coil resistance of 0.1 ohm and maximum power of 210 watts. It works with the SMOK TFV8 Baby.

What Are Above-Ohm (Mouth-to-Lung) Tanks?

An above-ohm tank has a coil resistance of 1.0 ohm or higher. Above-ohm tanks have low power demands, so they pair well with smaller vape pens. You can still use an above-ohm tank, though, even if you have a larger box mod. Above-ohm tanks appeal to vapers for these reasons:

  • They have slightly restrictive airflow, so you use them by inhaling the vapour from your mouth to your lungs. Since that’s how you inhale cigarette smoke, many people prefer above-ohm tanks when they have just switched from smoking to vaping.
  • Because above-ohm tanks allow less air into the vapour stream, some people find that they produce richer, more concentrated flavours.
  • They have lower vapour production than sub-ohm tanks, so they work well with the higher-nicotine and higher-throat hit e-liquids that many recent switchers prefer. They also help to conserve e-liquid.
  • Above-ohm replacement coils are usually inexpensive.
  • Since above-ohm tanks operate at lower power levels, using one means that your batteries may last longer between charges.

What Are Sub-Ohm (Direct-to-Lung) Tanks?

A sub-ohm tank has a coil resistance under 1.0 ohm. Sub-ohm tanks vary greatly in their designs, with some having coils just barely under 1.0 ohm and others having coils as low as 0.1 ohm. Since sub-ohm coils vary greatly in their power demands, you’ll need to check a coil’s resistance and suggested wattage range before using it with your vaping device. Sub-ohm tanks appeal to vapers for these reasons:

  • Their larger coils and unrestricted airflow contribute to very large vapour clouds. Since people generally use sub-ohm tanks by inhaling the vapour directly into the lungs, their vapour production can be many times greater than that of above-ohm tanks.
  • Because sub-ohm tanks produce larger vapour clouds, they work best with the lower-nicotine and lower-throat hit e-liquids that many experienced vapers prefer.

What Are Rebuildable Tank Atomizers (RTAs)?

A rebuildable tank atomizer is an e-cigarette tank that doesn’t use drop-in replacement coils. Instead, an RTA has a deck that allows you to mount coils you build yourself. We discuss coil building in greater detail in our Ultimate Advanced Vaping Guide. An RTA can usually generate at least as much vapour as a sub-ohm tank with drop-in replacement coils – but while a drop-in atomizer coil usually costs at least £2, a coil that you build yourself costs only a few pence in materials. Using an RTA does have a drawback, though, in that building a coil yourself takes time. If you use an RTA, you can expect each coil replacement to require several minutes of work. Replacing a drop-in coil takes only a few seconds.

How Do I Clean and Maintain an E-Cigarette Tank?

You can clean your tank when you disassemble it to replace the coil. After taking the tank apart, remove the old coil and set it aside or discard it. Rinse the remaining parts of the tank under water and dry them with a paper towel. Rinsing your tank removes the lingering flavour of your previous e-liquid. It also removes any lip balm or skin fragments that may have collected on the drip tip.

Handle your e-cigarette tank carefully. Some people put silicone or rubber bands around their tanks to protect the glass. A few tanks even include bands. When you disassemble your tank, reassemble the parts carefully to avoid crossing the threads.

How Often Should I Replace My Tank’s Coils?

After you’ve used a coil for a while, residue will begin to collect on the heating wire. Vapers call the residue coil gunk, and it tends to alter the flavour of an e-liquid in an unpleasant way. If you taste a flavour resembling burned sugar when you vape, it’s time for a new coil. Decreased vapour production is also a sign that you should replace your coil.

How Can I Make My Coils Last Longer?

Sweeteners such as sucralose tend to leave a lot of residue behind as they don’t vaporize cleanly. If your favourite e-liquid tastes as sweet as candy, it’s likely that the e-liquid contains sucralose and is shortening the life of your coils. Switching to an e-liquid without sweetener will make your coils last longer.

Aside from avoiding sweetened e-liquids, the best thing that you can do to improve coil life is to ensure that the coil’s cotton wick always stays wet. As we mentioned above, you should always fill your tank promptly when the level of e-liquid is low. You should also wait a few moments after each puff to give the wick time to draw in e-liquid from the tank. A cotton wick can burn quickly if it is dry, and burned cotton makes every e-liquid taste terrible.

You can try cleaning your coils to prolong their life. To clean a coil, swish it in vodka or warm water to dislodge some of the residue. If you’re using vodka to clean your coil, rinse the coil under water after cleaning it. Leave the coil out to dry for about a day before using it again. You may find that the coil has regained some of its original flavour and vapour production. While you won’t mistake a cleaned coil for a new one, you may find that cleaning gives you a bit of additional usage from coils that you would otherwise throw away.

I Broke My E-Cigarette Tank! What Should I Do?

You're in luck; most companies in the vaping industry make replacement glass enclosures for their e-cigarette tanks. Remove the remaining glass fragments from your tank with a pair of tweezers and disassemble the tank. Side the replacement glass carefully over the tank's hardware – being careful not to stretch the silicone rings in the process – and reassemble the tank.

Will a New Tank Improve My Vaping Experience?

Absolutely. It’s likely, in fact, that changing your tank will affect your vaping experience more profoundly than buying a new vaping device. Some companies optimize their tanks to produce the richest possible flavours, while others build powerful tanks for cloud chasing. No two tanks present the flavour notes of a complex e-liquid in exactly the same way. As long as your vaping device can operate within the suggested wattage range of the tank that you want to buy, you’ll find that a new tank can make your vaping experience markedly more enjoyable.

Will My Tank Work With Other Drip Tips?

In vaping, “drip tip” is the term for the mouthpiece of a tank or atomizer. A drip tip has a number indicating its width, and the two most common drip tip sizes are 510 (narrow) and 810 (wide). Some tanks have graduated tops that allow them to support both sizes. If your tank doesn’t have a graduated top, you’ll need a 510-to-810 or 810-to-510 adapter to try a different type of drip tip. An 810 drip tip helps an e-cigarette tank produce larger clouds, while a 510 drip tip restricts the airflow slightly and helps a tank produce richer flavours.