SMOK TF-RTA Intro
In the “old days” of vaping (good old days? bad old days?) — by which I mean around 2011-2012 — the Chinese company then called SmokTech — was known mainly for its 510 cartomizers. In recent years, the company has reinvented itself. After shortening its name to SMOK and suffering a few false starts with questionable box mods, the vaping hardware manufacturer has upped its game and made a big splash in the marketplace with its Taste Furious (TF) Series of sub-ohm clearomizer tanks. The TFV4 is currently available in four different sizes — Original, Mini, Micro, and now Nano — with a huge selection of factory coil heads for each.
Now SMOK is releasing its first dedicated RTA in the TF series, called (reasonably enough), the TF-RTA. It’s a big honking tank, about the same size as the Original TFV4. This is one monster atomizer, a true beast. Will the TF-RTA have as much impact in the marketplace, causing similar buzz throughout the vaping community, as the TFV4 did? Let’s find out.
SMOK TF-RTA Specs and Features
- 1 TF-RTA Tank
- 1 TF-RTA Build Deck (G4 Or G2)
- 1 Screwdriver
- 1 Replacement Glass Tube
- 1 SMOK Vapor Band
- 1 User Manual
- Spare Parts
- Dimensions: 65mm height, 24.5mm diameter
- Stainless Steel Construction
- 5mL Glass Tank
- Spacious 16mm Build Deck
- Deck Options:
- TF-RTA G4 Deck (0.14Ω Pre Installed)
- RF-RTA G2 Deck (0.45Ω Pre Installed)
- E-liquid Flow Control
- Swivel Top Cap Design For Top Fill
- Double Layered Drip Tip
- Four Cyclops Adjustable Airflow Holes
I was sent a silver G2 TF-RTA for review. The Velocity-style deck on the G2 has twin posts with two oval holes each for coil legs. The tank comes with pre-installed Clapton coils that yield a combined resistance of 0.46 ohms. All the user has to do is wick the coils with whatever material he or she prefers: cotton, rayon, hemp, whatever. Wicks should be trimmed relatively short, just long enough to extend about halfway down the e-liquid channels of the deck (after being saturated with e-liquid). Presto! The TF-RTA is ready to vape.
And what a vape experience that is! The TF-RTA is not for the weak-willed or faint of heart. No, this tank favors the bold, and embraces the extreme. I own many nice RTAs now 1-2 years old, in both single- and dual-coil deck configurations, that provide a lovely vape at 25-40 watts. The TF-RTA is in a different league altogether. It’s like the difference between a Honda Civic and a Hummer H2. The SMOK TF-RTA starts out with a minimum of 40 watts, but it’s much happier at 70 watts. I didn’t go higher than that, but I have no doubt that the dual Claptons and strong wicking capability could handle 80 watts with ease, and probably more.
Running the TF-RTA wide open, with the four cyclops air intake slots around the sides of the base completely uncovered by the adjustment ring, produces thick clouds of vapor and great flavor. Closing off the air flow slot halfway or three-quarters intensifies the flavor. Don’t even think about vaping the TF-RTA mouth-to-lung. It’s strictly a direct-lung-inhale tank.
SMOK’s patented top fill method, with the swiveling top cap, works beautifully. No mess, no fuss. If inadvertently over-filled, a quick wipe of the hinge and dovetail closure on the top cap might be necessary, but that’s a minor quibble and not really a flaw of the tank. When the swivel system was first introduced on the TFV4, some reviewers were worried that the hinge might break or the cap bend and become misaligned, but those concerns haven’t materialized. The hinge is strong, swiveling is easy, and the fill slot is large enough. Some top fill methods require removal of a threaded cap, but SMOK’s doesn’t remove anything. Just swivel, fill, then close. Like “Wax on, wax off, Daniel-san.”
The E-liquid Flow Control works equally well. The glass section of the tank rotates smoothly to open (uncover) or close (cover) the intake slots that allow e-liquid to flow to the wicks and coils. The wicks are amply fed with e-liquid that keeps up with even very high wattage vaping.
The double-layered drip trip is a terrific feature that first appeared in SMOK’s TFV4 tanks. A wide-bore drip tip is enclosed inside a larger drip tip, with an air space between the two. Especially with a high-power RTA, burning the vaper’s lips becomes a real possibility. The dual-wall drip tip prevents that, since the outer tube wall remains much cooler. At 70 watts, the vapor itself was warm, but very enjoyable, especially because of the drip tip’s cooling effect. The tank body does get warm at that power level, but not hot. SMOK is mastering the art and engineering of high-power vaping.
I’d be willing to bet that SMOK follows up the TF-RTA with a TF-RTA Mini, cutting down the circumference from 25.4mm to 22mm. Since SMOK already did that spin-off with various versions of the TFV4, I can’t imagine that they wouldn’t use the same strategy with the TF-RTA. I’m not sure a smaller tank could easily accommodate a quad-coil deck, but a dual-coil setup would be a snap.
Build quality is solid and sturdy, with buttery threading and smooth adjustments. Coil setup is easy, filling is flawless, and the vaping experience is superb. Even e-liquid consumption is reasonable, and that’s often not the case with sub-ohm tanks that drink e-liquid like there’s no tomorrow. With the dual-Clapton setup, the TF-RTA was thirsty, but not ravenous. I did top up the tank after three hours of steady vaping, but I could have gone another couple of hours before completely emptying the reservoir. The 4.5ml capacity is adequate for me.
I did get occasional and minor leaking of e-liquid out of the air intake slots, most notably right after I topped up the tank, but that was probably my fault for filling too full. Leaving a little air space when filling a tank to allow the internal pressure to equalize is always a good idea. The reality, however, is that almost no atomizers are 100% leak-proof, whether tanks or RDAs. E-liquid leaks and spills are an inevitable part of vaping. Every vaper learns to keep tissues or paper towels close by. Happily, the TF-RTA tank passes muster with only minimal leaking.
I need not list Pros and Cons, because minor leaking is the sole criticism that came up. Admittedly, the TF-RTA may be larger than some PVs can accommodate aesthetically, but that’s not really a Con. I tested the tank on a Wismec RX-200, and the proportions appeared balanced, but I wouldn’t pair it with smaller, single-18650 tube or box mods. The husky TF-RTA would look ridiculous atop a Joyetech VTC Mini or any other diminutive mod.
Short and sweet: It’s almost all good news with the SMOK TF-RTA. Other than occasional minor leaking, I have no other negatives to report. This is, quite simply, a wonderful tank that earns a decision on my scorecard as the new Heavyweight Champion of the RTA World.