Tugboat v2 Intro
The Tugboat v2 by Flawless is a finely manufactured, classic RDA atomizer with a trendy, modern styling available in different finishes, metals and various choices of cerakoted colors (with a matching drip tip included). Ultimately though, the Tugboat v2 is a basic 22 mm, three-part RDA consisting of a top cap with adjustable airflow, barrel and three-post deck. But while the Tugboat v2 is in fact built on a standard framework for RDAs, no parts of the construction of this atomizer, especially when you hold one, feels basic.
The Tugboat v2 has a heft and a sturdiness to it that is not seen in most RDAs other than “high-end” or advanced models. There is a high-level of craftsmanship here—tolerances, machining, finish and materials—that makes this RDA a viable option for those just getting into dripping and for those looking to add to their choice collection.
Built around a three-post design, the Tugboat v2 has airflow options to accommodate single or dual coils and has ample airflow for your relatively low-ohm builds (I comfortably use mine at ~0.4Ω in a dual-coil build). By most measures, the Tugboat v2* is more of a flavor-chasing RDA that can produce decent clouds than it is simply a flavor- or a cloud-atty. If the user builds for clouds, the clouds that can be achieved from the stock airflow are nothing to balk at, it’s just that the Tugboat v2, with its conical top cap, makes most builds perform slightly better for flavor.
*There are several after-market top caps and drip caps available (ranging anywhere from $20-40) for the Tugboat v2 that can reduce the chamber and/or provide increased airflow making the Tugboat v2 even a better performer for flavor and clouds.
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Tugboat v2 Specs and Features
One little ziplock baggie with an extra o-ring and one extra post screw. If the manufacturers of the Tugboat v2 cut any corners, it was on the total absence of packaging and, for that matter, extra parts. But that is not really a given for most RDAs so it gets a pass, even if begrudgingly, seeing as how you just never know what you will get (in terms of packaging and extra parts) when purchasing an RDA not from or manufactured in China.
Packaging and extra parts are an added expense and Chinese manufacturers are able to provide these elements and accessories without really affecting their bottom line or asking price.
I’d be remiss to not note that unlike most other RDA vapes that cost the same and may provide more extra parts and actual packaging, the Tugboat v2 does come with a matching drip tip! That is a huge plus.
- 22mm Diameter
- Stainless Steel Deck
- Classic Three Post Design
- Gold Plated Center Post
- Extra Deep Juice Well
- Dual Adjustable Airflow
- Redesigned Top Cap for Easier Adjustment
- Cerakoted Splatter Design
- Individually Serialized
- Matching Drip Tip with Serialization
- Iconic Flawless and Tugboat Engravings and Design
- Available in White with Baby Blue Splatter, Black with Blue Splatter, Zombie Splatter, and Black with Red Splatter and many more
A three-post deck with a gold-plated center post, huge post-holes and solid, flat-bottom screws.
Ease of Build
Considering the Tugboat v2 is a three-post dripper, the ease of build will largely be dependent on how well the user handles this type of deck. But on the flip-side, seeing as how commonplace three-post drippers are, I’d say its ease of build is as easy as any other built on this platform—which means most other RDAs.
At first when I built it I found it to be a tad cramped for space because of the juice well wall, but after building it a second time I realized that the juice well wall does not interfere with the build as long as you lift your coils up a touch after they’ve been installed. (To have your coils right in front of the air holes, the bottom of the coils should end right about at the top of the juice-well wall).
One aspect, these days, that is not commonplace with three-post drippers (or any type of dripper for that matter) is good screws. The Tugboat v2 has good, flat-bottom Phillips head screws that haven’t clipped my wires or backed-out! It’s asinine for me to have to champion a dripper for having good screws—especially when you factor in RDAs will only be as good as the connection of the coils—but this is unfortunately something that is not a given and one that can make or break an atty. Therefore it must be mentioned. (But note: I have not used any gauge thinner than 24 AWG, so I can’t speak broadly to the screws clipping wires, but I have had drippers that clip and back-out even with 24 AWG.).
Of course, the Tugboat v2 is a dripper and should not be judged based on the size of its juice well (nor should any RDA really have to prove itself on its juice well’s depth), but the Tugboat v2 does in fact have a rather spacious juice well compared to much of its competition. A spacious juice well is a plus.
Tugboat v2 Airflow
The Tugboat v2 has three sets of two air holes which means this atty can be set up for dual or single coils. With the stock cap’s airflow capabilities, I would consider this to be medium amount of airflow in today’s market for RDAs.
One aspect of the Tugboat v2—almost a feature—is that (as RT mentioned in his review), the draw on this atty is really comfortable and silent. Flawless didn’t try any gimmicky “vortex” or “turbine” silliness with this: it’s just air holes. But, due to how well the atty is constructed, the draw hits smoothly and the air holes produce no whistle or obnoxious volume even when taking a big hit.
The airflow controller is adjusted by holding the barrel and turning the top cap. The barrel of the atty has two holes that correspond with two holes on the top cap. It’s standard stuff here.
One itty bitty issue I have with the airflow controller is that while you can adjust it down to one hole (or less than that), you don’t have full autonomy with the adjustment of each hole individually. So you won’t be able to have two holes open but with one fully open and the other partially closed because both holes are adjusted simultaneously (until one is completely closed). No biggie though and it’s barely worth mentioning.
Craftsmanship of the Tugboat v2
My Tugboat arrived extremely clean and devoid of any burs or machine oil. Inside the top cap there were a few minor machine marks, but it’s under the hood and of no consequence to the aesthetics or the performance.
All pieces of the Tugboat v2 fit together with a high-level of snugness–like really snug! Some may see this as being too tight, but I prefer this because I don’t like pieces inadvertently coming off. So note: no matter how I feel about the tolerances here, know that the top cap, drip tip and the barrel all fit together really tightly. To get a little bit of relief from the tightness of the parts, you can lube them with a little dab of petroleum jelly or just straight VG.
I am generally not a fan of any RDA with cute logos, characters or what I consider to be gratuitous markings. I just want clean, well-manufactured, stainless steel RDAs with minimal engraving. Prior to receiving the Tugboat v2 for the purposes of this review, I had no desire to use one or to buy one because I felt (based on pics) that it had too much of a toy-like, decorative quality.
However, after receiving the Tugboat v2 (the white cerakote version), I fell in love with its cosmetic appeal. I still don’t like atties that have childish markings or simple painted finishes, but I can really appreciate the traditional Americana-esque engravings of the Tugboat v2 and the cerakote finish gives the RDA a ceramic-like texture that adds to its appeal.
- Pricey for a standard atty
- Aftermarket parts are pricey
- A little too simple
- Not very versatile as it come standard
I do recommend the Tugboat v2 to any individual that doesn’t think ~$90-100 is too costly for a standard, albeit quality, three-post dripper. If I were judging the atty on its own merits and not married to its price, I would say the Tugboat v2 is a fantastic offering for a classic RDA vape. If I had to judge the atty in conjunction with the price, I’d say it’s a bit too much in spite of how well made it is.
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