Understanding vape coils and atomizers

An overview of the many different types of atomizers and an explanation of vape coils.

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vape-atomizers-and-coils

What is an atomizer?

An atomizer is defined as any device that creates mist out of liquid. More recently it has become a term closely associated with vaping. It sounds complicated, but it is essentially just a heating coil made from a piece of resistance wire that heats up in order to create vapor out of e-liquid.

These atomizers, also referred to as vape coils, come in a variety of styles ranging from disposable coil heads to the do-it-yourself coil builds. Atomizers – more specifically the coils –are measured in ohms, based on the amount of resistance they have. The lower the ohms, the more power they will demand.

The word atomizer is used in a variety of ways, which can create some confusion. It can either refer the vape coil itself or the device containing it – like a sub ohm tank or RDA, which are commonly used for vaping.

RDA stands for Rebuildable Dripping Atomizer, hence the letter “A”.

Vape coils can be made out of various types of wire including kanthal, stainless steel, nickel and titanium. Atomizers requires a wicking material that feeds e-liquid to your vape coils. When you engage the vaporizer battery, the coil will heat up and turn the e-juice into warm, tasty vapor.

Some atomizers are actually made of materials such as ceramic. Other alternatives used for wicking vape coils include stainless steel mesh, silica or ekowool. Now let’s take a look at the two main categories of atomizers to find out which one suits your exact vaping needs.

Pre-made atomizers and vape coils

vape coils

Building your own vape coils isn’t very hard, but fortunately it’s not a requirement to vape. Many great devices still use pre-made coils. These atomizers, often referred to as coil heads, are specifically designed for your particular device and are good for about an entire week of usage.

Each atomizer is rated at a different resistance and has an optimal wattage range. Sometimes a tank can have a wide range of coil heads available, which can be very confusing to re-order.

For example the Kanger Toptank has nearly a dozen varieties of coil heads available for it.

Some coils are geared towards high-wattage vaping, some low-wattage vaping and others are made to be used with temperature control mode. Specific vape coils can have an effect on the type of draw you get. Some are designed for direct lung vaping, while others for mouth-to-lung.

If you’re somebody who likes to vape at lower wattages, we recommend using a vape coil with a higher resistance, meaning more ohms. Lower resistance coils require more power, but are also capable of producing more vapor. A sub ohm vape coil has a resistance lower than 1.0 ohm.

  • Convenient and easy
  • Consistent
  • Designed for your device
  • Small initial cost can add up quickly
  • Typically can’t be re-wicked
  • Lasts about a week
  • Not good for switching flavors

Rebuildable atomizers

Rebuildable atomizers require you to build your own vape coils for them. This can be a little bit tricky, and isn’t recommended for beginner vapers. However, once you get into rebuildable vape coils, the possibilities are endless. You can create the perfect coil tailored to your specifications.

Building your own vape coils puts you at another advantage, which is that you can re-wick them. This is when you take the cotton, or whichever wicking material you use, and replace it with a fresh piece. You can also clean your coils off and get rid of any taste that may still be lingering.

RDA

Skill-RDA

These devices require you to build coils and directly inhale the vapor that is produced just off of a few drops of ejuice onto the coil. These atomizers provide some of the most intense flavor, and often times incredible amounts of vapor. By and large, these rebuildable atomziers are fairly easy to build with your own vape coils after a little bit of practice.

RTA

wotofo-sapor-rta-deck-chimney

Today we have many other types of rebuildable atomizers, most notably the RTA. Rebuildable Tank Atomizers, aka RTA’s are very similar to drippers in that you have to build your own coils, however they use a pressurized tank system to deliver the e-liquid to your vape coils to produce vapor and flavor.

RDTA, GTA, etc.

Smok-Skyhook-RDTA

There are a lot of other acronyms floating around such as RDTA (Rebuildable Dripping Tank Atomizer) and most recently GTA (Genesis Tank Atomizer). They are all essentially just different variations of either a dripper or a tank, typically without a pressurized vacuum.

RBA

SMOK TFV12 Cloud Beast King Tank

RBA stands for rebuildable atomizer, and usually refers to a part of a device that is meant to be rebuilt. Many tanks give you the option of using either pre-made vape coils or an RBA section.

Genesis

Genesis Tanks

Although the concept has been adapted to moder rebuildable atomizers, a genesis atomizer is mostly a relic from the early days of rebuilding. Mainly used with rolled steel mesh as a wick, wrapped in resitance wire. The atomizer sits atop the juice reservoir and is fed liquid through capillary action. These are some the most challenging rebuildable atomizers to master – likely why they were reincarnated as “genesis style”.

  • Re-wickable
  • Great for flavor
  • Great for vapor production
  • Customizable
  • Can require skill and effort
  • Time consuming
  • Can leak or dry hit if not wicked properly

Conclusion

By now you should know what an atomizer is and have a basic understanding of how it works. You don’t need to be a master coil builder overnight, making super advanced vape coils isn’t everyone’s calling. It’s great to know you can get a satisfying vape from a disposable coil head.

The word atomizer has been slapped around and abused so much, even expert vapers aren’t quite sure of its proper usage. One thing for sure is that an atomizer is a device that creates vapor, whether it be a dripper or a tank, and vape coils are the elements that heat up inside.

Both are still unfortunately referred to as atomizers, but at least now you know the difference.

Read on to find out what causes dry and burnt hits and how you can prevent them….

Dave Kriegel
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Dave has always had a passion for helping people quit smoking. As a former smoker himself, he knew how hard it could be. As soon as he learned about vaping, he instantly became obsessed with it and helped many people stop smoking. Vaping360 has given Dave a platform to do this on a much larger scale, by educating the public about the wonders of vaping. When Dave is not writing he is either listening to music, performing it, or cruising around on his Penny board.