Best RDAs 2018
September 10, 2018

3CVape Sahara RDA Review | An Upside-Down Deck on an RDA

3CVape Sahara RDA review

The 3CVape Sahara is a 24 mm RDA designed by Kuwaiti reviewer Vape Geek Q8. It features a two-piece top cap with a fully adjustable airflow and a W-shaped gold-plated upside-down deck. While it is not the first time we’ve see an upside-down deck, the Sahara is the first to implement such a design on an RDA.

3CVape lists a whooping 12 color configurations on the side of box, but I have only been able to find two of these available: a black/Ultem and a silver/acrylic, which were the two I received in the mail.

The company recently collaborated with reviewer vaping v1ck on the Savour RTA, a solid MTL atomizer that received praise for its build quality. Let’s see if their latest offering will live up to the expectations.

Colors: Black with Ultem, silver with frosted acrylic
Price: $34.99 (at VaporDNA)

Specifications

  • Diameter 24mm
  • Dual post
  • dual terminal build
  • Side mounted Phillips screws
  • 2 mm terminals
  • Single or dual coil options
  • W-shaped post style
  • Gold plated posts
  • PEEK Insulator
  • 4 mm deep juice well
  • Internal barrel lock
  • Double O-ring secured acrylic/Ultem cap
  • 4 airflow holes per side
  • 2 mm each air hole
  • Downward sloping airflow
  • 304 stainless steel construction

Kit Content

  • 3CVape x Vape Geek Q8 Sahara 24 mm BF RDA
  • 10 mm wide bore 810 drip tip
  • Spare parts pack
  • Gold plated bottom feed pin
  • Flathead screwdriver

Build quality and design

The Sahara RDA looks different, and I mean it in a good way. Yes, the two-part top cap and the airflow structure did remind me of the Pulse 24, but the Sahara doesn’t lack originality. The first thing I noticed on the top cap was the combination of Ultem with metal, something we don’t see very often (the silver edition uses acrylic instead.) This combination also takes place on the two-part drip tip, which is a nice touch. Taking the top cap off reveals an impressive gold deck. I am generally not a fan of gold decks but this one is done right. I loved the curves on the posts, they give it a gate-like look that is very classy. I preferred the gold deck on the black Sahara, but this is very subjective, and I am pretty sure many would prefer it on the silver edition.

The beefy screws are flathead and Philips head compatible and O-ring tolerances are perfect all around. There are also two locking notches on the base of the RDA — I would have loved them to be a little bit bigger, but I got used to tracking them after a while. The only negative of the Sahara RDA out of the box is the complete lack of coils and cotton. So be prepared to use your own.

Airflow

The Sahara RDA features a two-part airflow system on its top cap. The bottom metallic part is secured by the notches on the bottom of the base and has four 2 mm airflow holes/channels on each side that are protruding slightly inside the deck. The holes are angled downwards in order to hit the coils on their lower side. The top part of the cap functions as airflow adjustment and features one slot on each side.

This RDA is not as airy as its design might have you think. I believe it has the perfect amount of restriction (for me at least.) Fully open it is more or less like the Hellvape Dead Rabbit with 2/3 of its airflow open. To get a similar draw out of the Vandy Vape Bonza you will have to close three out of its five rows.

There are only a couple of issues with the airflow of the Sahara RDA. There is some turbulence, which can get a bit loud, but nothing out of the ordinary. And the way the airflow is positioned means that closing it up will make the air hit the coils in a non-symmetrical fashion. If you prefer the airflow partially closed, then moving your coils to the side will help.

Build deck

The build deck looks gorgeous, but I’ve already talked about that. Building on it can be a little bit complicated, at least until you get how it works. I’d like to note that while the Sahara is listed as also being single-coil, I would only use it for dual coils.

The coils need to be positioned upside down, similar to the OBS Engine II RTA. But the openings of the posts are facing the outside of the deck, which makes coil placement a lot easier on the Sahara. Having to keep both legs in place at the same time became a bit annoying, so I handled each leg individually and had a much easier time building on it. And an even easier time snipping my coil legs, as the design of the posts make it a breeze. I’d give the Sahara RDA build deck a thumbs up just for that part.

With the airflow ring protruding slightly inside the deck, I’d suggest not going over an ID of 3 mm for your coils, especially if they are of the exotic variety. You could try with 3.5 mm diameter coils, but make sure they are not touching the airflow when putting the top cap back on. The well of the Sahara is not deep, so keep that in mind too when wicking your coils.

In fact, the only negative I found with the build deck of the Sahara is that the posts reduce visibility to the inside part of the coils. Removing hotspots and making sure that my coils glow evenly was a little bit more complicated than I’d like it to be. Other than that, I had fun building on it. There is a learning curve, but it is not a steep one.

Performance

sahara-rda-performance

I tried two builds on the Sahara RDA:

  • Dual parallel 24-gauge Ni80
  • Fused Claptons 24*3/38 Ni80

I got really good flavor out of both the builds I’ve tested. The airflow ring is placed directly in front of the coils, and the chamber gets reduced by the large posts just enough to ensure a saturated and flavorful vape.

Dripping on the Sahara works really well due to the empty space between the posts. E-liquid gets distributed freely on the wicks and the short distance the coils have from the base means that they will get saturated quickly. Squonking works like a charm as well – I’d say that I prefer squonking than dripping on it. I have not been using a lot of wick on the Sahara due to the relatively small well, so having the juice being drawn back in the squonk bottle helped with potential floods. Beware that the Sahara will flood if you overdrip/oversquonk which may lead to spitback, but the angles of the airflow holes will prevent leaks from being catastrophic.

Semi restricted airflow and reduced chamber usually means heat. Thankfully 3CVape was aware of that and decided to go with Ultem or acrylic for the top part of the top cap. Larger builds will heat up the bottom metal part significantly, but the heat won’t transfer to the drip tip. You won’t feel it unless you decide to unscrew the RDA after chain-vaping on it for a while.

Likes

  • Very easy to clip leads
  • Perfect amount of restriction fully open
  • Angled holes hit the coils just right for flavor
  • Great machining
  • Quality screws
  • Good O-ring tolerances
  • Original build deck design
  • Notches for locking top cap in place
  • Perfect on a dual-battery squonker

Dislikes

  • Small juice well
  • No coils or cotton in the package
  • Locking notches a bit too small
  • Can get loud-ish/turbulent
  • Hard to check coils for hot spots

Verdict

I really enjoy using the Sahara RDA. I like how it looks, love the flavor I get out of it and the amount of airflow restriction. It is not the easiest deck to work with, but not that challenging either. You can get used to it pretty fast.

I’d say that the Sahara is a good RDA and an even better squonking RDA, especially once you get used to its shallow juice well. Its dual-coil build deck makes it an excellent pairing for a dual-battery squonk mod such as the Desire Rage or the Dovpo Basium. I’d recommend this RDA to anyone after good flavor and a slightly restrictive direct-lung airflow who’s also not reluctant to work on an upside-down deck. Just don’t forget to check your coil and cotton supplies, as the Sahara unfortunately ships without these.

What do you think of the 3CVape Sahara RDA? Let me know in the comment section.

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My first attempt at vaping came back in 2009 on some of the first cigalikes to ever reach Europe. A couple of attempts -- and vaping tech generations later -- I managed to quit smoking in 2016, and have since then developed somewhat of an obsession with all things vaping. When I am not consuming vape reviews I am either tinkering my NBA fantasy teams or playing board games with friends.

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