Hobo Customs Drifter RDA Review

Kyle Formeck
May 4, 2016

Drifter RDA Intro

The Drifter RDA is the newest addition to the high-end line of vaping hardware by Hobo Customs LLC.  Hoberto Serrano is well known in the community not only for his high quality products that perform well, but also for his outstanding customer service.  The Drifter is the first atomizer that comes without the Hobo name (i.e. Hobo v2, v2.1, v3, v3.1 etc), but is labeled as the v2 on steroids.  Let’s check it out and see whether that really is the case.

Drifter RDA Specs and Features

Hobo Customs Drifter RDA Packaging
Hobo Customs Drifter RDA Packaging
  • Drifter RDA
  • Black delrin wide-bore drip tip
  • Allen wrench
  • 4 extra post screws
  • 2 extra deck o-rings
  • 316 stainless steel construction
  • 3D machined airflow comes up under the coil at an angle and minimizes leaking
  • Single and dual coil airflow options
  • Split center-post build deck
  • PEEK insulators
  • Copper center-pin
  • Reduced chamber
  • Proudly designed and machined in California, USA


  • 22mm diameter
  • 5mm height without drip tip
  • 27mm height with drip tip
  • 2mm post holes
  • 7mm deep juice well
  • 6mm x 2mm airflow slots
  • 7mm bore on supplied drip tip

Notable Remarks

Machining/Fit and Finish

Hobo Customs Drifter RDA Airflow

This thing screams high-end from the moment you touch it, from the perfect tolerances down to the beautiful finish.  Everything fits together perfectly.  The deck o-rings are snug enough to allow you to hold it by the top cap without it falling off, yet loose enough to make it easy to pull off for dripping.  It may go without saying, but there wasn’t single flaw on this thing; I’m sure I could look at it under a microscope without finding a single defect.

Build Deck

Hobo Customs Drifter RDA Post-Airflow
Hobo Customs Drifter RDA Post-Airflow

This is where this atomizer resembles the v2 more than the v3.  It features a split center-post design we’ve all seen before with one interesting difference: the negative posts have slots instead of holes to accommodate bigger wire, much like the REM Atty and the Indestructible RDA.  The holes in the positive block are about 2mm in diameter and stand a bit higher than the negative slots to minimize lead bending.

Ease of Build

Hobo Customs Drifter RDA Deck
Hobo Customs Drifter RDA Deck

Building on this can be a little finicky due to the slots in the negative posts.  It’s not really difficult, it just takes a little more patience than holes would.  I didn’t have any issues trapping 26g wire, but I did have to bend the negative leads, pull them to the outside of the deck and hold them in place in order to tighten them down.  While it isn’t that difficult, I did find mounting the coils to be easier on the Hobo v3.

Positioning the coils on the Drifter is easier than the Hobo v3 due to the built-in airflow ramps.  It gives you a reference as to where the coils should be as where the Hobo v3 required some guesswork.  If you guessed wrong, putting the outer ring back on could jack up your coils and if that didn’t happen, you ran the risk of shorting on the top cap.  With the Drifter, you simply place bottom of the coil at the upper edge of the airflow ramp and consider it done.

Overall, I find the Drifter a bit easier to build.  For me, I spend more time positioning my coils than I do mounting them, so having the airflow built into the deck made it easier to build than losing the super-easy-mounting of a two post deck.  I didn’t have any issues with my leads being clipped; something I’ve seen complaints about with the v2.

Juice Well

Hobo Customs Drifter RDA Deck Top
Hobo Customs Drifter RDA Deck Top

The 7mm deep juice well goes a long way.  It’s kind of surprising because even though it’s deep, the size of the well is decreased by the built-in airflow ramp.  The large positive block takes up even more space in the well, but doesn’t totally block juice from flowing from one side to the other.

Airflow and Controller

Hobo Customs Drifter RDA Horizontal
Hobo Customs Drifter RDA

This is where the magic happens; the airflow ramps allow air to hit the coils from the side and bottom when positioned correctly.  The draw is unbelievably smooth as well; one of the smoothest draws I’ve ever experienced.

Since the ramps are built into the deck, adjusting the airflow is as simple as turning the top cap.  I like this a lot more than the Hobo v3 because you don’t have to fiddle with the outer ring and the top cap simultaneously in order to find the draw you want while keeping the slots in front of the coil.  I personally like it at 50%-75% open.  No matter how you adjust it though, the draw is always super smooth.

Due to the design of the airflow and the size of the chamber, if you over-drip, you will get some spitback for a few hits.  Leaking however, has not been an issue.  Another thing to note, is that when the airflow is wide open, there will be a slight whistle; I’ve had much worse, but it can still be an annoyance.


Hobo Customs Drifter RDA Pin-Logo
Hobo Customs Drifter RDA Pin-Logo

I personally love the way this atomizer looks.  The heat sink fins at the top look really nice, even if they don’t really do much for heat reduction.  It has that simple, yet elegant aesthetic that I loved so much about the NarDA and the Aeolus Lite RDA.  It definitely fits in nicely with the rest of Hobo’s atomizers.


Hobo Customs Drifter RDA Drip Tip
Hobo Customs Drifter RDA Drip Tip

This atomizer is without a doubt designed for flavor.  Yes, you can fit some crazy builds in here but it will just be too hot.  The reduced chamber heats up quickly and concentrates the flavor; I found 26g wire seemed to work best.

After putting this thing through many different builds, my favorite is a simple 26g kanthal-A1, 10.5 wraps around a 3mm screwdriver that comes out to around 0.66 ohms.  Coil position is extremely important and can make or break the performance.  I found the easiest way to get it right was to put the bottom of the coils as close to the upper edge of the airflow ramp so air can hit as much of the coil as possible.


  • Best flavor of any atomizer in the Hobo line
  • Incredibly smooth draw in all airflow settings
  • Top notch machining and finishing
  • Leak resistant
  • Very easy to adjust the airflow on the fly
  • Deep juice well goes a long way
  • Includes a single coil option
  • Grub screws won’t clip your leads
  • O-ring tolerances are perfect
  • Supplied drip tip works very nicely and complements the overall aesthetic


  • Negative post clamps can take some getting used to
  • Over-dripping can cause spitback
  • Whistles when the airflow is set to wide open
  • Some may say that the split center-post design is a step backwards from the two-post deck of the Hobo v3


The Drifter RDA fits perfectly into the already fantastic line of vaping hardware by Hobo Customs LLC.  Is it really the v2 on steroids, it sure is!  While some may see this as a step back from the v3, I think it’s just different.  The innovative airflow ramp brings better flavor than any other atomizer in the Hobo line and it’s aesthetics are right on par with all of their other dripping atomizers.  With all of that said, if you care more about cloud production than flavor, then this atomizer isn’t for you; don’t get me wrong, it puts out decent sized clouds, but this is definitely geared more towards the flavor chasers.  If you liked the other Hobo atomizers or are looking for a high quality atomizer with great flavor and a ridiculously smooth draw, then pick this up, you’re going to love it!

My name is Kyle and I have been vaping for almost a year now. I started vaping to kick my 9 year smoking habit and got hooked on trying to get the best flavor out of my atomizers. I am a software developer living in upstate NY and in my free time I like to write shoegaze and dream pop music.


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Looks pretty sweet, Kyle! I think I’m getting too lazy for clamps and four post holes though. :p Velocity decks and the NoPity are making sure that my build skills atrophy.

Kyle Formeck
Kyle Formeck

I agree, I’m not a huge fan of the clamps either since they don’t seem bring anything useful. You do get used to them pretty quickly though.


Thanks Kyle

Does this crack your top 5? Do you like this Hobo better the Twisted Messes V2?

Side Airflow seems a little dated nowadays and is going the way of the 3-post design.

Kyle Formeck
Kyle Formeck

I wouldn’t say it fits in my top 5 but I like it waaay more than the TMv2. It’s all personal preference though, I like to be able to get good flavor with simple builds and the TMv2 pretty much requires a quad coil or exotic wire build to get decent flavor; this thing is designed for simple coil builds. As for side airflow, I think it’s fantastic when implemented properly; some of my favorite atomizers use side airflow: NarDA, In’ax, Le Zephyr, Nextiny, Veritas, K.Loud+G, Nipple, Origen and the Marquis to mention a few; it’s all about how it’s… Read more »

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