The Petri RDA v1.5 by Dotmod is a snazzy, distinguished and stylish little dripper. The v1 received more-than-positive reviews from professional reviewers, RDA enthusiasts and your typical forum posters. The Petri RDAs are not anything wildly out of the ordinary, but both the v1 and the v1.5 have a few choice tweaks to the common design of RDAs that elevates them beyond the average. However, there is one change from the v1 to the v1.5 that threw me for a loop because I had approached the v1.5 as I would any normal dripper.
So before I get into the review I will say that this RDA, specifically the Petri v1.5, is probably not for those who like to build simple one-strand coils (unless using maybe 18-22 gauge or maybe even ribbon wire); I ran into trouble with 24 gauge kanthal until I moved to wire with Clapton-like internal diameters. I will go into some detail in this review, so in case you want to get the synopsis now, know that the Petri v1.5 RDA is a flavorful, solid-performing RDA *if* you have exotic coil-building skills or a plethora of gauges of wire. If you are more of a standard, single-strand coil user, go for the v1.
Note: The Petri v1 has normal screws and the v1.5 has the screws with the knurled caps. Some shops are not differentiating which is which, so that is how you can specify which one to get.
Unlike the Tugboat v2 by Flawless, that costs the same and comes simply in a ziplock baggie, the packaging of the Petri v1.5 is a component of its styling. The Petri v1.5 comes corked in a small glass jar with the atty sitting atop of bed of hemp fibers. It looks to be a specimen waiting for study or something that you’d find in an old-world apothecary to cure a common ailment—presumably playing on the whole “petri” vibe.
Of course though, it’s none of that! It’s just another dripper that comes with next to nothing in regard to spare parts or accessories. What you get with the Petri RDA is three extra o-rings. That’s it. I like style. I like cool. But for the money it costs, a matching drip tip would be uber-cool.
Note: Dotmod does offer accessories like “competition” caps and matching drip tips, but those are all extra purchases.
It’s a gold plated, squared dual-post deck with each of the posts having dual inlets to trap coils (the Petri v1.5 is set-up for dual coils). This, in theory, will make trapping dual-coils even easier than a normal two-post design (which is plenty easy to begin with) because each of the coil’s leads will have their own insertion points not to be overlapped with the opposing coil.
Each post is still using one screw, but the v1.5’s screws are the best screws I’ve ever used in an RDA! They are beefy Phillips-head screws with knurled caps that allow for trapping without a screwdriver (but you can, and probably should, still use a screwdriver). The screws themselves have a catch (somehow) where when you unscrew it, they stop short of being unscrewed all the way, thus making them stay in the posts. (That could be why the RDA didn’t come with extra screws—it’s highly unlikely that these will ever get lost.)
The dual-insertion post-holes are quite large (this is the change from the v1 that threw me for a loop), and while large post-holes are not anything new or difficult to use, the screws of the Petri v1.5 are simply not wide enough to consistently trap anything but very thick wire! Even 24 gauge is too thin to consistently trap without the leads slipping right out. I pretty much have to use Clapton-type coils for this atty as the thickest single-strand wire I have is 24 gauge and it is not thick enough.
Notice in the photo, when the screw is all the way screwed down, the post holes still have a generous gap in between the screw threads and the outer edges of the post holes. And because the post-holes are rounded in the center (where the dual-insertion points meet), what often happens is, if your wire is not thick enough, attempts to keep your leads stationary for trapping will result in them being pushed out to the side as the screw comes down. That results in a weak connection, if any connection is made at all!
Note: Consider this RDA specific for use with exotic coils or very thick (thicker than 24 gauge) wire. Dotmod should’ve made this clear. I can appreciate this tweak to the v1 (and I do love the v1.5’s screws), but I feel the consumer would’ve been better served to have an option of which deck to buy. I feel badly for those getting the v1.5 that never build anything but single-strand coils of 24 gauge or thinner.
This is another unique tweak to the common design and one that may take a bit getting used to. Because the posts are farther apart than normal, the coils installed will benefit from either being spaced coils or with just using many more wraps. For most of the builds I’ve used and most that I’ve seen with the Petri RDAs, the coils are quite long.
Note: There are plenty of alternative methods of building on this deck that any advanced user can employ, but I prefer to write for a reader who is more of the average vaper. If you are advanced, you should have no problem having your way with this deck.
A rather deep juice well that is sure to keep those long coils saturated!
Two non-adjustable airflow holes, according to my calculations, at ~2.8 mm. Not only are they non-adjustable, but there are only two sets, which means it is strictly set up for dual coils (although, you can run an in-between-posts build like I did on my Stumpy RDA. See that review for an example.) The airflow of the Petri v1.5 is what I consider to be a medium amount of airflow; but these days, this should be considered on the low end of medium. Not really restrictive, but not very open either.
I am a bit surprised at the placement/design of the airflow because just being two simple holes is not all that well-matched with the type of coils that people are using with this RDA. If you have two long coils, one hole directed at the center of that long coil is not, in my determination, sufficient at hitting the entre coil in an effective manner. I would’ve liked to have seen a series of smaller holes or long slits.
Even still, although I feel the airflow of this RDA seems to be completely un-designed, the draw of the Petri v1.5 is absolutely wonderful. I am not certain, nor am I ever certain, why some RDAs work better than others even when having the same sized air holes, but this has a really nice draw. I would caution against building too low (sub 0.15Ω for kanthal) because I don’t think it has adequate-enough airflow to cool uber-low ohm builds, but that is just my own advice, you will likely find others that build that low and are fine with it.
Speaking of temperature…
The entire base of the juice well is peek insulated. Seriously! The whole base. That coupled with the barrel being aluminum (and not steel) allows this atomizer to keep from turning into a radiator. So as far as heat retention goes, it doesn’t retain much heat. This is not about how cool the vape will be, but how hot the atomizer will not be.
Yes. And it is easy to adjust, too. I can screw it in or out simply with my thumb nail.
Very little evidence of the machining process. I don’t know much about how Dotmod produces their hardware, but this atty’s construction is top-notch! Its aesthetic beauty is in its simplicity, its hip logo, and that little lip of its gold-plated deck that peaks from under the top cap.
Let me say that this atomizer performs wonderfully for flavor and vapor. It doesn’t really make sense as it seems to be quite a simple design (in terms of chamber and airflow), but I *think* the wide-open deck provides space for air to circulate without much intrusion and interruption. Airflow is key to atomizer performance and, even if it doesn’t have copious amounts of airflow, the performance is generally enhanced by space in the chamber (this is why I felt the Stumpy had great performance). That is ultimately just my theory, but either which way, the Petri v1.5 sure does perform well.
As I said in my introduction, if you know how to build exotic coils, this RDA atomizer should suit you just fine. So if you are one of the growing number of vapers that rock a Clapton-style coil most of the time, I would say get this atomizer. It is a little pricey, but it sure as hell presents itself like it is worth it! I think it is.
For more great RDAs be sure to check out our best RDA vapes list.