Mouth-to-lung vaping never went out of style. In fact, the MTL market has only been getting more competitive recently. Today we’re looking at the Ares RTA, from Innokin’s Platform series, a line of products catering specifically to MTLers, beginning vapers and smokers. Phil Busardo and Dimitris Agrafiotis (VapinGreek), two popular vaping YouTubers, worked together with Innokin to design this tank.
Busardo is a well-known MTL vaper, so I have high expectations for the Ares. The tank is 24 mm in diameter and holds about 4 mL, although it’s listed at 5 mL. It’s designed for single-coil building and incorporates some of the top features from the best RTAs on the market. I’m not going to get into the YouTube drama about where the tech concepts originated though. I’m more interested in its performance.
Colors: black and stainless steel
If you like simplicity, then you’re going to like the way the Ares RTA looks. It has a clean design, nothing crazy or fancy, which appeals to me. Its most noticeable characteristic is its bell-shaped conical reduced chamber. Other than that, it just looks like your average rebuildable MTL tank.
Innokin has included green and clear o-rings and a tinted glass section for those who want to spice things up a bit. I love how it looks with the lime green o-rings and the clear glass section. It reminds me of the old SMOK TCT tanks, but its 24 mm diameter gives it a more modern look.
The branding on the conical chamber prominently features the Platform and Ares logo in black. The Innokin logo is subtly etched into the top cap. On the underside of the top-fill cap, there’s a little romantic tribute to the famous bromance between Phil and Dimitris. A nice added touch.
The Ares includes two different black Delrin drip tips — a regular straight one, and a curved one reminiscent of the Nautilus mouthpiece. You can also use any 510-compatible drip tips.
The Ares RTA has a sweet top-fill system reminiscent of the Eleaf Melo 3 or the new Wismec Gnome tank. It snaps open with authority using a ball bearing. The fill port is insulated with food-grade silicone. The downside is that this silicone piece cannot be removed for cleaning, and if it tears then you’re screwed. The fill port is large enough to accommodate anything from fine tips to larger glass droppers.
The tank utilizes a conical reduced chamber, which is supposed to enhance the flavor and throat hit. This bell-like design supposedly reduces turbulence to provide a smoother hit. They claim that its rounded shape also allows your juice to easily flow into the tank when filling it up.
The Ares disassembles into four main components; the base which includes the build deck, the chimney/top-cap, the glass section, and the drip tip. I appreciate the simplicity of this design for cleaning purposes. It’s not a humpty dumpty tank that feels like a puzzle to put back together. The o-rings appear to be thick and durable, and there are only two, which is ideal for cleaning.
The Ares MTL RTA is made with beginners in mind. Dimitris and Phil made sure to include everything you need to get started. That includes a spare glass tank, two sets of o-rings, two drip tips, a hex key, 26 g Kanthal wire, two 1.0-ohm coils, cotton, and two flathead screws.
You also receive two building rods, one for contact coils and the other for spaced ones. For beginners, I would start by installing the prebuilt coils as a guide, then use the build tool to create your own coils for the tank. Dimitris’ build tool makes building spaced coils easy while Phil’s tool allows you to build 2.5 mm or 3 mm contact coils, depending on which side you’re using.
Innokin also offers video tutorials which are accessible through a scannable QR code. In addition to that, their customer service seems to be exceptional, especially on the Platform series. You can see how responsive they are on their website to concerns from their customers.
How ‘bout that deck? Innokin is calling it a “drop-in coil sky build deck”. This is just a fancy way of saying it’s a GTA-style deck in which the platform is elevated from the bottom of the tank. It requires your coils to have the leads going in opposite directions, so you can just drop your coil into place and tighten the screws. If you’ve ever built on the Digiflavor Siren (1 or 2) then you’ll be right at home with the Ares.
The cotton doesn’t need to be tucked into a hole like the Fumytech Rose. The Ares deck has c-cutouts for your wicks that are sealed up when screwing on the chamber. The only issue is that you can get some cotton stuck in the threading, but it won’t be a problem if you make sure your wicks are contained inside the cutouts. The underside of the deck slants downwards, which Innokin claims is more conducive to wicking (as opposed to the underside being flat). We’ll see about that…
Building on it has been a breeze. You don’t even need to bend your leads around the posts or anything sneaky like that. The included screws are nice and beefy and will trap just about any wire from a thick fused clapton all the way up to 28-gauge round wire. You could probably even pull off a build with 30 gauge wire, but 26 or 28 gauge seems to be the optimal gauge for this type of build deck. I recommend building a coil with a 2.5-3.0 mm diameter, so it doesn’t touch the inner chamber.
The deck also features a liquid barrier to prevent juice from splashing and leaking all over the place. This barrier is essentially two walls that sit perpendicular to the deck’s build posts. At least they are not that tall, so they don’t make building on the tank any more difficult for me.
As with the Digiflavor Siren V1, just underneath the coil is a short round cylinder with small airholes resembling a showerhead. It looks like the airflow reducer from the Siren, except with more holes, no knurling, and it isn’t removable.
The airflow control ring features four different size holes ranging from 0.5 to 2 mm. Like the Siren 2, you can either use the cyclops airflow slot, or select them individually using an additional hole. The ring has a stopper on each end and does not click into position. It may loosen up when using the tank, but after a good rinse, the tolerance will revert to normal.
I was surprised to find that even with just the 0.5 mm hole selected, the draw isn’t as tight as I expected. For me, this isn’t an issue because I honestly prefer a restrictive lung hit, but for some hardcore MTL enthusiasts, this tank might not cut it. You can try closing off the 0.5 mm hole, but that introduces another issue that I’ll be addressing in the performance section of this review.
The vape that I get off the Ares RTA has been solid and dependable. I found it works best with a 1.0-ohm coil at around 15-20 watts before the mouthpiece gets too hot. You can get away with as low as a 0.5-ohm coil, but it’s not ideal for that. Good news: a DL version is in the works.
I tried a few different wicking methods. First, I tried it with the cotton hanging almost to the bottom of the tank, which worked out fine. Then I realized that you can cut the wicks flush with the bottom of the build deck, and it still has no problems wicking down to the last drop.
No dry or burnt-tasting hits to be found, and I have had no issues so far with leaking. The flavor is consistent and comparable to the Aspire Nautilus 2. I was able to vape anything from 50/50 to thicker juices containing up to 75 percent VG. It wasn’t a struggle to find the perfect balance of cotton (like the Zeus RTA), but I highly recommend using more cotton with thinner blends, and a bit less with the higher-VG juices.
I enjoy using this tank on the largest single airflow setting or rocking it wide open. The only issue I found is that it makes a slight whistle, especially when taking hard puffs on the two smallest holes. Other than that, the draw is smooth and enjoyable with minimal airflow turbulence. I think the whistling is caused when the airflow gets restricted by the “showerhead” airflow reducer.
The throat hit is there, especially with higher-nicotine juices. It’s not as defined as a tank with tighter airflow, but I think Innokin achieved a nice balance between a sharp hit and a smooth one. If you’re looking for that extra kick, I’d recommend chucking some nic salt in this bad boy. Overall the performance is smooth and quiet, aside from the faint whistling that I previously mentioned.
I would recommend this product to fans of the Digiflavor Siren series, or Nautilus lovers who’d like to build their own coils. If you’re looking for a super tight draw, I’d recommend looking at something more like the Kayfun Prime or Beserker. I can’t say this is the ultimate MTL tank, but for the price and what you receive, it’s well worth the money for its consistent performance and quality.
I think Phil and Dimitris did an excellent job overall designing a rebuildable tank with Innokin that accommodates both seasoned vapers and beginners. I can see smokers gravitating more towards the Zenith, due to the pre-made coils. But if you’re new to building, the Ares is a great place to start. Are you a hardcore MTLer? Share your thoughts on the Innokin Ares MTL RTA!