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Mar 17 2022

Difference between Atomizers, Clearomizers, and Cartomizers

Difference between Atomizers, Clearomizers, and Cartomizers

Vaping terminologies are often applied interchangeably and devices are referred to in different ways. All too often, beginners, mainstream media, and even non-vapers deduce that all e-cigs are similar. Truly, this becomes a huge burden and almost baffling especially when you’re finding the right e-cig to assist you to quit regular cigarettes. But experienced vape enthusiasts understand better than lumping all the devices into a single group. One major aspect of the distinction between vaping devices is the sort of heating element they use. When you go shopping for a vape, some of the most commonly-asked questions are: what is the distinction between the atomizer, cartomizer, and clearomizer? And between the three, which is the best? By having concrete answers to the two questions, you will be in a good position to understand how each element affects your vape experience and you’ll be able to choose the right option for you.

For newbies and amateur vapers, buying a vape can get confusing. Despite the many benefits that come with e-cigs, various parts such as batteries and related accessories, vape juice strength, or countless flavours, perhaps the hardest decision first-time users ought to make is choosing between an atomizer, a cartomizer, and a clearomizer. All these are meant for the same purpose that’s to ‘atomize’ vape juice to convert it into vapour. But if all the three have the same basic premise, why are you allowed to choose only one from the group? It all comes down to your partiality, particularly, how you want to build your vape. Clearly, all three devices are meant to “atomize” e-liquid to create vapour implying that vapes require an “atomizer” to work. Note that both the cartomizer and atomizer do have an atomizer. The major difference among them is their way of delivery, that is, how they work?

So, how do atomizers, cartomizers, and clearomizers work? To answer this we would say that all these devices come with at least one part of posts inside: positive post and negative post. A coil wound around a wick is attached to these posts. The wick is purposely meant to absorb (through osmosis) and hold vape juice while the heating element (coil) heats up to vaporize the e-liquid. The wick, which acts as the membrane allows a steady flow of vape liquid without inundating the coil. At their fundamental level, atomizers are designed to hold vape juice and vaporize it to create vapor.

1. What’s An Atomizer?

Let’s dissect the actual definition of an atomizer without bias from vaping culture. An atomizer is defined as a device that emits water, perfume, or any sort of liquid as a fine spray. But in vaping terms, an atomizer refers to a device/component/system that vaporizes e-liquid to vapor.

How Does An Atomizer Work?

Today, the industry is flooded with different types of atomizers. Often, a cartomizer, which is essentially a cartridge with an integrated atomizer, is what the majority of vapers choose to go. Within the cartomizer is all manner of atomizers: top coil atomizer, bottom coil atomizer, vertical coil atomizer, horizontal coil atomizer, dual coil atomizer, etc. In simple terms, the atomizer, whether in standalone design or integrated inside a cartomizer features a heating component (coil). The modern-day atomizers are designed and operated similarly. All you need is a typical set of equipment such as a pre-made coil or wire and some wicking material (preferably cotton-made). If you’re a technically-minded character, let’s try this together:

  • Build your coil and fasten it on the build deck of your atomizer. Repeat this if your atomizer requires more than a single coil.
  • With an Ohmmeter, check the resistance of your coil, ensure you’re aware of the specifications for the sake of your battery safety.
  • Steadily dry burn the coil(s) to eliminate any hot spot and ensure it glows uniformly (you can skip this step if your coil does not have hot spots, particularly if you're using spaced coils).
  • Leave it to cool
  • Prepare your wick, place it inside the coil, and lay the wick tails within the wicking channels.
  • Prime your wick by dripping some vape juice on the coil and allowing it to saturate.

That’s all. From this point, you can power your atomizer depending on coil specs, so start low up until you hit your preferred setting. If you’re using an RDA, keep dripping any time you notice it’s drying. If you’re using an RTA, fill up your reservoir and never let it dry. On an RDTA, the two practice applies.

Pros Of Using Atomizers

  • Perhaps the supreme argument regarding the use of atomizers is the taste/flavour of vape juice. The e-juice flavour is immensely evident when using an atomizer-based dripper.
  • In the reservoir/tank or cartridge, whilst the vape juice isn’t forced to sit for a long period, the old juice isn’t allowed to mix with new juice.
  • The atomizer burns up all the vape juice dripped into it so nothing is retained.
  • Vapers who refer to themselves as purists vow by atomizer-based dripping as the most appropriate way to vape.


2. What’s A Cartomizer?

If you’re familiar with trio-piece systems, then a

should be an easier one to grasp. As the name suggests, the term “cartomizer”, also referred to as “carto” is coined from two words, “cartridge” and “atomizer.” The device attaches to one end of the battery and the two customarily take after the shape and almost the size of a regular cigarette, with the carto part resembling the filter. Often, cartos are prefilled and swappable. That's great news for vapers who love their atomizer and vape juice in a pinch and wouldn’t want to tire themselves with frequent refilling.

How Does A Cartomizer Work?

The fact that there are different manufacturers in the industry so is the wide variety of cartomizers on the market. Each brand/type comes with its own strengths and drawbacks. Longer in length than an atomizer, but just as broad, a cartomizer is usually described as an “extended atomizer.” Nevertheless, rather than using silica wicks, cartos use polyester fiberfill-made wicks known as polyfills. Of the group, cartos are the easiest to work with.

Whilst there are single-coil cartos, the majority are dual-coil. This is because dual-coils are renowned for giving lower resistance yet generating more vapour. The sad thing about them is that they are legendary for eating through your batteries. Since they often come pre-filled with vape juice, their operation is reduced to a simple process. Besides, cartomizers can hold a sufficient amount of vape juice allowing users to go on long vaping sessions. Like atomizers, cartos are filled up once the vape juice starts to dry, but the topping up process can hurt you as it requires you to tip the carto at some angle to avoid messing with the air hole. Unlike atomizers, nonetheless, if you dry burn your cartomizer, your polyfill wick will be ruined; you’ll be required to replace it.

Nevertheless, rather than misusing a superbly good cartomizer, you should instead turn it into an excellent dripping atomizer by carefully detaching the filler, with tweezers. Once you’re done, you’ll have converted your cartomizer into an atomizer and you can use it as such. But since you’ll be dripping straight to the coil without the wick, expect it to burn your vape juice quicker. Pros will often reserve converted cartomizers for backup plans.

Pros Of Using Cartomizer

  • The chamber is leak-proof leaving no room for leaking fluids
  • It’s cost-effective, way cheaper than smoking: the unit equivalent of the chamber is around two packs of regular cigarettes.
  • It’s clean: comes in disposable and rechargeable options
  • Perfect method of quitting tobacco products

3. What’s A Clearomizer?

As the name suggests, a clearomizer gets its name from a “clear” or transparent glass or plastic hull that constitutes the bulk of how they appear. The name is coined from the terms “clear” and “atomizer” that imply the tank is built from glass or plastic. This allows you to monitor the level of vape juice in your vape and know when it’s necessary to top up. A clearomizer is a popular and widely used device. The device constitutes a mouthpiece, a swappable coil fastened at the foot of the tank, and a chimney connecting the heating coil to the top cap. Whilst the term clearomizer is commonly used for mouth-to-lung (MTL) tanks, it applies to all vapes that use swappable coils. They feature the 510 connection to allow them to be compatible with different vape mods.

Clearomizers come in different varieties of sizes, shapes, designs, and configurations. Notwithstanding the type, a clearomizer holds more amount of vape juice compared to an atomizer or a cartomizer. With e-liquid capacities ranging from 2.5 ml and above, clearomizer s solve the problem for vapers who are bothered with carrying e-juice bottles around, those who vape while driving, and those who just need the pleasure of vaping for long sessions without constantly topping up their device. The fact that a clearomizer allows you to watch your e-liquid consumption reduces the risk of burnt/dry hits. Also, once the coil has been ruined, or the wick becomes too dirty, greasy, or sticky, instead of throwing away the entire tank, users can swap them with rebuild coil or pre-build coil heads.

Also, the degree of modification is high. This spans from your choice of resistance, the type/quantity of wick to control vape flavor flow, tank/reservoir size, and even how the clearomizer appears by swapping it with other types of different designs, colors, shapes, or textures.

How Does A Clearomizer Work?

A clearomizer isn’t as easy to use as a cartomizer, but try easier than an atomizer. The majority of vapers will use clearomizer as their first device as modern products have a way of amalgamating exemplary vape experience without the need of rebuilding their own coils. A clearomizer is a superior device to both carto and atomizer as it allows you to get a better vape experience without messing around with tools and wires. All said, a clearomizer is a user-friendly device to operate provided that you grasp the basics.

  • Prime the coil by dripping some vape juice
  • Screw the coil inside your tank and assemble the other parts
  • Fill your clearomizer r with vape juice and allow it to settle. This will enable your wick to soak properly
  • If the tank does not need wattage adjustability, start vaping right away. But if your device allows you to vary the wattage, start with the lowest setting and work your way up till you find the right place. If you begin experiencing burnt taste, reduce your wattage setting. Make sure that all your adjustments are within the recommended wattage to avoid some nasty dry hits.

Pros Of Using Clearomizer

  • Easy to clean
  • Allows the vaper to watch their consumption and know when to top more e-juice
  • Lasts longer than atomizers and cartomizers
  • Highly versatile: there is a broad range of related accessories available. It allows you to swap coil heads, wicks, and apply tips for longevity

Which One Should You Choose?

If you want an easy-to-use and good-performing device, then you should choose a clearomizer. For instance, a sublime sub-ohm clearomizer offers high-quality vaping experience while simultaneously allowing you to swap coils in a short time. Although you’ll be required to spend some money on coils, they’re reasonably priced and you won’t be doing it so often anyway. Now, if you’re a good learner and willing to learn various issues like coil rebuilding and wicking, then an atomizer, which is the best performing among the bunch can be your kind of device. They’ll deliver the best flavor and vapour. In the long run, they will save you some coins as wire and cotton are cheap items to source. But you’ll have to work on research because chances are you won’t do a perfect job the first time. If you find both the atomizer and clearomizer difficult, then go for a cartomizer. Although it’s not the best performing in terms of flavour and vapour generation, it will heal your nicotine craving. Besides, it’s easy to use. All you need is to maintain the battery in good shape has extra cartomizers around.


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