Picking The Right Tank For Your Vape Mod
The different types of tanks out there and what they offer you
If you’ve recently bought a mod for yourself or gotten one as a gift, you might be on the prowl for some good components to complement your machine. Your mod is only one critical part of what makes an excellent vaping experience. You’ll need to outfit it with a coil that’s suited to the output power, hit quality you’re most comfortable with, and a tank that both holds enough liquid to suit your daily intake and lets you tune the air intake to suit your preferences.
There are many different kinds of tanks out there, and you might not know why picking the right tank is important. So let’s start by discussing why a tank is important.
Why is the right tank and coil combo important?
Mods these days can look very different depending on which manufacturer they’re from and who they’re intended for. Each company has its own design staples, and more importantly, they know different people are looking for different things in their mods. For example, an ex-smoker trying to quit might want something as portable as a packet of cigarettes, such as a pod, while an experienced vaper might be okay with lugging around a bulky box mod so long as it can provide enough power to get them those great drags.
But at the end of the day, even the best mods are just that: power supplies. Sure, they might have a fresh coat of paint on them, or a new, futuristic design, or even more buttons and gimmicks to play around with, but the purpose of the mod is just to supply power to your tank, and to do so reliably (this is why rugged, robust mods are such a popular pick). Your entire vaping experience depends on the quality of your coil and your airflow. This begs the question: How does a hit work?
When you press the fire button on your mod or pod, a closed circuit is formed between your battery and your coil. The inflow of current from the battery causes the coil to heat up, with higher resistance coils heating up more quickly. The wick that you wrap around your coil piece, which is usually made of cotton these days, allows e-liquid to be absorbed into it and for the liquid to make contact with the coil subsequently. Upon contact with the heated coil, the e-liquid is vaporized, allowing you to inhale the vapor and complete the process of taking a hit.
The different kinds of tanks you get each have their own spin on this process, but the general outline of it remains the same across all types and manufacturers. But that “spin” means that every type of tank offers you a different vaping experience, often depending on the type of coil technology at work. The following are a few of the different types of fluid mechanisms out there; you may have heard of any number of them before:
- Rebuildable Atomizers (Also known as RBAs)
There are also cartomizers, but those are mostly outdated components that were the norm when e-cigarettes were as far as vaping went. Most of the time, they were utilized in disposable products like single-use e-cigs since refilling them could get quite tedious. You won’t likely find a cartomizer on a disposable vape, though, as even these use clearomizers at this point.
Clearomizers are named as such for their transparency; they’re a transparent, cylindrical, glass, or plastic component that sits atop your mod. A clearomizer contains a coil and a wick, with the wick threaded into the coil in the case of some. The coil can be positioned at the top of the clearomizer with the wick hanging down into a tank or at the bottom with the wick leading to a drip tip at the top.
When you fire, the wick, saturated with e-liquid, is supplied with heat, vaporizing the liquid. Because the coil is threaded into the coil, the surface area of contact between the coil and your liquid is maximized, leading to a stronger, better hit.
A while back, clearomizers used to be the most popular atomizers in the market. A lot of this had to do with the fact that clearomizers were familiar and simple; most vapers would get a clearomizer when purchasing a mod, and a lot of them wouldn’t think to make the switch to anything else since they (the clearomizers) were simple to use, simple to refill, and easy to replace. They were cheap too, by the way; so cheap that they’ve now become one of the go-to mechanisms for disposable vapes and pods.
The problem with clearomizers is that they don’t retain much fluid. While still suitable for an MTL (Mouth to Lung) device like an e-cigarette or vape pen, they’re not a sufficient solution for DTL (Direct to Lung) devices. The “refillable” aspect does give you a little room to work around that. Still, since a clearomizer coil isn’t usually replaceable, it only works up till the point where your coil wears out, after which you’d have to replace the entire clearomizer. There are clearomizers available now that feature replaceable coils. Still, considering the other drawbacks and limitations of the device, you’d be better off just replacing a coil on a tank for a better experience overall.
Another aspect of the clearomizer’s performance that doesn’t measure up against more recent innovations is the power output. A clearomizer can handle a low wattage, but it isn’t rated for the kind of output produced by most modern box mods. So if you’re in the market for top-notch flavor and thick, voluminous clouds of vapor, a clearomizer just won’t cut it.
Effective, inexpensive, and easy to use, the clearomizer is a great option for someone looking to try out the vaping experience to see if it’s for them. You won’t get the sort of experience with an Ego CE-4 style clearomizer that you would with your Troll X RTA tank, but it’ll also only cost you a fraction as much.
Tanks are a step up from clearomizers, and they made it possible for people to carry around enough liquid in their devices to last them beyond a single outing. The essential principle at work is the same as the clearomizer, so they share most of their components, but a tank gives you the quality of life improvements like improved fluid capacity and adjustable airflow.
A tank also functions as an improved housing unit for coils. Not only can tanks make use of different coils based on the power output of your mod, they also make it more convenient to maintain your device by allowing you to simply pop out a used coil and pop in a fresh one.
Different tanks are compatible with different coils, so it’s important to know exactly what you’re looking for when shopping around for replacement coils. Furthermore, some tanks might be limited to premade coils, while others might be rebuildable, letting you build your own coils to insert into your tank.
While tanks are generally more expensive as a one-time purchase, they have a pretty long shelf life since you’re replacing the one component that’s likely to wear out (the coil). Even with the added cost of replacement coils, a tank that lasts you a year ends up being noticeably more cost-effective than repeatedly replacing a clearomizer.
With benefits like a high fluid capacity and adjustable airflow, there are also accompanying drawbacks. A tank can leak, usually from the seams of the glass or your air intake nozzle. As your O-rings wear out (the part of a coil that prevents absorbed fluid from leaking out of your coil), you may notice that your device leaks at times, or that your fluid consumption has gone up considerably. Both of these issues can usually be fixed by installing a replacement coil, though. If not, you can always take apart the entire tank and put it back together so that everything fits better (not recommended for beginners, and this might not be an option for every tank).
These days, almost all tanks are Sub-ohm tanks, meaning they’re meant for use with DTL devices with a high power output and low resistance coils. Most MTL devices these days use pods and usually take a different formulation of e-liquid based on nicotine salts.
We’ve been talking about when we said “tanks” up until this point were tanks that take standard, store-bought coils. However, there are plenty of rebuildable tanks out there as well.
Best Selling Vape Tanks
Rebuildable Tanks (RBAs)
RBA is a general term used to refer to all tanks that make use of rebuildable coils. These are easily replenishable; all you have to do is buy a coil kit to be supplied with the raw materials, and then you build your own coil from scratch, curling the metallic strip around and inserting cotton in to act as a wick. While the rebuild process can be complex, innovations like Wotofo’s SMRT coil have made it so rebuilding your coil is a one-minute process.
Rebuildable Tank Atomizers (RTAs)
RTAs are your go-to tank if you’re a reasonably experienced vaper who wants to get the best out of the experience. They feature the same great capacity and vapor consistency as standard tanks, but you can replace the coils with ones you’ve built.
Buying coil components is significantly less expensive than buying prebuilt coils, even if you’re going for brand-manufactured kits. For more experienced vapers, they can even source their wires, meshes, and cotton (especially the cotton) from other sources to further minimize the cost, but we wouldn’t recommend doing this if you’re a beginner since you might not know exactly what you’re looking for.
RTAs are a great option for people who enjoy tinkering with their gadgets, and the process of reassembling and maintaining your tank can be its own reward if you know what you’re doing. Click here to check out the best RTAs on the market right now.
Rebuildable Dripping Atomizers (RDAs)
RDAs are an alternative to RTAs that don’t have a holding tank. Instead, you drip the e-liquid onto the deck (the surface of your atomizer) and take a few drags afterward, repeating the process until you’re satisfied. While this may sound tedious, the impact on hit quality and saturation is more than worth it to many, and that’s why RDAs are a very popular option for many experienced vapers. They allow for elaborate multi-coil builds that can improve flavor complexity as well as vapor production, effectively giving you the best of both worlds.
Because RDAs traditionally feature a larger deck and build simplicity has come a long way since the first rebuildable started coming out nearly a decade ago, they’re a great option for people who’re newer to vaping, and don’t want to fiddle around with a tank. RTA Tanks generally require greater care and precision to work with, and don’t sport the hit quality of RDAs.
However, no actual “tank” means you’ll be carrying a bottle of e-liquid around with you, and that’s an inconvenience many of us would rather just skip. While they might not be as good on the go, they’re still a great tank to keep at home where you have your liquid on hand, and you just want the best drags with the most flavor. For a look at some of the best dripping atomizers out there, click here.
Rebuildable Dripping Tank Atomizers (RDTAs)
RDTAs are a hybrid between RDAs and RTAs that feature both a larger deck than an RTA, and the presence of an actual tank. They can be top or bottom-airflow devices, though we’d recommend top airflow for the reduced risk of a leak.
RDTAs effectively let you take advantage of the benefits of both RDAs and RTAs. However, they can be complicated to build and maintain, and the abundance of things to fiddle with makes the whole build process harder to troubleshoot if something goes wrong.
Rebuildables are a great choice if you’re looking for a long-term solution that gives you the most bang for the least buck. They also improve playability and let you fine-tune the experience of your vape more than the usual tank (such as letting you swap out your simple, single wire coils for a mesh). Here’s a look at some RDTAs that were well received by the vaping community
We hope this article helps you make the right choice for your vaping needs.