What are Rebuildable Atomizers?
A rebuildable atomizer is a platform that allows the opportunity to vape with a coil that is built using heating wires and wicks. If already vaping with a tank system, coil heads are used which have heating wires and wicks that are pre-installed and ready for use after being primed. When using a rebuildable atomizer, a larger, different version is often created.
The coil in an RBA can last for well over a month if it’s taken care of and not dry-burned too much. Simply remove the wick, clean the coil and deck, and install new wick in the coil(s). When an RBA coil has reached the end of its life, it can be simply removed from the rebuildable atomizer, thrown away, and replaced.
Are there different styles of Rebuildable Atomizers?
Yes, there are four common types of rebuildable atomizers. Each type has its own strengths and weaknesses. Explained here will be what some of the most common acronyms in the vaping industry mean and what they each do.
- Rebuildable Dripping Atomizer (RDA)
An RDA is a rebuildable atomizer that doesn’t provide a tank for e-liquid storage. Instead of filling it like a tank, an RDA is saturated by dripping a small amount of e-liquid through the mouthpiece from a bottle every few puffs. The e-liquid will soak into the RDA’s wick and usually remain in place. Most RDA’s also usually have a cut-out, called a drip well, that catches excess e-liquid and helps to prevent it from leaking out. If too much juice is added, hot juice may pour out. Out of all rebuildable atomizers, RDAs usually have the largest build platforms, therefore can accommodate the most elaborate coil designs. RDAs have the greatest potential vapour production of all e-cigarette attachments.
- No e-cigarette attachment can generate more vapour per puff than an RDA.
- RDAs are typically easy to use because they give plenty of space in which to build coils.
- An RDA may leak e-liquid if the drip well overflows.
- A bottle of e-liquid is needed when using an RDA. The wick dries out after just a few puffs.
Rebuildable Tank Atomizer (RTA)
The flavour and vapour production of an RDA may be plentiful, but the lack of a tank can be a major drawback. While using an RDA, a bottle of e-liquid will be needed because additional e-liquid is required few puffs. An RTA is an alternative that combines the capacity of a tank with some benefits of a rebuildable atomizer. An RTA looks a lot like a regular sub-ohm tank. The build platform of an RTA is usually much larger than a coil head available for some sub-ohm tanks. For that reason, RTAs present the opportunity generate more vapour than traditional tanks.
- An RTA typically generates more vapour than a sub-ohm tank with pre-made coils but less vapour than an RDA.
- Some RTA’s may have slightly restrictive airflow because, as in a traditional sub-ohm tank, the coil is submerged at the bottom of the e-liquid reservoir.
- Building and wicking an RTA coil can be tricky because the coil may flood if a mistake was made when installing or trimming the wick.
- An RTA usually provides significant e-liquid storage, allowing some time between refills.
Rebuildable Dripping Tank Atomizer (RDTA)
An RDTA is a compromise that combines many of the benefits of RDAs and RTAs in one product. An RDTA provides the performance of an RDA with the e-liquid capacity of an RTA. The two biggest shortcomings of RTA’s are small build platforms and limited airflow. An RDTA resolves these issues by providing a larger build platform that’s positioned above the tank rather than inside it. An RDTA build deck has holes in the bottom allowing the wicks to sit within the reservoir below, allowing e-liquid to travel up the wicks to reach the coils.
- An RDTA typically has better vapour production than an RTA. The build platform of an RDTA can be smaller than that of an RDA.
- With the wick in an RDTA extending from the coil to the bottom of the tank, RDTA’s can have wicking issues. If using an RDTA, several seconds may be needed between each puff to let the wick re-saturate.
- An RDTA may leak when placed on its side for some time.
- An RDTA provides plenty of e-liquid storage, allowing some time between refills.
Rebuildable Deck (RBA) for Tank
Some tanks that use pre-built atomizer coils also have rebuildable RBA decks available. To use the RBA, install it in place of the pre-built atomizer coil and build a coil as if using an RTA. A rebuildable deck for a tank is usually much smaller than the build deck of an RTA, giving only enough space to build small, simple coils.
- Replacing a tank’s existing coil head with a rebuildable deck probably won’t increase vapour production much. However, there is a cost reduction that comes with building coils.
- Using a rebuildable deck with an existing tank is an easy way to learn how to build atomizer coils.
- A rebuildable deck may flood if a mistake is made when installing or trimming the wick.
Switching from a pre-built coil head to a rebuildable deck may slightly reduce the tank’s e-liquid capacity because rebuildable decks are often larger than pre-built atomizer coils.
UP AND DOWNS OF RBA’S
What are the benefits of Rebuildable Atomizers?
Increased Vapour production
Sub-ohm tanks have improved greatly over the years. Innovations such as larger coil heads and mesh heating surfaces have allowed sub-ohm tanks to challenge the vapour production of rebuildable atomizers. Coil surface area is still the greatest factor influencing vapour production, though, and nothing can compete with the coil size that a rebuildable atomizer can accommodate.
Decreased coil replacement cost
Pre-built atomizer coils can be expensive, when considering materials, labour, packaging and shipping. That’s why a pre-made coil typically costs around $5-10. A spool of wire and a bag of cotton can provide the raw materials for dozens of coils. Building a new coil may cost less than a dollar. Building atomizer coils is truly the most affordable way to vape.
What are the drawbacks of Rebuildable Atomizers?
Modern vaping devices with regulated power and built-in safety features, and can display an error message and shut down if an atomizer coil has a short or would draw a dangerously high current from the battery. It should be known that a coil is safe before connecting it to a vaping device. Ideally, test coils with a standalone resistance tester. Also understand the capabilities of the vaping device and batteries used.
Building coils can benefit the wallet while providing a vaping experience that’s drastically improved, but there is a catch. The trade-off is that building a coil from scratch takes much more time than replacing the pre-made coil in a tank. Switching from a standard tank to a rebuildable atomizer, the amount of time spent replacing a coils will increase from a few seconds to perhaps as long as half an hour. For those who enjoy tinkering with gadgets, the time will fly by. For some, though, the monotony of coil building tends to detract from the pleasure of vaping.
To learn more, please read BUILDING COILS