Initially, most vapers start will start their vape journey on some sort of variation of an E-Go pen-style electronic cigarette.
Vape enthusiasts who wish to take their passion for flavorful clouds to the next level often start with an upgraded and more powerful battery or a more capable atomizer. Tanks like the Mini ProTank 3 and AeroTank v2 by Kangertech, or perhaps a Nautilus Mini by Aspire provide a solid upgrade to the vaping experience at a very affordable price. Batteries such as an iPow or eMow by Kangertech, or Aspire’s CF are all reasonably priced and compatible with sur-ohm (resistance above 1 ohm) and some sub-ohm (resistance below 1 ohm) atomizers on the market. For those who choose to go even a step further, mods are the answer. With mods, users are able to utilize even more powerful atomizers to chase even bigger and thicker clouds with more flavor, like the Kangertech Subtank Plus.
RDA’s (rebuildable dripping atomizer) are the pinnacle of performance. With an RDA, you build coils using specialized wire called Kanthal. There are many other types of thermoelectric wire available, but Kanthal is typically the most commonly used. Since RDA’s do not utilize a tank/reservoir, vapor is delivered through wicks that the users make themselves using cotton. Many types of cotton are available, such as organic Japanese cotton and bamboo cotton. These 2 components completely replace pre-packaged coils like the Kangertech and Aspire tanks use and are overall the most cost effective.
A single cotton ball can be used for 5-10 re-wicks, and 50-100 count bags of cotton balls are extremely affordable. A typical dual-coil build uses roughly 8-10 inches of Kanthal, and a 50ft spool typically runs about $8-$10 depending on gage thickness and style (flat, round,etc). Wick life depends on the type of juice being used and how well the user keeps them saturated, but most users typically rebuild their setups twice a month or more. For roughly $15, an RDA user has enough material to last 6 months or more in rebuild supplies. RDA’s are typically more affordable, ranging from $15-$35, and have the perk of complete customization. Clouds are bigger, flavor is more intense, and they are overall cheaper than tanks in regards to heavy usage. Even a high resistance built RDA can outperform a sub-ohm tank. A few downsides to RDA’s would be the obligation to carry e-liquid (and even a small tool kit for some users) on your persons at all times; the enhanced airflow on most dripping atomizers is an invitation for leakage/spillage if knocked over or not set down upright; e-liquid consumption tends to be higher; there is a potential danger when working with RDA’s and mechanical mods if a short or other error occurs. They can be hypnotizing to the extent it becomes the user’s new ‘cell phone’, where all their attention is directed, due to the fact they require frequent adjustments and upkeep to maintain performance.
Tanks can come in all shapes, sizes, styles, including RBA/RTA (rebuildable tank atomizer) which has both benefits of a reservoir and non-prepackaged coils, such as the KayFun v3 by SvoeMesto. RTA’s and non-rebuildable tanks typically run double the price or more of the average RDA, and are not as rugged. The main benefit of using a tank atomizer is the e-liquid reservoir. You fill it up and vape all day, with no need to keep a bottle or tools handy at all times. With the pros come cons, and the main con would be you are on the hook to manufacturers to use their pre-built coils. Typically prepackaged coils are good for a few weeks, but sub-ohm coils tend to go out faster and be more expensive. Anywhere from $15-$30 depending on style, manufacturer and resistance, a pack of 5 may last you a month or two. Frequency of use also comes into play when considering a coil’s lifespan. The more it is used, the less time it will last. Tanks do not leak when laid down and tend to make your juice last a bit longer than an RDA.
With that being said, ultimately, it comes down to personal preference and what the user wants out of their vape. If you don’t mind paying a bit of extra attention to your setup and enjoy extra-large clouds with extra-large flavor, then perhaps an RDA is right up your alley. If you prefer the “set it and forget it” style of a tank and do not feel coil building is something you would like to do, that’s okay, too.