The Source of the Vapor

The vapor is made in a vaping atomizer, also called a vape tank.

The vapor is made in a vaping atomizer, also called a vape tank. It is a self-contained chamber that is electrically connected to a vape mod. It houses a resistance heating element — usually a metal coil — and an absorbent wick saturated with e-juice. When the user takes a hit, the coil heats the liquid from the wick, creating vapor that looks like smoke.

Some atomizers hold more e-juice (ml) than others. Many are designed for simplicity, and others are far more complex and suited for hobbyists. In order of ease of use, the four main categories are:

Prefilled: single-use; non-replaceable coils; disposable

  • Pods, cartridges, cartomizers

Refillable: multi-use; non-replaceable coils; disposable

  • Pods, cartridges, cartomizers

Refillable with replaceable coils: reusable with proprietary replacement coils

  • Sub-ohm tanks, clearomizers

Rebuildable: user-installed wicks and coils; indefinitely reusable (“DIY”)

  • Any atomizer wrote as an acronym beginning with “R,” like RDA, RTA, RDTA, etc.

There’s a lot of variation in atomizers. It is important to remember that they need to be compatible with the vape mod. Not all will physically fit on all vape mods, and some aren’t appropriate due to their coil resistance and the power they may require to function correctly.

The coils in atomizers come in various resistance ranges (ohms/Ω). Some coils make voluminous clouds (low resistance; less than 1.0 ohm), and others produce more discreet vapor (high resistance; near or above 1.0 ohm). Regardless of the opposition or type of atomizer, all coils are discarded after a time. They don’t die like the filament in a light bulb, but flavor and vapor will decline after prolonged usage.

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