What are Atomizers? Tanks, RDA, RTA & RDTA Explained

Atomizers, tanks, clearomizers, rda, rta, rdta, canada, vape, vape360

We’ve all heard the word atomizer, but what does it actually mean? What does an atomizer actually do? The term “atomizer” is thrown around so much that even the most veteran of vapers are left confused. Luckily, we’ve simplified and explained the process of atomization and types of atomizers below.

At its most basic point, an atomizer can be defined as a device that vaporizes liquid. The easiest way to identify an atomizer is knowing that it's what holds your juice, or the only part you put your mouth to - we hope. In regards to vaping, this process is done by heating an element, such as coils, to the point that it’s capable of vaporizing a liquid, such as eJuice or eLiquid. The eJuice or eLiquid makes contact with the wire coil through cotton, which is fed through the center of the wire coil, where it absorbs the eLiquid or eJuice for atomization.

How is this done, you ask?

It’s not as difficult as it sounds. Every atomizer contains at least two posts, one positive and one negative. These posts make contact with opposite sides of your resistance wire, which depending on length and width of your wire, a resistance (ohms) is created. This contact allows the power from your battery to quickly heat the resistance wire to a temperature that’s capable of vaporizing the eJuice or eLiquid absorbed into your cotton. Viola! You’re now vaping.

Replacement coils for atomizers come in a various forms, whether pre-built and pre-packaged disposable coils, or DIY rebuildable coils. Any replacement coil is measured in ohms, which is based on the amount of resistance they present. A replacement coil with a lower ohms reading will require a higher level of wattage to achieve atomization of your eLiquid or eJuice, while a replacement coil with a higher ohms reading will require a lower level of wattage to avoid burning your cotton.

Now that we know that an atomizer is a device which is capable of vaporizing liquid (atomization) through heating an element, let’s take a look at the different types of atomizers.

Atomizers, tanks, clearomizers, canada, SMOK, vape, vape360
Clearomizers & Tanks:

Requiring no knowledge of building your own coils, Clearomizers or Tanks are the most commonly used atomizers for vapers. These types of atomizers use prebuilt, replaceable coils that are simply screwed on before use, and screwed off and disposed of when finished. Every Replacement Coil is rated with a resistance that has an optimal wattage range, which can be a pro and a con for vapers who choose clearomizers. If you have too many coil options, remembering which replacement coil you like can get confusing. If you don’t have enough replacement coil options, you’re stuck at a specific wattage range and resistance. Easy to maintain and simple to use, Clearomizers are among the best starting point for new vapers, and a primary choice for veteran vapers, too.


  • Simple & Convenient
  • Consistent Vaping Experience
  • Easy to use and Maintain


  • Cost of replacement coils adds up
  • Non-adjustable resistance range
  • Switching between flavours is not great
  • Short coil life can become expensive

    RDA, Rebuildable Atomizer, Canada, Vape, Vape360
    RDA (Rebuildable Dripping Atomizers):

    Rebuildable Dripping Atomizers, or RDA for short, are types of atomizers that require vapers to build coils, place coils, and wick cotton manually. Requiring a knowledge of ohms law and a steady hand, RDA’s produce large amounts of vapor and flavour with just a few drops of eLiquid or eJuice. RDA’s do present a learning curve for vapers who have no experience with rebuildables, but the pay-off is the most intense flavour available to vapers.


    • Fully customizable resistance
    • Performance is predictable & reliable
    • Low cost to maintain
    • Intense flavour and vapor
    • Able to use various flavours by changing cotton


    • Learning curve
    • Wicking cotton takes practice
    • Requires constant refilling (dripping)

    RTA, Rebuildable Tank Atomizer, Canada, Vape, Vape360RTA (Rebuildable Tank Atomizers):

    Rebuildable Tank Atomizers, or RTA for short, are similar to RDA’s where you manually place coils and wick cotton, with the noticeable difference being the tank reservoir. Unlike RDA’s, RTA’s don’t require users to manually drip their eLiquid onto their coils. Instead, RTA’s contain a rebuildable deck, which is covered by a sealed chamber, allowing users to refill their RTA in the same fashion you would a standard clearomizer or tank that uses replacement coils. As eLiquid saturates the cotton, it’s driven to the coils you've placed, to be vaporized.


    • Fully customizable resistance
    • Low cost to maintain
    • Able to use various flavours by changing cotton
    • No manual “dripping”


    • Steep learning curve
    • Leaking is common if not done correctly
    • Limitation in coils size compared to RDA’s

    RDTA Atomizer, Rebuildable, Vape, Canada, Vape360
    RDTA (Rebuildable Dripping Tank Atomizer):

    Rebuildable Dripping Tank Atomizers, or RDTA for short, are a cross between an RDA and an RTA. RDTA’s deliver the convenience of having an RTA style tank reservoir, with the unmatched flavour and vapor quality of an RDA. RDTA’s hold your eLiquid in a reservoir at the base of the unit, while your build deck and coils are placed at the top. Doing this provides a shorter distance the vapor will travel when atomized, resulting in better flavour and larger clouds due to lower dissipation. Cotton will feed through your coils and hang down from your build deck, where it will settle in the eLiquid reservoir found at the base.


    • Fully customizable resistance
    • Low cost to maintain
    • RTA styled eLiquid reservoir
    • RDA style flavour


    • Steep learning curve
    • Will leak if cotton is not wicked correctly
    • Larger and heavier than most RTA’s
    • Options are limited compared to other atomizers

    Overall, the best atomizer is the one that you enjoy most. As with everything vaping related, it’s all personal preference. Personally, I use RDA’s due to the cost, flavour, and intense vaping experience, but that might not be right for you. The perfect atomizer is all about what it is you’re looking for. Now that we’ve cut through all the confusion, get out there a try a new style of Atomizer. Any vape shop worth your time and money will sit down with you and help you find the perfect match.

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