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Understanding Rebuildables: RTAs, RDAs, and RDTAs.
Disclaimer - Remember rebuildable atomizers are advanced devices requiring a firm grasp on Ohm’s Law.
Rebuildable vaping atomizer options are definitely still in popularity. They pay homage to the early days of vaping before the advent and introduction of prebuilt sub-ohm coil cores, catering to the vape-savvy by allowing them to create heating elements at a moment’s notice with simple round wires. Generating plenty of vapor, rebuildables are renowned for their hard hitting abilities and flavor creation. Although slightly falling off due to their need for responsible upkeep and maintenance, solved with sub-ohm tanks and their replaceable cores, rebuildable atomizers still have a sizeable following. Nowadays, there is a renewed interest in building with the rising popularity of squonk mods. Let’s take a look at the types of rebuildable atomizers and their potential in the vaping industry.
All Rebuildable Atomizers are technically RBAs, as they must be rebuilt at the user’s discretion, usually when the coils/wicks have burnt out and/or flavor begins to falter. They can be split into three distinct categories based on their general construction and features.
RDA, or Rebuildable Dripping Atomizers, are the most basic of the rebuildable options. General features include a base build deck, mid sleeve airflow control ring, and a top cap. RDAs are composed of the least amount of detachable parts, making cleaning and maintenance fast and easy. Accommodating a single or dual coil configuration, the coil leads are placed into the positive and negative post terminals, allowing electricity to flow in between, heating the coil for vaporization of e-liquid saturated within the wick. Maintaining no active reservoir for spare e-liquid, e-liquid must be carried around in a bottle and dripped from the top onto the wick and coil below to maintain strong and intense flavor. Known for their ability to generate dense clouds of sharp flavor, RDAs are the go-to for purists, hands-on DIYers, and those that want to chase flavor or clouds.
One benefit of RDAs is that e-liquid flavors can be changed on the fly, introducing a new flavor after the previous has been vaped off. Builders can experiment and find the best coil configuration that works for them, whether in pursuit of flavor or cloud density.
With the advent of Squonk Mods, RDAs are gaining renewed interest with manufacturers equipping their RDAs with bottom fed 510 squonk pins, allowing for eJuice to be pumped into the build deck housing, eliminating the need for extra eLiquid and potential danger of dripping while driving. (Do not drip and drive, folks.)
RTA, or Rebuildable Tank Atomizers, are the next type of rebuildable atomizer that bridges the gap between RDAs and Sub-Ohm Tanks. Incorporating a tank reservoir section with an enclosed build deck, RTAs eliminate the need for dripping, instead relying on a filled tank section to provide constant e-liquid to the wicking medium. This grants the ability to vape without dripping. Users are able to install coils built to their specifications and preferences, catering to those that, like purists, do not want to drip, or those that like to DIY. RTAs are a little more complex in construction, but nonetheless have found that middle ground to satisfy vapers. Although some users report a drop in flavor, the convenience, safety, and customization that comes with RTAs is unrivaled.
One downside of RTAs is that many cannot be rebuilt with a filled tank as it increases the chance of wasting e-liquid or creating a mess. Flavors cannot be changed on the fly. Cotton wicking must be done correctly to prevent vapor lock (the failure of e-liquid to properly saturate the cotton, resulting in dry hits) and leaking e-liquid.
RDTA, or Rebuildable Dripping Tank Atomizers, are the hybrids between RDAs and RTAs, offering the best of both worlds in one atomizer. The name is a misnomer, as they do not incorporate dripping, rather, RDTAs pull the filled eJuice from a bottom tank reservoir into the build deck and wicking medium above via capillary action to simulate the action of dripping. This capillary action works due to an interesting physical property of liquids, where liquids climb a fibered or porous structure thanks to the increased surface tension and viscosity of e-liquid. Some RDTAs rely on stainless steel braided wires for better capillary action, while other RDTA s must be tilted when rejuicing is needed to “drip” or re-saturate the wicking medium.
RDTAs are more complex than their RDA or RTA counterparts in their general construction, but can usually be converted to be used just like RDAs or RTAs, making them a popular choice for all-around vapers that like a variety in vaping equipment or more options at their disposal. Just like RDAs and RTAs, RDTAs are beginning to be outfitted with bottom fed 510 squonk pins, allowing them to be used with a wider range of products.
Hopefully this guide has demystified and differentiated the types of rebuildable options available for those that like to build coils. If this blog post has piqued your interest in building, learn more in our blog post, Beginner’s Guide to DIY Rebuildables. Recently, there has been a slew of mesh coil rebuildables, offering the ability to be used with mesh coil sheets. Check our blog post on Prebuilt Mesh Coils vs Prebuilt Standard Coils to see what this change in the vaping industry can do for you.