What is an atomizer?

The atomizer is the most important part of an electronic cigarette. It’s what produces the mix of vapour and flavours you get from your device. Unlike a clearomizer, a rebuildable tank atomizer (RTA) allows you to choose your own style of vape, save money and even find a new hobby. This article is part of our guide to vaping.

The term “atomizer” includes all devices that make vapor with liquid. In this article we will call it the rebuildable atomizer, as it differs from clearomizers that use ready-made coils.

Schematic diagram : different parts of an atomizer
Schematic view of an atomizer

The big difference between them is that you can build your e-cigarette yourself, i.e., you choose the coil and the cotton wool wick. However, one question immediately comes to mind: why bother when you could just buy a ready-made coil? There are three main reasons.

The first is simply that it can improve your vape experience. The atomizer allows you to choose a coil for maximum satisfaction, whether that’s for vapour production, vape power or flavour. The choice of atomizers is also much wider and more varied. Opening the door to the world of rebuildables will ensure your set-up meets your expectations perfectly.

The second reason is financial. A ready-to-use coil generally costs 2 to 5 euros, and will need changing at least two to four times a month as some e-liquids will clog the resistance coil in no time. If you like using different liquids and change them frequently, the cost will soon mount up. Rebuilding a coil only costs a few cents for a piece of resistance wire and some suitable cotton wick. By the end of a year, the savings are clear.

The last reason has to be the recreational side. Building your own e-cig is a great bit of DIY. It’s fun to learn about resistance and which ones are best suited to different liquids! As long as building your own is enjoyable, go for it. If it annoys you, just switch to a clearomizer. But if you make it a hobby, you will soon be hooked.

Things to remember

Rebuildable atomizers offer :

  • an atomizer with a resistance that meets your expectations perfectly
  • a substantial savings
  • a new hobby

Using an atomizer

Unlike clearomizers, which are ready to use straight of the box, atomizers take a little time and practice. First builds are rarely successful, and we’d suggest using a clearomizer in parallel until you’ve learned how to make vaping enjoyable and reliable with an RTA.

Assembling the resistance coil is simple. Wind a piece of metal wire around a screwdriver or coil jig to make a coil, insert it into the mounting tray, add the cotton wick, fill the tank with liquid, and you’re all set.

Once you’ve practised with the basics, why not mix things up a bit? You can try different metals or change the coil size. Why not change the RPM? Or the wick type and how you position it? What about getting the wicking level right but without leaks? Making a rebuildable takes patience and a practice.

In reality, it is much easier than it sounds. There are hundreds of online tutorials to help you get it right first time, which really matters because building your own does work. Other things – like more vapor or flavour – will come with practice and as much time you want to give it.

Building Your Own Coil

As we’ve seen, the benefit of a rebuildable atomizer is that it’s fully customizable. You can choose the type of wick, such as cotton, and the resistance coil.

There are many types of mounting decks for resistance coils, with many different features. One of the most common builds uses a micro-coil, which is a resistor where the coil windings touch each other. Another technique keeps the wraps spaced apart. If you’re new to all this, why not read our tutorial to learn how to prepare your cotton wick?

The history of atomizers in 3 dates

2010: Kender came up with the atomizer, which is fed with e-liquid through a wire mesh wick. This system was called “Genesis”. Kender got the idea of using mesh when he saw a model railway enthusiast using it to make steam for his trains. Inspired by Kender’s idea, a German named Raidy created the first rebuildable atomizer.

2013: The Kayfun 3.1 by Svoëmesto was the first high-end atomizer with a wide distribution. The vape it delivered was exceptional, and still holds up well today. As a result, it is one of the most cloned atomizers in the world.

2014: The Taifun GT created a phenomenal buzz. It has remained a benchmark for flavour atomizers ever since. It was the start of “cool” vaping, which differed from the Kayfun. Rivalry between fans of these systems is as fierce as between fans of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.

Atomizer FAQ

Below is a list of frequently asked questions about atomizers. If you can’t find an answer to your question, please send us your question via the comments box below.

Which atomizer should I choose?

Your choice of atomizer depends on your vaping style. While some vapers want as much vapor as possible, others are more interested in the flavour of their e-liquids. So some atomizers have been designed to make a lot of vapour and others to give the best e-liquid flavour. What also comes into play here is the way you vape. This includes direct lung inhalation, or indirect inhalation (also called MTL for “Mouth to Lung”). Other factors include different airflows, the material the atomizer is made of, its design, and of course how much you’re willing to spend. Take the time to think about all of these factors before you make up your mind. Professionals have published a lot of test results, so why not read up on the materials you’re interested in before you decide?

How do you clean an atomizer?

Cleaning your atomizer is essential to keep it in tip-top condition, and nothing could be simpler. You unscrew it from the battery, remove the cotton from the resistance coils and rinse it in warm water. Then put everything back together in reverse order!

When should I change the resistance coil in my atomizer?

There is no right or wrong answer to this as several factors are important. Just remember that a home-made resistance coil costs almost nothing (a few centimetres of wire and a little cotton), so you can afford to change it regularly. Once a week may be good to start with. You can do it more or less often depending on whether you vape a little or a lot, or if you use e-liquids that clog up the resistance coil a lot more, for example.

When should I change my atomizer?

An atomizer has no fixed lifespan. The only part that will wear out is the resistance coil, and that’s easy to replace. You might want to replace the whole atomizer if you want to change your device.

A guide to vaping

What is a clearomizer?

What is a box mod?

What is a dripper?

What is a coil?

What is a vape pod?

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