Do you know the difference between atomizers, cartomizers and clearomizers? If not, our handy guide will help you discover the pros and cons associated with each of these heating methods for your e-cigarette.
People who don’t vape and newspapers may think all e-cigarettes are the same, but enthusiasts know that this couldn’t be further from the truth. “Electronic cigarettes” is the umbrella phrase for the plethora of devices that can help smokers kick the habit – and the distinctive features of certain models mean they stand head and shoulders over the competition.
A major point of difference comes in the heating component used by your vaping device. It’s a great idea to discover how clearomizers, atomizers and cartomizers vary – and which one is going to suit your needs best.
Let’s take a look at how each of these components affects the vaping experience, and their advantages and disadvantages.
Atomizers are the grandfather of heating components for e-cigarettes – and most devices still depend on them in some form. That’s because clearomizers and cartomizers both have built-in atomizers.
Their role is to make your e-liquid hot enough to be enjoyed as tasty, flavourful vapour. This is achieved through a heating coil that connects to the battery. E-liquid is applied directly to this coil when an atomizer – or “atty” for short – hasn’t been combined with a clearomizer or a cartomizer. To avoid dry hits or dreaded floods, metal mesh or a silica wick is used to control how much e-liquid reaches the atomizer.
A big advantage of using an atomizer on its own is how you can use a method called “direct dripping”. Vaping enthusiasts who use this technique say the flavours from their e-liquids are clearer and stronger because the taste isn’t diluted along the way. There’s also less chance that you’ll end up burning e-liquid by accident.
That said, there are drawbacks. Direct dripping involves a lot more effort, and it can be quite messy – meaning you’ll regularly be cleaning away sticky residue from your device. It’s also quite complicated, which doesn’t make it ideal for new vapers.
Atomizers in the first versions of e-cigarettes were given a long-awaited improvement when cartomizers came along. Although “cartos” look similar to atomizers, you’ll notice that e-liquid cartridges are attached. Usually, the heating coils in cartomizers are wrapped in poly-fill to achieve longer vaping times.
Cartomizers have won a legion of fans because they are more convenient. Here, the head of the atomizer is already connected to the battery – and a premade tank of e-liquid means you can more or less start vaping immediately after purchase. Better still, cartos are usually less expensive than the other two alternatives.
Last but not least, we have clearomizers – and yes, you guessed it, they are sometimes referred to as “clearos”. They are the newest invention and add a few features that were lacking in cartomizers before. The heating component is less likely to be burnt or flooded by accident because you can see how much e-liquid is left in the tank at a glance.
The tanks on clearomizers are normally a little bigger in size, meaning you can enjoy longer vapes without having to constantly refill your device. Better still, seasoned vapers can change the setup of their coil to generate extra vapour. The three most common setups are:
- Top coil: Easy to refill with a warm and smooth vapour but can be prone to some inconsistent hits
- Bottom coil: Offers a cooler vapour that’s of a higher quality, with brilliant wicking action to boot. However, it’s trickier to refill and prone to leaks
- Multi coil: Ideal for a stronger kick in the throat because it produces vapour in larger quantities. That said, you’ll use up e-liquids and battery power faster.
What should you go for?
At the end of the day, it’s down to you to figure out which technique is best. Although each comes with its perks, we would probably suggest going for a clearomizer if you haven’t tried one yet. This is because atomizers are sometimes tricky to use and cartomizers aren’t as functional. We think clearos are the most convenient option – blending performance, affordability, functionality and ease.
Check out some of the other guides in our knowledge centre now – or find out how VaporFi can help you start building a custom e-cigarette from scratch.