RDA or Tank: The Question as Old as Vaping
To many of you this may have never come into question, either you were introduced into vaping via dripping (using a Rebuildable Dripping Atomizer [RDA]) or you joined using a simple tank to quick smoking. The question myself and many vape shop staff are asked nearly every day is: which is better?
The answer is as convoluted as the question itself; both are a means to an end, and both satisfy not only the habit and the craving, but the hobby. The RDA has always been the simple and rudimentary option when it comes to vaping. It's manageable, it's inexpensive, and it works. But a lot of time has passed since the RDA was the only really satisfying way to vape, and a lot of tanks on the market surpassed even my expectations. See I come from that branch of people that started with dripping, and for a long time I was adamant about the 'drip or die' thought process, but as far back as the first Atlantis Sub-Ohm tank, I've had a far greater respect for the effectiveness of a good tank.
Tanks now aren't like they were then, the flavor is on par, the vapor production is nearly the same, and there is no denying the convenience of a tank over an RDA. But I'm not here to talk about the past, I'm here to talk about the tanks of today, and why most days I choose to daily a tank over an RDA.
The really big difference is the robustness of coil design by tank manufacturers, pre-built coils are designed with efficiency and performance in mind, and are now capable of not only competing with their user built counterparts in the flavor and vapor arena, but lasting far longer as well. With large juice flow holes and ample airflow, coils dry hit far less, and perform far greater than I ever would have thought a few years ago.
But the main competitor against RDA's, is the most obvious: Capacity. Tanks by definition hold larger quantities of juice than RDA's will ever be able to, whether it's a small amount like the Amor Mini's 2ml tank or an unnecessarily large amount like the Griffin 25's 6ml, the fact is you can vape all day and night without having to refill or 'drip'.
There are some shortcomings however, pre-built coils are mass produced, so there is the change of there being a dud in a package, and touching on that, the bigger reason for people to stray away from tanks is the cost. Someone like myself who is a heavy vaper with a particular taste for dark juices will burn through coils in a third of the average time, and with packs of coils costing 12 - 25$ a pack it can become a decently pricey expense (Albeit still cheaper than cigarettes).
For these reasons many people will turn to RDA's or RTA's (Rebuildable Tank Atomizers) for a cheaper alternative, and other than cost there are other benefits to building your own coils.
Mainly the cost effectiveness, with wire or a pack of pre-rolled coils costing around as much as a pack of pre-built coils, while lasting far longer is a big plus for many people. At the same time the flavor gained from an RDA is almost irreplaceable (as by design an RDA will spit back much more juice, which is what allows that intense flavor to come through). And the ability to change flavors on the fly is a big bonus for those that regularly try new brands and flavors.
However the biggest and possibly most important downside is the work and knowledge involved with using and operating a rebuildable atomizer. No one can pick up a Twisted Messes Squared and use it out of the box, a level of skill, competence and work is involved with the use of these atomizers. Something many forget is that daily vaping an RDA requires much more care and effort to make it perform effectively while also being satisfying, and although you won't be buying packs of coils as often, you will be changing cotton much more often (to keep a consistent flavor).
So which is better?
Well it all comes down to what you're looking to get out of vaping. If you're looking for function over everything, the tank cannot be beat at it's game. With simplicity and easy use, combined with solid performance, you'll have a hard time finding an RDA that can beat them on the convenience front.
If you want cost effectiveness and don't mind putting in the work, and more importantly doing your research, a Rebuildable Dripping Atomizer will continuously out-perform a tank in nearly every aspect but capacity.
Now with the recent tank designs being released I personally find it harder and harder to justify using an RDA on a daily basis (Juice leaking in your pocket from residual cotton moisture gets old, let me tell you). But I still come back to an RDA from time to time, as my vaping roots are firmly within the DIY culture. At the end of the day what works for you, works for you, and if you've only used a tank and want to see what the 'Drip Life' is all about? Do the research, and I guarantee your experience will benefit. Vape Safe!
If you're looking for a start, check out these blog posts and videos:
- Aiden Fedyk