Better Vaping: Airflow and Drip Tips
Time to tackle another confusing topic that really doesn't have to be – understanding "drip tips" and airflow control (AFC) rings.
First off, why "drip tip?" Back in the bad old days when e-liquid was contained in fabric that was supposed to leech it onto a separate atomizer (but quickly went dry, or touched the atomizer and burned, or…), some users began ripping the filling out of their cartomizers and using a hollow tub instead to drip a few drops of liquid directly onto the atomizer. The same practice is still in use for rebuildable dripping atomizers (it's why the D is there in RDA), though users now have coils stuffed with wicking and frequently prefer to take the top cap off to see what they're e-liquid dripping onto. You definitely don't want to drip through your tip if you're using a tank – this will just flood your coil and cause gurgling and spitback! Still, the name remains.
Drip tips come in a variety of sizes, from the standard 510 connection to "wide bore" models that still fit standard connectors to extra-wide "chuff" caps. If you're a direct-lung vaper who's been cloud chasing a while, you may prefer the bigger tips. But if you've just quit smoking and prefer a mouth-to-lung inhale technique more matched to the cigarettes you left behind, a standard tip is probably more your speed.
The same thing goes for airflow – many devices on the market today will have adjustable airflow control. This can be a function that allows you to open or close holes on an RDA, or to spin a ring at the base of your tank, exposing more or less of a large hole under your coils – some new models even have a second ring at the top, or attached to your drip tip.
Again, your vaping style dictates your choice in device and adjustment. Mouth-to-lung vapers require less air, and tend to prefer their airflow rings nearly closed – this makes for a tight, small draw that packs a punch, mimicking actual smoking. If huge clouds are your thing, though, you'll need to inhale a lot of air in a hurry to make them – direct-lung inhales with wide-open airflow will be more to your liking.
Like everything else in vaping, taste is subjective, and many people find themselves somewhere in the middle. If you're not sure what works best for you, start with your airflow nearly closed and your mod on a relatively low power setting – taking too small a hit is less likely to induce a coughing fit than taking a puff too big when starting out. Take a few vapes, then open the airflow up a click and add a few watts more power to your coil. It may take a few hours or even days to dial in your "perfect" vape, but once you do the rewards will be immense – and for many of us who've become accidental hobbyists, half the fun is the journey.