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What is the difference between and RDA and an RDTA?

There are many different types of atomizers that you can get for your vaping rig. "Atomizer" is a catch-all term to describe the heating pieces that vaporize the liquid in the mouthpiece of your vape so that it can be inhaled. Replacing them is one of the main expenses associated with e-cigs that utilize disposable atomizers, commonly referred to as "coils" even though they also contain the wicking material that draws e-liquid to the coil and the positive/negative poles that deliver the electric charge to heat said coils.   

One way to beat these costs is to go with a rebuildable device - in these, rather than throwing out the entire atomizer in your tank on a regular basis, you can simply replace wicking or coils. The difference in cost is astounding - a complete rebuild uses literally pennies' worth of material, while a throwaway coil can easily cost $3 or more.

There are three main kinds of rebuildable atomizer: the RDA (Rebuildable Dripping Atomizer), RTA (Rebuildable Tank Atomizer), and the RDTA (Rebuildable Dripping Tank Atomizer). In this article we will look at these rebuildable options, all of which require a bit more work but are the hands-down preferred choice of hobbyists and those serious about saving money vaping.

RDA (Rebuildable Dripping Atomizer)

Inside an RDA, there are negative and positive connection points where the coil is inserted. You put a wick through your coil, saturate it with juice, the top cap mounts, and you’re vaping.

It’s a popular type of atomizer, particularly among the cloud-chaser set, though it was more popular a number of years ago before tank systems were able to deliver near-comparable performance. You can check out any number of the different designs at Breazy. Personally, I like having deep wells to load with flavored e-juice like the Pulse 22 BF RDA by Vandy Vape; some people like a lot more airflow like the Kylin RTA by Vandy Vape, some want larger coils, and so on.

Most notably, RDA’s require considerable knowledge to maintain and operate, as do any rebuildable device - check out our <a href="https://breazy.com/blogs/updates/vape-wires-and-coils-intro-part-i-the-materials">coil-building tutorial series</a> for some hints to get up and running. This isn't to say they’re incredibly complicated, but they do require some tinkering and other tools . Despite the increase in maintenance, there are still a lot of advantages to using an RDA.

The biggest advantage to using an RDA is increased flavorand cloud delivery. The flavor that you get from a freshly-dripped atomizer is better than any other type of atomizer. Another advantage is that they are larger than a tank. This allows for more complicated coils (just try Googling "alien Clapton coil" and dive down that rabbit hole for a bit) and adequate airflow around the coil to keep it cool.

RTA (Rebuildable Tank Atomizer)

These are pretty much what they sound like - a rebuildable atomizer submerged in a tank. These function in much the same way as an RDA, but the build chamber where your coils and wicks go is a bit smaller, allowing for a glass tank to surround the homemade atomizer.

This offers the obvious benefit of not having to drip on your wicks every few puffs to keep them wet. These setups may be limited in airflow and cloud-producing capacity when compared to RDAs, but they're still more than solid performers and preserve the flavor delivery capabilities of their old-school brethren.

RDTA (Rebuildable Dripping Tank Atomizer)

Starting in late 2015, manufacturers began producing new rebuildable tank atomizers (RTAs) that didn’t use e-liquid “channels” into which the wick ends were placed, like the standard RTA. Instead, extra-long wick tips descend from top-mounted coils into a liquid tank, drawing juice up and into a dry coil chamber much like an RDA, but mounted on top of the tank. This hearkens back to the much-loved and also much-maligned "Genesis-style" tanks of the early 2010s, but with the added benefit of massive airflow channels.

The Final Word

If you're looking to save money and up the ante on your vaping experience, there's no better way to kill two birds with one stone than to jump into building your own coils. An RDA will give you a nice roomy base to experiment with and learn the craft, though once you've got the technique down having a tank to limit the refill needs is an undeniable bonus.

Regardless of what style rebuildable atomizer you end up with, expect to enter a new world of amazing flavor and cloud production, significantly better than any other device you've ever experienced.