Whether you are looking for quality RDAs suitable for beginners, RDAs for flavor, or for clouds and flavor, our goal with this list is to help you navigate that terrain with products that run the gamut in functions, building options and user-friendliness. And of course, we will have our choice for best cheap RDA!
It’s always fun to find out what new RDAs are coming out, but it’s also nice to know which ones are already tried and tested.
There are three styles of rebuildable atomizers: RDAs (Rebuildable Dripping Atomizers), RTAs (Rebuildable Tank Atomizers) and Genesis atomizers. A recent new category of atomizer has been developed as well called an RDTA (Rebuildable Dripping Tank Atomizer). RDTAs combine an RDA type deck design with a tank that drips e liquid or acts as a large well. Rebuildable atomizers use a coil, or coils, made by the user by wrapping wire around a small rod, 2-4 mm in diameter. Common wire types used are Kanthal A1, titanium (ti gr1), nickel (ni200) and stainless steel. Kanthal can be used on all mods in Variable Wattage (VW) mode due to its stable resistance when heated. However, titanium and nickel must be used in Temperature Control (TC) mode due to their varying resistances when heated. Stainless Steel varies only slightly when heated so may be used in both VW or TC modes. Usually wicks for coils in RDAs are made from cotton or rayon.
An RDA has a building deck where the user places the coils at the bottom of the atomizer. While an RTA, RDTA or genny have a tank, RDAs have a well to hold e liquid just below the build deck, and the wick tails are placed into the well to transport the juice to the coil(s). Generally the well does not have as much capacity as a tank style atomizer and the vaper must add more e liquid often. Unlike RTAs or Subohm tanks, an RDA does not have a chimney section. Instead a top cap sits on the build deck and vapor rises up to the drip tip. Airflow may be fed to the coils from the bottom, sides or top, or a combination of these. Typically, the user can adjust the airflow to suit his/her vaping style.
RDAs come in a variety of sizes and styles. They range in size from a diminutive 14 mm in diameter up to a whopping 46 mm. The build deck may allow for one up to 8 coils, though most are single or dual coil designed. Many RDAs work well for both horizontal or vertical coils. Airflow may be suitable for mouth to lung (m2l) or direct to lung (d2l) vaping styles. They are available in a variety of metal types from stainless steel to brass or copper, and some offer several color choices.
RDAs may come with an optional hollow positive pin to allow their use on special bottom feeding mods called squonkers. A squonk mod has a plastic bottle for e liquid that a vaper squeezes to feed juice to the atomizer. Although they have always been popular to alleviate the constant dripping of juice, a huge number of squonkers have to come to market recently by several manufacturers.
Most vapers categorize RDAs as being primarily for clouds or flavor. Cloud chasing RDAs have room for coils of heavy mass and large diameter like Clapton, Alien and other fancy, creative wire designs. Cloud RDAs also have huge airflow to generate immense, thick clouds of vapor, and appeal to direct to lung (DTL) vapers. Some users even enter their RDAs in contests to determine who can create the largest, thickest vape cloud. On the other hand, a flavor RDA tends to have less airflow, and is suitable for the mouth to lung (MTL) vaping style. A flavor RDA will hold only a single or dual coil design, and tend to be 22 mm in diameter or less. As expected, the primary objective is excellent flavor though many create a decent cloud of vapor as well. Of course, many RDAs create both fantastic flavor and respectable clouds.
Many vapers prize their RDAs for their exemplary flavor, and feel they excel in this category over other types of atomizers. Certainly, they are the easiest style of atomizer to wick. A quick rinse off much fewer parts than tank style atomizers, and it is ready for re-wicking. RDAs do not have wick channels, so they do not require the sometimes delicate balancing of wick tails between flooding and dry hits like an RTA does. Nothing beats an RDA for trying new e-liquids. A few drops of juice lets a vaper know whether that new bottle of e-liquid will stay or be passed on to a friend (or enemy). Additionally, RDAs allow for trying several e-juice quickly.
For those who do not wish to purchase a squonking mod, but want more juice capacity than the typical RDA, many RDTAs may be the ticket. They essentially provide an RDA tank. With a dripper style build deck and top cap they offer the experience of building and vaping an RDA, yet have the advantage of a very large well in the form of a tank beneath the deck. Wicking is similar to an RDA but with longer tails immersed into the tank section.