The Rebuildable Atomizer – An Introduction And Overview
Are you interested in learning about rebuildable atomizers? Are you browsing vendor websites and longingly looking at a Vision Eternity or Phoenix atomizers and thinking to yourself “This. This is where I should be going.” If so, this overview by our new Spinfuel Staffer Matt Wagner might be just the thing to push you in the right (wrong?) direction. Either way, if Rebuildable Atomizers look scary right now then facing your fears might make it less so. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Matt… – John Manzione, editor-in-chief.
For my first piece in Spinfuel I though I might write about the exploding interest in fully rebuildable atomizers, or RBA’s. In a very short time the veteran-level vapers have embraced this new technology with open arms. It’s a natural progression really, and if you’re reading this you’ve already begun to get the urge to try one yourself. While I believe that RBA’s are not for everyone (it does come with some risk and a learning curve) there are payoffs to learning how to choose an RBA, use an RBA, and rebuild an RBA. In the end it’s up to you of course, but maybe after reading this overview on rebuildables you’ll feel better about your decision whichever way you decide to go.
Choosing your first one may seem rather daunting since there are so many to choose from. My goal today is to try and make that choice easier, or at least less daunting.
There are already several RBA’s on the market and many more on the way. Each is different in their own way but they all have one thing in common, the ability to be rebuilt. Some are more difficult than others, but even the most difficult ones can be mastered with a little practice.
There are many reasons to consider moving to a rebuildable device; cost effectiveness, outstanding performance, and customization… to name just a few. Perhaps you would like a device that brings out the best flavor your juice has to offer or maybe you just don’t want to order things from over-seas, you want more control over how your atomizer vaporizes your eLiquids, and maybe you just enjoy being on the cutting edge and the RBA’s are your logical next step. Whatever the reason moving up to the world of rebuildable atomizers can be a whole lot of fun.
My Journey In
Like you (?) I am always looking for a better vaping experience. In my early days of vaping I was using what everyone else was using, the cartomizer. The cartomizer ruled the day because it was basically the only game in town if you didn’t want to use leaky cartridges and weak atomizers. I was always on the lookout for better ways to vape and when the RBA came out I was one of the first to try them.
The push for me came when my favorite cartos started becoming just too inconsistent too often. A lot of the products coming over to US Vapers from China have always been hit or miss when it came to quality. I found the cartos that I have used for years had started coming to me DOA or with a weird taste to them or just performed poorly. It was becoming harder and harder to enjoy vaping. Not to mention more expensive.
The main reason I was using cartos and carto tanks in the first place was consistency. I knew I could pop a carto in my tank, fill it with my favorite juice and know just how it would vape. Then the inconsistency started. Now, all of a sudden the draw on my carto’s would start tightening, usually within the first 4-5ml, to the point that I was tossing them out nearly every day. These were not cheap off-brand carto’s mind you. A good cartomizer can cost $2 apiece or more. In the past they would easily last a week vaping 3ml+ a day, so there was definitely something happening in the area of quality.
Enter the RBA
The search was on for something better and that’s when I started buying and testing RBA’s. I found it very appealing that I could customize them however I wanted, I could wrap a coil to any resistance I liked and I could also use any wicking medium I wanted, from cotton to bamboo to silica to SS (stainless steel) mesh. I instantly fell in love with how many of the Rebuildables I tested performed brilliantly right out of the box. The taste was great and the vapor production was amazing. They were affordable, and they worked with some of the thickest liquids I own. Why would I ever buy a carto again?
As I learned more about RBA’s and became more proficient at rebuilding coils everything was right as rain. I remember that after using out-of-box RBA’s in the beginning I began feeling the urge to rip one of them apart. Mind you, they were still working as good or better than the day I received them, I simply wanted to start tinkering with them. To me, rebuilding them is part of the fun of owning Rebuildables.
My First Coil
Boy what a show that was, it looked like a cross between Frankencoil and a string of Christmas lights after a year of storage. It was not pretty. Did it work? Yeah it worked, sort of. Was my next one pretty and perfect? No… Did I let myself get discouraged? No. I kept at it for a bit and after a few attempts they started coming together quite nicely. About 10-15 coils in I finally had one that not only performed top-notch but ya know, it looked pretty fancy too.
I was feeling pretty proud of myself. I knew that I now had a skill set that I could apply to most any RBA and if even if the worst should happen, like the government stepping in telling me I couldn’t vape anymore, I owned this new skillset. I was completely self-sufficient. I could build my own coils and have the hardware required to vape indefinitely with no outside sources. A 100′ roll of Kanthal, the wire used to build coils, can be purchased for $10, with each coil using about 3 inches of wire that’s 400 coils for $10! This would keep any Vaper in coils for years to come.
Time And Place
Am I done with cartos? Certainly not. I have some juices I just think taste better in a cartomizer and I also have some pretty sweet carto-based tanks I love to use. I like to have options and RBA’s are just one more option, albeit a great one, we now have and honestly I couldn’t be happier with them.
Wicks, Mesh, or Stainless Steel
I suggest that if you’ve never used or rebuilt an RBA before you might want to limit your financial exposure and start off with some lower priced options. Even RBA’s that can cost as little as $10 outperform most other types of attys on the market. RBA’s between $10 and $40 will provide an unbelievably great vaping experience. Many of the RBA’s in this price range use a silica-based or a stainless steel mesh and are known as Genesis style atomizers or Genny’s.
Before we begin I would just like to get into a little rant about safety. RBA’s are advanced devices and should be treated as such. When making your coils you need to be weary of short-outs. These can occur when the wire used to make the coil grounds against the body of the device or when the coils touch or overlap one another. It is highly recommended you have a multi-meter (like a Fluke meter) and know how to check the resistance of a coil before you begin. (You can pick up a Fluke on eBay for about $10) It is also recommended, especially for people just beginning to make their own coil’s, to only use a device that has built in circuit protection. An example of a protected device would be a ZMAX and an example of an unprotected device, the BOLT. If a short were to occur in a protected device it would simply flash an error and shut down with no danger. If, on the other hand, a short would to occur in something like the Bolt, well… let’s not even go there. It would not be good. Now that I have that out of the way lets move on to some great affordable RBA’s.
I won’t be discussing the maintenance of rebuildables since there are so many resources around the web that cover maintenance extremely well. Once you grasp the technique you’re set, most all RBA’s are rebuilt the same way. In stead I will be sticking with 3 RBA’s that meet the following criteria: quality, performance, affordability, popularity, and availability.
This is the first device I am going to talk about for quite a few reasons; it’s small, it performs very well, it’s easy to rebuild, and it’s under $10! The Phoenix is what’s known as a Drip RBA. While it has a small reservoir the main purpose of this atty is to drip. I own 3 of these and use them on a regular basis when I am testing a new liquid or just in the mood to drip. Another great feature of this little guy is that you can purchase pre-wrapped coils for it. If you wanted to try out an RBA but are still leery of trying to wrap you own coils. An RBA like this is an excellent choice if you vape thicker liquids like 100% VG that just doesn’t wick well in tanks or cartos. A Drip RBA like the Phoenix is great choice. Also, since VG tends to gunk up the coils at a faster rate, being able to replace them easily whenever you need to, for pennies, is a huge plus. The only quirk I have found with the Phoenix is that for some reason many of the 510 drip tips won’t fit. I don’t know if it’s just mine, I don’t even remember where I purchased them, but it’s a small detail I found worth mentioning.
This one has been making quite the buzz around the e-cig community lately. It’s another fantastic and affordable rebuildable, this time with a tank. The quality and design of this RBA is beautiful. Fully made of SS (stainless steel) with the exception of the center post, which looks like the part on most any other RBA.
Why all the buzz about this rebuildable? Surely not its good looks. Well for one, the AGA-T can be used with any medium, including SS (stainless steel) mesh. When most people think of a well performing Genny dollar signs start flashing before their eyes and this is simply not the case here, this well-built RBA is about $20. It performs well out of the box with the included silica coil, but the magic happens when you roll up some SS mesh and throw a coil around it. I’m talking amazing performance and style on par with Genny’s easily costing 5 times as much. If you’re looking for an amazing entry level Genny or just looking for an amazing RBA with a tank, the AGA-T is the way to go.
This is Vision’s newest flagship RBA and I will likely be doing a review on this device in the near future. The Eternity has quite a few new features and is a dual mode RBA meaning you can use it as a drip atty, “drip mode”, or in “tank mode” with the use of an eGo-T or an eGo-C cartridge. This is appealing to many newer Vapers, as the cartridges are easy to fill and replace. Another feature is the screw-less coil assembly allowing you to replace the coil without the need for any tools; you simply put your coil in the poles and snap them onto the posts of the Eternity. The craziest thing about this device to me is the amount of juice it holds. In “drip mode” it can hold up to 35 drops!! For a drip atty this is unheard of. Sure, I can do about 10 drops in an HH 357 but 35 drops is just unbelievable. The best part is that once the juice is in, it stays in. Swing it around, hold it upside down, nothing leaks out. The Vision Eternity is a very versatile, high quality RBA that I look forward to getting my hands on it the future.
There are many places to buy any of the items I listed above and I encourage you to look around for something that you find appealing and affordable. The items I wrote about here are all from My Vapor Store, simply because I personally purchase from MVS and feel they have a great selection of items at very competitive prices, including the RBA’s that I wanted to write about here. MVS has a great staff, fast shipping, top-notch customer service, great prices, and they are the “Official Supplier” for Spinfuel. But again don’t take my word for it. Shop around. Hopefully after reading this overview on RBA’s jumping into the world of rebuildables is a less daunting feat. Regardless of why you are looking into RBA’s; whether you would like to save money, step up from cartos, have more control over your vape, or simply want to try something new, there are many options open to you. Jumping in headfirst is the way to go, especially if you’re able to do it on a budget.