Easter is coming early this year – especially for vapers waiting for the highly anticipated Hellvape Dead Rabbit SQ squonk RDA. This 22mm bottom-feeder RDA comes from a well-respected lineage, as the original 24mm Dead Rabbit (reviewed here) is one of our favorite rebuildable atomizers for 2018.
We had a lot of questions when we first discussed the Dead Rabbit SQ Squonk RDA a few weeks ago, and most of them have been answered positively. It has its quirks, but as a premier bottom-feeding squonk RDA, the Dead Rabbit SQ is a very strong option. Let’s take a closer look.
Initial impressions of the Hellvape Dead Rabbit SQ squonk RDA
Size might not be everything, but it’s certainly noticeable when opening the simple Dead Rabbit SQ Squonk RDA packaging and revealing the RDA. Though the standard Dead Rabbit look-and-feel is there, the SQ is a decidedly different animal. Not only does the 22mm footprint speak to an increased focus on flavor, but the simplified build deck is really designed for single-coil setups.
That’s not to say the SQ can’t handle some cloud production, because I enjoyed some massive vapor from this little squonk dripper. But it’s also clear Hellvape wanted to invite more types of vapers to the party, because the Dead Rabbit SQ can also be put to use as a legitimate mouth-to-lung (MTL) atomizer – something that wasn’t really effective on the original.
The Dead Rabbit SQ Squonk RDA continues the series’ simple design. As an RDA, there really isn’t much that “needs” to be there. Well-machined aluminum makes up the entirety of the base and barrel sections, adorned only with the minimalist Dead Rabbit logo (which has a nice subtle update for squonk fans).
In turn, the 810-drip tip is standard fare, but feels good on the lips. The included 510 adapter works well, with no loose connections occurring with any of my drip tips.
Taking apart the simple body reveals an interesting two-post deck. Interesting in that it almost seems like a postless setup, with a top-feeding setup that’s open on the bottom, which allows for effortless placement of coils BEFORE snipping your leads. It might be a simple set up, but it impressed this cynic, that’s for sure.
However – and we’ll discuss this more later – but the 22mm diameter makes the Dead Rabbit SQ deck a bit limiting, even with the wide-open design. Coils need to be placed close to the deck itself, and complicated wire types aren’t always the best option.
By far the best addition to this proven design is the barrel lock which allows users to remove the Dead Rabbit SQ from your Mod without having to first take off the barrel section. This doesn’t sound like a major improvement… until the next time your top cap comes off when removing another RDA, leaving you with a handful of excess e-liquid.
Building the Hellvape Dead Rabbit SQ Squonk RDA
For flavor-first vapers, the Dead Rabbit SQ’s simplified, dual-post deck makes things easy, but limiting. Each post has a relatively large side-screw terminal, which captures all but the thinnest wires. Today’s thicker wires will have no trouble securing in place, though.
As mentioned above, the open-ended posts allow users to find an ideal position for their builds without prematurely snipping their leads and wasting coils. Using a standard mixed clapton wire, I had my coils built and placed in just a few minutes, and a few turns of the screw allowed me to secure them for easy clipping.
But finding the ideal position might be more problematic than usual. The SQ’s diminutive size and height make larger builds a problem, since there’s very little headway between the deck and the barrel. Though I prefer more complicated wire, I found my best experience with the SQ was with standard 24-gauge Kanthal – which is in line with the overall intention of this RDA.
Wicking is a similar story. The reduced 22mm width and relatively shallow juice well made it more difficult than usual to find the right balance of cotton and “breathing room” in the limited real estate, to allow for easy juice flow, without flooding.
Of course, that took some trial and error, with multiple wicking jobs resulting in restricted juice flow, and ultimately, more dry hits than expected. I can definitely see the reasoning for Hellvape to reduce the overall size of the Dead Rabbit SQ to intensify flavor, I sincerely hope a full 24mm squonk-ready version comes to the market soon.
Vaping the Hellvape Dead Rabbit SQ Squonk RDA
Building might be a little trickier than I would have expected from the Dead Rabbit brand, once the right coil and wick length is in place, you’ll forget you ever struggled. Because the flavor of the SQ rivals (and occasionally exceeds) its big brother – especially when used as an MTL setup.
First, I used a standard RDA build – 0.20-ohm resistance – and attached it to my current favorite squonker, the iJOY Capo Squonk. As mentioned in the preview, the SQ sat flush on the Mod, as it did on several other squonk Mods from my collection.
With this configuration the SQ performed admirably. I quickly enjoyed fast ramping, powerful draws, with airflow and flavor to spare. But this type of use also required me to squonk consistently, thanks to the limited size and juice well. As long as I stayed on top of it, there were no dry or weak hits. But it was noticeable after a while – even in its smaller format, the Dead Rabbit is a thirsty animal.
But I was intrigued to see how the SQ Squonk RDA would perform as a true MTL-focused RDA. Using the nicely knurled top cap, I shut down the airflow and moved to a 510 drip tip, and a spaced, 1.1-ohm Kanthal build – loose enough to keep the vapor flowing, but restrictive enough to intensify flavor. The results were shockingly good.
Though there are plenty available, I simply don’t think of dripping for MTL use. I should say, I didn’t. Because the SQ’s flavor performance was insanely good with this configuration. The reduced height and snug barrel ensured the flavor I got was more concentrated and nuanced. Vapor production was still admirable, but as a legitimate flavor atomizer, the SQ delivered in a very big way. So much so, that I will probably continue to use the Dead Rabbit SQ solely for this purpose, with its sibling as its direct lung counterpart.
My primary concern going into testing was the somewhat erratic juice flow I experienced using the Capo Squonk during the preview. However, I’m happy to report these issues never presented themselves during the remainder of my testing, with smooth, steady juice flow on each of my squonkers.
Though the deck is shallow, the combination of top-positioned airflow slots and balanced cotton placement ensured there was no leaking to be had in any configuration.
Wrap up, and Score
The Dead Rabbit SQ Squonk RDA is a unique entry into the bottom-feeding RDA market. The brand might imply cloud production and flavor balance, but the SQ is quietly one of the most amazing MTL experiences I’ve had in some time. The ultra-concentrated flavor is rich, deep and intense, without sacrificing the vapor production we expect from this series.
Though I still hope for a larger version down the line, the Dead Rabbit SQ surprised me in more than one way and is a worthy purchase for any vaper seeking more concentrated flavor experiences in their squonking.
Hellvape Dead Rabbit SQ Squonk RDA Specs and Contents
Hellvape Dead Rabbit SQ Squonk RDA specs:
- Drip tip: 810-drip tip/510 drip tip with adapter
- Thread: 510-thread
- 22mm RDA with ample build space and generous post holes
- Slide in top coil deck takes the guesswork out of pre-cutting your coil leads
- Adjustable top side diagonal airflow with a focus on flavor and to minimize leaking
- Adjustable semi restricted and full restricted MTL airflow options
- Single coil configuration
- Gold plated positive post for better conductivity
- Knurled grip to adjust the airflow with ease
- Post screws fasten to the flat side of the coil lead to preserve your build
- Bottom feeding pin installed for squonking and spare solid 510 pin for dripping
- Two 810 drip tip options including a colorful resin tip and a stainless steel 510 adapter
- Slotted or hex head post screw options
- Protruding 510 pin and peek insulation for hybrid top cap compatibility
Hellvape Dead Rabbit SQ RDA contents:
- Dead Rabbit SQ RDA with resin drip tip
- Delrin 810 drip tip
- Delrin MTL 510 drip tip
- Stainless steel 510 adapter
- Golden slotted pin
- 4 x Slotted & hex screws
- 1 x O-rings
- 2 x Hex screwdriver