Last Updated on February 20, 2018 by Team Spinfuel
The Spinfuel Guide To Dripping e Liquid
Make sure to check out Tom McBride’s wonderful “The Art of the Drip“
There are more than a few reasons why the “drip” method of vaping is unappealing to many Vapers; you need to ‘replenish’ the e liquid that quickly vaporizes from the cotton wicking of your atomizer… it can, and does, get a bit messy at times, and you can surely vape your way through a bottle of your favorite e juice in no time.
Nonetheless, dripping, as it is called, is becoming ever more popular among experienced vapers. When I say ‘experienced’ I mean it as a way of describing someone who has been vaping for a while and who has moved through a wide array of vaping devices, that’s all. We are start out of ‘beginners’ and after awhile we become ‘experienced’.
Just as there are more than a few reasons why dripping is unappealing for some there are more than a few reasons why it is very appealing to others. If you’re interested in learning how to drip, or improve your experience with dripping, then this article is written for you.
What Is Dripping, Exactly?
Dripping is a ‘technique’ first and foremost, a technique by which the delivery of e juice is applied directly to the cotton wicking which has been strung through the coils that are attached to the posts of an RDA, (Rebuildable Dripping Atomizer), or RBA (Rebuildable Atomizer), and then heated by the coils to which the RDA is attached; either to a regulated or unregulated mod. The device heats the e juice to a temperature high enough to turn that e juice into a dense and delicious vapor that is then inhaled, usually through a wide-bore mouthpiece.
Inhaling the vapor is mostly done by way of a “Lung Hit”, which is a method of inhaling the vapor. The individual Vaper inhales the vapor directly into the lungs, bypassing that stopover in the mouth, called “mouth to lung hit”, a method enjoyed by many smokers and many vapers. The copious amount of thick vapor that can be inhaled with a lung hit can be astonishing to Vapers who have never vaped this way. Personally, it’s an experience I never tire of, but it is not the only method of vaping I utilize.
Organic Cotton is widely used today as a wicking material for drippers. This organic cotton is used in ordinary RBA/RDA’s as well as pre-built coil heads for modern tanks. Cotton is a wonderfully absorbent material, and the purity of organic cotton (no dyes or chemicals), delivers a true, and clean “vape”. It is also used because cotton is malleable (easily shaped) and can be formed into strips and inserted through the holes in the wrapped coils.
Organic cotton is also the choice wicking material for nearly every major 510-tank made today. These tanks differ from RBA’s and RDA’s by way of using pre-built coil heads. It is the coil heads that use the Organic Cotton and are usually referred to as OCC’s, or Organic Cotton Coils. We discuss these tanks in another article in Spinfuel entitled The Modern Tank. (Coming soon)
RDA’s are the best devices for dripping, but there are simpler ways that used to be quite popular. In fact, ‘dripping’ as a technique can be done with just about anything that would allow you to drip e juice onto the wicking and coils and then allow you to inhale the vapor that is released. Cartomizers can be used as a dripping device as well.
Cartomizer Dripping – Vapers can apply e liquid directly to the cotton or silica wick in a simple 510 cartomizer and still perform the ‘dripping’ technique. I have many fine memories ‘dripping’ with an HH 357 cartomizer, a hybrid-cartomizer made for dripping, and in the years past the maker of the HH 357, Cisco, couldn’t make them fast enough. Today the HH 357 is now $21.99 and comes in a variety of colors, length, and ohms.
If you want to drip with a normal everyday 510 cartomizer all you need to do is remove the material from the cartomizer and drip eliquid directly onto the coils and inhale from the top. It’s crude, yes, but it has been done in the past. I don’t recommend it. These days the RDA is the preferred device to use by nearly very Vaper that enjoys the dripping technique.
Why Drip At All?
The Dripping Technique is the preferred method used by Cloud Chasers. Cloud Chasers are always looking for the densest vapor ‘clouds’ they can create.
Simply put, Vapers can enjoy the maximum amount of flavor and the densest vapor possible by dripping, though some subohm tanks can get close. The vapor produced by an RDA also reveals the truest flavor of the e liquid… every layer and every nuanced ‘flavor note’ is revealed in even the most complex of e liquids. Another benefit of dripping is that vapers are able to vape e liquids containing much less nicotine.
Using the Dripping Technique, as well as vaping with modern sub-ohm tanks, nicotine is vaporized so efficiently that the Vaper requires a lot less of the nicotine solution to satisfy nicotine cravings. Most Vapers “drip” e juice with 3mg or 6mg nicotine strength, rarely higher. The e liquid is also formulated with a higher percentage of VG (Vegetable Glycerin). See below.
Throat Hits – One of the many enjoyments of vaping is feeling that nice bass thud at the back of the throat. That’s the ‘throat hit’, and through normal vaping methods you need a certain combination of Propylene Glycol (PG) and nicotine to create that feeling. With the dripping technique you can get the same, and better, throat hit using less Propylene Glycol and less nicotine. E liquids made for dripping is made with a more Vegetable Glycerin (VG) than Propylene Glycol (PG) and lower nicotine solution and applying the e juice directly to the cotton wicking with low resistance coils and higher power settings (wattage) the throat hit can be intense and enormously satisfying.
Lastly, the dripping technique is just more fun. The whole process of wrapping coils, attaching them to the posts of an atomizer, stringing the strips of cotton through the coils, saturating the cotton with e juice, and finally taking a long, deep drag of the vapor coming off the coils is a magical journey.
Dripping – Subohm and Non-Subohm Coils
Subohm means a coil resistance of less than 1-ohm. Non-subohm coils have resistances above 1-ohm.
People who are not familiar with the dripping technique assume that all RDA’s and other e liquid delivery systems use nothing but subohm rated coils. While it is true that most Drippers enjoy a good subohm coil resistance, it is not always the case.
With good dripping atomizers a Dripper may enjoy his or her ‘optimal’ vape using coils built above 1.0ohm. If you are just taking up the dripping technique we suggest starting at a middle-of-road resistance of 1.0-1.2-ohms, and depending on your personal likes and dislikes future coil wraps can go up or down the ohms scale. If you’re like most Drippers you’ll wind up in the subohm territory soon enough. Today most subohm coils shoot for 0.3-ohm and 0.5-ohm resistances. I will discuss other resistances and metal used below, briefly.
When you really get into the dripping technique there are various methods for wrapping coils, including three accepted ‘wire’ materials that you can use depending on the vaporizer you own. For instance, if you use a regulated vaporizer that includes temperature control technology (Evolve DNA 40 & DNA200, SX 350J, and proprietary technology developed by Joyetech and Innokin) you can build coils using Nickel wire or even Titanium wire. These metals, combined with the TC technology allow you to set the temperature of your vape in order to prevent “dry burns” or even to warm up your vapor. For more about Temperature Control read other Spinfuel eMagazine articles on the topic.
Modern RDA’s (2015)
A good RDA can cost anywhere from $20 to $200+. What makes an RDA good versus not so good has little to do with the metals used to make the RDA or the fancy designs and engravings on the RDA. It has more to do with the airflow controls and placement of these controls, the design of the “deck” (the part of the device where the coil posts are) and whether or not you can build single or dual coil setups, and even the size and width of the drip tip (mouthpiece) itself.
Although I said that the price has “little” to do with a good RDA you’d find that most ‘expensive’ RDA’s have excellent qualities and are made by designers that know how to maximize the performance of an RDA. Still, lower priced RDA’s can be very good performers. We suggest an RDA budget of between $40-$80 to start with.
Lastly, the right combination of the proper e juice, the quality of the RDA, and the quality of the coil build and cotton wicking, will produce a ‘vape’ the likes of which you can’t imagine unless you’ve experienced it.
Drippers usually prefer to wrap their own coils and string their own cotton wicking. For that reason I suggest picking up a coil kit like the CoilMaster. It comes with the wire, the cotton, and all the tools you need to build your coils correctly and safely. It also includes an Ohms meter, and building your own coils mean getting into the habit of testing your coils before using them…every time.
If you’re serious about Dripping, learn as much as you can, invest in the right equipment and tools, and practice. Never use a coil that hasn’t been tested for its resistance in ohms, and we suggest using a regulated device. I know what I am about to say is still controversial, but eventually it will be accepted by all. My opinion is stay away from all mechanical mods. Regulated, temperature controlled mods are the way of the future, not to mention a whole lot safer. That said, TC (temperature control) mods are still few and far between, so as long as the mod is regulated you’re fine, just stay with Kanthal wire until you’re vaping with a TC Mod.
I’ll leave you with a list of the RDA’s I use when I use the dripping technique.
My Top Five Authentic RDA’s.
This is by no means a criticism of any RDA not on my list. Important! – All the RDA’s listed below are ‘authentic’ versions. Spinfuel does not support clones, knockoffs, or counterfeits. We understand that some vapers do not have an issue with clones and counterfeits however; we can only hope that you understand and respect our decision not to support them.
Note* The regulated mods and RDA’s below are all available at Vapor Authority.
You should also note that there are still many Vapers that use Mechanical Mods, and the types of RDA’s below are built with the mechanical mod in mind. However, the RDA’s below work fantastic with every these regulated mods… the IPV4, Sigelei 100W Plus, and my Yihi SX Mini M Class, among many more.
1. Tugboat v2 – by Flawless (2015) – $90 – The Tugboat v2 features a deep drip well for beginners. It is user friendly as well. It features an adjustable airflow on both sides for the ultimate airflow and cloud production. A Cloud Chasers Dream. The Tugboat is “out of the box” ready. A bit pricey, but it is one of the preferred RDA’s of the new Spinfuel eLiquid Review Team. The Tugboat RDA is one of the most popular RDA’s in today’s market.
2. Dark Horse RDA by Steam Angel – $79.99-$89.99 – The Dark Horse RDA gives you more options for airflow than any other RDA I know of. There are actually 16 preset airflow choices with the Dark horse RDA. You can set it to the smallest amount of airflow for a very tight draw, or open it wide for maximum airflow, and 13 other positions between them. The airflow control has three vertical slots on opposite sides and each features three different sizes in each of these sets. The chamber on the top cap has two large rectangular holes that are opposite one another. It also features three sets of two Cyclops slots arranged by way of two being across from one another and one being on the other side when you use a single coil build. The drip tip is one of the widest I’ve used.
3. YEP RDA – by Kingtu – $23-$25 – This RDA is a fine example of a modestly priced RDA that delivers a wonderful dripping experience. The juice well is a full 7MM deep; you can use it as a single or dual-coil setup. It features a 4-post design and peek insulators. It is made out of 304 Stainless Steel or Copper, it’s a 22mm diameter dripper with a custom wide-bore drip tip (mouthpiece), and a copper contact pin for the maximum conductivity you can get.
4. Vulcan RDA – Vapour Life Style – $60 – This authentic, Japanese RDA hits like a champ. It’s a three-piece design drip-atomizer that was built for functionality and quality. It features top and bottom heat fins, a bottom base/fin carved out of a single solid piece of stainless steel for great heat-dissipation. A unique air-vent and airflow control (AFC) design brings the vents close to the coils. Deep and wide e juice well under-passes the two side posts which allows for maximum space application. The result is an RDA of quality that does not fail to please, every time.
5. Mutation X v4 (2015) – Indulgence – $29.99-$35.99 – The Mutation X V4 is the fourth generation Mutation X by Indulgence. Indulgence is a subsidiary of Unicig, makers of the Mutation X RDA line. This authentic RDA has a very innovative design. The serrated edges adjust the airflow holes like they did with the Mutation V3. Mutation Version 4 includes airflow that is routed underneath the coils and through the barrel. They are all adjustable and accurate. A newly redesigned top cap and drip tip are features for the Version 4. The only thing I don’t like about the Mutation X series is that it is upgraded often. It wasn’t that long ago that Nick Bessette reviewed the Version 2, and I completely missed out on Version 3 because Version 4 came out before I even knew there was a Version 3. The Mutation X is a modestly priced RDA, and one of the best.