At this point in 2019, I always wonder if I can copy and paste an old RDA review, swap out some names and details, and pass it off as a new piece of writing. Not because I’m lazy, but rather because there’s only so much that can be done with the RDA format, and even fewer unique things to say about it. That said, the new Vandy Vape Widowmaker RDA just arrived, and you know what? It’s pretty damn good.
Plus, the Widowmaker is a collaborative effort, with Vandy Vape sharing ownership with noted YouTube vape personality El Mono Vapeador. (We’re assuming that’s not his given name, but who knows in this day and age?)
Let’s see some descriptions and specs from Element Vape before we dive in:
The Vandy Vape Widowmaker 24mm RDA is an innovative rebuildable, resultant of collaborative efforts with El Mono Vapeador, implementing a swappable airflow control ring, quad post build deck, and is squonk-ready functionality. The Vandy Vape Widowmaker Squonk RDA ships with the 15 multihole bored airflow control ring installed but also comes with two additional airflow control rings that can be interchanged to match the vaping style of any user. In addition, the airflow is slanted down towards the coils from the side intakes where it hits the coils, installed on a quad post build deck. Side secured with hex screws, the build deck can accept single or double coil configurations, enabling larger or higher builds. Furthermore, the build deck is elevated, leaving 5mm deep juice wells to accommodate extra eJuice within the saturated cotton. The gold-plated 510 pin can be exchanged for a bottom-fed squonk pin, to allow for compatibility with squonk mods.
Vandy Vape Widowmaker BF RDA Specs:
- Collaboration with El Mono Vapeador
- 24mm Diameter
- 5mm Deep Juice Well
- Superior Stainless Steel Construction
- Quad Post Build Deck – 4 Open Terminals
- Side Secured via Gold-Plated Hex Screws
- PEEK Insulator
- Single or Dual Coil Configuration
- Dual Slotted Airflow Control Rings – 3 Interchangeable Options
- Dual Sided 15 Multihole Bored Airflow Ring
- Dual Slotted Oval Airflow Hole Ring
- Dual Bored Single Airflow Hole Ring
- Side Airflow is Slanted Down To Coil
- 810 Delrin Drip Tip
- 810 Frosted Drip Tip
- BF Squonk Ready
- 510 Connection
- Available in Stainless Steel, Black, Rainbow, Gold, Grey
Vandy Vape Widowmaker BF RDA Contents:
- 1 Vandy Vape Widowmaker RDA
- 1 810 Drip Tip
- 1 510 Drip Tip Adapter
- 1 Hex Screw Driver
- 1 User Manual
- 1 Spare Parts
The VandyVape Widowmaker isn’t messing around when it comes to looks and design. Not because it makes a commanding presence, but rather because it doesn’t. This 24mm RDA is about as plain and unadorned as a modern atomizer gets in 2019, which I kind of appreciate. Other than color matching, there isn’t much that an RDA needs to do aesthetically – just sit up there and stay out of the way!
But that doesn’t mean Vandy Vape made a cheap product. No, the company has become known for top-tier craftsmanship, and the Widowmaker continues this trend, with a highly polished finish, smooth threading, and nicely fitting spare parts that work right the first time, without any initial stickiness or rough edges.
That said, the top cap does NOT lock into place, but the pieces fit nicely together without any unwanted movement or slipping, even with heavy use. Time will tell if the parts loosen their snug fit over time, but with a busy testing period, the Widowmaker is still as snug and confident
With a name like “Widowmaker” one would expect a bold, brash, possibly aggressive design. But one would be wrong. Simple, no-nonsense, function over fashion is the name of the game here, and we like that.
Internally, the Widowmaker RDA is similarly unadorned. The four-posted drop-in deck is about as simple as anyone can ask for, and it’s built well. Using strong, secure Allen bolts to hold coil leads in place, even the most inexperienced builders will have a breeze of a time getting the Widowmaker built and wicked.
(For the record, the deck supports both single- and dual-coil builds, but despite catering to all types of vapers, the Widowmaker is best used as a low-resistance/high-cloud device. Tighter draws are flavorful enough, but this thing is best at high wattages and sub-ohm setups.)
Because of the simplicity, beginner vapers will quickly adapt to building and dripping in record time, while veterans will have it done blindfolded. Again, no nonsense to be had here.
I should mention that the 5mm deep juice well is awesome, allowing you to soak ample amounts of cotton, while still allowing for free juice flow, without any risk of dry hits or “choking” the coils.
The key selling point (other than an international superstar collaborating on the design) is the multiple airflow rings, each aiming at a different part of the vaping population. While there’s nothing inherently original about having multiple airflow options on an RDA, the Widowmaker is one of the best, with parts that fit (and can be removed) as intended, without any additional elbow grease needed to change the experience.
The honeycomb-like default option was my favorite, offering a nice balance of flavor and vapor, while still giving users enough restriction in the draw to keep things from losing the nuances of your e-liquid. By contrast, the wide-open single-hole ring was FAR too airy to provide any real flavor amid the clouds. Sure, as a competition-level setup (is that even still a thing?) the Widowmaker could definitely chuck clouds in this configuration. But as an everyday setup, it misses the mark.
The final ring offers a more restrictive draw, but lacks much variety when compared to the honeycomb, which lets users fine tune the number of open holes, crafting an ideal vape.
All rings work well with the deck’s slanted airflow system, which drives your draw across the coils and up the chimney for as much flavor or vapor as you prefer.
Like I mentioned earlier, the Widowmaker is best used in a standard, dual-coil configuration. The single-coil setup, combined with the restricted ring makes for a passable MTL vape, but nothing that would make a dedicated MTL vaper give up their dedicated drippers. Plus, with the wide-bore 810 drip tips, this setup is hardly as flavorful as MTL vapers would want it to be.
As a dual-coil rig, the results are much more impressive. I used my standard dual-clapton test coils and quickly built a nice, tightly spaced arrangement that allowed for as much juice saturation as possible. With the wide-open ring, this produced massive amounts of vapor, and flavor that wouldn’t win awards, but wouldn’t upset you, either. However, using the same build with the honeycomb ring produced a nice balance of the two, with flavor much more concentrated.
One thing I noticed was how thirsty this RDA can be. Sure, a lot of this depends on your coils and vaping habits, but I couldn’t believe how quickly I had to redrip – often after just 2-3 draws. Because of this, I went to the included BF pin and used the Widowmaker as a squonker almost exclusively. That made things more convenient, but make no mistake, I was still blowing through e-liquid at an exponential rate.
Finally, I need to address the “leak-proof” claim. If you’re a good builder and competent dripper/squonker, you should NEVER leak with modern RDA designs. But there’s nothing special about the Widowmaker’s deck or cap that leads me to believe it’s actually leak-proof. Just use common sense and you’ll never worry about it, but don’t go testing the limits of the juice well’s capacity – you’ll likely end up wasting juice.
– Nice variety of airflow ring options
– So easy to build on
– 24mm diameter means it will fit nicely on most devices.
– MTL/restricted lung performance not likely to win over any converts
– Build area is a little snug for my liking
– It’s very similar to a wealth of other RDAs on the market
The VandyVape Widowmaker RDA gets an “A” because it does everything that’s asked of it without concern. It’s not the most flavorful, most vapor-heavy, most ANYTHING RDA available, but it presents a nice, versatile option for vapers who like to try new things. While it’s unlikely to appear on many “year-end” awards lists, those seeking a solid, strong-performing new RDA could do a lot worse than the Widowmaker.