Julia reviews some of the newest clearomizers and tanks
Over the past few weeks we’ve collected some hardware, mostly in the way of clearomizers, from a couple of different vendors so today I thought it might be fun to do some mini-reviews. Since none of the clearomizers or tanks can generate 1000 words on their own, but they are worth of a mention. Why not bring them together under one column, and do mini-reviews?
The vape gear comes from our two very good friends and trusted vendors, Vapor Authority and MyVaporStore.
The clearomizers from Vapor Authority and MyVaporStore are all new, and ‘decent’ clearomizers. We’ve had them for a while and we’ve been using them. In fact, I’m vaping with an EVOD2 clearomizer right now. But, each of the clearomizers I’ll review below are nowhere close to our favorite clearomizers in performance, so trying to be unbiased has been really difficult. There just isn’t any way to talk about the EVOD2 for example, without telling you that I would much rather pay the extra couple of bucks for an X.Jet or Aspire clearomizer. As far as I’m concerned, both companies put out clearomizers that can’t be beat without going to sub-ohm vaping with an RBA…. with most eLiquids. Neither of them are the best with really thick eJuice.
In the end though, each brand, and each model, have their fans and detractors. One size does not fit all, so I’ll do my very best to keep an open mind about the products reviewed today.
Reviews in General
Finally, before I begin, a word about reviews in general. More often than I’d like to see, I get email from readers that want to know why we don’t write our reviews in the way, well, I guess “copywriters” write about products. (We also get email from readers wondering why we never write critical reviews, which is something we do a lot)
I suppose the honest answer concerning writing like copywriters is that first, we’re not copywriters, and second, we look at all products with a little bit of unintentional bias ‘toward the negative’.
All of us believe that most hardware products are overpriced and under perform. We have this idea I suppose, from a lifetime of buying things, that no product ever lives up to its hype. Until it does…
When we do find a product that kicks ass we love to hype it because most of the time they don’t deliver the goods and we want to shout it out to the vape community, “Look what we found!” That’s why you’ve heard a lot about X.Jet and Aspire lately. Not to mention some of the best eLiquids out there. (We get excited about great eLiquids all the time)
Of course, both X.Jet and Aspire clearomizers are not perfect. Neither the X.Jet Spider nor the Aspire BDC can handle thick eLiquid very well. That wireless coil (aka hidden coils) is not that great at allowing thick juice to seep into the hidden coils. It works, but you need to either shake the clearomizer after several drags, or turn it upside down to allow the juice to get into the hidden well. But, thin and ‘thin-ish” juice makes both brands sing with wicked clouds and marvelous flavor. Still, I can’t speak for everyone but I put up with the shaking and the turning upside down with the X.Jet’s and Aspire’s because pound for pound they are excellent performers.
Okay, I’m done. Let’s talk about some other clearomizers, shall we?
EVOD2 BDC by Kanger
I have a couple of clearomizers from Kanger to talk about actually, the first being the EVOD2, a dual coil/bottom coil clearomizer that is a complete do-over from the EVOD1, or just the EVOD.
First, the EVOD2 BDC can be completely disassembled for easy cleaning. Second, the metal drip tip can be removed and replaced with a plastic drip tip. It also comes is a variety of colors, and they are noticeably larger than the previous model, including the coil heads. Removing the bottom cap and refilling the clearomizer, or topping it off, doesn’t require losing whatever juice you have left, which is always a good thing to have in a clearomizer. The fidelity of the flavor is pretty accurate too. Lastly, it is surprisingly inexpensive, selling for $6.47 at Vapor Authority (replacement heads run $8.49 for a pack of 5). Compared to the X.Jet Spider, which has the same capacity of 1.6ML, is nearly $8 a pop, and the coil head is rated at 1.5ohms.
With these kinds of specs you’d think the EVOD2 BDC would be a killer clearomizer, and in some ways it is, but there is one agonizing characteristic that kills this clearomizer as a good choice for myself. The EVOD2 BDC takes too much priming to keep up a good head of vapor, even using variable voltage batteries like the new Spinner II from Vision. Once you get it going it produces a ton of vapor but if you put it down for even 5 minutes you’ll have to prime it again. At least that’s the way they’ve been performing for me. Oh, and the EVOD2 BDC is a bit ‘airy’. The air holes are easily visible around the bottom ring and I have to wonder why they just didn’t make it a variable-air clearomizer. Placing a thumb on one of the air holes gave me a much stiffer draw, and even thicker clouds of vapor.
I would grade the EVOD2 BDC a solid “B”. If you’re on a budget the price tag is easy to handle, and if you don’t mind priming it often it will offer you a good vape.
The Kanger T3D (D stands for dual coils, the T3S is a single coil T3) is another clearomizer available from our friends at Vapor Authority. It too is a bottom coil/dual coil design, runs the same price as the EVOD2 BDC, $6.47, and uses the same coils as the EVOD2, ProTank 3, ProTank 3 Mini, and the AeroTank. ($8.49 for a pack of 5), and even has the removable drip tip. Unlike the EVOD2 above, the capacity of the T3D is 2.5ML and doesn’t come in a range of colors.
Performance is nearly identical to the EVOD2 BDC, meaning that it will take a little priming to build up a nice head of vapor, though you won’t be refilling it as often because there is a full .9ML of extra capacity over the EVOD2 BDC.
Overall the pricing of the T3D gives it an edge over the EVOD2, primarily for the capacity. It’s a clear plastic tank so you won’t have color options like the EVOD2, but other than that, there isn’t much difference.
The added capacity, minus the lack of colors and exterior finish balance out and it too would be awarded a “B” rating from me.
Vision Aurora BFT
Tom and Jason did a very nice, and very unique review of the Aurora BFT thanks to the creativeness of Dave Foster, but I disagree with their ultimate findings. I used this tank (from Vapor Authority) for a couple of days and didn’t find it annoying in the least. When you know what it is before you shell out the cash for it, you understand that a dripping atomizer with a bottom reservoir is genius. I now use it as my tank of choice for first tasting a new eLiquid.
The BFT in the name means “Bottom Feeder Tank”, and that is exactly what it is. The long stem coming up from the tank works as the ideal stem for a dripping atomizer that sits underneath it. The 1.5ohm coil is just right for a dripping atomizer too. The performance of the 1.5ohm coil is excellent. The Aurora BFT delivers an abundance of vapor and a pure clean and true flavor, as any good dripping atomizer would.
The “kit” comes with the Aurora body, 2 atomizers, and an extra long-stem with drip tip (plastic tip). The price tag of $24.99 isn’t bad considering what it’s used for. A dripping atomizer is not for everyday, all day use, at least not for most people. It’s best used for times when you need a serious vape, with maximum clouds and the purest flavor. In these areas the Aurora BFT shines. I will pick up a few more of these in May.
My rating for this dripping atomizer bottom feeder is an “A”.
Vapor Authority supplied us with the Kanger AeroTank a few weeks after we reviewed it, and we were absolutely thrilled to see them in the package. The AeroTank and the Aspire Nautilus are, for my money, the best tanks on the market. Because I’m not independently wealthy I have more AeroTanks than Nautilus tanks, and I’m fine with that, for now. But, boy, if I could have as many AeroTanks and Nautilus tanks as I wanted, it would get very expensive, very fast.
The AeroTank by Kanger is, once again, a bottom coil/dual coil glassomizer, made from high-quality Pyrex. The bottom of the tank has a wicked smooth-action wheel for controlling the amount of air getting into the chamber, which allows you to control the pull. From “airy” to “stiff” and anywhere in-between, the AeroTank provides a custom vape like no other (except for the Nautilus).
The AeroTank has a replaceable drip tip and that’s the first thing I did when I started using one, replace the drip tip. So far every drip tip I’ve used on it fit like a charm, including some wooded ones we have in the office. It holds 2.5ML of juice, comes with 2 coil heads (1.5ohm), and has a stainless steel body. The AeroTank has a 510-thread, but can be used with a 510-ego adapter if you want to use it on something like the Spinner II.
I’ve heard people compare the AeroTank to the ProTank 3, and while the Pyrex tank is similar that’s where the comparison ends for me. This baby is a one-of-a-kind; a vapor monster delivering accurate flavor profiles, and it’s worth every bit of the $21.99 price tag.
I give the AeroTank a solid “A+” and it is the only $20+ tank that I could see spending enough money to have at least a dozen of them for different eLiquids. I’m kind of lazy when it comes to cleaning tanks and replacing coils, so instead of cleaning the AeroTank every time I want to change eLiquids I would rather have enough to dedicate them to individual juices where the only thing I’ll need to do is swap out the coil head. Of course, I also wanted a pony when I was a kid. Didn’t get one…
SMOKTech Pyrex DCTank
We’ve talked about this tank a few times in the pages of Spinfuel eMagazine, and with good reason; it is the only cartomizer/tank worth using today. Yes, including our old favorite, the Texas Tuff Tank, although I still love that tank as well. The current crop of DCTanks we have on hand came from Vapor Authority. At $9.99 it’s a very good price, worth every penny.
The “DC” in the name means ‘Dual Coil’, and those dual coils are in the cartomizers of course. That doesn’t mean you can’t use the extra-long single coil cartomizers though, right?
Buying a carto/tank means spending money on the exterior body, the tube. The SMOKTech DCTank is made of oxidized aluminum large enough to hold 6ML of juice. SMOKTech includes an XL cartomizer in 1.5ohm or 2.5ohm… dual coils both. Replacement cartomizers are available in a few different ohms, from 1.5, 2.0, 2.5, and 3.0, all dual coils. You can buy them one at a time ($2.99) or in a 5-pack ($10.49). You’ll definitely want the 5-pack unless you’re buying a different ohm carto and want to try it first. The cartomizers are all double-punched with the air holes in a position that causes about 15% of the juice to remain in the tank before having to top it off.
Carto/Tanks are known for vapor production and throat hit, and the flavor fidelity is quite good as well, although opinions run the gamut here.
Using a carto/tank is straightforward, but filling one takes a bit of practice. There is a tool offered by Big Daddy Vapor that makes gliding a cartomizer up, into, and out the other end of the tank pretty darn easy, and I recommend it highly. It is not uncommon to have to spend a lot of time lining up the cartomizer and getting it through the other side, this tool makes that a breeze while at the same time covering up the hole at the top of the cartomizer so when filling it, an adventure in itself at first, you don’t run the risk of getting juice into the cartomizer before you’re ready. Once you have it set up and filled with eLiquid you then apply roughly .9ML of juice into the cartomizer itself. Lastly, do not attempt to vape the DCTank until the cartomizer has had plenty of time to become saturated with juice. Vaping a dry cartomizer, or a cartomizer with dry coils, can ruin it permanently.
All of us at Spinfuel eMagazine are big fans of carto/tanks and the SMOKTech DCTank is our favorite, except for Tom, who is still partial to the Texas Tuff Tank because of the hole drilled into the side of the plastic tank that makes filling it easy peasy. If the DCTank were offered with a drilled hole like the Tuff Tank then Tom would drop the Tuff Tank in a New York minute, I just know it. Though, really, you can drill your own hole into the side of the DCTank and use the same type of screw that the Tuff Tank uses… I wonder why Tom hasn’t thought about that.
Innokin iClear 16D
MyVaporStore sent us a couple of Innokin iClear 16D’s to try out, and I wasn’t even aware that a new iClear 16 had been released. For just $5.71 a piece the iClear 16D is definitely affordable, but is it a good clearomizer?
The specs for the 16D surely point to being an excellent clearomizer. As with SMOK and Kanger, the “D” in the iClear 16D stands for dual coil, and it comes with a 1.5ohm dual coil head. Additional coil heads are available in 1.5 and 2.1ohms for $2.45 each. These coils are not supposed to be rebuildable, which means someone has already rebuilt them with success, but I haven’t, nor has our resident rebuilder, Tom. Spending $2.45 for a brand new coil seems to make a lot more sense than rebuilding a coil for a plastic tank, but some people like the challenge.
The iClear 16D holds 2ML of juice, and is a bottom coil, which means you’re able to top it off without losing the juice you have left in the tank. They are offered in several colors, and all of them are semi-transparent so you can keep an eye on the eLiquid level.
Performance? They suck. Vapor production is limited, the draw is airy, and the flavor fidelity is, well, average. You can close off one of the air holes on the lower metal band and get a better draw and more vapor, and for $5.71 each that might make them a decent buy if that’s all you can afford to spend. But out of the box performance, non-tweaked, the iClear 16D is the pits. I’d like to give this clearomizer a grade of “C”, because when you close off one of the holes you get an average vape, but unfortunately the clearomizer has to be modified to reach “average”, so for that reason I give it a “D”, the only saving grace is the low price for a dual coil clearomizer. I mean, come on, the replacement coils are almost 50% of the price of a new one.
The Nautilus was also reviewed already and found to be the King of Realm by everyone here. Unfortunately the price is high, some $35.99 at MyVaporStore and $29.99 at Vapor Authority. When they have them. Both MyVaporStore and Vapor Authority are often out of stock and as soon as they get more in they sell out fast. Hopefully that will rectify itself in the coming weeks when Aspire gets a chance to catch up with this unexpected hit.
This 5ML capacity, Pyrex and Stainless Steel behemoth provides amazing flavor fidelity and massive clouds of vapor. The air controller is excellent; noticeably better than the AeroTank and the AeroTank works great. It’s a 510-threaded tank, and weighs in at 6.7 ounces, heavy for a glassomizer.
For some weird reason when you buy a Nautilus the coils inside is the 1.6ohm dual coil, but the extra coil head is a 1.8ohm dual coil. Buying replacement heads will cost you about $3.50 each, and last about as long as the average coil. Cheap it ain’t. It too has a removable drip tip, which for myself has become a deal breaker if it didn’t.
All together we have six Nautiluses’ here at the office and they are constantly being passed around. We haven’t had the opportunity yet to pick up our own individual Nautiluses because the stock is so low everywhere we look, but regardless of that, when they do become available my plan is to keep a few of them at home and use them for special, all-day-vape eLiquids. Seeing how the AeroTank is about 85% of the Nautilus in quality and performance, it makes more sense to stock up on AeroTanks, at least for the time being.
Quality and performance demand that I give the Aspire Nautilus an “A+” rating. I would love to see the price come down to $25, and eventually it will, once demand has met supply, or supply has exceeded demand, but in the meantime the Nautilus is one Pyrex tank every serious Vaper should have, even if its just a single Nautilus to use on special occasions.
Whether it’s a clearomizer, glassomizer, or tank, the above represent the latest in the offerings by the top vendors and manufacturers. Certainly not all of the new ones are represented though. I would love to hear from you guys about your experiences with any of the ones above, or even your own personal favorites that are not represented above. I do hope you enjoyed my take on these clearomizers and tanks, and I do look forward to reading your comments below.
Out of all the products above the only ones I continue to use are the AeroTank, the DCTank and the Nautilus, and I don’t use them as everyday devices. Probably 80% of my personal vaping is spent using the Aspire BDC Vivi Nova or the X.Jet Vivi Nova, as well as the X.Jet Spider with and without a 510-eGo adapter. For thicker eLiquids I tend to stick to tanks and cartomizers, mostly long-wick coils that can soak up the juice. Keira and I always go in together when we buys vape gear, so I can say pretty confidently that Keira’s likes and dislikes are the same as my own. Tom and Jason are heavy tank users, carto/tanks and otherwise, and John-The-Boss-Man uses the X.Jet Spider or Aspire BDC Vivi Nova, and nothing else.
Until next time!