July 08, 2020 6 min read

Whether you are new to vaping, or a seasoned veteran, you may not be familiar with RDA atomisers and what they have to offer. So, let's start at the very beginning.

What does RDA vaping mean and stand for?

'RDA' is an acronym for Rebuildable Dripping Atomiser. If you have ever vaped then you know more about atomisers than you think. The main difference between an RDA and a tank is that with RDA atomisers, the user builds the coil and installs the wire themselves instead of using standard replacement coils (used in regular devices, replacement pods etc).

The basics of vaping is pretty easy to understand if you break it down. There's a power source and an atomiser unit. RDA atomiser units are used instead of a tank attached to your vape unit. If your current kit is compatible then all you need to do in order to upgrade to an RDA atomiser is to unscrew the tank and attach the RDA unit. It's not rocket surgery... Yet... An entry level vape kit may not be compatible, so it's important to check with your vendor before you buy if you think you're likely to delve into the RDA world at some point.

How do RDA vapes work?

RDA Vaping is a little trickier (but that's ok, it can be worth it). As opposed to simply attaching a ready-to-go tank, you will need to install / build the coil yourself. With RDA Vaping, you are pretty much guaranteed to make a mess at first, go through a bunch of coils, and get hot spots. But once you get the hang of it, it's easy street, baby!

Why switch to an RDA?

The main reason to switch would be pricing. Building on an RDA deck and using your own hand made coils is much cheaper than purchasing replacement coils for tanks, as all you require is the wire. If you have the patience, and want to save a bit of cash, this might be the level up you are looking for.

Regardless of the extra work that goes into RDA Vaping, it is one of the purest forms of vaping that exists to date. You get to customise your own vaping experience, which is a major draw for cloud chasers. You can build your own coil which can be customised to suit your resistance, offer bigger clouds, and it is oh so satisfying! Not having a tank gives many notable benefits that you may not have thought of as of yet. The flavour is suited specifically to your taste, and this is a big plus for the picky vapers among us. You could potentially get better flavour if the build is done right as the purity comes from the lack of a shaft the vapour has to travel through, so it remains concentrated. The vapour goes straight to your mouth, which stops it from dissipating.

The lack of a tank also allows you to switch up flavours on a whim. Two puffs and you could be changing it up again (just replace the cotton)! This amount of free reign differs greatly to the tank, when you switch flavours there is always plenty of residue left over from the previous one, even if the tank is empty.

Lastly, RDAs don't have glass that can be broken. Dropping your tank will likely leave it shattered on the floor, as it's made of breakable glass. RDA atomisers a lot gruntier and probably won't break when dropped and this can be an added bonus if you have notorious butterfingers (like me, hehe).

How do I use an RDA?

To use an RDA vape, you start by dripping the e-liquid onto the coil and wick continuously. There is no tank to supply the wick with juice so this needs to be done by hand. You are the tank! You control how much juice is on there, and how often you want to add juice. This can pose benefits, but also can lead to the notoriously dreadful 'dry hit' if you forget to keep dripping. If you are just starting out vaping or not a regular then this will probably not appeal to you as much as other forms.

Although RDAs are noticeably cheaper, their use is littered with cons. If you have the skills to install an RDA coil then you will save in the long run, but price is not the only defining factor of this unit. It certainly lacks on the convenience front, so you should take that into consideration. You need both your hands, you can't be doing anything but vaping in conjunction. You have to put your coil together yourself, which can take precious time and you will lose some of your juice during construction.

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Difference between RDA and RTA

You may have heard of RTAs and RDTAs as well in the vaping world, and rightfully so...All the pro cloud chasers seem to use them. So, what's the difference between these and the often asked about RDA atomiser? Well, we have got you covered! Let's take a closer look at the RTA and RDTA Vaping and what it means...

The RTA system has a rebuildable coil within. Rather than replacing the coil as you do in the RDA, once the liquid has been used you can fill it up the reservoir again and again. They tend to be a little more difficult to build than RDAs with more parts to put together and are notorious for leaking issues. But if you have the time to learn then they can add to your vaping experience through enhanced flavour, convenience and price.

The RDTA Vape stands for rebuildable dripping tank atomiser. Although it is in the name, the RDTA is not actually used for dripping as the RDA is. The deck is designed similarly to the RDA and the performance is strikingly alike, but it lacks the need for free dripping. The deck can have one or two coils, but often has even more and typically sits above the tank. Unlike RTAs it does not use a bell and chimney system. These are the main differences you will find in these atomisers.

RDAs come in a wide range of styles and sizes. From 14mm diameter to 40mm or larger, the most common that you will find on your travels are the 22mm and 24mm versions. Most come in a single or dual-coiled design, however the deck can allow for up to 8 coils! They often work for the horizontal or vertical coil build. There are various metal types used, including brass and copper will varying colour options to suit your style. The airflow will dictate whether it is suitable for a mouth to lung (MTL) or direct to lung (DTL) vaping style.

Another variation is the configuration of the build deck. Most RDAs feature three posts, two on the side of the deck and a shared post in the middle. There have been a lot of advances in this area, such as the drop-down and post-less version of the RDA Vapes. Many of the RDA Vapes on the market come with the option of a hollow positive pin too, which allows you to use the special, bottom-feeding mods which are known as squonkers. This consists of a plastic bottle that houses the e-liquid which is squeezed into the bottom-fed atomiser manually.

the verdict

Our verdict? All in all, RDA Vaping is quickly becoming a thing of the past. A tank is much more convenient as it allows you to use your vape while living your best life. If you are fond of vaping in the car, while riding a horse, or hi-fiving the postman dropping off your vape-mail, RDA Vaping is probably not for you. RDA Vaping is an excellent choice for a now and then product, but make sure you weigh up your options carefully before taking the leap and be prepared for one hell of a wild ride when learning to install coils.

About the Author

Eloise resides in the Illawarra region with her pup Apache. She spends her time writing, vaping, tending to her veggie garden, and enjoying quiet time alone in nature. She has a degree in Ecology and her spare time is spent volunteering with the local marine rescue.

Vapoureyes NZ proudly supports Nourished For Nil, a local non-profit organisation whose sole aim it is to rescue surplus food and redistribute it to the local Hawke’s Bay community.

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