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The Coils That Brought Us Here

The people that have just switched to vaping, and those that have switched in the last couple years have entered at a peak of product development for the electronic cigarette market. The transition to vaping has become super easy and comfortable, which has increased the success rate of switching to this alternative from traditional cigarettes. However, the reason why the products used today got to this point is due to trial and error and many industry changing improvements. The truth is, there were people before you that had a rough time, partly due to heating elements that were under-performing. These people began in a time where it was a struggle, because of leaking and clogging atomizers, as well as faulty wicking designs.

Today I will give you a short history lesson that will enlighten you on the coils that brought us here, where we are today. This history article is dedicated to those before us that made our experience a better one.


AtomizerThe standard atomizer was the first to be introduced to the electronic cigarette market. Though there are many different atomizer designs, they all work relatively the same. Some atomizers have different threading types and were named after those threading types, but the 510 Atomizer became the most used, most preferred and also the standard threading type, which is what’s being used today.

A standard 510 atomizer was used in two different ways. One way was with a cartridge at the top; very similar to a drip tip. The cartridge bottom slid into the 510 atomizer. Inside the cartridge was a filler material, which is where the e-liquid would be stored. After filling the filler material with e-liquid, the cartridge would rest on top of the atomizer. The filler material rested against a bridge that then carried the liquid onto the wicking material. The bridge was often constructed of a malleable metal mesh. The second way that the 510 atomizer was used was what many call Direct Dripping. Direct Dripping is much like how a Rebuildable Dripping Atomizer works today. The user would drip e-liquid through a drip tip that would sit on top of the atomizer or without the drip tip being attached, the user would drip e-liquid directly onto the bridge and then reattach the drip tip.

Common issues found with the atomizer was from the cartridge attachment. Being that the cartridge was filled with e-liquid, it would often make its way to the air-hole in the cartridge, which then lead to the users mouth. Another common issue with the atomizer was that e-liquid would leak from the bottom of it, which later down the road sparked the creation of what is called the “Drip Shield.” – Atomizers later received improvements, such as a coil with low resistance, which many knew by and abbreviated “LR Atomizer,” among other improvements such as the removal of internals that dubbed the first and original name “Dripping Atomizer” that vapers of all experience are some-what familiar with today.


cartomizerThe Cartomizer was the next heating element to be invented for electronic cigarettes. The Cartomizer was designed to replace the Atomizer and Cartridge combination. It was also designed so that users could hold more e-liquid at once and without the need to drip e-liquid. The cartomizer was designed a lot like the atomizer, except that it had a filler material placed inside and the internal design was slightly different as well. However, the body continued to be the same, just taller so that it could hold more e-liquid in its filler material.

Cartomizers were designed to have a shorter lifetime than the market’s original, standard atomizer. Though many could and would stretch its use, a standard cartomizer typically lasted between 3 days to a week before it lost its like-new feel. The most common issue with the cartomizer is its ability to wick well and its short lifetime. The “condom method” was created with the cartomizer, which was a way of filling the cartomizer so that the filler material would become completely saturated with e-liquid. This method eliminated the priming stages required with cartomizers as well.

Cartomizer Tanks

dual coil tankCartomizer Tanks weren’t necessarily an improved upon version of the cartomizer, but it did offer an extension to its use. A Cartomizer Tank is a reservoir that sat around a cartomizer. The reservoir would hold a larger amount of e-liquid and was made possible from o-rings that sealed the e-liquid inside of the tank. For the e-liquid to get into the cartomizer, a small hole was drilled into the metal body and near the bottom of the cartomizer. As e-liquid was vaporized, an internal vacuum caused more e-liquid to soak into the filler material through the drilled hole. The cartomizer tank was originally invented by one who called himself “Most Angry Pirate” or “MAP” who owned Most Angry Industries. The design of the Cartomizer Tank was then sent to China at a later day and by a source for a cloned production of the product.

During this time, the cartomizer tank also seen improvements, such as the use of Dual Coil Cartomizer Tank, which was abbreviated as “DCT,” and became the most used form of vaping during its time. This attachment is what sparked the inventive personalities to come out in many companies, and so the electronic cigarette market started improving greatly with new product innovations being released at a much more rapid pace.

Common issues found with the cartomizer tank was that it had an issue wicking properly at times. Another issue was that the cartomizer tanks had under-performing o-rings that allowed the cartomizer to easily slip from its position.

Clear Cartomizers

clear cartomizerThe Clear Cartomizer was essentially a standard cartomizer, except that it was housed in a clear body. During this era of vaping and because of the cartomizer tank becoming so successful, manufacturers began to understand how high the demand was in the electronic cigarette market. This then caused a rush from China manufacturers to create anything and everything possible to meet that consumer demand. The clear cartomizer was a great start in product innovation, but those clear cartomizers didn’t do very well in the market. Not much longer, the design of the clear cartomizer changed a couple times, and this is what lead to the first clearomizer.

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What made clear cartomizers unsuccessful wasn’t so much of its design. We knew the internal design worked since we’ve used it in the original cartomizer, but the clear body didn’t take well to some acidic e-liquids. In addition, they didn’t do too well also because the market was now moving at a much faster pace. In other words, this design didn’t even sit on the market long enough to do well before another improvement or product invention was released.


vivi nova clearomizerThe first Clearomizer offered the same body appearance as a clear cartomizer, except that it was a top coil design and the internals for wicking were different. This is the time of vaping where the CE Series clearomizers were invented. The clearomizer quickly became a hit within the electronic cigarette market as it solved many issues we’ve seen in the past. Since manufacturers were releasing many products into the market at this time, many different versions were released of the earlier clearomizers. Some of the clearomizers had LED’s in them to give a glowing colorful appearance, while others offered designs imprinted on the clear bodies.

The CE Series Clearomizer quickly evolved into large tanks with the same top coil design. As time went on, manufacturers improved upon those previous versions with better performing, more durable and more appealing clearomizers. The CE Series lasted for quite a while until our more well known clearomizers were created, such as the ViVi Nova, among others. A Bottom Coil design was created and really built a large following of clearomizer users. The bottom coil clearomizer really solved all the problems that people experienced before this time and that’s when we started seeing clearomizers like the Kanger T3, Protank and others.

Later, clearomizers were offered with dual coils, which were dubbed Bottom Dual Coil Clearomizer or “BDC.” – The only issue found with clearomizers that many have faced and continue to face today is the inability to wick properly with some of the thicker e-liquids on the market.

Rebuildable Atomizers

kayfun 3.0The Rebuildable Atomizer was first born as a cheaper form of using an atomizer in the long-run. It originated from users rebuilding their clearomizer. Users would disassemble a clearomizer, recoil and rewick it to get an increase in performance that the clearomizers didn’t offer by default. It also saved money in the long-run because users would be making their own coils instead of buying. A rebuildable atomizer allowed users to manually wrap the coils and wick the coils themselves instead of relying on a manufacturer to do so in a clearomizer. This new manual experience offered users the ability to customize their vape, it offered them a boost in flavor and being that users could wrap the coils to their own specs, they could make the coil in a very low resistance for maximum vapor production. The resistance that users could make with a rebuildable atomizer was the first of its kind and has never been manufactured by the China companies that were the ones pouring the products into the market.

Since rebuildable atomizers were introduced to the market, they’ve come in many different styles and shapes. The two types of rebuildable atomizers are Rebuildable Tank Atomizers and Rebuildable Dripping Atomizers. The Rebuildable Tank Atomizer (RTA) was first made in a top coil design, but was then later made in a bottom coil design, which has become the industry standard for rebuildable tank atomizers. The Rebuildable Dripping Atomizer (RDA) was made to resemble the markets first standard atomizer in that you could directly drip onto the atomizers wick and coil. There are many users that still use clearomizers, but then there are also a large portion of users that prefer rebuildable atomizers.

Hybrid Clearomizers

kanger subtankThe Hybrid Clearomizer originated because of the separation between users that prefer clearomizers and users that prefer rebuildable atomizers. The users that use clearomizers want the same performance received from a rebuildable atomizer, but do not want the hassle that comes along with it, like learning how to build a coil, how to properly wick a coil, among others. For this reason, manufacturers created the first Hybrid Clearomizer, which is Kanger’s Subtank Hybrid Clearomizer. The Subtank acts like a modern clearomizer with a replacement coil head, but it also has a deck that can be screwed into the clearomizer the same way a coil head is screwed in. This invention gives users the best of both worlds; a clearomizer and rebuildable atomizer all-in-one.

The Subtank, specifically, was designed for those who want to reach a low resistance, such as sub-ohm, hence the name Subtank. With the Subtank and future Hybrid Clearomizers of this type, they are created to accept thicker e-liquids, which will eliminate one of the main problems that clearomizers and every other heating element before it faced on some level or another, the inability to wick properly.

About the author

Blake Brown

Blake is the owner and creator of the Guide To Vaping blog. He has expressed his passion for the vaping industry through his deeply rooted and highly informative content. Being a writer and content provider for the vaping industry for year's, Blake has also gained experience from working with multiple blogs and well respected companies.

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  • Web page… attractive enough… but you left out the ability to hit one button to return to the top of the page periodically throughout this essay/report.



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