So, you’ve started to look at getting into electronic cigarettes. There are a few different directions that you can go. If you’re literally just starting, perhaps as a crossover from smoking tobacco cigarettes, then I would recommend going for something reminiscent of the original thing – maybe a one-hitter or simpler rig. However, for those of you who are interested in getting further into the vaping experience, then the rest of this article is for you.
A lot of the confusion about e-cigs is derived from the basic principle of vaporization, and the divergent classifications in e-cigarette rigs simply describe how that vaporization is achieved. If you love to smoke, read on to learn about all of the new options on the market. After reading this article, you’ll never have to worry about confusing an atomizer, cartomizer or clearomizer again.
There are several different types of atomizer, but I’ll discuss drip atomizers, the most common, for the purpose of simplicity. A drip atomizer is basically the most stripped-down version of a vaporizer you can get. It’s no more than a chamber or space in which a heated metal coil can turn the e-liquid into a gas. That’s it.
The battery attaches to the coil and gives it the power to heat thereby causing the atoms that are attached in a chain in liquid form to detach from each other, making a gas. This is actually a great illustration of the basic physics of how a vaporizer works. So, to get the liquid on the coil, you have to allow a drip onto the coil every two to three drags.
The main benefit here is that you get the purest flavor from your e-liquid at the cost of increased maintenance for use. However, they’re also usually much more compact than the alternates. There are, increasingly, atomizers that have tanks which will hold larger amounts of e-liquid as well.
A cartomizer, or “carto,” uses the same basic principles as a drip atomizer, but the main difference is in how the e-liquid is brought to the coil. Old-school cartomizers would use a cotton or polyester fiber to hold the e-liquid. This fiber surrounds the coil which allows the e-liquid to vaporize without touching the coil directly, which studies are beginning to show may be healthier than dripping. More modern cartos have a tank that surrounds the coil and stuffing material, continuing to soak it throughout the day.
These tanks can hold a few milliliters of e-liquid so it’s very convenient for heavy users. The downside of cartomizers is they have a somewhat muddled flavor from the stuffing material, which has to be changed regularly.
By contrast clearomizers, “clearos,” are a bit of a fusion between atomizers and cartos. Clearos use wicks in the same way oil lamps do to draw the liquid to the coil. From here the functions are exactly the same as any other vaporizer. The wicks can be made from a variety of substances from cotton or polyester to perforated ceramic. The cotton and polyester wicks are often criticized for much the same reason that carto stuffing is. Thus, people are starting to explore alternatives like perforated ceramic that won’t add anything to the flavor.
Further, there are two different types of clearomizer, a bottom coil and a top coil variety. These are exactly how they sound: The coil that vaporizes the e-liquid is either at the bottom of the tank or the top of the tank; there are benefits and drawbacks to both. Bottom-fill tends to be a cooler drag and can be prone to flooding when using a less viscous e-liquid. Flooding would be an oversupply of liquid to the coil which can cause unvaporized liquid to flow through the mouthpiece. Also, the quality of the vapor will be lower if this happens. Conversely, a top coil is more prone to the wicks drying out and burning which will immediately taste like burning cotton or polyester. Since both main drawbacks can be relatively comparable and easily counteracted, it ultimately comes down to a preference of heat of the drag. Some people like them hot while others prefer a cooler hit.
To recap, a drip atomizer is just a coil with e-liquid directly on it; a cartomizer is an atomizer with stuffing and potentially a tank and a clearomizer is an atomizer with a wick and a tank. Most of the above styles don’t look or feel much like traditional cigarettes because the market of vaping is beginning to move in its own direction, away from mimicking the leaf and paper stuff. However if you love to smoke you’ll definitely able to enjoy e-cigs!