What Are RTAs
For many vaping enthusiasts, the simpler vape tank setups eventually prove inadequate for their needs. That often necessitates a move toward a more customizable setup, which leads many users to seek out the best RTA tanks (rebuildable tank atomizers). RTA’s were first introduced to the market over 5 years ago now, all consisting of stainless steel coils with cotton inserts built by the user. Although the designs have moved on, as well as the coils, the fundamentals stay the same but finding the best has become a bit of a daunting task.
These devices are similar in some respects to the RDA (rebuildable dripping atomizers) in that they are a high-performing device capable of tremendous flavor and vapor production. Unlike RDAs, however, RTA’s have tank systems that eliminate the need for continual dripping.
If you’re only just starting to experiment with these more flexible options, however, the task of locating the best RTA atomizer options can be quite a challenge. Here is a look at some of the top choices available on the market today to help you get the best electronic cigarette you can!
Are RTA’s Right For You?
Building RTA’s is a little fiddly, the first thing you have to ask yourself is it worth the extra effort? These days the standard stock coil sub-ohm tanks produce a really high level of satisfaction to most vapers, especially recently with the introduction of mesh coils which produce a deeper flavor. It’s a lot easier to change the coil of a regular sub-ohm tank than it is to change the coil of an RTA.
That said, there is some satisfaction to be had from building your own deck and coil setup. Adjusting the cotton thickness to produce the exact wicking constant and resistant is something that expert vapers cannot achieve with any other type of tank. RTA’s are also getting a little easier to build, again thanks to the mesh coil RTA tanks that have just started to be introduced to the market.
Do you get a huge benefit in flavor and cloud content with an RTA? Well no, not really. Without doubt the flavor is much better if you compare a similar sub-ohm tank setup, that is if you were to compare the top RTA with a sub-ohm tank that has the same coil resistance, coil type, and similar air-flow control, the RTA would win on flavor and cloud quality, but, and there is a but. This is assuming you have set the RTA up correctly and cut the cotton to the right consistency. Even then the difference in flavor quality is relatively small, many vapers actually argue that there is no difference. It takes an expert vaper to really understand and respect the differences between the two.
The reasons above define why RTA tanks are really more popular with expert vapers and have seen a somewhat small decline in mainstream popularity over the recent months. There is hope yet with the RTA, as mesh coil versions hit the tank, with finely tuned airflow chambers to maximize the taste even further, we believe that if you are a vaper who appreciates an increase in vape quality (albeit a small change), then an RTA tank is definitely worth your consideration.
Different Types of RTA on The Market
Once you have decided that you want to buy an RTA the next question you need to ask yourself is which setup or type of RTA will best suit your first purchase. Well luckily you have a few options to thing about.
Which is The Best RTAs? Bottom Airflow Vs. Top Airflow RTA’s
The standard design was with the airflow at the bottom of the tank, sitting just below the coil and deck. All should have the adjustment capabilities, but whats the main difference with these two different setups?
The initial reason to move the airflow to the top of the tank was to remove the possibility of leaks. If the cotton is well wicked and just sits on your mod for a long period of time it will slowly drip into air cavity and hence leak. This also happens if the cotton you applied is too loose. So manufacturers moved the airflow control above the deck to prevent this from happening.
Although the initial released did stop the leaking problem, there was a slight reduction in flavor quality, due to the air channels being too far away from the coils and having further to travel. Recently, however, they have managed to tweak the design to produce chimneys that suck the air directly from the sides of the coil.
So which one is best, bottom airflow or top airflow? To answer this question you have to look at the airflow chamber, as a rule of thumb the RTA with the less travel distance and closest to the coil will win over on flavor. Top airflow RTA coils tend to sit higher in the deck known as a Genesis setup of GTA, to reduce this travel distance, whilst bottom airflow RTA’s sit lower for the same reason. If the travel distance is the same, then there should be no difference.
Which is The Best RTA’s? Single Coil RTA’s Vs Dual Coil RTA’s
You would think that using a dual coil RTA is going to produce twice the amount of vaper and flavor. But you would be wrong! The main advantage of dual coil RTA’s is the ability to vape at higher temperatures which produce a warm vape. This is because the resistance of the coil halfs when applying 2 coils. For example if you were to apply 2×0.5-ohm coils, the total resistance of the coil setup would be 0.25-ohm which requires slightly more power than a single coil. If you prefer a slightly warmer vape, then the dual coil setup is for you. Also remember that dual coils are only available for wire coil RTA’s and not mesh.
Which is Best? Mesh Coil RTA’s Vs Wire Coil RTA’s
Mesh coils are all the rage these days especially with sub-ohm tanks, thanks to their performance in producing a much more flavorful vape. Until recently, mesh coils were not available for RTA tanks, but in 2019 we are starting to see more and more introduced. In fact our 2 best RTA’s are both mesh coil versions!
Whether a mesh coil RTA will suit you over wire coil RTA versions is a matter of opinion, but if you prefer a mesh coil in a sub-ohm tank, rather than a wire stainless steel coil, the odds are your going to prefer the mesh RTA tanks also. One thing to note, is that mesh coil RTA’s are a little harder to build, and we mainly mean here that getting the cotton correct is far more important, so some tweaking is required to get it absoultely perfect. Also there is no dual mesh coil RTA’s on the market, whilst these are available in sub-ohm tank stock coils, the build within an RTA deck would be far less easy. That said the coils can as low as 0.2-ohms so you can still produce a warm vape.
The Top 3 Best RTAs This Year:
Advantages Of RTA Tanks
As we have mentioned above, the RTA can be a little tricky for a new user, especially one who doesn't really understand how coils work, the impact of the coil resistance and the importance of airflow. However, if you do understand these elements, then building your own deck can be extremely rewarding.
Our own preference in building the ideal deck for an RTA starts out with a little trial and error! We build the deck as instructed and test it using our regular e-liquid so we can spot the highs and lows. After playing around with the airflow, we get to understand the limitations of the coil setup. This is when we go back to the deck to adjust the setup to suit. One thing we always start with is applying a little too much cotton if possible, and test the wicking capabilities along with the airflow. If it is struggling to wick after multiple vapes, we know we need to reduce the cotton. We have to consider that removing too much cotton may cause the RTA to leak, so we only reduce it by the smallest amount.
The best RTA's that we recommend on this page all have the ability to do these tests, not all do, some just require a standard setup and that's the only way it will work, without any tweaking. But the advantage of this tweaking is huge.
When you become a serious vaper, you will be able to tell the small differences between flavor across all the different tank types. At this point your top picks will be down to two types of tanks, one being the RTA, the other being the RDA.
The main advantage that the RTA has over the RDA is the ability to hold a reservoir of e-liquid, saving the vaper from having to carry around with them a bottle of juice and constantly having to drip. RTA's also (as long as it is wicked correctly) reduce the likelihood of a dry hit. With RDA's you can't really tell if the cotton needs another drip without either looking at the cotton or vaping it.
Other RTA's and Sub-Ohm Tanks You Might Consider
The list above shows the top 3 best RTA's currently available on the market, and we will update it as new RTA's hit the market, which hopefully will be soon. But take a look below where you will find all our tank reviews which include sub-ohm tanks, RDAs and of course more RTA's.