The Ultimate Guide To Atomizers, Clearomizers, and Cartomizers


Not too long ago, very few people knew about electronic cigarettes. Like every other new invention, it took a while before those it targeted got wind of it. But despite the continued success they continue to earn for their effectiveness, safety and dozens of other reasons, e-cigs have not been without criticisms and confusion.

Take the case of atomizers, clearomizers, and cartomizers. Well, you might have heard of or seen either of these but just how deep do you know about them.

Is it of any use to know each of them in detail anyway? Well, if you are vaper, then there are no two ways about it, you just have to get to know them. Why? You may ask.

It’s simple, all your purchasing decisions and how your vaping experience pans out pretty much rely on how good you know about these three, of course in addition to a few other things. So in this guide, we’ll find what they are exactly, what they do plus a lot more that could be of use to you as a vaper.

Read on to find out.


For the uninitiated, an oil vaporizer pen is simply what helps you vaporize your concentrated oils. Of course the oils contain nicotine but what’s more important is that the entire process is meant to help you put to an end your smoking habit.

The concentrated oils come in different sweet flavors just to ensure you have a wide selection to pick from.

However, it’s always up to you to decide whether you want to use your oil vaporizer pen with an atomizer, clearomizer or cartomizer.

What Is An Atomizer?

An atomizer has the heating coil fixed at its bottom. Power is usually supplied by a vape pen battery. At the top of this heating coil, there’s a silica wick or sometimes a metal mesh both of which serve the role of sucking the oil concentrate and supplying it to the heating coil. At this point, vaporization takes place.

What Is A Clearomizer?

Unlike an atomizer, a clearomizer has the heating coil fixed at both its top and bottom. However, it utilizes a silica wick just like an atomizer in sucking up the concentrated oils and supplying it to the heating coil where they are turned into vapor. Part of its design includes a clear plastic tank. Clearomizer tanks are made out of polycarbonate.

What Is A Cartomizer?

A cartomizer has the heating coil placed at its bottom, just like an atomizer. However, unlike the other two, it makes use of a poly-fill material to suck up the concentrated oils and supply them to the heating coil for the vaporization process.  Some cartomizers come bearing relatively huge tanks for the purposes of increased storage.

How They Work, Types, Pros & Cons

Just as we’ve seen in the definitions, all the three: atomizers, clearomizers and cartomizers, have a shared role: to hold the concentrated oils and then heat them up to produce vapor. But there’s also a lot more that sets each of them apart.


Of all the three units, Atomizers came first and as you will see later, almost everything you will wear will be equated to the atomizer. Atomizers are among the first and original vaping parts and to date, they still have a sizeable following.

Initially, e-cigs comprised of three main parts: the battery, the cartridge which carried the e-juice, and the atomizer. So switching on the battery would lead to the atomizer being heated up and eventually turning the e-juice into vapor. The process sounds pretty simple yet effective but it had its own shortcomings. To help you pick out the atomizer for you, check out our article on Best Atomizers.


But before we take a look at cartomizers, let’s see the advantages that atomizers still have over the other three.


A good number of vapers still love to drip their e-juice into the silica wick and watch it vaporize. And there’s no device that knows how to do this better than the atomizer. In fact, if you are type that loves switching between flavors as you vape, this is a great unit that will let you do that with ease.

Strong Flavors

Thanks to the direct dripping method, the e-juice won’t be diluted at all which means the vaper is going to receive a clear, potent, and strong taste from the e-juice. Besides, the vapor won’t be too hot. But if you keep vaping after your liquid dries up, then you are sure to get a burnt taste. So this implies you must study your vape pen so well so as to be sure how long it lasts and how much vapor it generates once loaded.

Cheap and Accessible

Atomizers are the least expensive of these three and in addition to that, they are easily available.


However, some vapers found issue with the ‘many components’ the initial unit had. This made it difficult to construct and deconstruct the device.

A good number also raised complaints about leakages while refilling or even using the cartridges.

Further, you will be required to clean your vape pen more often. Keep in mind getting rid of the residue isn’t exactly an easy process. Well, this prompted the need for a solution and thankfully, it came in the form of a cartomizer.


A cartomizer is basically a hybrid unit. Experts thought to compress both the cartridge and the atomizer into a single unit. Turns out the resulting unit was free of any leakages, could hold a lot more, and easily be screwed on to the device’s battery.

At its bottom end is a metal threading where the e-cig battery connects while its top consists of a rubber/plastic cap with a tiny hole through which the vapor is pumped out.

Keep in mind that there are still dozens of people who prefer to stick with the atomizer for special reasons.

Types of cartomizers

You will definitely come across different types of cartomizers and the main distinguishing factors are going to be the coil configuration and resistance

Vertical configuration

The vertical coil is the most popular configuration. In this type of cartomizer, the heating coil and the cartridge share the same length. The poly-fill surrounds the heating coil and usually, there’s no wick involved. But thanks to its vertical configuration, oil will drop directly on it making your hits stronger and flavorful.

However, if the oil runs out and the coil begins to roast the poly-fill, you are going to get a burnt smell.

Horizontal configuration

This type of cartomizer lacks a poly-fill. It comes with a thick wick with oil wrapped around it. So the oil will drip directly to the coil through the wick.

However, altering the direction of the oil and keeping a steady flow will be your top most challenges with this type of cartomizer.

Standard Resistance

A standard cartomizer will have a moderate liquid capacity plus standard resistance.

Low Resistance

Low resistance cartomizers usually have a larger liquid capacity and an extra coil to make them two. Due to their low resistance, they don’t last longer than two weeks. This probably explains why they are relatively cheap.

Advantages of a cartomizer


It’s almost certain that the cartomizer contributed largely in making the e-cig more widely accepted. Rather than spend your valuable time trying to carefully drop the e-liquid into the cartridge and then setting up the whole unit, you can just get yourself a prefilled cartomizer, fix it on to the battery, and go on with your day. Simply put, cartomizer made vaping simpler and better for many users.

More capacity

Just as we saw earlier, a cartomizer comprises of a plastic or sometimes a metal casing. Inside it is a single of the dual coil atomizer covered in a poly-fill material whose role is to suck up the e-juice. Cartridges were only able to hold a few drips of the e-juice. However, a cartridge holds a relatively large amount of e-juice depending on the unit’s size.

Possibility of re-use

Even though cartomizers are designed to be disposed after use, many vapers have since figured a way to put them back into use. Many manufacturers discourage against this act for various reasons, mostly financial, on their part, but the truth is that it’s possible to reuse the units a couple of times. You could clean them by several methods, including boiling.

Relatively Cheaper

You can get yourself a cartomizer for as low as $2 which is a pretty fair amount compared to conventional smoking. Their prices actually fall between that of atomizers and clearomizers. Besides, keep in mind that you can reuse the unit if you wish.

Disadvantages of a cartomizer

A section of vapers admit that the poly-fill material usually eats away some of the original e-liquid flavors. This is explained by the fact both of them have molecules that easily bond to each other when they interact.

Secondly, the relatively huge tank capacity means that there’s going to be a lot of juice being held in the tank. So some cartomizers are probably going to retain previous flavors and when they mix with other flavors, the effect can end up being not desirable.

ClearomizersClearomizer the ultimate guide to atomizers, clearomizers, and cartomizers

Clearomizers are currently not just the newest but the best type of tank in the vaping market. One of their profound features is the fact that they are absolutely transparent meaning you can have a clear look at what’s left inside your tank. This is good for many reasons.

Initially, one had to keep track of the draws they make from the atomizer just so that they may not vape beyond the required limit. But thanks to this clear tank, everything is pretty simple, you only need your eyes.

Another great thing to note is that with clearomizers, you can play around with your vaping experience. But only engage in this if you are a veteran vaper. If your tank is large, you can do with extra coils just to get more vapor. You could as well switch between different wicks and atomizer heads as well.

Types of Clearomizers

Clearomizers can be classified based on coil position and number as well as usage.

Classification based on coil position and number,

Top Coil

This kind of clearomizer has the heating coil fixed at the top side. It’s known to produce not just warm but nice vapor and this can be attributed to the fact that the coil is just next to the atomizer head. Refilling them up is pretty easy as one can do it from the top.

However, their weakness lies in the wicks. You will have to re-wet them often for you to get continuous hits. What this implies is that your flavor quality may suffer as the wick dries up.

Bottom coil

This is a clearomizer with the coil fixed at its bottom side. Besides having great wicking, its vapor quality is beyond excellent. With this type of clearomizer you don’t need to worry that the vapor could burn your throat.

However, filling them requires extra care. You will also be put to task when adjusting its wicks. Then there’s the odd noises it makes as one vapes which could be a distraction. For you to get the best out of it, you will also be required to use it properly. This means securing the tank properly and using the wicks as required.

Multiple coils

Multiple coils means the clearomizer has dual coils. The good side of this is that you are guaranteed more vapor and a remarkably stronger throat hit. Also, due to the fact the coils are spread out, it follows that the heat will also be spread out and this will make the interior temperature cooler.

But the fact that it utilizes dual coils means you will require more energy to keep your unit running. So the battery will probably be shorter. A good example is the Kanger EVOD 2.

Classification based on Usage

Disposable clearomizers

Disposable clearomizers are those you can toss away when they stop functioning. The most common duration is usually 3-4 weeks. Sometimes it depends on how you use it. Those who prefer this type of disposable clearomizers do it for the reason that they dislike changing the parts out. Examples of such clearomizers include the Vision Ego.

Rebuildable clearomizers

A rebuildable clearomizer is the one you can take apart and go ahead and replace its heating coil soon as it stops functioning well.  It’s cheaper to replace just the heating coil as opposed to the entire unit. Examples of rebuildable clearomizer include the Innokin Dual Coil, and Nova Tank Systems.

Resistance also matters and just like with cartomizers, you can also opt for standard or low resistance.

So narrowing down to the best between these three pretty much depends with personal preferences. Each of the three types is special on its own.

Here are the benefits in brief:

  • A clear tank that lets you keep track of your e-liquid level
  • Easy to construct and deconstruct
  • Quick and efficient flavor delivery
  • Retains original e juice flavor
  • Clearomizers last longer than atomizers and cartomizers.

However, since they are still new to the vaping market, ensure you have enough knowledge or information before making your selection.

In the case where you start experiencing a burnt taste, the main culprit is usually the wick. If it dries out you may get a burnt smell. But you can take care of this by simply titling the tank to wet the wick again.

Alternatively, you can just add more liquid to your tank and continue to vape. Some of them are known to leak. Also they are quite expensive compared to the other two.

For more information on vaping, check out our Vape 101 Guide.

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