What Is An Atomizer?

If you’re a vaper, whether new or experienced, you’ve heard the word atomizer vape before. While veteran vapers know exactly what this means and what kinds are available, a lot of beginners will ask: what is an atomizer?

You’ve come to the right place on the web to find the answer you’re looking for. We’ll not only provide you with an explanation, but dive into every aspect you need to know about a vape atomizer.

Atomizers - often called "attys" - are simply what you use to vape out of. However, there are plenty of different types of atomizers catering to different vaping experiences. So, yes an atomizer is something you’ll use to vape. Now, you might see atomizers described differently, but these are NOT the same! We're talking about vaping here not perfume and sprays.

Types Of Atomizers

Moving on, each atty will look different based on what kind it is as there are a number of variants. There isn't a regular kind or design. For example, an atomizer cartridge will look much different from a rebuildable even though sporting the same bottom connection, just like when comparing mods and other devices. The price can vary as well, so let’s dig in and sort through them all.

Dry Herb Atomizers

Dry herb attys are exactly what you think they are. These types of devices are designed specifically for dry herb, but often resemble cartridges or a cart. Simply, they offer a chamber within glass for dry herb alongside a heating element allowing you to vaporize.

Most, if not all of them do feature a 510 thread connection which allows you to vape them with pretty much any regular battery device. Additionally, they’re often constructed of glass material and feature ceramic. Although this is true, popular products you may see online – like the Puffco Peak Atomizer – which feature ceramic, are more designed for wax than dry herb.

Just always keep in mind with dry herb tanks, you’ll only want these for a specific reason. If you’re looking for something that can vaporize regular e-juices with nicotine, this isn’t your cup of tea as that's just not their intended use. However, if this is indeed something you’re after, then you’ll want to check out our list of best dry herb atomizers. While they may not be as simple as cartridges, they can deliver better performance.

Squonk Atomizers

Now these devices have skyrocketed in popularity within the past two years and for good reason! As confusing regular attys are to a beginner, even some experienced vapers may not truly understand what a squonk is since there're so many parts to this one device. Think of this as a regular rebuildable dripping atomizer (which we’ll get into later) just with a drilled hole in the 510 pin connection. What this allows you to do is "squonk" or squeeze the bottle built onto a device, which are called squonk mods.

So rather than having to fill e-liquid back onto the squonk atomizer yourself, it will travel up through the 510 connection into your well as you press the bottle. To say the least, this is incredibly convenient, just like tanks. If you’re still curious about this style of vaping, then you’ll definitely want to check out this video where we cover the complete basics covering both the device and atty.

MTL Atomizers

MTL was very popular back in the beginning of vaping but dropped in popularity after sub-ohming became the regular. Fast-forward years later, and these tanks back at the top. These kind are designed with one specific type of vape in mind: mouth to lung, which is exactly what "MTL" stands for.

You won’t see plenty of clouds with these vape atomizer types, but you’ll get an experience that’s comparable to combustible cigarettes. Additionally, MTL attys are often used with higher and stronger regular strength e-juices such or those formulated with nicotine salts to give you that same sensation as smoking. Primarily, this is why you'll see smokers gravitate to this first.

You will get plenty of battery life too with all mods since the power you need is very low. Although power makes a difference, don't let the low power requirement fool you. The performance is stellar at these low wattage settings. One brand that's often releasing products for this style is Aspire.

Rebuildable Tank Atomizers

Rebuildable attys (RBAs) allow you to build your own coil and install them yourself in order to vape. No need for a replacement coil as you'll make that yourself. Rebuildable tank attys, or RTA, are the same except with one major difference. That one key difference is the fact that is has a tank section which holds a set amount of what you prefer to vape. Typically, tanks constructed of both stainless steel and glass.

These atomizers come in a variety of sizes as well, so no matter what you enjoy most, we’re sure you’ll find something that’ll suit you. Although, the regular size is around 24 mm since they often provide the best performance. Plus, that size you can pair with any device on the market. Even when it comes to price, these cheap vape tanks won’t break the bank that’s for sure. Now the best part is that there are multiple designs on the market that cater to both direct lung or sub ohm vapers and mouth to lung users, just like an RDA.

Rebuildable Dripping Atomizers

An RDA is essentially the same as an RTA, except they do not feature a tank. You have to drip e-juice into an RDA - hence the name dripping atomizer - in order to continue vaping. With that said, they are generally smaller and won't sit high on your device. Additionally, you'll set this up with a coil that you made or bought.

E-Juice does not feed to your coil and cotton like others such as a BF compatible RDA where it's fed with a push of a bottle. Don’t let this prevent you from trying this! Even though they're not as convenient as a traditional vape tank, RDAs are often the primary choice for many vapers due to performance. Paired with a high-powered dual battery mod or device, you'll always be satisfied. Using an RDA you can use specific wires, which can provide you with full control over the temperature allowing you to reach a certain heat if desired.

Rebuildable Dripping Tank Atomizers

Next, we’ve got rebuildable dripping tank atomizer or RDTAs which combine both an RDA and RTA into one single atty, and can often be a replacement for both depending on what you need. Although this is true, some are designed as a kit that can transform the atty with a simple connection of pieces. Moving back to regular RDTAs, they have tank sections built into them just like a vape tank, but have the coils set up high to your mouth similar to an RDA. With that being said, e-liquid feeds into your cotton and coil as you tilt to vape.

Like the other rebuildables such as an RDA, you’ll see these in a variety of sizes ranging from 22 mm and above. They even make a larger 40mm option! Additionally, you'll want to grab a mod that can handle these as they can seriously give off awesome performance. When it comes to price, they're pretty similar too. If you’re looking to see more differences between all of these mentioned, check out our full guide. Rebuildables are often the next step up when comparing to others, but thankfully you can jump right to this step since it's become a lot easier now than ever before!

Health Concerns

Firstly, you cannot vape atomized lidocaine. As mention earlier, you’ll also want to keep in mind that what we’re explaining here is different from atomizers used for purposes other than vaping.

With that out the way, please keep in mind ohms law and battery safety as these are key to staying safe while using vaping atomizers. Don't try to build a low resistance coil if you're a beginner even though devices are capable of firing that low. Start with a high resistance coil as you'll still get plenty of vapor production and flavor while keeping safe.

Definitely stray away from dry hits! Not only is the taste awful, but is a health concern for vapers. Simply make sure that your cotton and coil are saturated, and you can prevent this. You can also keep the temperature at an ideal level, and this is another way to prevent the burnt taste. Having a high temperature without full saturation can deliver dry hits. Lastly, with dry herb variants, be sure they’re packed properly and have your settings in check to prevent any potential issues.

How To Clean Atomizers

Keeping everything clean is important to keep problems at bay and sustaining top-notch performance. Not to mention, to prevent those annoying "check atomizer" warnings you’ll often run into. We recommend using atomizer disinfectant alongside washing them out with warm water. This will work with basically all vape atomizer types including an RDA, RTA and RDTA. Another great and easy way to keep clean is with ultrasonic cleaners. Simple yet effective. 

These will even clean your coil if you wanted it to! Make sure to keep your mods clean too! However, please take out your battery before doing any cleaning. You wouldn't want to damage your battery! The easiest solution for some may be to find a kit that'll include all cleaning items in one package.

Overall, you wouldn't want to be wasting cash and having to throw away an atty that'll cost you 34 99, when the price of cleaning is incredibly cheap. Don't skip this step! Even a coil can be high in price, so it's best to save as much as you can while keeping clean!


As shown here, there are plenty of different vape atomizers available on the market, but we do hope this will help you understand what is an atomizer. There's no regular way or choice, as it comes down to each vaper. Looking at it all, it can be confusing, especially at first for new vapers. However, as you continue your vape journey and test out all kinds of vape atomizer types, you’ll discover what will make you happy and away from smoking. An RDA will definitely deliver great flavor and vapor performance, but wouldn't be as convenient as tanks. It's okay to buy a replacement after trying one you dislike! Take things step by step, and you'll find what you need.

Just so you know - looking at each atomizer vape you'll notice the warning this product contains nicotine and that's the norm, especially going into 2021. Although, these products don't actually contain nicotine, often referred to as an addictive chemical, it's a necessity to ensure people of the legal age are purchasing that product. Remember, nicotine is an addictive substance, but you can absolutely vape with zero nic.

For vapers not sure where to begin and just coming from smoking, take a look at our top RBAs money can buy which often have the price tag of 34 99. Now, if you know what you want, but vaping on a budget, we have page upon page full of atomizer deals available that’ll save legal age vapers plenty of cash. As a vape customer don't stick to just the first page, definitely take your time to see your options as there are many.

Thanks for reading! If you have any additional questions, please feel free to leave them down below! We're more than happy to help! Be sure to follow us or subscribe to learn more and save money daily.

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