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Tank talk: the difference between atomisers, cartomisers and clearomisers


For vaping novices, purchasing exactly the right device and equipment in the e-cig stakes can be confusing. Flavours, batteries and e-juice flavours; so much to consider – and then there are atomisers, cartomisers, and clearomisers. How do you choose between them? Essentially, all three do the same basic thing; atomise e-juice to generate vapour. Why you might choose between them then comes down to how you really want to vape and, thus, the preferences you develop as you become a more experienced vaper.

Now, all kinds of atomisers – of which cartomisers and clearomisers really are – contain a positive and negative electrical post and connected to these posts is a coil that itself is wrapped around a heat-resistant wick, made from a suitable material like silica. Without flooding the coil then, the wick acts like a membrane so a steady amount of e-juice is supplied for vaping. Atomisers can flood, should you overfill them; if this happened, the vapour production will have weakened and you’ll doubtless hear gurgling sounds – blow through the atomiser to flush it out.

How atomisers work

An atomiser is most often part of either a two-piece or three-piece e-cigarette. It’s with the latter kind of e-cig (wherever you might buy it from; like, say, a recommended vape shop Orpington) that being aware of what an atomiser does and how it works is advantageous for the vaper; this is because in this type of device the atomiser is a standalone part (one of the ‘three pieces’), thus, if something goes wrong and you need to disassemble the device to check what’s happened, you’ll have to be aware of what your atomiser’s all about.

Indeed, this kind of atomiser certainly comes into its own should you become an enthusiast of dripping. This self-explanatory activity sees the vaper literally drip e-liquid straight on to the atomiser so the fluid bypasses the e-cig’s tank entirely (i.e. cutting out the ‘middle man’ to ensure the wick becomes saturated and the device can heat it to vapour).

Cartomisers and clearomisers

With a typical two-piece e-cig, though, you’ll you have two parts; essentially, the battery and the cartomiser. It’s only fair to point out, however, due to the evolution of the vaping market, cartomisers are no longer as popular as they used to be. This is mostly because, due to the constant development of e-cig technology, today’s atomisers tend to be able to contain the same amount of e-juice as, if not more than, older cartomisers, but without the need for so much refilling, filling the airhole or burning as in years past. That said, the advantage that cartomisers have always offered is the lack of constant refilling – and it’s hard to argue with that.

Also, simply referred to as tanks, clearomisers are often available in different shapes, sizes and configurations – and, to their credit, are usually capable of holding more e-liquid than either bog-standard atomisers or cartomisers. So, no question then, clearomisers can be ideal for vapers who don’t fancy carrying bottles of juice around with them when away from home and don’t wish to have to top up on e-liquid throughout the day. No wonder they too are so popular with today’s vapers.

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