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Tank talk: the in-and-outs of and choices of e-cig tanks

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All vapers are aware there are several critical components that make up an e-cigarette – without any of which the device simply won’t work. One of these is the e-cig tank; the component that, connected to the battery, holds the e-liquid, enabling it to meet the heating coil and be transformed into vapor and inhaled by the e-cig user.

Thus, when it comes to modifying, improving and personalising your e-cig, carefully deliberating over choosing a tank and experimenting with different versions (most likely bought from a vape shop, online or otherwise) can play as big a role in that as any of the device’s other parts. So, just what kind of tanks are out there? And what are the ins-and-outs of tanks one needs to consider…?

A disposable tank or a rebuildable tank?

First up, which is better – a tank that sticks around and can be worked on or one that has a shorter lifespan? Well, taking the latter kind first, a disposable tank is, as you’d expect, the cheaper of the two options and offers decent performance; plus, because it won’t last too long before you get the chance to replace it and try something different (up to six months), it’s a good option for those new to vaping.

Conversely, a rebuildable tank (or an RTA) tends to offer terrific performance and enables the indulgence of those who are beginning to cultivate vaping into a hobby and not just experiencing it as an activity. The emphasis here then is on changing the bits that make up a tank and the many hours it inevitably takes to build one that a user’s fully happy with.

A top coil or a bottom coil?

The heated coil in an e-cig is what the fluid – or e-juice – comes into contact with to create the vapor or mist and can be positioned as either a top or bottom coil in the device. Put simply, the advantage of using a top coil is it’ll most likely result in a hotter vapor, which in turn’ll ensure that the atomiser (or ‘atty’) – the bit of the e-cig that essentially contains the coil – enjoys a longer life-span. But it’ll also mean that, due to increased heat, the e-liquid won’t last as long, while dry hits (inhaling when there’s little or no vapor and bad taste) likely become more common. Should you opt instead for a bottom coil, the vapor won’t be as highly heated, thus you’ll be less liable to experience dry hits, but with a bottom coil the atomiser doesn’t tend to last as long; wearing out quicker.

A glass tank or a plastic tank?

As you may have guessed, the cheaper option here is to pump for a plastic tank – or one made out of acrylic or polycarbonate. Such tanks can also boast to being more durable and so not so prone to everyday wear and tear as glass alternatives – for instance, should you drop a plastic-based tank, it’s probably unlikely to break there and then. That said, be warned; plastic/ acrylic/ polycarbonate tanks do tend to crack or become otherwise damaged due to use containing acidic e-juices.

Meanwhile, the upside with glass tanks is, of course, in most cases you’ll probably find they look more elegant and stylish than their plastic counterparts – and they’re strong too; in that, acidic e-liquids will damage them less over time. Additionally, they often enable enhanced airflow in conjunction with being able to contain an abundance of vapor. Be aware, though, that they’ll pretty much definitely break if they’re dropped and they’re pricier than plastic tanks.

An atomiser or a cartomiser?

Things move fast in the e-cig world and so explains the evolution of the atomiser and cartridge components in the device into one single cartomiser (yes, a portmanteau word, adopted as it’s literally a combination of both the aforementioned components). The advantages of opting for a cartomiser are obvious – the e-cig user no longer had to faff about dripping the fluid into the cartridge so it can be heated by the atomiser; the cartomiser contains both, quickening the process considerably and, one might say, making the e-cig itself even more user-friendly. Technically speaking, a cartomiser comprises a casing (plastic or metal) inside which a coil atomiser (single or dual) sits, wrapped in material to absorb the e-liquid; depending on the size of the cartomiser, potentially a generous amount.

Fair enough; but what advocates the use of an old-fashioned atomiser instead? Well, some vapers inevitably prefer dripping their fluid into the e-cig manually, not just because they like sticking with what they’re used to, but also enjoy having total control as they vape. Thus, there are things to definitely recommend both a cartomiser and an atomiser.


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