What are Vape Atomizers and How do They Work

Simply put, an atomizer is the part of your vaping device that pulls the power from your battery and uses this power to turn your material into vapor form. While each atomizer has the same goal and purpose, atomizers can differ in various ways. Read on to learn more about atomizers, clearomizers, and cartomizers.

by: Chelsea O. | 04/29/21 1:30PM

 

The atomizer is a critical component in your device and plays a vital role in its overall design. Due to this, it can drastically alter the kind of vaping experience you have. The atomizer itself is a very simplistic device and can be manufactured and designed in a multitude of ways. This is why the components, the shape, size, and even how they are connected can change from one device to the next.

multiple color vape atomizers

What Are Atomizers?

In general, all atomizers contain a similar makeup. This includes some form of a small heating coil and a wick (used to soak up the e-liquid and channels it to the coil. The coil is typically a small resistance wire of some sort, this short piece of wire is typically wrapped or ‘coiled’ around some of the wick. When connected to the battery of your device, the atomizer will power the coil to heat your material (within the wick) until it creates vapor. To help regulate how much material reaches your coil, a mesh bridge ensures only the appropriate material reaches the wick and coil. While atomizers do have a specific purpose, work atomizer is often used as an umbrella term to depict any type of area that holds the wick or coil(s) or is used for heating up your material.

 

Are the Coil and Atomizer the Same Thing?

Unfortunately, as previously stated, the term “atomizer” can be used when referring to multiple things. For example, sometimes people will use the term when referring to the device’s coils. Other times, it can be used when talking about the type of device you are using such as a disposable or RDA (or rebuildable drip atomizer).

Yocan cerum atomizer taken apart

How Does an Atomizer Work?

The exact goal of an atomizer is very simple - as the coils receive power from the battery, they heat up. However, how an atomizer works for a device is dependent on the type of vaping material used with the device. For example, oil concentrates require some form of a wick, while wax concentrates do not.) While some devices can work with multiple concentration types, most cater to one of the three concentrates. These include:

Oil Concentrate

The wick (typically made of cotton or another similar type of material) is generally located somewhere above the coils within the device to allow the e-liquid to increase in temperature from the heated coils. Once it reaches the right temperature, the material will vaporize into a fine mist for the user to inhale. As the user continues to vape, the wick will proceed to gather more and more material to replace the previously evaporated material.

 

Dry Herbs

Dry herb vaporizers use one of two different heating methods, either combustion or convection. Essentially both options will heat up your dry herbs, but the exact “how” can vary. For dry herbs, the atomizer typically works with combustion-style vapes. This style has the heating element of the vaporizer work in a similar manner as a wax concentrate atomizer, and the dry herbs will have direct contact with the coil (or another type of heating element). For even more vapor, users can also place a glass screen over the coil.

black atomizer with wax area purple background

Wax Concentrate

Wax atomizers are used in wax vaporizers like wax vape pens. This device mechanism is ultimately the portion of your vaporizer that creates the heat required for turning your wax concentrate into vapor. Unlike other concentrates, wax concentrates are placed directly on the coil. These coils are typically made out of ceramic or quartz. To work correctly, you will want to place a thin layer of wax onto the coil(s). After your concentrate is loaded, you will turn it on and heat it up until it turns the wax into vapor. Inhale the vapor, continuing to vaporize the wax until you reach your desired hit size.

What Are the Most Common Types of Atomizers?

How an atomizer works is dependent on the type of atomizer it is. Therefore, it is key to understanding the different types so you can choose an atomizer to best suit your needs and preferences. A few of the many types of atomizers include (but are not limited to):

Disposable Atomizers

This style of atomizer is made for short-term use. However, if used for long periods of time, this can quickly add up. They are simple in nature and are often found in starter kits. Disposable atomizers are one of the most commonly suggested options for new users because they are easy to find, easy to use, and fairly cheap for short-term purposes.

RDA atomizer in front of a brick wall

RDA’s (also known as Rebuildable Drip Atomizer)

If you are looking for the most control over your vaping experience, then look no further than an RDA. Since these devices can be assembled by the user, it offers more control over the device than other atomizer options. This style of atomizer is often targeted by more seasoned vapers, as it requires more knowledge and time to both understand and build this type of atomizer. When compared to other atomizers, rebuildable drip atomizers tend to be more expensive but provide a number of features that seasoned users will find more than make up for this price difference.

Replaceable Coil Head Atomizers

This style is the most commonly used atomizer and contains replaceable coil heads. When compared to other atomizers (like disposables), the cost can seem a little steep, but it makes up for this cost difference by enhancing the user’s experience. Plus they can be washed to allow for more long-term use and variation in flavors or strains of e-liquid.

When choosing an atomizer, there are a variety of factors to keep in mind. To modify your device you need to consider your budget, your experience level, and how much time and effort you are willing to put forth into your device and the vaping process. Oftentimes, vapers will begin with one style and change to fit their preferences as they build more knowledge and experience.

What is a Clearomizer?

A more recent option, clearomizers hold the most amount of e-liquid. As their name implies, clearomizers have clear tanks that allow you to see how much e-liquid you have left. One of the most expensive options, clearomizers are extremely customizable. There are multiple options for power levels, tank sizes, and wicking material. Plus you can even rebuild them to alter your settings as your vaping preferences change.

Black yocan atomizer

What is a Cartomizer?

A cartomizer is a vaporizer component that is a mix of an atomizer and a cartridge. They are one of the cheapest and most common heating options on the market. These pre-filled, disposable tanks offer an easy attach-and-go style. While cheap, it is important to keep in mind cartomizers are difficult to refill. Due to this, many users will just throw them out and replace them as needed. The downside to cartomizers are although they are cheap, over time they can make a dent in your pocket. The more you vape, the more often you will need to replace it.

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