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Atomizer vs. Clearomizer vs. Cartomizer Vapes

If you’ve performed any research into vaping, you have doubtless come across the terms atomizer, clearomizer, and cartomizer. All three essentially do the same thing; atomize cannabis flower or liquid to create vapor. However, they all achieve it in different ways.

In this guide, we explain the differences between the three types of units. We also look at each of their pros and cons.

How Do Atomizers, Clearomizers, and Cartomizers Work?

All of them have a coil wrapped around a wick made from a heat-resistant material. The coil is connected to two posts (one positive, one negative). When you add the liquid to your vaping device, the wick holds and absorbs it. The coils are then heated up to help create vapor. As long as there is liquid, your wick remains wet due to osmosis.

The wick provides a steady flow of liquid without flooding the device’s coil. You may hear a gurgling sound in some devices with atomizers and find that vapor production dwindles noticeably. This is a sign that your atomizer has likely become flooded.

In this instance, you should shake the device until it becomes dry. Alternatively, you can blow through the opposite end of the atomizer to help clear it out.

What is an Atomizer?

An atomizer was the first of the three to be created. It typically has a relatively small capacity as it is the system found in older vaporizers. An atomizer is a good option for users who prefer ‘dripping.’ This is the process of applying e-liquid directly to an atomizer one drop at a time. It completely bypasses the tank or cartridge.

As we already mentioned, an atomizer uses a heating element to vaporize your e-liquid. It is normally found in a three-piece vaporizer. Users intent on deriving the best possible flavor from their e-juice prefer it.

With an atomizer, it is relatively easy to determine when a refill is necessary. Over time, the flavor becomes less apparent. If you continue without refilling, you will soon suffer the horrors of a burnt taste!

What is a Clearomizer?

Better known as ‘tanks,’ clearomizers come in various shapes and sizes. They also have the largest capacity of the three options. It is normal to find one with a capacity of at least 5 ml. As clearomizers are clear tanks (hence the name), you can easily see how much juice is left at any time.

Once the coil gets worn down in a clearomizer, you have two options. You can rebuild a new coil and wick, or buy a pre-built coil head. Clearomizers are the most recent of the three units and offer a greater level of customization. For example, you can choose the resistance level, the type of wick, and the tank’s size.

In general, there are three different types of clearomizer coils available:

Top Coil

These coils place the atomizer closer to your mouthpiece. This is ideal if you want to replicate the experience of smoking a tobacco cigarette. As you only have to remove the top cap for a refill, it is a convenient beginner option. However, the wick and the coil placement mean there is a greater likelihood of suffering dry hits.

Bottom Coil

A bottom coil provides a cooler vaping experience than its top coil counterpart. It is ideal if you want a fuller flavor. However, there is a greater risk of flooding with bottom coils. Choosing a porous wick material only exacerbates this issue.

Even if you choose a thicker material for the wick, you could end up with dry hits. As a result, it isn’t easy to enjoy a premium-quality vaping experience with bottom coils. You have to remove the entire tank to refill, making this form of a coil inconvenient.

Multi Coils

At one time, dual coils were considered an innovation. Today, it is becoming increasingly common for vaporizers to come with triple or even quadruple coils. If you want a lot of vapor and enjoy a strong throat hit, this is the option. As the heat isn’t focused on one coil, you’ll also enjoy a cooler and more refreshing vaping experience.

On the downside, multi coils use a lot more battery, so you have to recharge often. This isn’t an issue if you use a device with a large battery. Ultimately, top coils are best for a warm vaping experience. Meanwhile, bottom coils are #1 for flavor, while multi coils are best for vapor production (bigger clouds).

What is a Cartomizer?

A cartomizer is about the same width as an atomizer. However, they are longer and use a cotton-style fiber rather than a silicon wick. These days, practically all vape manufacturers prefer to use dual coil cartomizers instead of old-fashioned single-coil models. While dual coils offer more vapor and lower resistance for a better vaping experience, they also use more battery.

Cartomizers have a greater capacity than atomizers, and you can refill them once the flavor becomes bland. Refilling, however, is not always an easy process. It involves tipping the cartomizer at an angle to ensure you don’t fill the air hole. If you end up dry burning the cartomizer, you will ruin the polyfill, which has to be tossed away.

Although they were hailed as an innovation when initially released, cartomizers are now seen as outdated. Modern-day atomizers have a greater capacity than cartomizers, and they don’t come with the irritation of awkward refilling. On the plus side, cartomizers come pre-filled at first.

Atomizer vs. Clearomizer vs. Cartomizer – Pros & Cons





● Ideal for dripping. This is the ‘go-to’ option for people who want to experience several flavors during a session.
● Inexpensive.
● Easy to refill.

●Largest tank capacity of the three options.
●Longer lifespan.
●You can see how much is left in the tank because it is clear.
●Excellent flavor/vapor production depending on the coil you choose.
●Most models are rebuildable and come with a replacement coil.

●Not too difficult to rebuild.
●Usually come prefilled.
●Relatively low cost.





●Refilling continually is a pain for regular users.
●You can purchase rebuildable atomizers, but it takes time and skill to assemble.
●It isn’t easy to gauge the amount of e-liquid left.

●The most expensive option.
●Prone to leaking if you choose a low-grade option.
●If you pick the top coil design, you have to tip the device to the side.
●If you use different flavors, there is a potential overlap in taste.

●It is challenging to refill.
●Although it has a greater capacity than older atomizers, new atomizers match or exceed a cartomizer’s capacity.
●The polyfill material can dull the flavor.

Final Thoughts: Atomizer vs. Clearomizer vs. Cartomizer

All three of these options have significant pros and cons. None of them are ‘perfect,’ and it generally boils down to personal preference. However, many cartomizers are outdated and not worth purchasing unless an innovation comes along to save them.

Originally, it seemed as if atomizers were becoming antiquated. Then, several innovations came along to ensure they remain the favored option for advanced users. They are, however, a high maintenance choice. But if you appreciate the best tasting vape oils on the market, there is no better option. If you are a beginner, it is worth purchasing a spare atomizer if you want to enjoy several flavors in a session.

Clearomizers are the best type of vaporizer for beginners because they are convenient and easy to use. Experienced users also enjoy clearomizers because of the range of customization they offer. If you are new to vaping and want to try out different draw resistances, swap out the coil heads. As a vaping veteran, rebuilding various coil configurations will help provide exceptional cloud production along with outstanding flavor.

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