Rebuildable Atomizers Explained: RBAs vs RDAs vs RTAs vs RDTAs

Rebuildable Atomizers Explained: RBAs vs RDAs vs RTAs vs RDTAs

Rebuildable Atomizers Introduction

RBAs (Rebuildable Atomizers) come in many shapes and sizes and offer vapers a multitude of different features and designs. Building coils and using rebuildable atomizers can be intimidating at first. Ask any vaper who does this and they will tell you the effort is worth the reward.

Cost Savings

There are many reasons a person would want to venture into RBAs. Saving money is a major factor to consider. The cost of disposable coils for sub-tank systems is rising each year and the lifespan of disposable coils is fairly short.

Rebuildable Atomizers Explained: RBAs vs RDAs vs RTAs vs RDTAsThe average user may find themselves going through up to 5 coils a month which can run between 20-30 dollars per month in new coils. Over the course of a year, costs can really add up.

With a rebuildable atomizer, vapers can get by with as little as 20-30 dollars in wires which could last a full year. Costs will rise a bit with the advancement into making more intricate coils but overall it is still much cheaper.

Besides wire, proper tools are essential for building coils but they can be purchased fairly cheap at local hardware stores or dollar stores. Some key tools to have available are:

  • Precision Screwdriver set
  • Flush Cutting Pliers
  • Ceramic Tweezers
  • Ohm Reader

Those tools are enough to get by when starting out but as you progress additional tools will be needed such as a drill, magnification glasses, mini torch and a DIY swivel tower.

Making the jump is often the hardest part but after getting the essentials set up, things will only get easier.

Full Control Over The Vaping Experience

Unlike sub-tank systems, RBAs give you full control over how you like to vape. If you prefer a higher wattage, cool vape, that can easily be achieved. As your preferences change you are able to adjust your atomizer to your likes.

Rebuildable Atomizers Explained: RBAs vs RDAs vs RTAs vs RDTAsSub-tank coils are limited to the range of wattage indicated by the manufacturer. Going outside of those limits results in a poor vaping experience. Rebuildable atomizers have no limits. If you want to run your device at 150 watts for quick, hard hits than one only needs to experiment with different coil resistance to achieve that goal.

When the surface of the coils become gunked and blackened we only need to replace the cotton. Subtanks require an entirely new coil which is ultimately wasteful as the wire its self is likely fine.

The frequency of vape cotton changing is entirely up to the vaper. If they prefer a clean, flavorful hit every time than changing cotton will be a frequent task every couple of days. As time goes by and you become familiar with the atomizer changing cotton will get much quicker.

Cotton plays a big role in rebuilding and the options available are plenty. Some cotton offers better heat tolerance, saturation rate or clean tasting effects.

Premium_Vape_CottonCotton more resistant to heat is quite nice in the event of a misfire. Misfiring can happen in the pocket, in a purse or backpack. In the even this happens, good heat resistant cotton will stop it from melting, unless it is left to misfire for a long period. Most devices have a 10-second cutoff so it should be alright.

Coil Life

Coils in an RBA atomizer can last considerably longer than in a sub-tank. If proper care is taken than expect anywhere from 1-3 months of coil life from an RBA.

In order to reach this life span, the coils need to be properly cleaned each and every time they are re-wicked.

To clean a coil you only need to dry fire the atomizer until the black gunk starts to burn off and then rinse it under cold water. This process can be repeated as many times as needed until they are clean.

Rebuildable Atomizers Explained: RBAs vs RDAs vs RTAs vs RDTAsUsing a tool like a small stainless steel brush can take this farther by removing any residue stuck to the coil material.

Comparing this to a sub-tank which could use 50.00 worth of coils in two months, an RBA might use 1.00 worth of wire in that same time.


Short and to the point. RBAs are able to produce significantly better flavor than a sub-tank. Coil surface area, grooves, and spaces for the juice to flow into are much greater on an RBA. This allows for more vapor and a more intense flavor experience.

Deciding Which To Use

Rebuildable atomizers are available in the form of tanks (RTAs) Drippers(RDAs) and RDTAs. Deciding which to start with is at the discretion of the vaper. RDAs provide better flavor and more vapor than an RTA but RDTAs give the best of both worlds.

Rebuildable Atomizers Explained: RBAs vs RDAs vs RTAs vs RDTAsFor simplicity sake, RDAs are likely the easiest item to start with. RTAs require a bit of finesse to achieve good results. Learning how to properly wick, build and use an RTA takes time. If an RTA is not built correctly it can lead to dry cotton hits, extreme leaking, and flooding of the build deck.

Rebuildable Atomizers Explained: RBAs vs RDAs vs RTAs vs RDTAsIt can be frustrating at first but with practice, it will become easier.

RDTA is a combination of an RDA and an RTA. The top of the atomizer resembles an RDA which the bottom of the atomizer has a glass tank that the wicks slip down into.

Rebuildable Atomizers Explained: RBAs vs RDAs vs RTAs vs RDTAsRDTAs provide better flavor than an RTA but are basically the same as an RDA.

Whichever you choose, it is a worthwhile investment.


The building is fun but time-consuming. Starting simple is the best way to go, watch tutorials on wrapping wire, wicking atomizers and general coil building. These videos will help immensely in developing the skills needed to build.

It is intimidating to start but in the end, the reward makes it all worth it.

John Pietersma

I am John Pietersma, a 30-year-old husband and father of three children who lives in Nova Scotia, Canada. Having vaped and built coils for four years, I am very passionate about vaping and writing product reviews for everyone to read.