Still, things like excellent build quality, usability, and top-notch performance are things that crossover, no matter the product category. All the tanks here were tested day and night by experienced vapers who know what to look for, so if anything sticks out in particular, it is sure to be a giant among equals.
The Best Vape Tanks Based on 2K of Reviews
Best Sub-Ohm Tank or DTL Tank (Direct-to-Lung)
Best MTL Tank or Mouth to Lung
Best RTA Tank of 2019
Best RDA Tank
Best RDTA Tank
Best Wax Atomizer of 2019
Best Dry Herb Atomizer
An Explainer on All Types of Vape Tanks
What is a Vape Tank?
A vape tank, or an atomizer, is a steel and glass device that holds and heats e-liquid, dry herbs or extracts, to create an inhalable aerosol. Atomizers connect to battery-powered mods that power the heating elements, or coils, within the tank atomizer to generate an aerosol from the components in an e-liquid, botanical herb or extract.
Their construction and build usually contain the following parts:
- A drip tip/mouthpiece
- A top cap that users remove to fill their tank
- A transparent glass section
- A coil or, a heating element for herbs and extracts
- A coil base, where the unit connects to a mod
There are many variations to this basic setup. As vaping technology has advanced, what were once the most popular types of atomizers, like clearomizers and cartomizers, that paired with cig-a-like and e-cigarette devices are now obsolete, although some are still in use.
Clearomizers and cartomizers have been replaced mostly by so-called “pod” mods, which are the smallest iteration of an atomizer, within a self-contained unit. Pods are small, plastic, cartridges that feature a pre-built coil and wick inside that is either empty or comes pre-filled with e-juice, or liquid extract.
The pod also features a top cap with an airhole where vapers can inhale. Users insert the pod into a small battery or mod and start inhaling, as the entire device (usually) has no buttons and functions via air-activation.
The above description also does not apply to rebuildable atomizers. These units, aka RBAs (rebuildable atomizer), RDAs (rebuildable dripping atomizer), RTAs (rebuildable tank atomizer) are specific to e-liquid vaping, as herb and extracts tanks do not typically use rebuildable wicks and coils, but there are exceptions.
The following sections will go into further detail on all the differences among vape tanks for various materials, like e-liquids, dry herbs, and liquid or solid concentrates.
The Differences Between Vaping Styles
Vaping is not a monolith. There is no single way to vape, nor is there only a single way to enjoy vaping. Vapers want and expect different things from their setup, which is where the differences start to appear between tank atomizers, coils, and coil material, as well as other things like the PG/VG ratio in e-juice, and its nicotine level.
When it comes to e-liquid vaping, two styles dominate. These are:
- MTL or mouth-to-lung is a style of vaping where the user inhales the vapor into the mouth first, and then to the lungs, this style values a smoking-like experience from vaping so that vapers feel a noticeable throat hit from their inhale, as well as a higher flavor profile
- DL or direct lung is a style of vaping where the user inhales the vapor directly into their lungs, direct-lung vaping prizes the creation of large, voluminous vapor clouds over a cigarette-like smoking experience, this type of vaping is also referred to as sub-ohm vaping
The Ins and Outs of MTL Tanks
Vape tanks need to have the following parts, to create the mouth-to-lung style of vaping that some vapers prefer:
- Above-ohm coils: as the opposite of MTL vaping is often called sub-ohm, above-ohm vaping refers to coils made from resistance wire that has a resistance higher than 1.0ohms, the coil is usually thin, single-wrapped and has a small surface area
- Flat, restricted mouthpieces: the narrower air shaft of a flat and thin 510 mouthpiece allows for less vapor to escape while maximizing the flavor particles in the aerosol and the throat hit
- Short vapor path: one notable feature of sub-ohm tanks is their long chimneys that allow a lot of vapor to collect, the opposite is true for mouth-to-lung tanks, as their shorter air path intensifies both the flavor and the throat hit
The Ins and Outs of DL Tanks
Direct lung or sub-ohm vaping requires its own set of particular parts that are necessary to create the massive, cloud output that sub-ohm vapers crave. DL or sub-ohm tanks need the following to qualify as sub-ohm:
- Sub-ohm coils: sub-ohm coils have a resistance lower than 0.5ohms, are thicker in diameter, cover more surface area, and can withstand higher wattages, which make them ideal for creating humongous clouds
- Airflow: air intake is essential to sub-ohm vaping for many reasons, the larger the airflow, the larger the clouds that get made, as well as making it easier to inhale
- High-VG e-juice: vegetable glycerin is a common ingredient in e-juice, as it is thicker than PG (propylene glycol) VG needs more heat, or power, to vaporize, which is why it is the ideal juice for high-powered mods, and cloud production
- High-powered mods: Sub-ohm tanks and coils require a lot of power, the kind of power that single, dual or triple celled devices can output, there are also mechanical mods that are unregulated and work best with rebuildable atomizers
The Ins and Outs of RBAs
RBAs or rebuildable atomizers, are a category of atomizer wherein vapers wrap, wick, and mount their coils. RBAs break down into sub-categories as well, such as:
- RDA – rebuildable dripping atomizers use a single or dual-coil build configuration with a removable top cap that users take off to drip e-juice onto their coils, RDAs usually have small e-juice reservoirs, but the primary way to soak the wicks is by removing the top cap
- RTA – rebuildable tank atomizer, consists of a build-deck with a glassed-in tank section similar to sub-ohm tanks where users can fill with e-juice
- RDTA – rebuildable dripping tank atomizer, which is a combination of the above two categories, a dripping atomizer with a glass tank section underneath
- Squonk RBAs – these rebuildable atomizers have a special 510-pin that allows a user to pump e-juice from an e-juice reservoir under the atomizer in a style known as squonking or bottom-feeding, this style also eliminates the need for vapers to drip e-juice onto their coils continuously
RBAs are not for new or inexperienced vapers. It takes a lot of skill, and knowledge to wrap, wick and mount vape coils. It is not only the process itself that is difficult, but choosing the right wire type (stainless steel, Kanthal, nickel, titanium, etc.), knowing the effects of wrapping coils a certain amount of times (how it affects the resistance), and other small, but novice vapers might overlook essential details.
For example, vapers who want to vape in temperature control mode would also have to know which wire type this is possible since it is not possible with all of them. The four main wire types are the following:
- Kanthal – this wire type is the most popular wire to work with, as it is pliable but also keeps its shape when wrapped; it is also inexpensive and easy to get; Kanthal is compatible only with variable wattage vaping, as it cannot handle the higher temperatures associated with temperature control vaping
- NiChrome – NiChrome is a composite of nickel and chromium; this wire type also works well in wattage mode, but it is compatible with temperature control vaping; it also has a lower resistance than Kanthal, so it heats up faster
- Stainless steel – stainless steel is another common wire type for vaping in both variable wattage, as well as temperature control; stainless steel is a composite of nickel, chromium, and carbon; it features several grades and ratings denoted with numbers like SS316L or SS317L, two standard classes that are typical for coil building.
- Nickel – as opposed to NiChrome, nickel is pure nickel; this wire type can only vape in temperature control mode, as it is incompatible with variable wattage vaping; nickel can be malleable, and may lose its shape when mounted onto a deck
- Titanium – titanium is the rarest wire type as it is expensive and often hard to find; pure titanium wire can release a toxic chemical when heated above 1200F, which is a risk as it is compatible only with temperature control vaping, and not variable wattage; it is easy to shape, and also easy to wick
With that said, it is not impossible for people to learn how to build coils on rebuildable atomizers. It takes some practice, the right tools and some insider knowledge about resistance wire but by-and-large, making your coils is not a difficult pursuit.
Budget, Low-Cost Tanks and Clones
Quality, well-made vape tanks do not cost a lot. Sub-ohm tanks and clearomizers can run from anywhere between $20 to $40 for the more high-end units. The same price range applies to RBAs and other rebuildables as they can be found for as low as $20 and as high as $50.
Online vape retailers may offer the tanks and atomizers at a reduced price, while brick-and-mortar shops may mark-up the price. Whatever the case, if you are buying a tank, make sure not to buy a clone or a cheap tank as its build quality and materials may be sub-standard, which can cause problems later.
Make sure to always check the authenticity seal for name-brand products, especially when buying from international retailers. Clones may look and feel like a real tank or atomizer, but the build materials may be sub-par and affect vapor quality.
FAQ about Vape Tanks
How do you refill a vape tank?
Vape tanks are filled one of either two ways:
- Top-fill – this method requires a vaper to remove a top cap to access fill ports on the top of the unit, under the mouthpiece/drip tip
- Bottom-fill – this method is not so standard, but it occurs with tanks that have bottom-vertical coils, this method requires a vaper to remove the coil base, and then fill the tank from below
- These methods apply only to sub-ohm tanks with stock coils. RBAs have different filing methods, in that they do not have tanks and require vapers drip e-juice onto their coils or to squonk e-juice from a bottle underneath it.
How to increase flavor?
If a vaper is more interested in chasing flavor than chasing clouds, there are several ways to increase the character of their vape. These include:
- Using a high-PG e-juice: propylene glycol is one of the main ingredients in e-juice, it also carries flavor very well, so any high PG e-juice will deliver more intense flavor than a low-PG one
- Using a variable wattage mod: adjusting settings like temperature and wattage are always good ways to improve a vape’s flavor quality, try vaping with an advanced device to change the settings
- Using a narrow-bore mouthpiece: drip tips have a role in either producing large, vapor clouds or tasty ones, a narrow-bore mouthpiece (as opposed to a wide-bore one) collects denser more flavorful vapor
- Using less airflow: less airflow, coupled with a narrow-bore mouthpiece means that more flavor will gather in the cloud rather than creating more significant clouds
- Using the right coil and wick material (for RBAs): for vapers who use rebuildables, coil and wick material play a considerable part in creating their perfect vape, coils with a larger surface area will generally make better-tasting clouds, while wick material can vary from organic cotton to wood pulp, and flax combinations
How to prime and break-in coils?
Priming refers to pre-saturating coils with a few drops of e-juice before vaping them to increase both flavor production, as well as to protect the wicks from dry burning. Breaking-in coils refer to the amount of time a coil needs before it starts performing at the desired level.
Priming requires that a vaper drip a few drops of e-liquid onto their stock coil, mostly on the juice ports where the cotton inside the head sticks out. Breaking-in coils require only regular use of the coils, preferably at low temperatures or lower power outputs, and then gradually increasing it.
How to extend the life of a coil?
Extending the life of a coil, whether a rebuildable or stock coil, requires the following:
- For a rebuildable coil, the coil should be cleaned regularly
- Try not using high-VG e-juices that often, as the thicker liquid can affect coil performance
- Avoid dry-burning coils, as that may help cleaning the coil, but it will reduce the coil’s vape life
The Final Word on the Best Vape Tanks of 2019
The best vape tanks of 2019 are a collection of well-made, highly-rated units for all kinds of material, from e-liquids to dry herbs, and concentrates. All the vape tanks listed here got onto this list for their outstanding performance, their versatility, as well as their build-quality, and durability.
Some tanks appeal to different styles of e-liquid vaping, namely, mouth-to-lung and direct-lung vaping. There are also tanks here that vape more than e-liquid, as they vape dry herbs or concentrates in their way.
The tanks for different materials have their differences, like heating style, wick material, and coil wire, but they also work on the same principle of vaporization. Depending on all these factors, it is challenging to choose which of these tanks is the “best.” One may be suitable for a mouth-to-lung vaper, while another is better suited to direct-lung vaping. Whatever the case, the breadth of the selection here should be enough to cover all tastes and styles.