They feature removable 510 or wide-bore 810, Goon-style mouthpieces made from material like resin, ULTEM or Delrin. RDAs’ sizes run the usual range from between 22mm and 25mm, which is standard for modern RDA tanks. The versatility of RDA is also what took them to the top. A lot of the pieces here are squonk-ready along with having many deck-styles among them.
The Best RDAs of This Year, So Far
Magic of huuuge clouds makes people love RDA that that much. And our list gathered all the best RDA tanks on the market for you. Our free tips help you to get the best RDA on your budget and needs.
Not sure what you need? Learn what an RDA is and how to choose the best in our guide.
Best Dual Coil RDAs
Best Single Coil RDAs
Best Mesh RDAs
Best Squonk RDAs
The above list of the best RDAs was meant to be an eye-opener to all the options out there for interested vapers. If the list was not informative enough or if people have more questions about these atomizers, the following sections will delve deeper into exploring what RDA tanks are all about.
What is an RDA?
RDA stands for a rebuildable dripping atomizer. “Rebuildable” refers to vapers building their coils, and “dripping” is the way vapers apply e-juice to their wicks. RDA vape tanks feature build-decks with lead terminals where builders insert their coil leads, securing them with screws or clamps.
A removable top cap (usually made of stainless steel) sits above the deck and users take it off to “drip” e-juice onto the coils and wicks, instead of filling a glass tank. Other atomizers come with pre-wrapped coils, wicked with cotton and only need to be installed into an rda tank.
With a rebuildable dripping atomizer:
- Vapers choose their wire material
- Wrap it as many times they want to get their preferred resistance
- Choose their wick material
- Install or “mount” their creation onto the build deck.
Rebuildable atomizers (aka RDAs or RDA tanks) are a category unto themselves in the vaping world. They stand apart from sub-ohm tanks and clearomizers, as vapers must build their coil setups to use with RDAs.
The other categories of rebuildable atomizer include:
- RDTA (rebuildable dripping tank atomizer)
- RTA (rebuildable tank atomizer)
- Squonk atomizers
Sub-ohm tanks use pre-made, stock coils but some models have the option of easy replacing the coil deck for an RBA deck so vapers can mount their builds. While sub-ohm tanks are the preferred atomizer for many, RDAs offer vapers versatility, customization and bigger, tastier clouds.
Advantages of RDAs
The main advantages of vaping RDAs are the following:
- Great, voluminous clouds
- Enhanced flavor profiles
- Low-cost build materials (wick and wire material)
- Much greater airflow than with tank types
- Every aspect (wire material, # of wraps, wick material, drip tip) is user-determined
These advantages are not specific to RDAs. The other types of rebuildable atomizers feature many of the same positive aspects. Only RDAs also have slight differences. Let’s take a look at each positive to unpack all the things that attract people to RDAs.
Cloud and Flavor Production
All vape tanks and atomizers easy produce great vapor clouds, but sub-ohm tanks and pre-wrapped coils have limitations. Creating more abundant, more flavorful clouds means using more power. The wattage needed to generate more significant, tastier clouds than vape tanks go into the triple digits, which is often much more than what a sub-ohm, stock coil can handle. Enter the rebuildable coil.
A vaper’s imagination only limits a rebuildable coil build. They can choose the wire and wick material they think will meet their expectations for more significant clouds. The more intense flavor of RDAs comes from the short distance that the vapor travels to get to the vaper’s mouth.
In sub-ohm tanks and other cartomizers, the aerosol typically easily travels through a chimney and then out the mouthpiece or drip tip. This does not happen with an RDA, as the top cap and drip tip sit directly above the deck.
If their atomizer supports more than a single coil build, they can even mount double coil builds. Dual coil builds, only by their larger surface area, increase flavor and cloud production while lowering the resistance of the coils so vapers can apply even more power.
The Cost-Effectiveness of RDAs
While building coils may seem like a costly and time-consuming practice, it actually can cost less to make coils than to buy pre-made, sub-ohm coils. A pack of three replacement coils for a sub-ohm atomizer, for example, can run anywhere between $10 and $14.
Whereas a 5-pack of pre-wrapped Kanthal wire coils costs about $4 and $5; throw-in cotton pads at another $4 or $5 and that’s everything. There are variations between prices and materials, but for the vaper starting out using rebuildable coils, it is much more attractive to spend less money, while also ensuring a better taste, clouds and easy vaping.
Plenty of Options
The options available to coil builders for their setups are many. The best “options” in this case refers to all the different materials builders can use to make their ideal coil build.
Every coil needs at least two elements:
- Wire material: Kanthal, stainless steel, NiChrome, and titanium
- Wick material: Organic cotton, silica, rayon, wood pulp, flax or bamboo fibers
Choosing wire material is not so simple. Each metal has different properties and can create different conditions for vaping. The diameter, or gauge of the wire, is also essential, as thicker wire creates lower-resistance builds, while thinner wire creates high-resistance coils.
The wick material is also important, but the preferred material seems to be organic Japanese or Egyptian cotton. Silica wicks are found in a lot of vape cartomizers and e-cigarette atomizers, but they cannot take the higher wattages demanded of RDA coils.
Stock coil makers have since been experimenting with other materials like wood pulp and bamboo fibers, although those last two have not yet come into use by DIY coil builders. As a rule, builders want to have the lowest resistance possible as those coils can conduct the most electricity without burning out either the coil or the wick.
With that said, the number of wraps – how many times the wire wraps around to create the coil shape – is a significant factor in building coils. Again, the best number of wraps is up to the vaper, but the recommended minimum number is around three or four. Experienced builders and vapers do even more wraps to lower the resistance, but that is a matter for another article.
RDA Decks: Post or Postless
When shopping for the best RDA for clouds, the best RDA for flavor or any of the best RDAs on the market, the type of build deck is an important thing to remember. A “build deck” is the platform that holds a coil and wick in place, usually above a shallow e-juice well.
There are many styles of build deck, starting with the most straightforward and most familiar to the ones only advanced vapers know how to use. A build deck is essential for many reasons. They can be easy or difficult to build-on, and their size affects performance.
Build decks divide into two categories:
- Post decks: Post decks have two or more posts sticking up from the flat-surface deck. The posts act as positive and negative terminals for vapers to insert their coil leads. Builders insert the edges into the terminal (holes) and secure them with screws or clamps.
- Postless decks: Postless decks have lead terminals inside the base of the deck, so no posts stick up from it. Leads are side-secured with screws around the base that lead into the terminals on the deck. The holes are flush with the surface and do not protrude out.
Post and postless decks have their supporters and detractors. Postless decks do not have much variation among them, other than their securing mechanism or airflow design, but post decks have many more options.
The number of posts on a deck can number two, three, four, even five and each has a unique quality to it, as the following will show:
- Two post decks aka Velocity decks: Velocity-style means two posts, and it is a standard style of deck that new builders start with. One post takes the positive lead, and the other takes the negative. Velocity-style decks support only one coil that takes up a majority of the deck, so vapers use smaller gauge wire instead of thicker ones.
- Three-post decks: three-post decks are a step up from Velocity-style in terms of technical skill needed to build on them, but they have their benefits as well. Two posts are negative, and one is positive, so three-post decks support dual builds, as the two coils share the positive terminal. More room between the posts also allows for better airflow and reduces the chances of a contact (or a short).
- Four-post decks: four posts means two negative terminals and two positive terminals that are split from each other along the center; the build deck has ample room to house thicker gauge wire wrapped into dual coil builds, not to mention the room for air to collect and pass through the coils on the way out the drip tip.
- Five-post decks: five post decks do exist, usually in a plus sign-configuration or with four negative posts circling the positive terminal in the center; single, dual, triple and quad coil builds are all possible on these massive decks, and they also provide excellent airflow
- Postless decks: postless decks do not have posts; instead they use lead terminals recessed into the deck that can number two, three or more, as with posts, they use side-screws or some other method to trap and secure the leads
The Best RDA for Flavor or the Best RDA for Clouds: Things to Remember
People start vaping with RDAs for a lot of reasons. Two of the main ones are to get better cloud production, as well as better flavor profiles. The two aims are not exclusive to one another, but some of the best RDAs on the market now are better at one than they are at the other and vice-versa.
How can you tell?
The general rule about getting better flavor, which is also a rule to follow when looking for the best RDA for clouds, is:
- Less airflow means better flavor
- More airflow means bigger clouds
This rule does not mean that only less airflow leads to better flavor. Airflow is one aspect, as the e-juice gets diluted when more air passes through the coil, but that doesn’t mean flavor gets completely lost.
RDAs that produce huge clouds have multiple airflow vents, usually dual or quad that are adjustable. The best RDAs for clouds have even more advanced airflow designs, like honeycomb pattern on their chuff caps.
Another thing to remember when looking for the best RDA for flavor is the size of the build deck and the interior chuff cap. The less room there is under the top cap, the more flavor gets pushed out from the mouthpiece. Conversely, if the top cap is more prominent and can accommodate multiple coil or parallel builds, then that is a sure sign of an RDA made for cloud-chasers.
If the build deck has:
- A diameter of between 22mm and 24-25mm
- Short stature and a small inner space
- A single-coil configuration
People looking for giant clouds should go in the opposite direction. Think bigger:
- Bigger build deck
- More posts or lead terminals
- Dual or triple-coil builds
- More airflow vents
RDA Buyer's Guide
There are other things to look at – other than flavor or cloud production – when in the market for the best RDA. For first-time users, especially, there is a lot to consider.
Building and mounting coils can seem intimidating, so looking for these specifications can help someone who has never tried building, mounting, and vaping an RDA.
Among builders and expert vapers, no one type of deck in RDA is most comfortable to build on, compared to all the others. Opinions are divided. Vaping forums are full of these discussions, some siding with the Velocity-style as the easiest, while others are saying that three or four-post decks are the best.
While each vaper or builder has their preferences, absolute beginners should start with something like the Velocity-deck. The best thing about the two-post deck is that it is intuitive. People know what goes where with a Velocity, while others can confuse non-builders with their vape configurations.
Single or Dual Coil Compatible
The best single coil RDA tank might seem like the easiest to build-on (there’s only one coil), but after mastering one coil, some people might be curious to try their luck at building dual coils. Getting an RDA that supports both should be an excellent introduction to coil-building while leaving room for advancement.
Airflow vents and an adjustable airflow ring are standard elements to most, if not all, atomizers – both sub-ohm tanks and RDAs. As discussed above, a higher amount of airflow leads to increased cloud size and volume, so letting vapers control the airflow is vital. Not all airflow control rings are made the same, though, nor are all airflow vents placed in the same area.
Some RDA places air vents under or next to the terminal holes, so the air passes directly onto the coil, leading to huge clouds. Other RDA puts the air holes on the top or the side of the chuff cap. The location does not matter as much as the ability to control the airflow.
Removable or Replaceable Drip Tips
“Drip” tips get their name from dripping atomizers. Users needed only to “drip” their e-juice down the mouthpiece to soak their wicks and coils. RDA vapers now remove the top cap, but the drip tip remains an essential element for these types of atomizers.
A wide-bore mouthpiece – like an 810, or Goon-style mouthpiece – lets more air escape, which means? Yes, it means more clouds. The other standard option of the mouthpiece is the 510 drip-tip, which is standard on most sub-ohm tanks, but RDA’s are known to manage them as well.
Newer RDA models feature interchangeable mouthpieces or come with adapter pieces so vapers with 510 drip tips can handle 810 mouthpieces and vice-versa. New model drip tips also come in many materials other than the classic Delrin. ULTEM, resin, and stainless steel are just a few of the options for drip tips nowadays.
Cost should be a deciding factor when buying a lot of things, RDAs included. Sub-ohm tanks and RDAs share one thing, and that is their price range. They both have a price range of $15 to $50.
Of course, there are some exceptions, but both sub-ohms and RDAs are not astronomically priced. The added cost of sub-ohm tanks comes from having to buy replacement coils every one or two weeks. This is one slight edge that RDAs have over sub-ohm tanks: they’re low cost.
The Best E-Juice to Use with RDAs
No matter if it’s the best RDA for flavor or the best squonk RDA, they all need the right e-juice. The truth is, though, that any e-juice is suitable for an RDA. While the most common type to use with rebuildable coils is a 70/30 PG/VG mix – as that is the mix that produces big clouds, no matter the box mods – it is not unheard of for vapers to use high PG or even PG/VG.
The one thing to remember about e-liquid with RDAs is nicotine content. As the coils heat-up fast and vaporize greater amounts of liquid, a high nicotine content e-juice could be too much of a head rush. Lowering nicotine content to 6 or 3mg is recommended for vaping with an RDA.
Should You Buy an RDA?
Buying an RDA is a big decision. If a person enjoys a challenge or is looking for a new hobby to take up the time, the best RDA offers an opportunity to do both. RDAs are not for novice or beginner vapers, but there’s nothing saying that they can’t learn how to handle them, like how people move from e-cigs to box mods.
RDA appeals to people who enjoy using their hands to fine-tune performance to get the best from their mods or other gear. The best RDA for flavor should be paired with a high-performing mod whether from Wotofo or any other major brand to get the best vape mods possible.
RDAs are for experienced vapers who know about battery safety, Ohm’s law, and the conductivity of metal wires. For anyone who wants to vape on an RDA, they should first familiarize themselves with these basics. A person could also want a more flavor-rich vapor that only RDAs and high-powered mods can provide, which is also a good reason to get an RDA.
The Best RDAs of 2019 and Beyond
Anyone thinking about getting an RDA should know it is an investment of money and time. In the end, it also comes down to personal preference. There are plenty of great sub-ohm tanks with stock coils that also put out great satisfying vapor. Only if you are that type of vaper that likes to fine-tune performance and get the most out of their mods, RDAs are the answer.
All the best RDAs have their advantages as well as their difficulties, especially for new builders. Before even getting an RDA, people should brush up on the technical aspects of resistance wire, Ohm’s law, and battery safety to safely build. When they have the right knowledge in hand, then they’re ready to start building RDA.