What is an RDA
The initials RDA stands for Rebuildable Dripping Atomizer. An RDA is a type of atomizer that will require the vaper to actually add the juice to their wick and coil. This can be done by either dripping it directly onto the wick and coil or by using a squonk pin which is included in most RDA’s that are in production today.
A squonk pin would allow you to squeeze the juice into the atomizer, typically from a squonk bottle located underneath the atomizer inside a squonking mod.
Until squonking came along , manually wetting your coils and wicks was considered inconvenient by most. Lots of vapers preferred the best RDA because in general you get better flavor. When squonking came along, you still had to manually wet your wicks and coils by squeezing the squonk bottle.
However, it was considered much more convenient then having to drip onto your coils and wicks from the top of the atomizer. Squonking also eliminated the need to carry around a separate bottle of juice.
Picking the Best RDA
RDA’s come in many different styles and form factors. Some best RDA are specifically suited for MTL vaping, DL vaping, flavor, or clouds. Some RDA’s do a great job in all of those categories. They also come in different sizes. You can get the best RDA as small as 18 mm and as large as 40 mm.
Size will depend on what type of vape you are actually going for. In general, the bigger the best RDA, the more flavor and larger clouds that will be produced..
RDA’s also have different types of deck systems. Some of the more popular deck systems would be a Velocity style deck, a Drop style deck, or a Postless deck. Some decks are easier to build on than others. A Velocity and Drop style deck have about the same degree of difficulty while a Postless deck is probably one of the more difficult decks to build on because you have to pre-cut your leads and worry more about coil height and placement.
There are other types of decks as well but for the purposes of this article I tried to stick to the most basic ones.
RDA vs RTA?
An RTA is a Rebuildable Tank Atomizer. Lots of vapers love RTA’s because the flavor that they produce approaches an RDA and they are much more convenient. Think of an RTA as an RDA with a tank built around it. At the same time, most die-hard vapers will tell you that, an RDA in general, is superior to an RTA when it comes to flavor and clouds.
Which one is best? That comes down to a personal preference concerning convenience and performance.
RDA Airflow Types
The three basic types of airflows that you will come across on most RDA’s are as follows:
Side Airflow, and
In general, bottom airflow is considered the most flavorful, followed by side airflow, and top airflow is considered the least flavourful.
While bottom airflow is considered the most flavorful type of airflow it also has its issues when it comes to squonking and dripping. Typically, bottom airflow RDA’s are very easy to over squonk or over drip on. If you are going to drip or squonk on a bottom airflow RDA, you need to know the limits of the atomizer that you are using as far as the juice capacity goes.
Side airflow is comparable to bottom airflow when it comes to flavor while at the same time not as easy to over drip or over squonk on. You may be sacrificing some flavor when it comes to side airflow RDA’s but only the most die-hard vapers will notice the flavor difference.
Top airflow RDA’s have the least amount of flavor but they are also are the hardest to over squonk or over drip on. The location of the air flow itself, actually makes over squonking or over dripping a difficult task on most RDA’s that have this type of air flow system. For the above reasons, new builders tend to like top airflow RDA’s.
Again, when it comes down to which type of air flow is best for you? It’s going to come down to what priorities are more important to you when it comes to flavor, clouds, over dripping and over squonking.
Things/Tools I Need To Start Building
The good news is that all of the tools that I listed above can basically be bought in kit form from Coilmaster.
However, not all the kits are created equally. Their basic kits lack an ohmmeter and a build stand. You will also have to provide your own wick and wire.
Coilmaster does have a kit that provides you with a combination ohm meter and build stand which I highly recommend. There are other manufacturers of build kits as well. GoForVape actually makes a really nice build kit however it does lack an ohmmeter but it does have a build stand. Wotofo makes a pretty good kit as well and it does not have a build stand or ohm meter either.
All of the tools listed above can also be purchased separately as well.
You can choose to build or wrap your own coils. For that you will need a spool of wire as well as a coiling rod. Most new builders opt to buy pre-made coils made in a factory or from a coil builder that builds them by hand. No way is right or wrong it’s whatever is more convenient and comfortable for you. I have not wound a coil in years. I tend to buy pre-made coils most of the time.
There are many different types of wicks on the market but for the most part most vapers use cotton wicks. In the last year or so companies have started to come out in different types of form factors. When I first started vaping everybody used cotton pads. Now you can use cotton aglets. These are strips of cotton with a shoelace like plastic piece on the end. The aglet actually makes it much easier to pull your cotton through the coil.
Vapers are also starting to use more premium cotton. I’m talking about brands like Native Wicks, Cotton Bacon, Cotton Candy, Firebolt Cotton, etc etc. Some vapers will tell you that you will get better flavor from these premium brands of cotton others will say they can’t tell the difference. The best advice I can give you is to try different types of brands and figure out which one works best for you.
You will need a quality scissor in order to cut your wicks once you are done wicking your coil. I prefer scissors with a point. The reason I prefer a pointed scissors is I like to use the point to tuck in my wicks. They do come in most pre-assembled kits however my favorite scissor is a brand by the name of Vape Shears. I have yet to find a scissor that outperforms it.
This is not a necessity but it’s nice to have one because it provides you with a solid, stable, work space in order for you to build your coil. You can use a mod as well, just make sure that it’s turned off while you are building.
Just like the build stand, this is not a necessity and you can use a mod in a pinch. Some quality kits actually come with their own Ohm Reader. I prefer the Coilmaster 521 Plus Tab. I think it’s one of the best ohm readers/build stands on the market right now. The advantage of using something like the Coilmaster is not only do you have a solid, stable, place to build your atomizer but it also doubles as an ohm reader and you are able to dry burn your coils.
Rods are an essential tool when it comes to building. You can buy them in a set that will allow you to wind a coil with an inner diameter as small as 1.5 mm and as large as 4 mm. If you buy them in a set they normally start at 1.5 mm and go up to 4 mm in .5 mm increments. You can also buy one coiling rod that will have multiple measurements along the whole rod. This type of coiling rod starts at 1.5 mm and goes all the way up to 3.5 ml. Not only will a coiling rod help you when it comes to winding your coils but it will also be a great help when it comes to coil placement.
Another essential tool is a good set of wire cutters. They come in all different shapes and sizes as well as different degrees of quality. You can opt for a cheap set and just replace it every year or so or you can spend some money and buy a quality set. The price range for a good set of wire cutters starts at around ten bucks and can go as high as fifty or sixty dollars.
Most atomizers come with deck screws that are either flat head or Phillips head. Some of them have hex heads but they normally include a hex key in the packaging. You may want to invest in a quality set of hex drivers as well. When it comes to screwdrivers I really prefer the Coilmaster screwdrivers over anything else. I have had mine for years and both the Phillips and Flathead screwdrivers are fantastic. If money is an issue you can get by with a small little tool kit that you can find in any Dollar Store.
This is a very important tool to have. You are going to need a set of tweezers in order to stroke your coils and get the hot spots out when you are dry burning them. For this activity I specifically recommend you get a set of ceramic tweezers. Again, these are available in most pre-made build kits but they can be purchased separately as well. The reason you want to use ceramic tweezers is so you can actually stroke the coils while you are firing them without shorting out.
Wires used in Building RDA Decks?
Kanthal wire is probably the most widely used wire and least expensive out of the ones we are going to cover here. Kanthal is very flexible and it is extremely easy to work with. If you are a new builder and you have decided to wind your own coils this would be a good place to start. Unfortunately, Kanthal will not give you the best flavor or clouds when compared to the other wires we are going to go over. Kanthal cannot be used in temperature control vaping.
Nichrome is considered a more advanced wire. The reason for this is because it will heat up faster at lower temperatures which will provide you with more vapor production. Unlike Kanthal, Nichrome wire has no iron in it so you will get a cleaner taste. It is also a little bit more expensive than Kanthal. Like Kanthal, Nichrome can not be used in temperature-controlled vaping.
Stainless Steel is actually perfect for temperature controlled vaping. Most of the time you’ll see it abbreviated on a mod menu system as SS. It ramps up faster than Nichrome or Kanthal and it vapes cleaner as well. The one downside to Stainless Steel coils is they don’t cool down as fast as Nichrome or Kanthal. Most experienced vapers prefer Stainless Steel coils.
Nickel heats up the fastest out of all the wires we are going to cover. You can get really good flavor off of a Nickel coil. However, some vapers have found themselves to be allergic to Nickel. It also has a low melting point so it is best to use Nickel with a mod that does really good temperature-controlled vaping.
Titanium wire ramps up very fast and it also has the ability to cool down fast. Titanium wire is very expensive and only the most experienced builders use it. If you are going to vape on Titanium wire it is definitely recommended that you do it in TC mode. Titanium wire can also be kind of difficult to find. It’s definitely not as readily available as the other wires that we have gone over.
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