Clearomizers were one of the earliest atomizer designs developed, along with cartomizers.
Despite it being an older “old school” design, the technology has kept up with the times – and now has modern and more powerful variants – tank systems that are either disposable or with replaceable and even rebuildable heating elements.
The clearomizer is often considered to be the best entry-level atomizer because they are so simple to set up, and are generally hassle-free.
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All you need to do is fill it up with juice, screw it on to your mod then vape! Clearomizers are also considered must-haves for people on the go, since a lot of time is saved due to the simplistic “plug-and-play” nature of clearomizers.
From entry-level disposables to high-performance sub-ohm capable tank systems, there are nearly endless variants to a design with such humble beginnings.
Here is a compiled list of some of the best clearomizers worth checking out.
Innokin iClear 16 Clearomiser
It is a compact tank at about 15mm in diameter, making it a perfect fit for ego batteries. The tank itself is plastic so make sure the e-liquid you are using it with is safe to use for plastics.
One of the biggest differences the iClear16 has over the older CE series is that it uses dual coils with silica wicks. This means it will produce much more vapor and more concentrated flavors.
However due to the nature of dual coils it will go through e-liquid much faster than regular clearomizers; it will also require more watts to achieve what the single coil can on the same resistance, since there is more kanthal mass to take into consideration. I usually find 8-15 watts to be the sweet spot when using a regulated device.
The iClear16 has the added benefit of being able to replace the coil head, so if you burn one out (it can last anywhere from a week to a month, depending on how much you use it and the type of e-liquid used), you can buy the replacement coils instead of buying an entirely new clearomizer.
Filling is extremely easy; all you need to do is to unscrew the mouthpiece and inject juice into the tank. Just make sure you don’t get any juice into the little hole where the coils are, or you will get gurgling and flooding.
The iClear16 is great for use on ego style batteries, preferably variable voltage models like the twist since it will need a bit more “oomph” than what the regular 3.7-volt ego models can deliver. However, you are not limited to using the iClear16 on ego batteries; you can use them on any device with ego threading, or by using a 510 to ego adapter.
Kanger Protank series Clearomizers
Kanger Protank series – The Protank series by the famous KangerTech is one of the most widely used and recognizable clearomizers today – and with good reason.
They produce excellent flavor and vapor (for a basic clearo) and they are cheap; they also have very affordable replacement coil heads (normally uses silica wicks, but recently Kanger has produced OCC “organic cotton” coils for the Protank series) that are one of the easiest to rebuild!
The first in the series is the Protank1, followed by the Protank2. They are both 2.5ml tanks made of pyrex and chrome-plated alloys, and around 18mm in diameter; they will look huge compared to ego style batteries and would fit better on something like a Vamo. If you do use an ego battery for a Protank, make sure you pick up a beauty ring, as it greatly improves aesthetics.
A huge advantage of pyrex tanks is that plastic-cracking juices that the iClear16 can’t use will be no problem for Protanks. The Protank 1& 2 share the same single – coil replacement heads that are the easiest to rebuild out of the Protank series; the replacement coils come pre-made and can be bought in a variety of resistances to match your device.
The main difference between the two is the pyrex and driptip is fixed in the Protank1, while they are removable in the protank 2 to facilitate easy maintenance and cleaning. They are both 510 threaded, with airflow coming in from the 510 – so leaking will result in your mod getting drenched from the 510 and may cause damage if your 510 isn’t sealed. The airflow is also rather tight, and suited for mouth to lung hits (closest to smoking a real cigarette).
I highly reccomend getting an airflow control valve (also made by kanger) to replace the base; this will move the airflow to the side of the clearomizer instead of the 510 thereby eliminating the problem of potential leaking into the 510 connector. It also allows you to adjust your aiflow settings to something more airy to produce more vapor, as well as a smoother throat hit.
The third and final clearomizer in the Protank series is the Protank3. It is nearly identical to the Protank2 with the exception of using dual coil heads (which are not compatible to the traditional heads). The dual coil heads produces much more vapor and flavor, but is much harder to rebuild. There are also reports that the dual coil heads do not last as long as the single coil variants. As with the Protank2, it is highly recommended to get the airflow control valve for your Protank3 to improve performance.
Aerotanks are the upgraded version of the Protank3 – it is a sleeker looking clearomizer that is made fully out of stainless steel, and already comes with an airflow control base so you don’t need to buy one for it. However, it is much more expensive than the Protanks at well over $20.
The Protank2 and 3 also come in “mini” versions, which are essentially the same with the exception of being ego-threaded and having around 1.5ml capacity. They are perfect for ego-style batteries at 14mm (diameter).
Filling on this clearomizer can’t get any easier. You simply remove the base and fill up the top tank part (upside down) all the way to the brim of the chimney. If you want to replace the coil, just reverse the process – you don’t even have to dump your juice in the process, like the older clearomizers!
The Protanks are the modern “classics” of clearomizers, and have set the bar for similarly designed clearos like the evod and T3 (also by KangerTech)
Aspire Nautilus BVC clearomizer
The Nautilus utilizes unique replaceable heads that feature a vertical coil, with the wicking material around the coil instead of through. The airflow goes through the middle of the coil, producing a much smoother vape with much better airflow as well. The newer generation coils use organic cotton, which provides a crisp and pure flavor; however, compared to ceramic or silica they don’t last as long. It is possible to rebuild the heads, though it is a bit more complicated compared to Protanks. Most people just buy a few dozen extra coil heads as they aren’t really expensive.
The body itself is made of stainless steel, and it is extremely sturdy. The tank is Pyrex much like the Protanks, and allows the use of acidic juices that would otherwise destroy plastic tanks. The Nautilus also features a very good airflow control ring that allows you to fine tune your vape from restrictive and flavorful mouth-to-lung hits, or wide open for increased vapor production.
Aesthetically, the Nautilus is an extremely good-looking tank; it is compact with a large pyrex section that makes your juices very visible; colored e-liquid looks spectacular in this clearomizer. The rounded topcap also gives it a very sleek look that goes very well with its compact design. This isn’t just a pretty little clearomizer though, as it has the performance to back up its appearance.
Filling the Nautilus is similar to the protank, by filling the glass tank portion upside down; it also shares all of the advantages and convenience of this filling method. The Nautilus also comes in a mini version that holds 1.8ml of liquid (the full sized model holds about 5ml) for more stealthy setups.
It is noteworthy to check out the ASSA mini BVC clearomizer on fasttech if you like the looks of the Nautilus mini but don’t want to commit the cash to something you might not like. The ASSA mini BVC is a perfect copy of the Nautilus mini, takes the original coils, and only costs $8!
Eleaf GS Clearomizer
The Eleaf GS is an extremely compact atomizer, though it is wider than the previous clearomizers in this list at 22mm wide and about 51mm tall. It was made for use on 22mm tube mods, and looks spectacular on 18350 setups like on a hybrid 18350 nemesis.
The tank itself is made of stainless steel with a large pyrex tank that can hold up to 3 ml of e-liquid. It has a great airflow adjustment system that might not be airy enough for “competition” vapers, but excellent for mouth-to-lung. At around 51mm tall, it is shorter than most 22mm clearomizers, and is definitely a great stealth clearomizer if you use 22mm mods. Filling the Eleaf GS is identical to the Protank and Nautilus.
UD Zephyrus Clearomizer
The Zephyrus is a powerful clearomizer made to operate at up to 50 watts, though I have pushed the premade coils over 70 watts with no problems whatsoever. It is solidly built, with a thick stainless steel body and pyrex tank so acidic e-liquids are no problem. It produces decent flavor and massive vapor (especially with 100% VG e-liquid), nearly comparable to a dedicated cloud-chasing RDA!
One of the things that makes the UD Zephyrus worth buying in my opinion is the fact that it comes with a rebuildable deck along with the prebuilt coils. The rebuildable deck is very well made; with a 3-post design that has a T-shaped positive middle pole that has two holes for wires (much like the Helios RDA). The rebuildable deck also has massive airflow, and makes the Zephyrus a true RTA, as well as a high-end clearomizer.
While it is an excellent Clearomizer, the Zephyrus is not without drawbacks. First is the fact that since it is made for high-power vaping, it will consume a lot of e-liquid. The 5ml tank will definitely not last more than a few hours if you chain vape at high wattage.
Thankfully, the Zephyrus comes with a top-fill top cap, so filling the tank 2 or 3 times a day is less of a hassle (and a mess) compared to bottom filling. Another drawback to this Clearo is the price of the premade coils. At over $3 per coil, it is very expensive (more like extortion!) compared to something like Protank coils, which costs under $5 for a pack of 5.
For this reason, most Zephyrus users prefer to use the reuildable deck, as a spool of kanthal or nichrome can be bought for the price of two or three premade coil heads. The premade coils come in 0.2, 0.3 and 0.5 ohm dual coil setups, as well as Ni200 for TC capable mods, so make sure your mod can handle coils at those resistances! Another disadvantage of using this clearomizer is that since it is made for high power vaping, you will need either a regulated mod that can fire sub-ohm or a decent mech with good batteries; using lower watts will give you an anemic vape, since the coils on the Zephyrus are huge and have a lot of mass, and consequently will require more power to use it to its fullest potential. It will also drain batteries much faster, so expect to go through several 18650s a day at full power.
And finally, this tank is not mouth-to-lung friendly. Despite the fact that it has decent airflow control, closing it off will result in flooding because the juice channels are massive – they are geared towards high-powered vaping after all; so if you like a more restrictive “cigarette-like” airflow, then this tank may not be the best choice for you.
Ego One Clearomizer with CLR heads
Personally, I think they could have made the pyrex tank window a bit larger, as it is only 3 groups of three slits on the atomizer. While this does a very good job of protecting the pyrex tank, it doesn’t look very good (in my opinion), and it makes the e-liquid harder to see in low light conditions. The clearomizer can be filled much like the Protank and Nautilus. It comes in three sizes: The mini is 16mm in diameter with a 1.8ml capacity (perfect for ego-types or the ego one mini), the regular size at 19mm with 2.5ml capacity and the mega version at 22mm with a whopping 4ml capacity.
I prefer the sleeker regular version, though the Ego one Mega clearomizer is excellent for long trips or for those times when you are just so busy and can’t waste time refilling every couple of hours.
The Ego one clearomizers come with pre-built coils (which are actually pretty decent), but what makes the Ego One truly shine are the CLR rebuildable coils. These are very easy to rebuild (much easier than rebuilding a Protank), has juice flow control and produces some of the most excellent flavor from a clearomizer!
They come in 0.5 and 1 ohm packs, but keep in mind the 1 ohm CLR coils has smaller airflow compared to the 0.5 ones. I prefer the 1 ohm coils, and they work great at 18-20 watts – vapor might not be what you get from a Zephyrus, but flavor is much better (for me) with the smaller coil chamber, and I don’t have to spend a ridiculous amount on e-liquid since the CLR doesn’t drink e-juice like the Zephyrus. The rebuildable head is also extremely versatile, and can accommodate horizontal or vertical coils. Battery life is also much better, and a single 18650 battery can last all day if you use a higher gauge wire with a mech.
While it is a great Clearomizer, The Ego one can be pretty expensive for what it is. On fasttech, the regular Ego one clearomizer costs roughly $12 (not a bad price), but the CLR coils costs a whopping $17 for a pack of 5! These are not disposable units and are meant to be rebuilt, so this bit of investment will actually cheaper in the long run compared to buying new coils every other month.
Another disadvantage to the Ego one is the fact that you will need NR-R-NR wires (which can actually be bought premade) if you want to continue rebuilding the CLR heads, or you run the risk of melting the insulators and greatly reducing the lifespan of the coils. While these are not too expensive, it is more of a hassle than using straight kanthal or nichrome. Overall, the Ego one is definitely one of my favorites despite its shortcomings.
Subtank mini Clearomizer
Subtank mini – Another Clearomizer by KangerTech, and quite possibly the most successful sub-ohm clearomizer to date. The Subtank series actually comes in three sizes:
- The Subtank standard (25mm)
- The Subtank mini (22mm)
- The Subtank nano (18.5mm)
It is important to take note of the fact that while they can all use the same pre-built OCC coils (Organic Cotton Coils), all other parts (including rebuildable decks) are NOT interchangeable. Therefore, for the purpose of this article, we will not be considering them in the same category – quite frankly, the subtank mini is an altogether different league compared to its regular and nano counterparts.
The subtank mini is a very well built clearomizer; the design is a vast improvement over its predecessor the Protank series in terms of performance, aesthetics and capacity. At 22mm in diameter, the size of the Subtank mini is just right for standard mechanical mods, and will look good on most box mods as well. Filling it is exactly the same as the Protanks, though aftermarket top-fill parts are available.
The Subtank mini is able to hold a decent 4.5ml of e-liquid, which would last quite a while at moderate wattages. While the Standard subtank can hold up to 6ml using OCC coils, it has less capacity when using its rebuildable deck at only 4.2ml. The Subtank mini definitely wins in terms of capacity (with only a small difference when using OCC coils), and form factor.
The Standard Subtank is much heavier, and 25mm will not look good on most tube mods and smaller box mods. It is also top heavy, and might feel unwieldy on lighter mods; The Subtank Mini does not have this problem.
On the other end of the spectrum, the Subtank nano does not have a rebuildable deck, and might appeal to those who do not plan on rebuilding, or those with more experience and can rebuild Protank-style heads with NR-R-NR wires. Nevertheless, the greatly reduced capacity makes the Subtank nano less appealing to most vapers compared to the Subtank Mini simply because Subtanks consume a lot of juice at higher wattages.
The Subtank’s OCC coils are considered some of the best premade coils in the market today. The quality is consistent – you may get a bad one once in a while, but that is to be expected with mass produced products. However, I have noticed less “bad” coils from Kanger than other companies – and this dedication to consistently good quality is one of the reasons why KangerTech is still one of the most dominant companies in the business.
The OCC coils come in 0.5 and 1.2 ohm kanthal, as well as 0.15 Ni200 TC variations. They use organic cotton as the wicking medium, and they produce a very clean and flavorful vape as a result.
However they are not cheap, at around $10 for a pack of 5. The organic cotton also lasts shorter compared to silica, since they can’t be dry-burned. They can be rebuilt, but are much harder to get right than Protank coils.
In terms of vapor production, the OCC coils produce thick, dense vapor that will surely fog up a small room in minutes. Like other sub-ohm clearomizers, the OCC heads will consume a lot of juice, and generally doesn’t work well with lower wattages. The Subtank mini also comes with a rebuildable deck that is easy to rebuild, has large juice holes and open airflow. It works very well with higher wattages (around 30 watts seems to be the sweet spot), and the airflow can be adjusted form wide open to restrictive mouth-to-lung.
It is important to take note that if you close off the airflow too much, it will result in flooding – the only way to remedy this is to stuff the juice holes with more wick or use higher VG juices. Surprisingly, the Subtank mini has better airflow compared to the standard version – this is especially noticeable on the rebuildable decks. The Mini’s rebuildable part is simply better designed.