Alright. You want to blow the biggest clouds possible with a handheld vaping device. I can dig that. The first step you’ll need to take on the path to painting the air with puffs of swirling vapour is to pick up a rebuildable dripping atomizer (RDA)
Well, that’s technically step two, but this way sounds better. What you really need to start off is some information about the best RDAs around.
If you’re unfamiliar with rebuildable atomizers (RBA) skip down to our buying guide below, but otherwise, here are our current favourites.
Best RDAs - Australia 2019
#1 Vandy Vape & Vaping Bogan - Bonza V1.5 RDA
- Easily manipulated build deck
- 303 steel construction is incredibly durable
- Leak resistant
- Great airflow and big clouds
- Good flavour
- Big screws and clamps
- Hard to manipulate air holes
Building up on the original design, the Bonza V1.5 has been updated to fix up its previous shortcomings. The top cap has been redesigned so that it now locks onto the deck to allow easier airflow adjustments. The interior of the top cap have been changed as well, mostly going for the bigger is better ideology. The juice well has been enlarged to 9mm. The clamps and screws have also been enlarged to facilitate easier rebuilding.
This atomizer’s 24mm deck comes with a plethora of parts. This includes the all but necessary squonk pin, and it boasts an outstanding total of 30 airflow holes.
Performance wise, this dual coil beast blows out insanely huge clouds. I didn’t have any problems with leakage thanks to the deep, 9mm, juice well. Going further, the beefy clamps made this thing a breeze to rebuild and wick. There wasn’t even a need to precut my leads with how the deck is arranged. I just had to insert my coils, tighten them down, and trim the leads with a cutter.
I highly recommend this particular atomizer for those of you that are new to rebuilding. The Bonza 1.5 is easy to build, leak resistant, provides great flavour, blows huge clouds, and isn’t an overly complicated design.
#2 Hellvape & Mike Vapes - Rebirth RDA
- Easy to build and wick
- Good flavour
- Top flow holes reduce leakage
- Deals well with heat buildup
- Small juice well
- Squonking might produce dry hits
The Rebirth is a dual coil RDA that measures at 24mm of diameter. This design uses a honeycomb style of airflow holes. Said air channels are connected through tubes to run directly underneath the coils connected to the deck. This atomizer also uses a two post style build deck and boasts a 6mm juice well.
The honeycomb airflow design immediately interested me, and I found myself excited to get this puppy built. The only problem is that this was when I started to run into some issues.
My first gripe with this RDA is the deck design. While the Rebirth’s deck is a two post design on paper, it’s essentially a fusion of that and a postless deck.
The issue I run into is that there are only two holes for a dual coil build to stuff their leads into. In short, I had to spend the time to carefully stuff two leads into the same hole. If the wires are too thick, I’d have to remake both coils from scratch from a thinner material. It might just be me, but I feel as though the design could’ve gone for adding an additional two holes so I could install the coils separately one at a time.
Other than that, I didn’t have any glaring issues once I got the Rebirth built and working. The honeycomb like airflow design made it easy to make quick adjustments, and the resulting clouds bloomed magnificently while maintaining the taste of the e-juice.
#3 GeekVape - Loop V1.5 RDA
- Convenient to drip
- Great airflow
- Exceptional flavour and cloud production
- Easy to wick
- Loose drip tips
- Coils and cotton not included
This updated version of GeekVape’s Loop comes crashing into this competition with a DTL style dual coil design. Measuring at 24mm of diameter, and with a juice well of 5mm, this atomizer also comes bundled with a squonk pin.
In my experience, GeekVape crafts some lovingly fine atomizers. The Loop 1.5 easily falls into this category with its unique build deck. Shaped like a “W” and sporting a postless deck, this design is made to channel fresh air underneath the coils. With four holes to stick the leads in, installing coils isn’t a chore, and there’s plenty of wiggle room to thread wicks through.
I was worried about the size of the juice well at first, but GeekVape has that potential issue covered in the Loop V1.5. Overflowing in this RDA is a non-issue due to the elevated deck of the deck.
Another thing I enjoyed about the Loop V1.5 was how the feeding system is designed. There’s no need to pop the cap off in order to drip fresh juice on the cotton. The “W” shape of the deck channels e-juice directly into the well without issue.
One gripe I have with this product though, is that I found the drip tips to be a little on the loose side. It’s not something major, and the easy buildability of this model makes it something I cautiously recommend to new cloud chasers.
I say cautiously as precutting the leads can be difficult if you don’t have a good measuring tool.
#4 Wotofo & Mr.JustRight1 - Profile RDA
- Produces very little heat
- Vapes cleanly
- Creates good sized clouds
- Mesh is easy to install
- Runs either single coil or mesh
- Spring-loaded cotton support
- Top cap is loose
- Airflow is hard to adjust
This collaboration piece is a new RDA developed by Wotofo and Mr.JustRight1. It measures at 24mm in diameter that is designed to use either mesh or single coil configuration. Along with that, this RDA boasts a deep juice well, is constructed of superior stainless tell, wide ceramic clamps, a large build deck, comes with a squonk pin, and uses beehive type air slots.
The first thing I’m most impressed with is the spring-loaded ceramic cotton support. This block keeps the cotton firmly flush against the mesh strip. As a fan of the mesh style design philosophy of maximizing the heated surface area, I’m more than willing to overlook how quickly this RDA goes through juice.
The mesh design provides quite a few benefits. Being thin, the mesh heats up quickly, but also cools down significantly faster than coils do. This helps to prevent your RDA from spitting back e-juice, and decreases the likelihood of burning your lips on a hot drip tip. There’s also some consideration to be had of the larger surface area cleanly burning larger, and satisfyingly tasty clouds.
Building the Profile RDA is also exceptionally simple. The large clamps and screws makes making even the smallest adjustments an easy task.
If I have anything to complain about, it’s that adjusting the airflow can be difficult. There’s nothing there to really grip my fingers on.
#5 Vandy Vape & Tony B - Pulse V2 RDA
- Highly versatile
- Great flavour and clouds
- Smooth airflow
- Easy to build
- Proprietary squonk bottle
- Can’t adjust outside airflow
- Plastic airflow inserts are fragile
The 24mm Pulse V2 is the newest brainchild from the unholy, or holy, collaboration between Tony B and Vandy Vape. And upgraded version of the previous Pulse, this RDA uses a clever insert system to give it two different airflow configurations, and the option to switch between dual coil and single coil operation.
Versatility is the major selling point of this product, and speaking of this RDA’s strong points, let’s talk about the inserts.
The honeycomb and dual coil inserts work together in concert to provide a fresh, delicious experience you’d expect from a two wire system. But if you feel like switching over to a single coil with better airflow, the single coil insert uses to same honeycomb design with slightly longer air channels. While you won’t get the same level of cloud production as the dual coil configuration, the taste is about the same, and you’ll use up less juice to boot.
That said, there are some problems. While it’s great that this product comes with a squonk bottle, the design is a proprietary one. If it breaks on you, you’ll have to shell out for another replacement of the same kind from the same company. Another issue is the lack of airflow adjustability outside the cap.
My Top Pick of the Five
Tough choices all around. I found myself edging towards the Profile RDA, but the sheer ease of rebuilding my top pick was the decider.
My winner of the roundup is the Vandy Vape X Vaping Bogan Bonza V1.5 RDA. The Bonza 1.5 is the king when it comes to breaking an RDA down and putting it back together. The large screws and clamps makes it a dream to work with, and the airflow control is just a little bit easier to use than its primary rival, the Profile.
If squonking wasn’t a thing, I probably would’ve ended up handing the crown to Wotofo and Mr.JustRight1. Being able to directly drip juice through the cap is a level of convenience that is thoroughly destroyed by a squonk bottle, however. But as it is, the Bonza V1.5 ekes out a win at the barest of margins.
What is an RDA?
An RDA is a barebones style of atomizer that is designed to give you the greatest taste, and the largest amount of cloud production you can conceivably draw. You could argue that this type of build heavily favors the purist, artistic side of vaping.
There’s no tank involved in an RDA. Where other types of vape builds have a container to hold a reservoir of e-liquid, a dripper doesn’t have anything like that. In fact, the way you feed an RDA is to directly pour e-liquid onto the cotton after every few draws.
Hence the “dripping” portion of the acronym.
Types of RDA Configurations
Given that there are less working parts to an RDA compared to an RTA, you’d think there was less information to parse through.
Sorry to say, but there is plenty of information that needs to be studied in order to obtain the mythical, perfect cloud.
For the barebones basics, an RDA is made up of a top cap and a drip tip that covers a deck. Of these, the top cap and the drip tip are of lesser importance. You can think of those two pieces as the RDA’s protective shell, and the drip tip is essentially just the tool you use to inhale e-juice.
The deck is the portion of an RBA where the magic happens. Basically this is where you connect your coils to in order to vaporize your e-liquid. The deck does this by connecting to a battery and running a charge through the holes or poles on the deck. Then the coils that are connected to the negative and positive poles or holes forms the current you use to heat the cotton.
In simpler terms, these types of decks are the ones with the little prongs sticking out the top. They come in a variety styles from two, three, and four posts. The method for connecting coils to them is essentially the same. All you do is connect a coil between a positive and negative post to make a circuit before cutting away any excess on the leads.
The basic concept of a postless deck is still the same as a posted one. The only difference is that you need to insert your coil leads into the holes to form a complete circuit. Like their pronged counterparts, a set of screws are used to loosen and tighten the coil leads to the posts or holes.
While RDAs may not come with a tank, they do have a small juice well that holds a small amount of e-liquid. This extra space allows cotton to soak up just a little more e-juice. This allows an RDA to give you a few more draws between vapes.
The deeper the juice well, the more juice it can hold.
Airflow control is an important part of any vaping device, and RDAs are no different. Much of the taste that an RDA provides depends heavily on the type of airflow it uses. The amount of air you draw in also directly affects the size of the clouds you exhale.
There are an exhausting number of different designs, but each do the same thing. Provide maximum control over an RDA’s airflow, draw fresh air into the vape, and minimize e-juice leakage.
Advantages of an RDA
One of the major advantages a rebuildable device offers is how cheap it can be. The initial price to buy all the necessary components to build an RDA might be a little expensive, but your overall expenditures are going to end up equalizing that amount over a period of time.
In comparison to a sub ohm device, you can buy a package of organic cotton and a roll of wire for a bit less than proprietary coils. These items can last you for up to a year, while a pack of three sub ohm coils may only last a single month with heavy use.
Other than the overall cheapness of an RDA, this style of vaping has two other big advantages going for it.
Taste and cloud production. Dripping is the gold standard of vaping when it comes to these two categories. If you want huge, heavenly clouds that taste impossibly good, an RDA can’t be beat.
As a minor note, RDAs also tend to be easier to build than RTAs.
Disadvantages of an RDA
So here’s the major downside. For your bog standard RDA, convenience is a huge problem. Compared to an RTA, the tankless RDA has to be redripped every few pulls before a dry hit rips into your lungs.
Fortunately, many modern RDAs come with an extra post that is hollowed out. These connect to something called a squonker. Basically it’s a plastic bottle on the underside of an RDA that holds a measure of e-juice. Just squeeze the channel a few times when it comes time to redrip, and you’ll be ready to take another pull.