Published on: 22/08/2022
Cartomizer, clearomizer and atomisers: how to distinguish between these devices and which one to choose
If you are a vaper, you probably know very well what an atomiser is, even if you are still a freshman in this field. After all, it is one of the first terms that people who start vaping come into contact with, like the words ‘mum’ and ‘dad’ for babies.
Perhaps, however, someone among the more experienced vapers has explained that the universe of electronic cigarettes does not end at atomisers and that there are also other types of e-liquid vaping devices, such as cartomisers.
So, all it took was to add two simple letters to that word you thought you knew so well, and confusion set in in your mind.
What the heck is a cartomiser?
I will explain it to you in the following article, in which I will also tell you what characteristics distinguish it from other vaping devices. Then, finally, we will summarise how to find the one that best suits your needs.
How atomisers, cartomisers and clearomizers work
Atomisers, cartomisers and clearomizers have one feature in common, namely their working mechanism: inside them, there are two metal ends, one positive and one negative, connected to a coil wound around a wick (almost always made of cotton).
In contact with e-liquid, the latter becomes impregnated, and as the e-cigarette is activated by heating the heating element, the liquid evaporates.
In more detail, let us examine these three types of devices to clarify their differences.
Read also: Vaping melatonin with an electronic cigarette: can it be the solution to better sleep?
What is an atomiser?
According to Treccani, “an atomiser is a device used to disperse a liquid into tiny droplets”.
And for the world of vaping, is this definition equally valid?
More or less, yes. In vaper jargon, ‘atomiser’ is a generic term for any device used to vaporise an e-liquid, regardless of its other characteristics.
Clearomizers and cartomisers, on the other hand, are two subsets of the broader category of atomisers.
These are the main characteristics of clearomizers
Clearomizers are the most commonly used type of atomiser by all vapers, so much so that these two terms are often confused with each other.
As can be guessed from the name, the term for them is a combination of the words clear and atomiser and was coined to highlight the fact that one of their main features is the presence of a transparent tank (tank) that allows the level of liquid contained inside to be checked.
Usually, apart from the tank, they also include a replaceable coil that screws onto their base, a chimney that connects the resistance to the vapour outlet and a drip tip, through which one takes mouthfuls while vaping.
Please note: although all models with interchangeable resistors are considered clearomizers, it is becoming common usage to use this term to refer specifically only to those for cheek vaping (MTL).
The cartomiser: an increasingly rare atomiser model
A cartomiser is a component consisting of a cartridge with an integrated atomiser: in short, an all-in-one device that screws directly onto the battery. Devices that fit it often have a shape and size reminiscent of a traditional cigarette, so much so that they are frequently referred to as ‘cigalikes’.
The peculiarity of cartomisers is that they are disposable components sold pre-filled with e-cigarette liquid: once finished, the cartomiser can be thrown away and replaced with a new one.
They are increasingly rarely chosen as most vapers prefer to opt for clearomizers because of their predisposition to be customised to the user’s needs.
And regenerable atomisers, what happened to them?
Readers familiar with the world of vaping will undoubtedly have noticed that among the atomisers described so far, those with regenerable resistors are missing.
I wanted to discuss them separately because these devices do not have a precise place among those described above. However, some consider them part of the clearomizer category, at least when they sleep with a liquid reservoir.
However, according to many others, they can be considered part of a separate whole.
In any case, they are atomisers which may or may not have a tank and which possess resistances which are, as mentioned, regenerable, i.e. which must be built by the user from metal wire and cotton.
Often, they are referred to by the acronym RBA (rebuildable atomiser). Those with tanks, mainly, are referred to as RTAs (rebuildable tank atomisers).
So, cartomisers, clearomizers or RBAs?
Each of these categories has its pros and cons, and in choosing one, you will have to sacrifice some features in exchange for others.
Cartomisers are an excellent solution for those who want a practical and convenient device with which to vape without overthinking about resistances, which type of liquid to use and all the other elements that can be modified in clearomizers and RBAs.
Indeed, having an electronic cigarette with a disposable cartridge that can be replaced in a flash once the e-liquid has run out is a great convenience.
However, those who opt for these devices have to make do with the pre-filled liquid and the performance of the cartomiser, which is far inferior to the alternatives.
Clearomizers are the atomisers of choice for most vapers, both experts and beginners. Their success is due to their ability to balance freedom of customisation and convenience of use. Sure, they are a tad less practical than cartomisers, but the experience they offer is light years superior to the latter.
Finally, veteran vapers often prefer RBA atomisers, the die-hards constantly searching for the best devices to enjoy vaping to the fullest.
They are unsuitable for beginners because learning how to build resistors properly is not such an easy task; they also require significantly more effort than other atomisers.
However, those who have tried them ensure that it is worth spending the extra time preparing regenerable resistors to enjoy their e-liquids to the fullest and enjoy a vaping experience that has no equal.
Read also: 80/20 electronic cigarette liquids: what they are and when you should choose them
In this article, I have explained what a cartomiser is and what characteristics distinguish it from other types of atomisers. By reading the information I have given you, you should know which type of vaping device is right for you.
If you want my advice, I suggest you aim for clearomizers or RBAs, so you don’t compromise your vaping experience. Otherwise, you might be dissatisfied and risk falling back into the smoking habit!
To get the most out of your vaping sessions, we recommend using high-quality electronic cigarette liquids: you will find plenty of them in the Terpy shop, all tasty and available in different compositions so that they can be used for both cheek and lung vaping!
If you prefer to create your DIY liquids, I suggest you take a look at our concentrated flavourings and nicotine bases.
We look forward to seeing you on Terpy.shop!