Atomizers vs Clearomizers vs Cartomizers

Nobody expects new vapers to become experts overnight. Choosing the right vaping device and components can be challenging. Beginners and even regular vapers can often struggle when it comes to knowing which vaping kits best suit their needs.

Thankfully, we're here to help. Vaping 101 has an excellent range of vaping devices and products. We also provide a range of blogs and guides to help you find the info you need.

This article will focus on atomizers, clearomizers, and cartomizers to give you a better understanding of all three. Keep reading to discover the difference between these options, their pros and cons, and how they work.

What Makes Atomizers, Clearomizers, and Cartomizers Similar?

Let’s start with the similarities. Atomizers, clearomizers, and cartomizers all perform the same basic function. This function is creating the vapour you breathe in by atomizing the e-liquid using a heating element.

There are some key differences between the three that make them more suitable for certain uses. Let's take a closer look at each one.


This section will explore a relatively common question in the vape world; "what is an atomizer on a vape?". Understanding what a vape pen atomizer is will help you when choosing your vape kit.

What is an atomizer?

Atomizer is a general term – both clearomizers and cartomizers are technically atomizers. The term ‘atomizer’ simply refers to the part of your vape that turns e-liquid into vapour. This consists of the reservoir, which holds the e-liquid, the wick, which absorbs and transports e-liquid, and the coil or atomizer head, which heats the e-liquid. 

So, in simple terms, reservoir + wick + coil = atomizer. 

This is the case regardless of whether you use a traditional vape tank, a pod system that uses replaceable pods, or an advanced rebuildable atomizer. Clearomizers and cartomizers are just different types of atomizer. 

This is the simple definition of an atomizer. However, when vapers talk about atomizers, they’re often specifically talking about rebuildable atomizers, which are a more advanced type of atomizer preferred by serious vaping hobbyists. 

What are rebuildable atomizers and how do they work?

Rebuildable atomizers, also known as RBAs, are a type of vaping setup where vapers can build their own coils or install pre-built coils to achieve their desired vaping experience. 

There are a few different types of rebuildable atomizers. 

  • RDAs, or Rebuildable Dripping Atomizers were designed for superior vapour production. With a small juice well instead of a tank, these rebuildables require vapers to drip e-liquid directly onto the coils. 
  • RTAs, or Rebuildable Tank Atomizers have a chimney and bell design system between the build deck and drip tip, helping achieve dense vapour with great flavours. 
  • RDTAs, or Rebuildable Dripping Tank Atomizers offer the best of both worlds – they’re a hybrid of RDAs and RTAs. 

If you’re a new vaper, don’t worry too much about these different types of rebuildable atomizer. These are not very beginner-friendly and are best left for more advanced vaping hobbyists because they require more knowledge, skills, and tools to build coils. Vapers may use a vape mod or ohmmeter to check the coil resistance of coils they build to ensure the perfect vaping experience. 

Rebuildable atomizer pros

  • A great choice for heavy use and experienced vapers
  • Great customisation options
  • Strong and clean taste

Rebuildable atomizer cons

  • Can be messy
  • A complicated option that can be challenging for beginners
  • Requires a good understanding of ohm’s law


Clearomizers are the most popular option for new and intermediate vapers. They are a convenient and easy option that all levels of vapers can use. With a clearomizer, there’s no fiddly coil building necessary. 

What is a clearomizer?

A clearomizer is a plastic or glass vape tank that you can see through, hence the name which combines ‘clear’ and ‘atomizer’. These atomizers offer the vaper an excellent level of convenience and ease.

How does a clearomizer work?

Clearomizers are simple to work with. They are an excellent choice for beginners as they require significantly less work than atomizers. The replaceable atomizer head will typically be located at the vape tank's base. The coils are easily unscrewed when a replacement is required.

Clearomizers pros

  • Good e-liquid capacity
  • Fewer refills required
  • Can be customised
  • Compatible with rebuildable and regular coils
  • A good option for heavy usage
  • Easy to use for beginners

Clearomizers cons

  • Sometimes it can be difficult to remove previous e-juice flavours
  • Glass options can leak or crack
  • Can be a little expensive


Cartomizers are the least common options. As you will see below, they still offer some value to vapers.

What is a cartomizer?

Cartomizers can sometimes be referred to as extended atomizers. This is because they have longer cases. Cartomizers are more commonly found in e-cigs that try to imitate the feel of cigarettes. This can be comforting to anyone transitioning from smoking to vaping.

However, cartomizers are typically the least favoured of all the options mentioned.

How does a cartomizer work?

Cartomizers can be refilled, but it is often not worth the effort. They are typically used and disposed of when they stop working.

They are most commonly found in disposable e-cigarettes. The limited lifespan makes this a handy choice without commitment.

Cartomizers pros

  • Similar feel to cigarettes
  • Low-priced
  • Commonly found
  • A disposable option
  • Convenient pre-filled option

Cartomizers cons

  • Complicated to reuse or refill
  • Poor option for heavy use
  • Taste can be dulled by the wick
  • Worse range of flavours
  • Previous e-juice flavours can taint the flavour

What Should You Choose?

Choosing between atomizers, clearomizers, and cartomizers will be based on your personal preferences. Taking a look through the pros and cons we have listed can help you make this decision.

Cartomizers are a more outdated option and are more difficult to find. However, these vape pens are still a great option for convenience. This is because you won't need to concern yourself with refilling. Prefilled cartomizers can be disposed of after use.

The low price of these vape pens makes them an option that is suitable for use over a short period.

Clearomizers are the most popular option. They are suitable for both beginners and advanced users. They are both convenient and offer customisation options.

The large vape tank allows more e-liquid storage. Using larger vape tanks is great for those that don't want to carry their e-liquid bottles with them.

Swapping coils can allow different resistances. Different vape coil configurations can help users find their optimal flavour and vapour levels.

Rebuildable atomizers are best suited to advanced users. This is because they require a high level of tinkering and maintenance. Dedicated vapers will enjoy the benefits of customising their own atomizer. This can help to improve the intensity of flavours and the size of vapour clouds, depending on the individual’s preferences.

Testing the different options can help you make your decision. However, this can be a more expensive option. The different benefits of each option allow you to make an educated decision. The cons of each should also be a big factor when making your decision.

Final thoughts

We understand how difficult it can be to choose the right vape kit. There are many different kinds of vape mods, tanks, and brands to choose from. Deciding on the atomizer that best suits your needs can help to narrow your search.

Rebuildable atomizers can be more challenging. However, they can provide users with an excellent vaping experience. More experienced vapers are best suited for this option.

The convenience of clearomizers and cartomizers can be beneficial to beginners. Ensuring your vape devices function properly will ensure you get the perfect vaping experience 

No matter your preference, there is an option to suit your needs. At Vaping 101, we offer a range of high-quality products and e-liquid to suit everyone, from beginners to advanced users. If you’re new to vaping, check out our range of starter kits for our most user-friendly and simple vapes.

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