Know Your Vape Device: The Difference between an Atomizer, Clearomizer and Cartomizer

Know Your Vape Device: The Difference between an Atomizer, Clearomizer and Cartomizer

The rapid growth in popularity and uptake of vaping has been clouded by a lot of misconceptions about what benefits vaporizers and e-cigs offer and, more importantly, how they work. One main thing that many users don’t understand is the difference between cartomizers, clearomizers and atomizers; what exactly are they? Do you know what their role is in your vaporizer or how one differs from the other? Without this information, it is likely that the choice of vaporizer or e-juice you select will be wrong thus making your vaping experience horrible or unnecessarily expensive.


A basic vaporizer has a lithium ion battery, a tank that contains the e-juice and an atomizer which contains a wick and coil. The atomizer’s main function is to convert the e-liquid into vapour. This happens when the e-juice is absorbed through the wick then the battery powered coil heats up the wick until the e-liquid converts into vapor. This is the standard science behind how a vaporizer or e-cigarette works.

The e-liquid slowly releases from the tank to the wick inside the atomizer from where it will be heated up. The wick controls the uptake of e-liquid and ensure only the right amount is absorbed every time a user inhales or activates the vaper. This slow release of e-liquid onto the wick is referred to as dripping since, essentially, the e-liquid is dripping onto the wick.

Dripping directly onto the atomizer gives off vapors with a flavor punch like no other; the vapor is unadulterated because it moves directly from the tank to the wick thus ensuring its flavor is at its purest. However, dripping directly onto the atomizer has its disadvantages; since there is no obstruction between the tank and wick, more often than not, first time users and users who mishandle the vaporizer end up with a sticky mess on their hands, pockets and even clothes. If handled incorrectly, the e-juice may flood the vaporizer and spill out through the air holes. This may cause the holes to block causing a total malfunction of the device. Again, for first time users who are yet to get a handle on their vaping habits, the device might produce smoke instead of vapor if the e-juice is depleted and the coil is burning a dry wick.


This is a clear, transparent device fitted between the tank that holds the e-liquid and the atomizer that burns an e-liquid soaked wick. The clearomizer helps users note how much e-liquid is left in the device and prevents that unpleasant smoky vapor that happens when the tank is empty. This is especially useful for users who have a hard time keeping track of how much e-liquid they consume per session. Another advantage of clearomizers is that they come in adjustable sizes allowing the user to get the most out of vaping; also, since you have a clear view of the wick, e-liquid and coil, one can adjust how much of the wick makes contact with the e-liquid, this, in some way, controls the amount of e-liquid consumed every time you vape. Clearomizers help users spend less on e-juice and have a more fulfilled vaping experience.

Professional vapers have gone a step further and customized their devices by adding more coils to the atomizer thus giving them larger plumes of vapor. Some devices are also fitted with the capability of replacing the entire atomizers or just the wick and coil once exhausted; this is a new feature that is made easier by the use of a clearomizer.

There are several types of clearomizers that can be used on your device; top coil clearomizer which is positioned very close to the atomizer thus promoting a pleasant, warm vapor and can be refilled from the top making it convenient and clean; a bottom coil vaporizer has excellent wick quality which does not dry up and produce a smoky vapor, it may however be cumbersome and difficult to use; multiple coil clearomizers give good quality cool vapor but require more battery power thus limiting their efficiency.


Very similar to a clearomizer except that it is pre-manufactured with an atomizer head so the device does not need to have a separate atomizer to work, and it is pre-filled with e-liquid making it disposable after use; it is pretty much a plug-and-play unit. Some cartomizers may be packed with poly-fill to control how the e-liquid is dispensed, other ceramic types do not have poly-fill. Additionally, some may not have a wick but instead have poly-fill with e-liquid dripping directly onto a vertical coil while some have no poly-fill but instead an e-liquid drenched wick that is wrapped around a horizontal coil.

It is important to note that manufacturers today do not use cartomizers as they may be a bit old fashioned; they are difficult to clean and refill, they mostly come in the same flavor and do not offer a lot of variety choice for different palates and finding devices that still use cartomizers may be difficult. Nevertheless, the cost of a device that uses a cartomizer is fairly lower than atomizer alone or clearomizer devices; their disposable cartridge and plug and play nature makes them cheaper, user friendly and more convenient when compared to their refillable counterparts.

Now that you know what an atomizer, clearomizer and cartomizer is and how they each affects your vaping experience, it is time to get what works best for you. Newbies in the vaping arena should consider the more flavor-filled experience a clearomizer gives versus the old fashioned cartomizer or complicated atomizer. For those in a rush and in need of a backup or emergency kit, then consider getting a cartomizer vape kit, its cartridges are pre-filled with e-juice which you can switch out easily when depleted. Finally, for users who like to keep track of their vaping habits and e-liquid consumption rates, who vape regularly and enjoy a good DIY e-juice recipe, a clearomizer is the best option for them.

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