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2021 Atomizer (RBA) Battle: RDAs vs. RTAs vs. RDTAs

Posted by David on

When it comes to the more advanced styles of vaping, nothing gets the job done like a rebuildable atomizer, often shortened to “RBA”. Rebuildable atomizers are a gamechanger for any vaping enthusiast’s hobby, acting as a more customizable alternative to the standard Pyrex and Stainless Steel sub-ohm tank.

In many ways, RBAs predate sub-ohm tanks. Before hardware manufacturers developed tanks that allowed the user to install pre-made coils easily and safely, vapers who wanted to use box mods and similar powerful devices had to build their own coils, which naturally requires a lot more effort and knowledge, not to mention time. Since then, sub-ohm tanks have reigned supreme, but there’s still a surprising number of vapers who prefer to build their own coils anyway, because they offer the vaper the ability to craft a coil based on their precise needs, rather than having to rely on the sometimes-limited selection of pre-built coils that are available.

What Kinds of RBAs Can Vapers Find in Today’s Market?

There are different kinds of RBAs, but what they all share in common is that they allow the vaper to make their own DIY coils for more precise control over their vaping experience. So, what’s the difference?


An RDA is a rebuildable dripping atomizer, and it’s the most popular type of RBA there is. As the name implies, it’s associated with dripping, which is the dominant vaping style for cloud chasers. Dripping involves pouring a couple of drops of vape juice directly onto the coil, placing the mouthpiece onto the RDA and taking a couple of puffs before starting the process all over again. Tedious it may sound to some, but the incredibly thick and fluffy vapor you can achieve can be well worth it.

Note: A specific type of RDA known as a BF RDA (bottom-feeding RDA) is used for squonking, which involves a squonk box and an atomizer that gets e-liquid filled through the bottom.


  • üCloud-Chasing: With an RDA, you can expect the biggest and thickest vape clouds possible. This is the go-to for any cloud chaser who cares more about vapor production than any other aspect of vaping.
  • üCompatible with a Squonk Box: If you’re going to be using a squonk box system, you’ll need to grab an RDA – more specifically, a bottom-feeding RDA. This is the type of atomizer compatible with this system, in which e-liquid is essentially squeezed into the atomizer through a bottom-feeding channel.
  • üEasy to Find: RDAs are more popular than RTAs and RDTAs, meaning that you’ll have an easier time finding an RDA when you’re ready to invest in a rebuildable atomizer.
  • üPerfect for Dripping: An RDA is the atomizer you need if you’re interested in dripping, which is a very specific vaping style. No other type of atomizer will work.


  • ØNot Ideal for Long Vaping Sessions: RDAs do not contain tanks, which means they cannot hold enough e-liquid to promote long vaping sessions. You need to apply a little e-liquid to the coil at a time, and this is time-consuming if you’re just trying to get a setup that allows you to enjoy puffs of vapor effortlessly throughout the day.


An RTA is a rebuildable tank atomizer, which still offers DIY coil-building but acts as a tank, so that the vaper can pour a nice amount of e-liquid into the tank and enjoy it throughout the day. This is a change from the RDA, which requires that only a small amount of e-liquid is poured onto the tank directly, specifically for dripping. RTAs, like RDAs, come with a build deck for coils, but the deck is located in the middle of the tank component, just like a coil sits in the middle of a standard sub-ohm tank.


  • üHolds E-Liquid: Of course, the main benefit of an RTA is that unlike an RDA, it has a juice well so that you don’t need to repeatedly pour e-liquid onto your coil just to enjoy a couple of puffs of vapor.
  • üIdeal for Flavor: Many argue that an RTA is the best atomizer for flavor, as the act of sucking the vapor up through a chimney and concentrating it can allow you to taste your vape juice more strongly.
  • üStill Offers Great Cloud Production: Don’t get us wrong – an RTA is still an excellent choice for cloud-chasing, since you can customize your coil build to develop a configuration conducive to massive, dense clouds.


  • ØNot as Associated with Cloud-Chasing: While RTAs are great for cloud-chasing, they are not the RBA that will give you the biggest clouds – that’s what RDAs are for.
  • ØNot Compatible with Dripping or Squonking: If you want to try dripping or squonking, an RTA will not get you anywhere. For these vaping styles, you’re better off with an RDA.


Lastly, we have the newest addition to the RBA market, which is the RDTA. As you may have guessed from the name, this combines elements of both types of RBAs to offer something of a hybrid. An RDTA is a rebuildable dripping tank atomizer, with an RDA-style deck that sits above a tank and lacking a chimney system more associated with an RTA.


  • üBest of Both Worlds: With an RDTA, you get better clouds than you would with an RTA, and better flavor than you would with an RDA.
  • üMulti-Functional: With an RDTA, you can enjoy dripping and traditional vaping with a filled tank.
  • üMore Features: Many RDTAs come with more customizable features, including various airflow adjustments that change the tightness of your draws.


  • ØStill Not the Best Choice for Dripping/Cloud-Chasing: An RDTA allows you to drip while providing a tank as well. But, the coil is located farther away from the drip cap than it is in an RDA, so ultimately, you still won’t get as big of a cloud with each puff.
  • ØRequires More Maintenance: An RDTA has more individual parts than either an RDA or an RTA, meaning that it requires more maintenance as these parts must be cleaned regularly.

Which Atomizer is Right for You? The Choice is Yours!

Ultimately, the RBA that you select depends on what you’re looking for out of your vaping experience. Each type is associated with a unique type of vaping style, so consider the different vaping styles out there, as well as your vaping priorities, whether they be cloud-chasing, flavor-chasing or what have you. From there, you can explore the various RBAs at The Vape Mall to find one with the features and design that captures your unique vaping goals.

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