The 411 on Clearomizers, Cartomizers and Cartridges

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What are clearomizers, cartomizers and cartridges?

The e-cig market has a multitude of component choices, allowing each person to customize their vaping experience. Yet to newcomers, all that choice might look a little intimidating. How do you start, and how do you expand without wasting a lot of money?  In fact, what are the differences between clearomizers, cartomizers and cartridges?  Lets us help you out.

One of the earliest device issues involves choosing a tank. Each of the three main styles have features that some Vapers love and others dislike. One type isn’t objectively better or worse than another; it’s all about preferences and priorities.

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Cartridge

clearomizers, cartomizers and cartridges

A cartridge does not come with an atomizer.

A cartridge is essentially a liquid chamber. It’s part of a three-piece device and can’t produce vapor on its own. While all e-cigs require battery power, cartridges also require a separate atomizer for heat. Nonflammable fiber inside a cartridge soaks up eLiquid and makes contact with the atomizer’s heating element, which creates the vapor.

Cartridges may come pre-filled with eLiquid, meaning there’s no chance of blending flavors or using a different brand; you’ve got what you’ve got. That said, some cartridges are refillable. There’s a bit of a learning curve to refilling any tank; you’ll get the hang of it, but it can be messy at first. Also, cartridges don’t hold a lot of eLiquid, which means refilling or replacing them often.

Some people feel that separate atomizers are better than atomizers in combined units because they deliver better quality vapor. They can be reused several times yet are relatively inexpensive to replace. Of course, that points out the fact that you have to purchase atomizers separately. Do you want two replaceable parts or one? Vapers with some experience may be more comfortable with cartridges than newcomers.

Cartomizer

clearomizers, cartomizers and cartridges

A cartomizer is a combination of a cartridge and an atomizer.

As the name implies, a cartomizer combines a cartridge and an atomizer into one unit. The fiber wraps directly around the heating coil and soaks up eLiquid within the same chamber. The convenience of having only one replaceable part appeals to many Vapers, and cartomizers usually hold more eLiquid than cartridges. More liquid means longer vape time without refilling.

Like cartridges, cartomizers may come pre-filled with eLiquid, limiting your customization options. On the other hand, a pre-filled cartomizer is also disposable, meaning you’ll get a new atomizer every time you switch out. Disposable units can be very handy for traveling and for newcomers who don’t want to mess with cleaning refillable tanks.

While refillable cartomizers do allow you to customize flavors, you have to clean them each time you want to switch. Some Vapers say that the fiber filling leaves lingering tastes from previous flavors. One other drawback is the inability to see inside a cartomizer. If the eLiquid runs out, you’ll experience an unpleasant burned taste, a dry hit, from the fiber. Still, the wide variety available in cartomizers makes it an easy style to start with and to expand with as you become more experienced.

Clearomizer

clearomizers, cartomizers and cartridges

A clearomizer offers the most versatility, but is also the most expensive.

Clearomizers use a wick to draw eLiquid rather than fiber around the heating element. Some Vapers say this creates better flavor, and that wicks are easier to clean, but they can still retain some previous flavor.

Clearomizers have the biggest tanks available, able to last a heavy vaper all day. Additionally, the units themselves tend to last longer than other tank styles. They also tend to be more expensive upfront, and some people have experienced cracks or leaks.

As you see, each tank style has its good and bad points. Do you want convenience, choice of flavors, more eLiquid per refill or is vapor quality most important to you? It’s all about preferences and priorities.  Take a look at our best vape tank list.  Any one of these is guaranteed to provide a great vaping experience.

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Jim H

I started vaping in January 2011 and haven't had the desire to smoke a traditional cigarette since. It inspired me so much that I created this website to help others like me who want to quit smoking. I hope you enjoy the site and please leave a comment.

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