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April 05, 2021 4 min read

The RDTA is in some ways somewhat of a mythical entity amongst vapers, although this certainly depends on who you are speaking to! If you are reading this you may well be like me and already thoroughly enjoy and own more than 1 of them already. At the same time you may have never even heard of them. It would appear that pretty much everyone who is past the “absolute beginner” stage of vaping has at least heard of an RDA or an RTA. Many intermediate vapers own one or both of them, however (in my experience at least) the so called RDTA seems like a much less common choice of hardware. 

There are (as always) plenty of contradicting opinions on the internet forums and product reviews, from how to build and set one up for optimum flavour right down to whether you should even bother buying one in the first place! I would say that just like most products available, they have pros and cons and everybody and every product is different... However from personal experience they can be a strong addition to your vape collection and bring tonnes of satisfaction from big flavourful clouds IF built and wicked correctly. 

A small note on that... It pays dividends to be patient with any rebuildable hardware, a bit of experimentation on the build front can go a long way. I would urge you not to fall into the trap I regularly fell into when I was a total beginner to this level of vaping; “the flavour is rubbish even after building 2 or 3 times it must be the design of the hardware, I will buy the next shiny bit of kit I see”. Sometimes it just takes trying a different type of coil or a different wicking technique to really make those clouds and flavour pop. But that is for another article, so lets get back to the subject in question.

What are they and why would I want one?

Lets start off with a quick definition for those of you who are yet to discover this concept.

R.D.T.A is an acronym for a Rebuildable Dripping Tank Atomiser.
For purposes of clarification there are also:

R.D.A (Rebuildable Dripping Atomiser) 
R.T.A (Rebuildable Tank Atomiser)

The difference: To saturate the cotton with juice ready to be vapourised in an R.D.A you must drip straight onto the wick and then repeat the process once you have made some lovely flavourful clouds. On most RDA's you can achieve this by dripping the juice straight through the drip trip however on most MTL RDA's you have to remove the top cap to access the wick as the drip tip is a tiny diameter, though not always. You cannot store large amounts of juice in an RDA and in my experience they can get quite messy when you forget you had already dripped and filled the juice-well then stuck your trusty set up into a pocket or bag. 

On an RTA the build deck is slightly different as it generally has ports for you to tuck the wick ends into at the base, then the majority of the deck is encapsulated inside a chimney section that leads to the drip tip to channel the vapor. This section is then encapsulated again by a glass tank however some are made of other materials.

The tank is then filled and the small port openings that are left exposed are where the juice is drawn into the wick ready to be vaped. In fact this is very similar to how your favourite sub-ohm tank works from a structural perspective. You cannot drip juice onto the wicks with an RTA.

You've probably worked out already that the RDTA could be described as a combination of both, the most common design incorporates a small tank section beneath the build deck, which is instead of the juice-well found on an RDA, and there are holes in the deck which allow the wick ends to be tucked down into this tank. It is like the best of both worlds, the ability to drip straight onto the wicks is coupled with the portable functionality of a tank so you don't necessarily keep having to reach for the bottle of juice, open it and drip because juice is being wicked up from out of the tank below (Some RDA's can be juice guzzlers that require re-dripping after just a few hits!) all of this into consideration, the name makes sense: Rebuildable Dripping Tank Atomiser.

After thoughts: It is true that IF wicked right the RDTA can alleviate the problem of juice spillage that can happen with RDA's that you had forgotten you had dripped into. Though the key word is IF. It can be tricky to get right at first and takes some practice, so don't be disheartened if you end up with a leaky RDTA (usually due to the the wick being too thin or loose.) Also if the flavour seems very muted then you may have the opposite problem - too tight of a wick or too thick.

Takeaway: I assure you with enough experimentation you can have that eureka moment when you have built and wicked it beautifully and get that popping flavour and cloud and can then enjoy your new favourite RDTA without the leaks or constant dripping, yet if you feel like you need that super saturated hit, you can still drip straight on to the wicks and enjoy. Be prepared to experiment with different coils, different leg lengths and coil placement plus trying out different styles of wicking; Comb out more, comb out less, use the Scottish roll technique with organic cotton pads or try using the bowtie technique with specific vaping cotton available on the internet. If you are using high VG juice in your RDTA you may need to try the Pancake wicking method. But more on that later. 

(This subject deserves it's own article so watch out for that in future).

- CreatorPeter Stephens -

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