Published on December 14th, 2015 | by AJ4
Best RDAs 2017 | Ultimate Buyer’s Guide
Welcome to our RDA vape list of 2016. We look at some of the best RDA vapes currently on the market for flavor, clouds and price.
An RDA atomizer is different then an RTA atomizer. In fact every atomizer is different in it’s own unique way which is one of the reasons I like vaping.
As a quick recap for any beginners reading, an RDA vape works by vaporizing e juice that is directly dripped onto the coil as opposed to being fed in from a sub-ohm tank.
While this setup doesn’t hold as much juice as a tank, the benefits of a RDA are the unbeatable flavor & thick super-plumes of clouds you just can’t get any other way.
In a short time, they have built a solid reputation as a company that makes high-quality atomizers at affordable price.
As we detail in our Tsunami RDA review, the package is not limited only the RDA itself; he or she also gets 3 additional drip tips, 4 screws and an adapter for a drip tip 510.
Simple but versatile, the Nimbus RDA has 2 ground posts and one positive post which means this rebuildable atomizer allows you to build single or dual coils.
2 air holes on opposite sides of the top cap allow plenty of airflow and adjustable throat-hit.
The Nimbus RDA Dripper is constructed of stainless steel and polished to a sheen for a clean finish.
It looks fantastic on almost any vape mod and it vapes like a train.
Although The Nimbus RDA is awesome right out of the box, it is also perfect for those who like to use the best drip tips for their vape mods into a veritable fog machine.
The Sapor RDA is an original, affordable top airflow rebuildable atomizer that features a deep 6mm juice well, a split positive post, adjustable dual top airflow, and an elegant look.
The Sapor RDA features a redirected dual top airflow style, with each airflow slot measuring an ample 12mm by 2mm, allowing for tremendous airflow while fully open.
Manufactured out of high grade Stainless Steel and German Made Insulators, the Sapor RDA is a fully featured rda atomizer with top airflow system and enormous value.
The Lush RDA by Wotofo is a RDA designed specifically to induce the most cyclonic and turbulent airflow with six angular drilled airflow holes on each side making this rebuildable atomizer a beast.
Manufactured out of Stainless Steel with a silver plated copper contact, the Lush RDA is a workhorse atomizer tank that has ample airflow and has an extremely well rounded building deck, as well as the option for standard 510 drip tips.
If your looking through this list and find it hard to believe that the Velocity RDA is a clear number one best vape RDA, then let me tell you a little more about the Velocity RDA.
This elite RDA has so many stand out features that it puts quite a distance between itself and the rest of field.
The Tobeco Velocity RDA comes neatly packed and looks just as nice when you unpack it.
With the 6 adjustable airflow holes this RDA puts itself in the running for best cloud chasing RDA.
This authentic Velocity RDA also has a two-post design as well as a massive juice well to go with their easy coil install and replacements.
A few special features I enjoyed about the velocity rda authentic, is that the base of the RDA will lock into place with the mod.
By simply placing the Velocity RDA onto the Vape Mod and making a small turn to the right, the mod and RDA will lock in place.
These are just a few great features about how great this RDA vape really is.
See more about the Velocity RDA in the review.
The Hannya RDA by Blitz Enterprises is one of the most innovative rebuildable atomizer released thus far in the market.
The Hannya takes a unique method to the build and post construction, utilizing a postless system that features terminal caverns.
Engineered with seven airholes on each side measuring at 2mm in diameter each with adjustable airflow features, it can be fine-tuned for single or double coil mode.
Designed with incredible value and ingenuity in mind, the Hannya RDA is the quintessential RDA for all creative cloud chasers.
The Wismec Indestructible Atty by Jay Bo Designs features the integration of several of the most innovative designs to date in rebuildable dripping systems.
Offering an incredible amount of designs well above its price point, the Wismec Indestructible features an innovative top cap design, offering a fully adjustable vortex flow system that users can adjust via a tension fitted airflow washer.
With four airholes on each side, each measuring 2.5mm, the top airflow can provide a tremendous amount of total airflow through the chamber.
The side airflow has been designed to integrate a single coil centric offset airhole cluster, making the Indestructible a top end performer for single coil enthusiasts.
Jay Bo Designs signature side airflow offers the tried and true vape experience.
Combined with the large juice wells, the Indestructible RDA is capable of handling even the most exotic and intricate builds.
Manufactured utilizing 303 Stainless Steel, PEEK insulators, and a gold plated 510 connection, the Wismec Indestructible Atty is truly one of the premiere rebuildable dripping platforms today.
The airflow runs from under the deck to within millimeters below the coils.
This provides excellent flavor and a great vape.
No more adjusting the airflow on the top cap.
The juice well is deeper than other atomizers which allows for less dripping in between vaping.
The post holes easily accommodate 20 gauge builds.
The posts are secured by screws and the center post made of copper.
If you are looking to drip less, get better airflow and flavor without having to go to a tank, this is the perfect atomizer for you.
The competition series of the Kennedy RDA doubled the airflow holes from 2 to 4 and also comes with a short and ultra wide bore Dragon drip tip.
The competition Kennedy RDA is designed from ground up to be your competition ready RDA vape!
Dark Horse RDA
The Dark Horse RDA is not only a high-caliber piece of vaping equipment, it’s almost a piece of art.
It features gold-plated hardware and a stately Pegasus logo emblazoned on the sleek chassis, which is available in multiple metallic color options.
The Dark Horse is more than just a conversation piece, it also features 16 preset airflow levels and square posts to accommodate serious coil builds.
This makes it a top capable RDA on the market as well.
With all the airflow options at your disposal, you can open it up all the way and chuck huge clouds of vapor or close it off and get amazing flavor.
It really has the best of both worlds.
Twisted Messes RDA
The Twisted Messes RDA by Compvape is a competition style atty with loads of features.
A locking airflow control, three drip tip options, a 6mm deep juice well, a four-post design, and two interchangeable AFC sleeves is a short list of the features that the Twisted Messes RDA has to offer!
If you’re looking to get a RDA and it’s your first time, the Tugboat RDA V2 is the best RDA dripper for you.
The Tugboat RDA features a deep drip well for beginner-friendliness.
The authentic Tugboat RDA also has an adjustable airflow on both sides of the unit for ultimate airflow and cloud production.
In a product market where many tinkerers resort to drilling air holes in insufficiently ventilated RDAs.
The ability to have yours be ready for showtime right out of the box is essential for any new user.
The Tugboat V2 RDA addresses the issue by providing enough airflow in the first place.
Mutation X V5 RDA
It is this Darwinian methodology of thinking in which a well-known, and well-tested platform must be completely redesigned from the ground-up in order to reassert itself in a competitive market.
It is this synergy of two polar opposites in which the Mutation X V5 RDA was born.
More On Looking for the Best RDA For You
With RDA vape setups, you build your own coils, so it also gives you more room for customization of coils, wicks and resistance to achieve the ideal vaping experience.
It’s important to understand that a coil is just like an electrical circuit so safety is every bit as important as performance with RDAs.
Of course, like with any other piece of vaping equipment, all RDAs are not created equal.
Choosing the best RDA is often the difference between starting a collection and fleeing right back to the familiarity and comfort of tanks.
Trial and error can get expensive and leave e juice stains in your pockets.
Is the biggest atomizer vape on this list?
We’ve taken performance, safety and innovation into account to bring you our own RDA vape list.
Taking a Look at the Deck
Depending on which brand you buy, the decks will vary.
Each RDA can have a different post arrangement or a different number and that is what your wire attaches to.
The basic concept is that each RDA has one positive post and one negative one.
The positive one is usually in the center and the negative one will be found outside of the center area.
When you start to build your atomizer you will attach one lead (or end) of the coil to the positive post and of course, the other one goes to the negative post.
Simple so far, right?
Most drippers have holes drilled into the posts.
When building your RDA, you will put your wire all the way through that hole, then screw on the top bolt of the post to hold it in place.
If there is no hole in the post, you will sandwich the wire between the top of the post and the bolt.
When you see a dripper with more than one negative post, that means you can build an atomizer with multiple coils more effortlessly.
Certain RDA atomizers will make this simpler for you by having multiple holes drilled into the post in the center.
When looking to buy your first RDA, you should look for one that has only two or three posts for one reason – they’re easier to learn how to use when starting out.
On some like the Tugboat for instance, there is three posts – one is a positive post and the other two are your negative posts.
The juice well is nice and deep so that it holds more E Juice. If you take the top apart you’ll find your airflow control.
This is where you can decide how much air flow you want by closing it up some or allowing it to be fully open; the choice is yours to make and whatever makes you feel the most comfortable.
Here is a tip for you: When you are creating a rebuild, make sure to line the air holes up in from of your vape coils.
The reason is that the vapor is much nicer and the flavor is improved as well.
Now when you turn the cap upside down you’ll see three sets of air holes on top but only two on the bottom.
There is a reason for that. This is so that your atomizer can be used with both one or two coils and both will work efficiently.
For instance, if you wish to use a single coil, you simply spin the top piece so that a single air hole is open while the other one is closed for business.
For a two hole set up where you put two coils on the opposite side of each other, just leave both air holes open.
This is why you may hear others talk about using an RDA or dripper in single or dual coil mode. Be sure to get the best coil jig you can find.
Dual coil mode means that the third set of air holes is not there – you cannot close off one side without closing the other.
You can actually run a single coil this way but there is a little caveat in that you’ll get a very ventilated vape and actually lose a lot of the flavor of your E Juice.
Your First Dripper or RDA
For your first build, you may want to consider a three post design that has an adjustable airflow.
All this means is that you can get the hang of things first – it doesn’t mean you can’t build a single coil.
Getting a reasonably priced dripper is a good idea at first so you can practice.
Also, keep an extra drip tip on hand since not every dripper comes with one. Better to have an extra than not have one at all when you’re ready to use it.
Knowing the Difference
Just so you know the difference between an RDA, an RBA, and an RTA – here it is:
Simply put, an RTA has a tank.
These atomizers are used for “dripping” which means, you directly drip E Liquid on the wick and coil.
After a few drags, you drop in more juice because the wick becomes dry again.
Some examples would be the IGO-W, Patriot, Nimbus, Trident, etc.
These atomizers are the ones that have tanks built into it to hold E Juice inside of it.
Most of the time, these tanks will be made out of some transparent material like plastic or glass although those made out of all metal material do exist.
Some examples would be the RSST, Russian 91, Ithaca, Kayfun, etc.
Just so it’s not confusing, which it can be awhile an RTA has a tank, an RBA may have one or it may not since an RBA can stand for an RDA or an RTA.
To make it easier to understand, apples and oranges are both fruit. In that same vein, RDAs and RTAs are all RBAs.
- Ohms Reader
- Miscellaneous tools such as a small 2mm screwdriver, Allen key or additional small screwdriver, small propane or butane torch, tweezers, small wire cutters, scissors.
There are tons of choices you can make for your wick material such as:
- Silica. This is essentially quartz that is spun long and twisted together into various diameter cords.
- Ekowool. This is a specific brand of silica that is braided rather than twisted, so it frays less.
- Cotton. Many use cotton that has not been dyed, unbleached 100% cotton yarn or cotton balls – cotton must be boiled and washed thoroughly before use unless it is marked as sterile.
- Stainless Steel Mesh. This is very finely woven stainless steel thread, ideally raw 316L stainless, in #325, #400, or #500 – this number denotes the number of threads per inch in the mesh.
- Stainless Steel Cable. With cable, it is vital that only raw stainless steel is used and never use galvanized stainless steel for anything to do with E Cigarettes or vaping.
Common wire material used includes the following although Kanthal is the most common you’ll hear about and find available.
Kanthal A1 Resistance Wire
Kanthal A Resistance Wire
Nichrome Resistance Wire
Oxidize Your Wire
Cut a piece of your Kanthal wire in about a four to five inch piece.
Three should be enough but you do want extra so it’s easier to hold.
Hold the end of the wire with the tweezers and light your butane lighter or torch.
Heat the wire at the end until you see the orange glow then do the entire piece.
Wait a few moments for it to cool down then grab the other end of the Kanthal wire and repeat the process.
Oxidizing it makes the wire much more effortlessly to work with.
Wrapping Your Coil
- To wrap your coil you will use the screwdriver, wire, and tweezers.
- Place the wire near the top of the screwdriver near the handle area.
- Holding the wire with your thumb, start wrapping it around the screwdriver until you have about eight wraps. Keep the coils near to each other without making an overlap.
- Make it tight and don’t have any slack if possible. After you have the eight wraps, both leads should be facing the same way.
- Count your number of wraps again to double check your work so far and once you’re sure that it has eight of them, hold one lead with your fingers firmly and pull on the other one with the pliers or tweezers.
- Do this again with the other lead to remove any slack in the coil. Keep your coil on the screwdriver.
Installing Your Coil
- Now your next step is to take the RDA build deck and untighten the post screws almost the entire way.
- Loosen them up but do not remove them because they can become lost and once you drop one, they’re hard to locate.
- Take the coil that you have on your screwdriver and put one lead in the negative post hole and one in the positive one.
- Use the screwdriver you already have inside of the coil and put the coil in position near the center of your RDA.
- Now you can tighten your post screws but don’t overdo it or else you may slice the wire in the post and then you have to start over.
- Once your coil is securely mounted, trim the leads close to the posts.
Test Your Coil
- Next you will want to take your RDA and screw it on to your ohms reader and turn it on to be sure the new coil on your RDA doesn’t have a short.
- It should measure close to your target resistance of 1.2 ohms but it is important to remember it is quite common and normal for coils to have a slight variance in resistance of up to .2ohms.
- If your coil is displays the proper resistance within .2ohms you are ready to move on to the next step.
- However if your ohms reader is not reading your coil or displays a resistance more than .2 ohms different than your target resistance there is a problem that needs to be fixed.
- These problems are typically pretty easy to take care of.
Important things to remember
- Check to be sure your RDA’s post screws are tight
- Check your coils positioning to make sure it isn’t touching the deck or posts
- Be sure your atomizer is screwed completely into the ohms reader
If these steps corrected your problem you are ready to move on to the next step.
If those steps did not correct your problem try making another coil.
If you continue to have an issue there might be a problem with your atomizer or with your ohms reader.
Test Firing Your Coil and Eliminating Hot Spots
- Once you have your coil installed the right way and you don’t have any shorts then you can place the RDA on your mod.
- You’ll want to fire it until the coil glows once it is installed. Once you see the glow, stop firing it and squeeze your coil with the tweezers.
- Make sure you do this over again until your glow is even starting from the middle and moving outwards towards the outer wraps.
Wicking Your Coil
- There are many things you can use to wick your coil, organic cotton, silica wick, eko-wool (silica braided around cotton) are all very popular for different reasons and uses.
- For this purpose we prefer organic cotton for its superior flavor and wicking abilities.
- You will want a piece of material just big enough to snugly fit inside your coil leaving about half an inch on either side.
- It sometimes helps to wet and twist the end of your wick to get it started. Push it in from one side of the coil and pull it out the other side.
- If It doesn’t go through easily you likely are using to much material for your wick.
- On the other hand if your wick is sliding loosely inside the coil there is not enough material.
- Once your wick is threaded though the coil take the wick sticking out of each side and trim them so they are just long enough to be folded over to sit on the deck of your RDA.
- Once your wicks are trimmed wet them with a few drops of e-juice and fold them on to the RDA deck paying mind not to push them underneath the coil so air can reach the entire coil.
Test a Second Time
After wicking your coils it is likely they were pushed on or moved around a little.
It is important to recheck your RDA’s post screws are tight.
Then recheck your resistance on an ohms meter. Be aware it is possible that your resistance might have changed slightly +/- .2ohms but this is normal.
If everything checks out you are ready to move on to the next step.
If there is a problem you will need to recheck everything working your way backwards until you find the problem.
It is always imperative to keep safety in mind when building your own coils.
Here are a few tips to keep you safe and sound:
- Test – Always test the resistance of your coil before you put power to it.
- Math – Use the Ohm’s Law to do the math first so you will know how much current you are going to draw with your coil.
Keep in Mind. If you build a coil with too little resistance and use it on a device without safeties (like a mechanical APV), you will probably destroy your battery, could destroy your APV, and might get hurt.
Of course, like with any other piece of vaping equipment, all RDAs are not created equal.
Choosing the right one is often the difference between starting a collection and fleeing right back to the familiarity and comfort of tanks.
Trial and error can get expensive and leave e juice stains in your pockets.
The package of benefits it offers promises to make this an auspicious debut with the manufacturer.
Best known for its high-quality clones, Infinite outfits its first original entry into the RDA Grand Prix with a 304 stainless steel body, cyclops-style adjustable airflow, and space for dual coil builds.
It brings it to market with a price point substantially below other comparable RDAs. If you’re looking for a value option, consider the Infinite CLT.Get the Infinite CLT RDA – Only $29.99!
If you appreciate originality will find themselves intrigued by the Vulcan RDA.
It addresses the relatively common issue of overheating with a totally new construction style.
It also has a solid piece of stainless steel with functional heat fins for more efficient heat dissipation.
The Vulcan also has a one of a kind vaping process, as the juice wells extend under the coils for more capacity in a smaller design.
Made in Japan, this revolutionary RDA also features laser-cut vent holes for the highly precise machining that delivers the most outstanding performance.Vulcan RDA | Only $29.95!
The IGO-W is another excellent basic option for those just starting to dip their wicks in the world of RDAs.
It features durable stainless steel construction and compatibility with the vast majority of 510-threaded drip tips. It also has two airflow holes at the side of the unit, a sealed battery connector for added safety and an extra post to enable quad coil setups.
The IGO-W is designed as everything the RDA rookie needs to get started.UD IGO-W RDA | VaporDNA.com | Only $14.99!
The world of RDAs can seem rather intimidating for a newcomer with the number of options on the market, and even worse, spending more money is no guarantee of getting superior product.
Any RDA vape can do a mediocre job of delivering the benefits of the system, but the top RDAs of 2016 distinguish themselves through striking aesthetics, inventive functional design and stellar performance.
Don’t be afraid to start building your own coils. Just remember that safety is always first.