As we all know, the Vaping Industry certainly loves its technological advancements and the ebb and flow or fashions and trends. Cartomizers anyone??! Unless you’re a complete newbie to vaping then you’ll have likely heard of the practice of ‘dripping’.
It’s not quite become mainstream and probably always will be more on the serious enthusiast's end of the spectrum. However, in this guide, we’re going to look at dripping, how it’s done, why it’s so great and some of the best rebuildable dripping atomizers (or RDAs) on the market.
What Is Dripping And How Does It Work?
“Dripping” is the process of vaping manually by dripping e-liquids directly to your device’s coil.
If you look at most e-cigarettes, vape pens, and mods, you’ll see that these devices use their tanks or cartridges to store e-liquid. The e-liquid then flows out from the cartridge/tank to the atomizer, which turns the liquid into vapour. You can then use this to vape continuously for a few hours.
Dripping, on the other hand, uses a mod that does not have a tank to hold extra e-liquid.
Without a tank/cartridge, you start by placing a few e-liquid drops directly to the atomizer. This atomizer—called a “dripper” or a “rebuildable dripping atomizer” (RDA)—is composed of much larger coils than traditional vapes.
So, What Is The Appeal Of Dripping?
Dripping sounds a lot simpler than traditional devices, but it can prove to be difficult for beginners. For one, you have to know how much juice you should add and after how much time. Too small an amount, or too late after your last vape, and the wick may burn, resulting in a harsher, burnt taste. On the other hand, too much juice too soon and your device will overflow.
You also have to constantly re-drip after every 10 vapes or so, as opposed to continuously vaping for hours. For those who are just starting out, there is the risk of juice dropping on your hands, which wastes premium e-liquid and gets pretty messy.
Mastering the complexity of dripping is often considered an art form by vaping gurus, which then deters newbies. But why the craze around this method?
- Bolder, richer flavour thanks to the direct heat applied to the e-liquid.
- Thicker clouds of vapour, which makes it a favourite among cloud chasers.
- It is more cost-effective as a vaper would only use the amount that they drip (as opposed to losing e-liquid every tank change).
- The “lung hit” by inhaling the vapour directly into the lungs without holding it in your mouth first. It will then give you that stronger hit in the back of your throat.
- Dripping can let you easily and quickly test the taste of the e-liquid before you purchase.
Now that you know the difference between dripping and other forms of vaping, let’s take a look at the equipment which makes this technique highly enjoyable:
1. Drip tips
Of course, you cannot put your lips directly on the hot atomizer. Drip tips are basically a mouthpiece placed right over the atomizer to direct the vapour into your mouth. Some have holes on the drip tips where you can drop the e-liquid, while others can drip directly on the atomizer.
Drip tips come in different materials, shapes, and sizes. Your choice depends largely on your preference, whether you want to use it to fit your style or take a more practical approach.
The drip tip design and shape plays a huge role in the experience you will have with dripping. This can, however, get confusing, considering the many options you have. The key here is to understand how each component affects the other:
- 510 drip tip – This comes with a standard 8.5 mm base diameter, but the airflow varies between 4.5 mm to 2 mm.
- 810 or Goon-sized drip tip – This uses a wide-bore drip tip, a term used to refer to any drip wider than a 510 base. One RDA’s drip tip may not fit another perfectly. Also, this most often comes only in Delrin or Resin material.
- Chuff cap – This can be interchangeable, given that it follows fixed diameter sizes (e.g. 22 mm, 24 mm).
Even though the 510 and the chuff cap have standardised widths, you also have to take into consideration the base’s diameter and the tip's diameter.
Remember that a narrower tip can create stronger flavours, but you will have to suck harder. A wider tip, on the other hand, can make direct-lung or restricted-lung inhales easier, effectively making medium-sized clouds easier to create.
Secondly, the shorter the drip tip’s height, the better flavour you get. But you do run the risk of getting spit back with this.
To be safe, be sure that the drip tip follows the diameter of your atomizer’s chimney. Keep experimenting to find out what size produces which result.
2. Drip shields
This is an accessory that helps prevent e-liquid from leaking. Drip shields look like open-ended tubes (comes in either straight or cone shapes) that you will then slide over the atomizer and the drip tip.
3. Dripping atomizers
There are three types of dripping atomizers:
- Rebuildable dripping atomizer (RDA) – The choice of the DIY vaper, RDAs allow you to build and install your own coil and wick setup. If DIY is not your thing, you can also choose pre-built coil setups, then just place it inside your device when it needs a new coil.
- Bridgeless dripping atomizer – A product of users’ modding their devices once dripping came out, bridgeless atomizers do not come with a mesh that is typically found over the coils. This mesh makes sure the e-liquid spreads out across the coils. Without the mesh, you can then drip directly on the coil, resulting in a stronger hit.
- Mechanical mods and advanced personal vaporizer (APV) – Mechanical mods do not have any electronics (e.g wires, circuit boards) within the device. You can vape by just making coils for it. Without electronic features, you’ll run on the battery’s life, with your vape getting weaker as the battery does. APVs, on the other hand, have electronic features that will control the device, thereby making it the safer choice. If you want to use mechanical mods, make sure that you fully understand coil building and Ohm’s Law.
Drip Tip Materials
Drip tip materials affect the flavour, the device’s look, and your comfort in using it. Each material comes with its own pros and cons:
- Stainless steel – Doesn’t break or stain, but can get too hot when it touches your teeth (a definite downside for chain vapers).
- Delrin – Also called POM (polyoxymethylene), it’s heat resistant and doesn’t stain, but the aesthetics are not too great (often comes in black or coloured tips).
- Wood – Heat resistant with great external appeal, but it tends to collect the taste of your previous e-liquid. Can also feel uncomfortable on your lips.
- Glass – Heat, rust, and stain resistant. Also looks good on your atomizer. However, it is prone to breaking and shows visible condensation.
- Teflon – Comfortable and soft on your teeth, and is also heat resistant. Colours, however, are limited.
- Resin – Style greatly varies, with colours and swirls. Shinier than a Delrin drip tip.
- Ultem – One of the latest plastic materials out in the market, Ultem is both heat and flame resistant.
- Hybrid – Combines two or more materials.
How To Drip Vape Properly
To drip properly, follow these steps:
- Open the atomizer.
- Look for the coil or the bridge.
- Place 3 or 4 e-liquid drops on either the coil or the bridge (depending on which device you have). Do not overfill your drip atomizer as hot droplets may fly up to your mouth and burn you.
- Attach your drip tip. Do not forget this step as accidentally touching your lips on an exposed coil will definitely burn you.
- Inhale, and remember that 3 to 4 e-liquid drops are only good for a few hits before you start the process again.
- Once you get a dry hit, add more liquid. Without a tank, you will get a bad flavour and eventually cause your device to meltdown.
- Clean gunk accumulation on your drip tip regularly. Place the drip tip under hot tap water, then clean off with soap. Alcohol wipes is also a quick way to clean it, especially after sharing with someone else.
The Best RDAs From Superior Vapour
Superior Vapour offers a wide array of RDAs that will fit both seasoned and beginner drip vapers. Here are a few of them:
1. Carnage RDA
Engraved with a Carnage logo, this RDA comes with a 25 mm, solid copper 510 base, with an Ultem drip tip. It also comes with silver-plated squonk pin (and extra 0-rings). You can choose from 8 colours.
2. Goon 1.5
An upgrade from its 2016 version, the Goon 1.5 RDA now has a domed internal cap, wider and thicker posts, and cyclops airflow. Its 25 mm standard 510 base comes with stainless steel bridge, clamps, and screws, making it an automatic favourite among our customers.
3. PRG-24 RDA
Taking inspiration from six shooter cylinders, the PRG-24 comes with a non-adjustable cyclops airflow, T-clamp centre post, and low negatives. Its thick wall cap effectively protects you from heat.
4. Goon RDA
The Goon RDA comes with a Delrin wide bore drip tip and a bridge clamp that can easily accommodate massive builds. With a 24k gold bridge plate, you’re sure to get a clean and conductive connection.
5. 2 Post Kennedy RDA
The 2 Post Kennedy RDA has a two-post lead-free copper design that allows it to be installed with bigger coil builds to be placed over huge airflow holes. Made in the USA, the craftsmanship shows via its quad direct bottom holes, larger juice well, and 4 x 3.5 mm Air Tubes.
Choosing Your Drip
Although it may appear daunting for the newbies—considering the lingo, equipment, materials, and various styles—dripping can hugely enhance your vaping experience. Think of it as tasting a gourmet meal for the first time; with dripping, you will start to appreciate what, for many, vaping should feel like.
Now that you have a basic understanding of what dripping is, make sure to consult an expert before investing in your first drippable atomizer and trying it for yourself. At best, an incorrect setup with poorly-built coils will give you a poor vaping experience; at worst it could be dangerous for you.
Send us an email at email@example.com, give us a call at 01179 669309 or come visit us and we’ll be able to advise you on the right fit for your preferences.