If you’re graduating from a standard vape kit, you may be looking into how to build your vape device. Many experienced vapers prefer to build their device so that they can customise every part to their own tastes and preferences. Customising your vape means that you can get more flavour from your e-liquid, take control of the power behind your vape and even achieve larger vapour clouds. 

Sounds good right? But, you may have found yourself coming across options such as RTA and RDA, and you’re now wondering what exactly the difference here is. Both RTA and RDA vapes are rebuildable atomisers, and you will need to build your own coil and wick, which can be fiddly! But don’t let this put you off, once you get used to the process, you’ll soon find it an easy and even enjoyable task. 

Plus, if you prefer Sub Ohm vaping, then building your own coils for either RTA or RDA can be even more beneficial as you can save money on buying the supplies to build, rather than buying prebuilt coil heads which will work out as more expensive.

To decide which option is best for you, read our full guide on the RTA vs RDA debate today.

What is an RTA Vape?

To get started, an RTA vape stands for Rebuildable Tank Atomizer. The main difference here between RTA and RDA is that RTA’s use a tank to hold your e-liquid. The capacity of your tank can range from 2ml to 6ml; this is dependent on which brand of RTA you choose. RTA’s tend to be on the larger side, and so there is an option to suit everyone’s preferences and functional needs. 

What Makes Up an RTA?

There are several different components of your RTA, and these are: 

Drip Tip

The drip tip is the hollow mouthpiece of your vape which you use to draw on when using your vape. Available in a wide range of different colours, designs and sizes, you can choose a drip tip which reflects your style for a custom look. Often made from Delrin plastic, the drip tip remains cool and comfortable against your lips; however, you can also choose options crafted from pyrex glass or ceramic. These materials perform better at resisting heat which makes them another popular choice. 


You may have come to realise that the majority of vape tanks are top filling for convenience. The cap screws onto the top section which holds the tub into place. Once the cap is unscrewed, there are holes and slots where the tank can be filled.


With an RTA the chimney is usually in two parts. Often the chimney would be part of the top section of the tank and is screwed into the top part of the chamber.

Glass Tube

The glass tube is held in place by the top section and the deck section. 


One of the most important parts of the RTA, the chamber takes its place over the deck, posts, coils and wick. Slots in the chamber, sometimes referred to as ‘juice holes’, allow the e-liquid to flow down onto the wick. 

Deck and Base Section 

Finally, the deck and base section is a hollow chamber. It feeds up into the deck to provide airflow that blows onto the coil; this process aids in catalysing the heating of the coil and juice.

Why Choose RTA?

Many people choose RTA as its larger tank means you can hold more e-liquid than in an RDA. Plus, you don’t need to drip as often. However, it is worth noting that they can be susceptible to leaking if they are not wicked correctly or left on their side, so it is important if you do choose an RTA, that you make sure you take proper care of it. 

What is an RDA Vape?

RDA stands for Rebuildable Dripping Atomizer, and the major difference between this and the RTA, is they drip e-liquid directly onto the e-cigarette wick. They also have more parts than an RTA, which you can find below. 

The Parts of an RDA

Drip Tip and Cap

The drip tip and cap remain the same as for an RTA. These make up the top section of the device and are essentially the mouthpiece and the cap that is removed for the tank to be filled. Some RDA’s come equipped with a removable top, known as a ‘chuff cap’. This means that the top can be removed, when dripping, without the need to remove the whole cap. It also means it can be replaced with a different colour for a more customised design. 

Posts and Deck 

Next, your RDA consists of posts and a deck. The number of posts can vary, and in some cases, your RDA may even be postless. Part of the base, this is where you will find the posts and the deck together. 

Juice Well 

Beneath the deck, you will find the juice well. Its size can vary and can usually only hold a small amount of eliquid, which is why some people prefer the larger design of an RTA. 


The coil is the heating element which heats the e-liquid into a vapour, and it is available in configurations of single, double, quadruple, octuple, and more. 


Finally, the last part of an RDA is the wick. Made from cotton material, the wick holds and draws the juice through convection, and is most often fed through the coil. 

Why Choose RDA?

RDA is a popular choice over RTA, as you will get better flavours from a dripping atomiser. This is because the vapour has a shorter amount of travel to your mouth. As well, dripping directly onto the wick means that you can vary flavours more often for a wider juice mix. 

However, with no tank for e-liquid in an RDA, you will need to drip more often than you would with an RTA as the juice well holds significantly less e-liquid. It is also likely to leak if it is overfilled, but this is something which can be controlled and monitored to ensure it doesn’t occur. 

The Next Steps 

Now that you’ve made your choice between an RTA and RDA, there are a couple more tips which you should consider. 

  • Take the time to research coil and wick materials, to determine which will be best suited for your RTA or RDA atomiser. 
  • Make sure you check the resistance of your coil using an ohm reader to ensure it’s safe and won’t damage your RTA or RDA. You should repeat this process regularly to maintain your atomiser. 
  • Invest in a good battery to ensure you can make the most out of your experience. 
  • Finally, watch some coil building tutorials online so you can get a good idea of the process before you try it yourself. 

We hope that our rundown guide on the difference between RTA and RDA has helped you to make an informed decision. At Zombie Vapes, you can find everything you could need to get started, including a collection of coils, tanks and more accessories

Alternatively, if you no longer think that building your own vape is the option for you, you can shop high-quality MLT and Sub Ohm kits also online now, and discover a world of flavour with our range of e-liquids.


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