Rebuildable Atomizers (RBAs) and Tanks

Advanced personal vaporizers come with or are compatible with rebuildable pieces, like tanks and atomizers. By “rebuildable” the manufacturer means a device does not have to be disposed of when the wick becomes yucky. It can take a while for this to happen, after which you would ordinarily throw out a tank and replace it.

The same is true of atomizers: they lose their ability to heat liquid or they lose their consistency, so you throw them out. A lot of atomizers and tanks are made cheaply and cannot be taken apart easily, so they are essentially disposable items.

Reducing Wastefulness

When you first use an electronic cigarette, probably a mini like a Volt, Eversmoke, or a Halo, you use disposable parts in spite of the fact that your device is rechargeable. Maybe you tried disposable e-cigs and were appalled by the capacity for waste inherent in using these convenient items. Rechargeable e-cigs seemed like a much better idea for the environment and your wallet.

Mini cigs work with cartomizers: atomized e-liquid cartridges. Each one has a built-in atomizer so each refill will heat properly during the life of the liquid. Both the tank and the atomizer are disposed of when liquid runs out.

Blank cartomizers can be refilled, but they also come with built-in atomizers. These cannot be rebuilt; the wick or cotton inside the atomizer will become dirty or dry at which time the whole thing must be thrown out or, if your e-cig company runs a recycling program, you can send them back to the company, perhaps receiving reward points as an incentive.

With Experience

It takes a while to become used to this new technology and to feel confident about disassembling parts into smaller pieces. If you get the process wrong that error could short-circuit the battery which will melt your atomizer.

That warning aside, loads of consumers are happily rebuilding their atomizers and tanks without concern. Maybe they blew a couple of devices in the early days, but their experience has been posted on the internet in video and written formats to share with consumers who are new to rebuilding.


There are three advantages to buying rebuildable pieces. Firstly, though it is expensive to buy parts and RBAs or rebuildable tanks are costlier at the start, they pay for themselves after multiple rebuilds when you would otherwise have bought new atomizers and tanks.

That saves money and also cuts down on the garbage you add to landfills. Meanwhile, experienced rebuilders say they get a lot more vapor and enhanced flavor because they can change resistance on their atomizers. This means they adjust the heat created by a certain voltage (usually 3.7 or 4.2 volts, although variable voltage devices reach as much as 6.0 volts).

Brands and Models of RBAs and Tanks

Kanger makes a very popular, user-friendly, and affordable Pro-Tank (now in Version 3.0) which is designed to be taken apart. SmokTech also carries a few of these, including one for the Magneto and an RSST (about $35). An AGA-T3 RBA costs around $40, while the squat AGI Drip and Tank RBA is roughly the same. For about $30 buy an AGA TP DC (dual coil) Rebuildable.

The IGO W2 costs a few dollars less, but a long, narrow Phoenix Style RBA is priced a bit higher. For high-end mechanical mods it is possible to pay over $100 for the atomizer alone.

Accessories for Rebuildables

Here is what you will need if you are going to rebuild your own atomizers or atomizer tanks:

• Silica wick
• Kanthal wire
• Tools like needle-nosed pliers, nail clippers, and a tiny screw driver
• A blow torch or lighter (nothing big)

Be prepared to apply your own ingenuity to the process too, which is what experienced consumers have done along the way. After wrapping coil around the wick they separate each piece because if the layers touched that would cause a circuit to short. To do this some apply their needle-nosed pliers between the layers, but toothpicks have come in handy too.

The torch or lighter provides three things: it sterilizes the wire but also makes it more pliable for a time before helping you to fix it in place prior to adding it to an atomizer.

Most handy individuals own enough screwdrivers to find one with a tiny head for atomizer screws. If you do not, a number of retailers sell these attached to a keychain, while some kits supply customers with screwdrivers of the correct size.

Nail clippers are for cutting the wire. You could use wire cutters, but the wire gauge is not thick. Read or watch several tutorials and you can see that consumers have come up with many ways to achieve their goals.

The only parts which you are removing from the rebuildable atomizer are the wick and coil. Everything else remains, so keep your area tidy. Some of the parts are minute.