Difference between atomizers, cartomizers, and clearomizers June 23 2014, 0 Comments

Atomizers, clearomizers, and cartomizers are the three major devices on the market today that screw onto the battery of a mod or vape pen to vape e-liquid. They all operate on the similar principle of heating e-liquid to the point of vaporization. Each of these devices has its own pros and cons, so which one to choose depends more on personal preference. Within the last year, however, clearomizers have proven to be significantly more popular than either atomizers or cartomizers.


Atomizers are usually used by people who prefer dripping. Most atomizers have a heating coil on the bottom with mesh on top of the coil.

Pros of atomizers:

  • Ideal for dripping, which gives you ability to swap out flavors at a much faster rate.
  • Extremely cheap
  • Simple, intuitive design
  • Easy to refill

Cons of atomizers:

  • Doesn't hold as much e-liquid, so if you're a frequent vaper you will be forced to refill your atomizer continuously
  • Most atomizers are not rebuildable, and the ones that are tend to require a lot of expertise
  • Not as easy to keep track of the amount of e-liquid inside the atomizer


The design of a cartomizer is very similar to the design of an atomizer. The main difference is that cartomizers have a heating coil wrapped with polyfill. The polyfill soaks the e-liquid and gives a much longer vape time than an atomizer.

Pros of cartomizers:

  • Holds significantly more e-liquid than a standard atomizer
  • Extremely cheap
  • Most are rebuildable with little to no expertise
  • Easy to refill

Cons of cartomizers:

  • Generally not recommended for large amounts of vaping
  • Can retain the flavor from previously used e-liquid, therefore not as desirable if you like to switch flavors often
  • The polyfill sometimes dulls the flavor of the e-liquid


Cylindrical in shape, with either a plastic or glass tank, clearomizers are the newest of the three devices. They are considerably more popular than either atomizers or cartomizers. A silica wick delivers the e-liquid to the heating coil.  Some clearomizers have a top heating coil with longer wicks, some are designed for quicker wick saturation with a bottom coil and short wicks. The clear tanks allow you to see exactly how much e-liquid is remaining.

Pros of clearomizers:

  • Can hold much more e-liquid
  • Clear tanks allow you to see exactly how much e-liquid is remaining
  • There are rebuildable versions that come with a replaceable coil
  • Lasts longer than an atomizer or cartomizer
  • Delivers better flavor

Cons of clearomizers:

  • More expensive than cartomizer or atomizer
  • Can retain flavor from previous e-liquid, might not be suitable for those who like to change flavors often
  • Can leak, especially if you buy a cheap model
  • The top coil design may require you to tip the clearomizer to absorb the remaining e-liquid

 Did this article help clear up any confusion about the differences between atomizers, cartomizers, and clearomizers? Which do you use?

by Robert Pagano