10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Buying an RDA

10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Buying an RDA

Switching to an  RDA from a tank can seem challenging because of the steep learning curve. Although, it’s actually not that bad if you do some research and ask for advice from other drippers. Practice installing your RDA coils, and you'll get better at it.

Switching to an RDA is more work, but the flavor and clouds you'll get are worth the trouble. Taking the first drag from my dual-coil  Digiflavor Drop was like sensory overload. Suddenly, the Underboss e-juice became like biting into a stack of pancakes.

Extolling the virtues of RDAs, however, won’t get you any closer to buying one. Here are a few things I wish I knew when I first bought my RDA. Maybe it’ll change your mind.

#1 RDAs are Cheaper to Maintain than Tanks

Let’s do the math real quick.

I most recently used the UForce T2 tank by VooPoo, and I used the  N3 coils, which cost $13.99 for a pack of five. I’d say I probably replace the coil once a week, so after five weeks I’m back to ordering a new set. This comes out to about $2.79 per coil. After a year, you’re looking at a total cost of $145 — yikes! (I multiplied $2.79 by 52, which is the number of weeks in a year, to get a total of $145.)

RDA Cost vs Tank Cost Infographic

When I bought my RDA, I also bought a set of 10  Fused Clapton coils by Vapor Tech for $2.99. I also bought Cotton Bacon V2, which comes with 10 strips of cotton, for $3.99. That’s a total of $6.98.

Currently, I’m running a 0.23Ω dual-build, which would equate to five builds over a much longer period. RDA coils can last months without replacing so long as they’re maintained properly. As for the cotton, it might need to be replaced weekly, but there’s so much that I honestly don’t know how long it will last. It comes out to $1.39 per dual-coil build with cotton, but that’s over a much longer period of time. Re-wicking will be a weekly routine, but it could be weeks or months before I need to replace the coils. I would be surprised if I spent more than $25 on coils and cotton this year.

Even with the price of the RDA and the toolkit, an RDA is still a cheaper option than vaping on a tank. If you wanted to save even further, you could make your own coils, which is not as hard as you may think. Tanks are convenient, but it comes with a premium as well. Do whatever makes you happy, but if saving money is a priority, switch to an RDA.

#2 RDAs are Not that Difficult to Use

It will take you a few tries to get it right, but, eventually, you’ll get the hang of it. Use the right tools, take your time, and refer to YouTube or a fellow dripper for the knowledge — welcome to the Drip... Club? Nevermind, that sounds weird.

#3 Wicking your Coils is an Art

The good thing about buying cotton is that it comes in big quantities. It will take you a few times to properly wick your coils, so having lots of cotton is necessary. It took me three tries the first time I wicked my coils, but when I did it right, the flavor was superb. The thing about wicking is that it’s an art, and, like any other art form, it takes a while to master.

Recurve RDA Wicked

You want to tear off a piece that’s neither too thin or too thick and then gently insert it in the coils. A thin piece of cotton doesn't wick your coils fast enough, which causes dry hits and bubbling. A thick piece will overcrowd the coil causing a decline in vapor production and airflow. It’s better to get it right and take a few tries than to rush it and have a bad experience.

#4 Having a Toolkit is Essential

A proper toolkit is required if you want to build, install, and wick your coils. Using your hands to install or wick your coils is a huge mistake, and you will end up burning your hand or worse. There are tool kits online custom-made for this process. I’ll include a list of things you’ll need if you want to make your own.

  • Ceramic Tweezers
  • Wire Cutters
  • Scissors
  • Screwdriver
  • Coil Jig
  • Cotton

RDA Build Kit

Pre-made tool kits come with extras like angled tweezers, needle-nose pliers, and resistance-testing devices, but you don’t need all that stuff — it is nice to have though. Having the right tools can speed up the process and make it easier all around.

#5 Bring your e-juice Everywhere

If you’re going anywhere with your RDA, bring your e-juice as well. As you’ll come to find out, dripping into your RDA is a part of life, and you'll need to drip every few puffs. This is one advantage that tanks have over RDAs, but it’s easily avoidable. I like to keep a spare bottle in my bag because I do occasionally forget.

#6 IMO They Look Better than Tanks

This is only my opinion, so take it with a grain of salt, but I prefer the minimal look that RDAs have. Most tanks these days are gaudy, with big bubble glasses, colorful resin drip tips, and textured surfaces. My Digiflavor Drop is in the gunmetal variant, and I love that it looks like the first suit that Tony Stark built in the desert from the original Iron Man movie. I may, however, be biased, since that is still one of my favorite movies. My RDA is reserved and unassuming, but it hits like a locomotive and serves flavor like a pastry chef.

#7 Proper Research is a Must

Delving into the world of RDAs can seem scary at first, but there are so many articles and forums to guide you. Any question that you might have has already been asked and answered on the internet, so get out those Google fingers and start searching.

If you have a friend who’s a dripper, they can be the perfect resource and can give you all the information you need. I had a few coworkers who taught me the ropes. They helped me pick out the right RDA, and gave me lots of other tips that would have taken so many internet searches. So, find a friend or search the internet.

#8 Pre-heating Will Deliver Better Flavor and Clouds

Having a mod with a pre-heating mode is a great idea if you have an RDA because some coils can take a few seconds to get going. You can notice the difference when you vape from a pre-heated coil, but if your mod doesn’t do this, there are other ways.

One way to pre-heat your coils is to fire the trigger and take a modest hit. This hit won’t produce much vapor, but it will get the coils warm enough for your next hit, which will feel much better. Sometimes, I like to fire the RDA without vaping from it to pre-heat it.

Blowing into the RDA while you fire is another method I recently learned about. Once the coils have reached temperature, you can inhale, which will hit much better. Doing this also prevents any hot e-juice from bubbling up, and, for me, that’s a huge win.

Whatever option you choose, pre-heating your coils is the way to go!

#9 Two Coils Halves the Resistance

I didn’t know this until I started building on an RDA, but using two coils will half the resistance. For example, I am currently using fused Clapton coils that are rated at 0.45Ω, but because I am using two coils instead of one, my mod is reading 0.23Ω of resistance, which is right on the money. If you’re just starting out, make sure you don’t go lower than 0.25Ω — leave that to the experts for now.

#10 Get Building

Using an RDA can be a great experience, especially for those people that like working with their hands and tinkering with things. The flavor and clouds that RDA’s produce is incomparable. You’ll find yourself thinking of your next build and chasing bigger and tastier clouds. Now that you’re armed with few tips and some knowledge, go out there and buy and RDA, build on it, and enjoy the flavor!

Posted by Alejandro Medellin on Jun 14th 2019

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