A vape newbie will probably be confused by the terms ‘Atomizer’, ‘Cartomizer’ and ‘Clearomizer’.

We’re not surprised they would be. After all, most of the industry seems not to be able to distinguish between the three.

But help is at hand.

In this article, we’re going to clear things up once and for all. We’ll tell you what each one is, how it relates to the others, and what the best options are for you on your journey to vapedom!

We don’t blame anyone for getting confused by which is which. After all, vaping has only been around in the UK since 2004. And even then the early vapes were nowhere near as complex and as varied as they are now.

But there’s an important side to finding out what each means.

If you are seriously into vaping - or if you are a smoker who has been advised to try vaping as a means to quitting - you should know what differences there are, since each vape type delivers something different determined by how its liquid is delivered.

So, read on to learn the definitive meaning of ‘Atomizer’, ‘Cartomizer’ and ‘Clearomizer’. We think that you knowing the difference may just help you to make an informed decision.

What is an atomizer?

The ‘atomizer’ is actually the main element of just about any vaporiser.

But strictly speaking an atomizer consists of a small heating element (such as a coil) and a piece of material that acts as a wick. It is the heating up of the element and then the wick that turns e-liquid into vapour.

The strength of the atomizer element is measured in resistance (ohms are a measurement of resistance). General speaking, the lower the ohm the more power the element will need in order to heat up.

Depending on what type of vaporizer you have the atomizer can be disposed of or is integral to the system. If it is integral to the vape then all you would need to do is fill your vape with e-liquid.

What is a clearomizer?

A ‘clearomizer’ is just a different design of atomizer. Clearomizers are usually made from some sort of see-through plastic or glass. The transparency of the clearomizer allows the user to determine whether more e-liquid is needed.

The clearomizer was unveiled in 2009, but actually came from a previous deign of a ‘cartomizer’ (which we’ll discuss in a sec). The benefit to the user was instantly apparent: it included the wick, e-liquid chamber and coil as a single component.

Some clearomizers use different wicking systems. Some wicks rely on gravity to draw in e-liquid and others rely on capillary action. But all essentially do the same job: they draw in e-liquid that is then heated by a coil.

What is a cartomizer?

The ‘cartomizer’ (or carto) was invented in 2007 (two years before the clearomizer). It was one of the first vaporiser products to be marketed. The cartomizer is more often found within an e-cigarette.

The carto is filled with a type of foam that has been pre-soaked with liquid. Within the foam are one, two or three coils, ready to heat the foam.

A user will know when a carto is coming to the end of its life. The vape produced usually tastes burnt or ‘dry’ and that’s because the coil heat has nothing to act on apart from the dregs contained within the foam.

Some cartomizers are refillable; they can be attached to a reservoir. But most e-cigarette cartomizers are to be disposed of when empty.

Atomizer vs. Cartomizer vs. Clearomizer: What should you choose?

A-ha, and so we arrive at the question we promised we’d provide an answer to!

If you want something easy to use and that doesn’t require too much fiddling about then pick a clearomizer. A clearomizer with a sub-ohm feature will yield a great tasting vape.

The coils of the clearomizers cost money but are not vastly expensive. They last for a good while in any case.

In general most seasoned vapers would agree that in terms of taste and ease of refill the clearomizer is better than the cartomizer. A better flavour production is to be had and the strength of the e-liquid you use may be infinitely adjusted to suit demand.

Some may argue that to refill a tank is a messy business though. Cartomizers win on this point (they are also easier to handle than most clearomizers, according to users).

To choose one vape system over another is difficult but not impossible.

You may be tempted by the look of a vape rather than its features in any case. If you are able to, why not try an e-cigarette before you try anything else. A cartomizer may well suit your needs better than most.