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Rebuildable Tanks 101: RBAs vs RDAs vs RTAs vs RDTAs

There are 4 most commonly used rebuildable tank atomizers known today- RBAs, RDAs, RTAs and RDTAs. How is each one different? Take a look below to find out:

What Is a RBA?

RBA is short for ReBuildable Atomizer. This is a generic term used when referring to any type of atomizer that can be customized according to the user’s preference in wicks and coils (called builds). It’s safe to say that all other special atomizers with build decks can be called RBAs.

What Is a RDA?

RDA is short for Rebuildable Dripping Atomizer. It’s an RBA deck with posts that anchor the coil and connect with the battery for heating. The deck itself is shielded by an outer shell that slides on through the use of o-rings; other types it is a screw-on. RDAs have no tanks to hold e-liquids. Instead, the e-liquid is dripped from the source to the wicks or coils. The deck may have a small space for holding e-liquid, but usually only about 1mL.

RDAs are known for producing a more intense flavor than other vaping methods. Their atomizers are held in high regards and are usually the gold standard in vaping. RDAs are commonly used in cloud-chasing competitions because of their ability to produce huge amounts of vapor. The performance may be enhanced with customized multi-coil builds sporting ultra-low resistance features and a high-wattage vaping mechanical mod.

What Is a RTA?

RTA is short for Rebuildable Tank Atomizer. The deck is fitted with posts and covered by a metal cap, which doubles as an e-liquid reservoir. The chamber cap is linked to the chimney, and the chimney acts as a conduit that puts the vapor into the drip tip. Natural pressure causes the e-liquid to trickle down from the tank, through the chamber cap and up to the channels in the wick’s outer circumference. As the wick is saturated, the e-liquid goes to the coils, ready to be vaporized.

The difference between an RTA and an RDA is that an RTA does not involve manual dripping.

What Is a RDTA?

RDTA is short for Rebuildable Dripping Tank Atomizer. This option is perhaps the most complex out of them all, so read carefully.

The RDTA was an RTA before, replete with a tank, chamber cap, posts and a deck, with some added parts like the spring-loaded pump that could be operated by moving the drip tip which allowed the user to control the amount of e-liquid flowing down to the coils and wicks. One push on the drip tip equaled a certain amount of juice to flow to the wick.

RDTAs were known as “auto-drippers” when they first came out. The “auto” part was not due to the spring-loading mechanism, but rather due to its convenience. Vapers using RDTAs won’t have to remove the caps and put in fresh e-liquid from bottles. The part about dripping was automatic, albeit in a manual method.

The earliest forms of RDTAs are quite rare. They were probably the most complex among rebuildable atomizers, and as such didn’t work too well. Vape users were provided convenience at the expense of reliability and simplicity. In short, they were too unreliable to be of any use. Original-style RDTAs are few, and the ones that are still around are displayed as vaping relics.

The RDTA of today is much better than the ones made originally. The manually operated “auto-dripping” pump mechanism has been removed and replaced with a simpler mechanism that delivers the e-liquid to the wick and coils. In 2015, manufacturers began producing RTAs which had holes on the deck floor. The e-liquid channels were removed; the wick touched the floors and was saturated in the process by the e-liquid climbing up through the deck floor’s holes. These were then re-christened as the new RDTAs and branded as atomizers that enhanced performance.


RDAs are considered to be the top performers when it comes to vaping. Manufacturers say that their RDTA tanks provide much better performances than the current RDA tanks, a ploy that’s largely considered to be purely marketing. What’s the reason for changing the term from RDA to RDTA? Could it be a marketing ploy designed to make money off the success of RTAs in general? Producers say that the e-liquid flow system is more than enough justification for it, but the performance part is yet to be seen.

Michael Grey
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Michael Grey

With a passion to educate through my writings and a passion to help others, I found my place here at Black Note. Being that I am a former smoker who quit smoking because of vaping, I knew I could help others do the same. Working for Black Note is a true blessing. Not only do I help educate vapers on a daily basis through my writings, but I am also enjoying the benefits of working with an amazing team and sharing an authentic tobacco solution with the vaping community.
Michael Grey
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