Explaining Rebuildable Tanks: RBAs vs RDAs vs RTAs vs RDTAs

Rebuildable tanks can be confusing, this guide breaks it down for you.

5 min read

Confused about all the different rebuildable tanks? Here’s our guide to break it all down for you.


Rebuildable Tank Atomizers come in different shapes, sizes and classifications. However, there are four commonly used styles in today vaping world. Each of which is labeled with an acronym that starts with the letter “R” (for “Rebuild-able).

Let’s explain the four “Rebuildable” acronyms and show you the differences.

What is an RBA?

The Anatomy of a Sub Ohm Tank

RBA (Rebuildable Atomizer) — this is the generic and all-inclusive term for any atomizer that contains a deck upon which the user can mount their own coils and wicks (which are called “builds”). Any atomizer with a ‘build deck’ — including all of the other specialized categories below can be called an RBA. There are also a lot of sub ohm tanks which as well as using pre-made coils can also contain and RBA section.

What is an RDA?

The Anatomy of an RDA

RDA (Rebuildable Dripping Atomizer) — this is an RBA which contains a deck with posts to anchor the coils. The build deck is then covered with a cap (an outer shell). [RDAs](https://vapingvibe.com/best-rda-vapes/) have no tank section to contain reserve amounts of e-liquid. Instead, they are designed for e-liquid to be dripped from a bottle, directly onto the coils and wicks, before heating and vaping. A lot of RBA’s require the top cap to be removed to enable dripping and then be replaced before vaping. Sometimes of the decks will have a well or reservoir under the coils that can hold a small amount of e-liquid, usually around 1ml.

Due to the lack of chamber for vapor to travel through and a nearer proximity to the mouth when vaping, it is a commonly held opinion in the vaping community that RDAs produce a purer and more intense flavor than other methods of vaping.

RDAs can also produce astonishing amounts of vapor, especially when equipped with ultra-low resistance (0.05-0.2Ω) exotic coils, which are vaped at a high power (100+ watts). In fact, RDAs are the headliners in “cloud-chasing” competitions now held around the world.

What is an RTA?

The Anatomy of an RTA

RTA (Rebuildable Tank Atomizer) — is a rebuildable atomizer (RBA) containing a deck with posts which is covered by a metal chamber cap. Then surrounding the chamber is a tank reservoir for holding e-liquid. The chamber cap then connects to a chimney which directs vapor to the drip tip. E-liquid in the tank is forced down by gravity around the chamber cap and then up through slots or wick channels on the outer edge of the build deck. The wick ends of a build are placed in these channels so they can be saturated by e-liquid, which is then delivered to the coils to be vaporized.

The only real difference between an RDA and an RTA is the tank. There’s need for manual dripping with an RTA.

What is an RDTA?

The Anatomy of an RDTA

RDTA (Rebuildable Dripping Tank Atomizer) — This is certainly the most confusing of all four categories, and in essence could be considered as a crossover between an RDA and RTA.

Starting in late 2015, manufacturers began producing new rebuildable tank atomizers (RTAs) that consisted of a build deck with a larger tank sized reservoir beneath it. The build deck has holes drilled through the deck floor, and then wick ends are either placed through the holes and into the reservoir or are clipped to touch the floor of the deck. The wicks are then saturated as e-liquid is forced up by pressure or gravity through those holes in the build deck. Most RDTAs also have a removable cap so you can drip straight onto the wick and coils if desired.

The creation of RDTAs was apparently for enhanced performance; you get the closer proximity of the coil and heating chamber to the mouth, therefore much like RDAs there is supposedly better flavor and vapor production. They also have the main advantage of an RTA which is the ability to hold a large capacity of e-liquid. Manufacturers would, therefore, market RDTAs has having superior performance over regular RTAs.

However, in truth, RDTAs can often be more challenging to wick properly and are notorious for having leaking issues due to the nature of the design. Furthermore, there have been a lot more advances recently in the design of build decks and chambers for RTAs, which not only has made them far more popular but offers vapor and flavor performance that can be regarded as good as RDAs and RDTAs.

There or three other kinds of rebuildable tanks that do deserve a mention in this article: Carto Tanks, Genesis Tanks, and Kayfun Tanks. However, they are not as mainstream in today’s vaping world.

Vaping Vibe Team
Vaping Vibe Teamhttp://vapingvibe.com
The Vaping Vibe team is a diverse group of experienced vapers. We strive to bring you the finest content on all things vaping. Don’t forget to sign up to our newsletter and follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for more.

Related Articles

Best Vapes

Learn More About Vaping