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What Is an Atomizer?

October 05, 2023

Despite the popularity of vaping worldwide, plenty of people don't fully understand how it all works. Some dedicated vapers aren't even aware of the inner machinations of their devices. While this isn't required knowledge to enjoy vaping, it can still be interesting to learn about.

That's why we're going to walk you through one of the vape's key components: the atomizer! We'll take you through it's history, the different kinds, and how to properly clean it. 

A Brief History of the Atomizer

Surprisingly, the atomizer is a relatively recent invention. It was first developed in 2010 by Kender, where the atomizer itself could be fuelled by e-liquid seeping through a wire mesh. He found inspiration from a model railway enthusiast who used a similar system to produce steam for his trains. This idea eventually became known as ‘Genesis,’ leading to the development of the vapes we know and love today. 

How Does an Atomizer Work?

An atomizer receives power from a battery to generate heat for the coil. This coil is wrapped around a wick soaked in e-liquid. When the coil reaches a sufficient temperature, it evaporates the e-liquid, producing delicious vapour clouds for you to inhale. This domino effect occurs every time you activate your device; pens and pods alike contain this important component. 

What Are the Different Types of Atomizers?

There are multiple atomizers available, but three in particular are the most common. We've listed these below. 


These atomizers are linked directly to your device's battery, making them easy to use and maintain. They're notable for their longevity, lasting for weeks of use at a time. However, this quality comes at a premium, making them pricier than other available varieties. 


This variety of atomizers is frequently cited as the most affordable and is therefore considered an entry-level atomizer. Of course, this affordability means they aren't the greatest atomizers available. The vapour produced isn't always the best, but if you're getting into vaping for the first time, they're a great beginner option.

Dripping Atomizer

For the most poignant flavour, a dripping atomizer is the way to go. As the name implies, these atomizers allow you to drip additional drops of vape juice directly to the tips, making for a much stronger hit of flavour with each drag. However, they might eat up more e-juice than other atomizers to achieve this level of flavour. 

How Do You Clean Your Atomizer?

You can use a few different methods to clean your atomizer with varying levels of efficacy. If you're new to vaping, you need to understand each of them. Let's walk you through them.

Soak the Atomizer

This is arguably the most thorough method for cleaning your atomizer, so we're mentioning it first. Soaking is the only way to eliminate the more stubborn buildups of e-liquid wax, usually caused by going days without cleaning. A deep clean is now your only option. Soaking your atomizer in isopropyl alcohol is normally enough, as this will break down the wax and make it easy to wipe away.

NOTE: We don't recommend doing this with coil atomizers as it could damage your device, so make sure you know what you're working with before diving in. 

The Q-Tip Method

Generally, direct contact with your heating coil is a big no-no. You'd think a component that spends its existence reaching such high temperatures would be pretty resistant, but it is incredibly easy to break. Therefore, something soft like a Q-tip is ideal. The only downside here is that you need to do it regularly (preferably daily), as a Q-tip will be less effective against hardened residue. 

The Blow Out

Though unorthodox, this method is pretty effective, and it's extremely simple. This is the opposite of soaking and is in no way a deep clean, but we can recommend it for a quick fix. All you need to do is blow through the battery end of the atomizer, and some of the residue should dislodge, making for a clearer airway and a cleaner device. It's never going to remove thicker residue, but it might work for smaller blockages. 

When To Replace Your Atomizer

There are some key signs of wear and tear that your atomizer will begin to show when it's time to change it for a new one. These can include:

  • Discoloured e-juice right away (darker than usual).
  • A burnt or dirty-looking wick.
  • The flavour of your e-juice feels weak or otherwise unpleasant.
  • There's a bubbling noise from your device when you inhale that is not normally present.

If your vape device starts exhibiting any of these signs, it's probably time to change your atomizer. Huffing discoloured e-juice is no way to enjoy a vape. 

Tips To Help Your Atomizer Last

  • Try not to drop your vape: although none of us purposefully drop our devices, you should try to keep this to an absolute minimum to keep your atomizer intact.
  • Keep your device upright: your device might seem sturdy, but the inner mechanisms can be surprisingly delicate. The wrong positioning can make all the difference.
  • Replace coils whenever necessary: an old, defective coil can severely damage your atomizer.
  • Refill your tank: if your atomizer has no e-liquid to use as fuel, it will simply burn your wick, causing damage to the entire device. Don't let your tank run empty.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is an Atomizer in a Vape?

The atomizer is the component of your vape that heats the coil, allowing the e-liquid to evaporate to produce vapour clouds. 

Final Thoughts

So there you have it: now you're fully clued up on the role of the atomizer and its many applications. If you're a vape enthusiast looking for your next new favourite, look no further than our full collection at RELX. There's something for everyone in our range, whether you're new to vaping or a seasoned veteran. Take a look for yourself and see why we're the clear choice for so many. 

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