What are RBAs, RTAs and RDA's?

What are RBAs, RTAs and RDA's?

  • James Burd

Even with something as simple as vaping, there is still some technical vocabulary to learn.. If you've looked around our website, you may see words like RBAs, RTAs and RDAs, but what does this all mean? Today I am going to talk you through what these are and how they differ from each other.

What is an RBA?

RBA stands for Rebuildable Atomisers.  An RBA is an advanced vape with a deck for user-installed coils and wicks, also called “builds.” The term RBA can refer to the removable decks for vape tanks, or for any atomizer with a build deck, like an RDA, or an RTA. Over the years, the term “rebuildable atomizer” has become more commonly used.

What is an RDA?

An Rebuildable Dripping Atomizer (or RDA for short) is a type of RBA that requires the vaper to manually add juice on the coils and wicks, instead of just being fed from a tank. RDAs have a juice well at the bottom of the build deck that holds e-liquid; the wick tails are placed into the well. Normally, the juice well will not have as much capacity as a tank, so the vaper needs to constantly add e-juice every so often to prevent the wicks from getting dry.

The manual nature of wetting the wicks and coils make RDAs less convenient than a tank, unless they’re set up for and used with a squonk mod, as a squonkable RDA can be fed e-juice from a small squeezable bottle in the mod, accessed through a small window. Squonking is still manual and is similar to dripping, except it’s much more convenient than having to carry an e-juice bottle separately.

What is an RTA?

RTA stands for Rebuildable Tank Atomizer. All rebuildable tanks are technically RTAs, but the acronym is used for a particular system as more variations emerged. There are many ways RTAs can be designed, but the most universal characteristics of an RTA are an RBA deck for one or two coils (and sometimes more), a deck that sits under or in the middle of the tank and a chimney and bell system that covers the deck and extends up to the drip tip.


The chimney and bell system is a key feature of an RTA that distinguishes it from other RBA tanks. The bell has a small chamber around the deck, which is sealed off from juice by wicks, making vacuum pressure in the tank. This feeds the wicks with e-juice, seen by the release of bubbles after an inhale. The wick still uses capillary action to absorb the juice, but vacuum pressure pushes it along quicker, making the wicking more efficient, especially in higher power applications. The vapor travels up through the chimney making a concentrated stream, which some debate is better for flavor.

Benefits of RBAs

The biggest benefit of RTAs and RDAs is it allows you to build your own coils to your desired resistance. Before store-bought "drop in coils" were widely available, RBAs were the only way to get a high-performance vape. Today, RBAs are used by purists who want to calibrate their vape to their exact preference and for those who wish to vape for cheaper.

Now you should know what RBAs, RDAs and RTAs are. If you want to try using one, check out our wide variety of RBAs, located here. Happy Vaping!

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