What are Clearomizers & Cartomizers?

By James Powley

Vaping devices come in a wide range of styles and models, but they all use the same fundamental technology. All vapes, for example, require an atomizer. An atomizer refers to the coil and wick, the components that turn the e-liquid into vapour. Without an atomizer, a vape simply wouldn’t work.

There are two main types of atomizer: cartomizers and clearomizers. But what is a clearomizer in a vape, and what is a cartomizer?

What is a Clearomizer?

Clearomizer devices combine the coil , wick and e-liquid within into a single component, and, and as the name suggests, they use a clear tank which allows users to monitor the e-liquid level in the device. A clearomizer features a ready-to-use coil that can be easily removed when it needs to be replaced.

People who have recently switched from smoking to vaping won’t need to worry about building coils or re-wicking them because the coil of these vapes come as a single, pre-wicked component. The atomizers in these devices are disposable and can simply be removed from inside the clearomizer and replaced. Clearomizers also come with a range of capacities to hold different volumes of liquid and can last longer than other vapes. Compared to some rebuildable atomizers, clearomizers may also have a smaller build, which allows for easier transport and storage.

Some vapers may find clearomizers limiting, as they do not allow for custom-built coils and they may not perform as powerfully as users want – these devices also require users to manually refill their e-liquids, unlike pod-based devices.

How does a Clearomizer Work?

Clearomizers are attached to a compatible vape device at the base of the tank. Open systems, such as box mods, for example, can often accommodate a wide range of clearomizers. They work in the same way as other atomizers – the wick absorbs e-liquid from the tank and is heated by the coil before vapour is produced.

CWhat is a Cartomizer?

A cartomizer differs from a clearomizer in the sense that it is less of a tank and more of a pod design. The term cartomizer is a portmanteau of cartridge and atomizer. Cartomizers combine the atomizer (the coil and wick) with the cartridge/tank. Unlike most mods and rebuildable vapes, which house e-liquid in a separate tank, these devices surround the atomizer with e-liquid by housing the coil and wick within the cartridge – these combined elements are then connected directly to a battery. By combining the two components, cartomizers are more compact than other vapes and are sometimes referred to as cigalikes due to their slim, cigarette-like design.

How does a Cartomizer Work?

A cartomizer works much like a clearomizer – it’s attached to a compatible device and then activated. Cartomizers can be manually refilled, but they are typically pre-filled cartridges that must be replaced, rather than refilled, once the e-liquid is used up. When a cartomizer’s coil burns out, the whole unit needs to be thrown away.

Cartomizers are a type of disposable vape since they contain pre-filled pods with a built-in coil. When the juice is empty, the cartomizer can be discarded and replaced.

How to Choose Between a Clearomizer & Cartomizer?

Whether to go for a clearomizer or a cartomizer will depend on the vape device you use and how straightforward a process you’re looking for. Cartomizers are generally a more straightforward option than clearomizers because they’re pre-filled – they just need to be attached to the device and can be used straight away.

Whether to go for a clearomizer or a cartomizer will depend on the vape device you use and how straightforward a process you’re looking for. Cartomizers are generally a more straightforward option than clearomizers because they’re pre-filled – they just need to be attached to the device and can be used straight away.

Alternatives that Don’t Use Cartomizers & clearomizers

For those looking for an alternative to smoking that does not require tanks or pods to be refilled, there are heated tobacco products, like IQOS. Unlike a vape product, which uses e-liquid, IQOS is an electronic device that heats specially designed tobacco sticks, called HEETS. Learn more about heated tobacco here.

Last Updated: 23rd November 2021

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