What Is An Atomizer?



Being informed when making your first (or next) vaporizer pen or replacement atomizer purchase is the best way to ensure you’ve made the right choice. Aside from the battery, atomizers are the most important part of your vape pen. Throughout this article, we’ll breakdown just exactly what an atomizer does as well as spotlight the most common types of atomizer and how they affect a session.


What is an atomizer?

The term “atomizer” is really an umbrella term to describe the unit inside of vape pens that holds the coils and (sometimes) a wick that turns your concentrate into consumable vapor. An atomizer’s power is measured in ohms with the rule of thumb being: the lower the ohm the more powerful the device. Users wanting a discreet session will want less power, while those looking for thick clouds of vapor will want more.

In the beginning of vaping “‘Drip Tip” atomizers were the only option. Users would drip their oil directly onto the heating element, one drop at a time. This process resulted in fantastic flavor during sessions, but was tedious and lacked in the “cloud production” department.

As vaporizer pens became more advanced the need for a wick to enjoy vapor has diminished, as companies are able to produce units using coils or a bucket shape to effectively vaporize concentrates. Currently, the two most common types of atomizer used are a coil style and bucket style atomizer, sometimes referred to as a “coilless atomizer”.

While the function of the atomizer is easy to understand, there are a few nuances that can drastically affect your session. We’re going to break down the difference in the two most common types of atomizers and spotlight a few of our favorite units that use them.

Coil Atomizers

This was the “og” of vaporizer atomizers. Coil atomizers usually feature a titanium coil wrapped around a rod, usually made up of quartz or ceramic material. The reason quartz and ceramic are the most common rod material is their inertness; no additional flavors will be added to your material thus helping strike a better balance between flavor and cloud production. Users who don’t have a large focus on taste and want to experience larger clouds will want a vaporizer that uses a coil atomizer. The reason coil atomizers produce bigger draws is the fact that they can run at a higher temperature compared to the coilless atomizers. The three types of coiled atomizers are single, double, and quad coil.

Single Coil Atomizers


This is the most flavorful of the coil atomizer options. Single coil atomizers use less power than the other two options, saving you anywhere from 10-30% of your battery. Consumption of your concentrate is lower with single coil atomizers: since there is only one coil in contact with your material you will go through the same volume of concentrate slower.

Vaporizers and replacement atomizers that use single coil atomizers: K Stick Supreme, Atmos Nano NBW Waxy, Yocan Evolve C

Dual Coil Atomizers


Dual coil atomizers will feature two rods made from usually quartz or ceramic with titanium coils wrapped around them. While coiled atomizers tend to be more cloud size oriented, the dual coil atomizer does its best to unleash as much flavor as possible, but not as much as the single coil. This type of coil gives a more discernible “throat hit” than the single coil option.

Vaporizers and replacement atomizers that use dual coil atomizers: Dr. Dabber Aurora, Yocan Evolve, KandyPens Prism Plus (also includes a coilless atomizer)

Quad Coil Atomizers


Quad coil atomizers are here for one thing only: gigantic rips. The closest you can come to getting a “rig like” hit from a portable vaporizer will be from a quad coil atomizer. Quad coil atomizers are most effective when the coils are lined up side by side, as opposed to a “two on two” stack situation. Users who don’t put a premium on flavor will be in cloud heaven with a quad coil atomizer.  

Vaporizers and replacement atomizers that use quad coil atomizers: Source Orb XL V2 and the Yocan Evolve Plus XL

Bucket/Coilless Atomizers


Coiless atomizers have two main benefits: efficiency and accurate flavor delivery. The true taste of your concentrate is brought out with each draw, and due to the bucket shape of these atomizers, no material is lost or leftover during vaporization. Using the bucket as the vaporization space on your device means that there is never any contact between the heating element and your material; this shape also heats your material from the bottom up, making sure there aren’t any “hot spots” that heat a certain area more than another. Loading coilless atomizers is less of a finesse game as well since the open space is easily filled with concentrate.  

There isn’t a lot of variation in the types of coilless and bucket style atomizers out right now. The biggest choice you’ll be making with this type of atomizer is the material: titanium, ceramic, or quartz. Titanium coilless atomizers will do their best to produce denser vapor than ceramic or quartz, and heat up faster. Ceramic and quartz bucket atomizers are the ultimate when it comes to flavor production, as mentioned earlier their inert nature guarantees no outside flavor will agitate your sessions.

Vaporizers and replacement atomizers that use coilless/bucket atomizers: KandyPens Crystal vaporizer (510 thread replacement atomizers available as well), Source Orb 3 - Premium Kit, KandyPens Gravity

Final Thoughts 

Hopefully, this has helped narrow down your atomizer preference, remember: those wanting big rips will go for the most coils possible, and flavor heads will want to opt for the coilless options. Leave us a comment if we missed any of your favorite atomizers or if you prefer wick style options!


Charles Mockler
VaporNation Content Writer

Charles Mockler is a vaporizer critic and writer at The VaporNation Blog, a leading source for expert opinions and information about vaporizers. His blogs are read by tens of thousands of people each month. He specializes in the latest technology trends including induction heating and decarboxylation.

Charles' goal is to provide readers with reliable, helpful, and balanced opinions on vaping. He does not recommend vaping to those who don't already smoke, but his articles do offer advice for existing vape enthusiasts including reviews and how-tos about the latest vaporizers. Charles has reviewed and tested a myriad of vaporizers and recommends people do as much research as possible before buying any vaporizer.

Charles was introduced to vaping after moving to Los Angeles during the vaporizer boom. A fan of "true vaporization," he prefers convection vapes with ceramic ovens. His articles include What is an Induction Vaporizer?, How to Decarb Dry Herb, and 8 Best Electric Dab Rigs of 2018.

A graduate of the University of Montana, Charles now resides in the Greater Los Angeles area where he reviews vaporizers and hosts a podcast about the Los Angeles Clippers.

Blog Search