The Different Types of E-Liquid Vaporizers: Drippers, Pods, and Tanks

Vaping has become more diverse over the years, offering a much more personalized experience than was available in the early days of the industry. But with so many options, making the switch to vaping can be a daunting task. Out there, somewhere, is the rig that’s perfect for you, but how do you know where to find it? The fact that vaping terms are far from standardized can make things even more complicated. To help make things a bit clearer, let’s look at the different types of e-Liquid vaporizers: drippers, pods, and tanks.

Rebuildable or not?

There are two main categories of vape devices: those that are rebuildable and those that are not. These rebuildable systems are sometimes referred to as RBA’s, or rebuildable atomizers, because you periodically need to physically wrap your own coil, thereby “rebuilding” part of your system every so often. Pod systems are not rebuildable, but drippers and tanks are. As a general rule, rebuildable atomizers are much more complicated than pod systems, having more bells and whistles and requiring more maintenance and upkeep.


Pod systems are the simplest form of a vaporizer. They require almost no effort to use and are very small and discreet. Pod systems are unique in the type of e-Liquid they use, a high-nicotine product called nicotine salts. Nicotine salts can offer people insanely high quantities of nicotine without the harsh taste that sometimes accompanies large doses.

Pods are the closest to actual cigarettes and so are often favored by heavy smokers looking to switch to vaping. They offer less customization than rebuildable atomizers, but sometimes that’s exactly what people are looking for.

Pods are a relatively new addition to the market, and so there is not as much competition, which allows several big brands to mostly dominate the market. With their explosion in popularity over the last few years, that is likely to change as more and more pod systems are developed.

Pros of pods

  • Lightweight and portable
  • Very cheap
  • Huge nicotine hits
  • Good flavor

Cons of pods

  • Low levels of customization
  • Limited options for those wanting less nicotine
  • Brands are often device-specific


Tanks are commonly the next step past cigalikes that people encounter when they switch to vaping. Tanks have a moderate amount of customization and are significantly larger than e-cigarettes and pod systems. They work by filling an attached tank with e-Liquid and then heating that liquid to produce vapor. Tanks are a closed system, meaning the vapor has to travel through the device to reach you. Sometimes flavor strength diminishes during this trip.

Tank systems cannot use the nicotine salts liquid that pod systems are known for. People who vape with tank devices have to settle for lower levels of nicotine, but conversely, have more options for flavor. Since tank mods have been around much longer than pod systems, there are more brands to choose from and more e-Liquid flavors have been developed.

Tanks are also much more cumbersome than pod systems. While they are still small enough to be portable, they are not going to fit in a pocket or small handbag. As a result, they often draw attention.

Pros of tanks

  • High liquid capacity
  • Customizable enough for most people without being too complex
  • Cheaper than dripping rigs (initially)
  • Most brands are widely cross-compatible

Cons of tanks

  • Reduced flavor compared to both drippers and pods
  • Flavors cannot easily be swapped before the tank is empty
  • Expensive in the long-term
  • Less airflow than dripping rigs
  • Fairly large


Dripping is considered to be one of the more advanced vaping techniques. There is a lot of work that goes into it and it is not recommended for people new to vaping. That said, to the experienced vaper, drippers can offer a vaping experience like no other.

What sets drippers apart is the fact that instead of heating a whole tank of liquid and drawing on the vapor that is produced, dripping involves “dripping” a small amount of e-Liquid directly onto the coil and then immediately inhaling the resulting vaper. A single dose of “dripping” may only last up to ten hits or so before the process needs to be done all over again. Put simply, you’re using your e-Liquid a small amount at a time rather than filling a whole tank.

Drippers are oftentimes a supplemental device. Many people who own them use them for occasional “gourmet” hits while still keeping a pod system or tank mod around for daily use. Dripper systems are not practical for frequent use due to their cumbersome nature and lower battery life.

Pros of dripping

  • Stronger flavor
  • The highest level of customization
  • Insane cloud production
  • Cost effective over time

Cons of dripping

  • More expensive up front
  • More work for each hit
  • Not an effective method for those who vape solely for nicotine hits
  • Larger room for error and problems if not done correctly

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