If you use electronic cigarettes with disposable cartridges or hollow drip tips, e-cigarette atomizers are the components that vaporize the flavored liquid, turning it to vapor. In this article, I’ll describe the common types of e-cigarette atomizers and explain what you need to consider if you decide to venture beyond the atomizer originally included with your e-cigarette.
L88B E-Cigarette Atomizers
The L88B was one of the most popular e-cigarette atomizer designs until cartomizers became the most popular liquid delivery system. The L88B is most commonly used with very small electronic cigarettes, but it will work with any e-cigarette that uses 510 or 306 atomizers. This atomizer can also use drip tips designed for 306 atomizers.
510 E-Cigarette Atomizers
The 510 e-cigarette atomizer may be the most popular type currently in use. While the L88B atomizer has a raised bridge, the bridge of the 510 atomizer is enclosed within a hollow cylinder. So, 510 cartridges and drip tips fit inside the atomizer rather than over it. Because the cylinder of a 510 atomizer effectively creates a well for liquid, you might find that this type of e-cigarette atomizer is more forgiving than others if you overfill a cartridge or add too much liquid when using a drip tip. Because the heating coil is further from your mouth with a 510 atomizer than it would be with an L88B or 306 atomizer, you may find the vapor slightly cooler and less intense. The 510 atomizer works with e-cigarettes that use L88B or 306 atomizers. However, it can only use 510 cartridges and drip tips.
306 E-Cigarette Atomizers
Although I believe that at least one Chinese company has made disposable cartridges for 306 e-cigarette atomizers, this is a design that is used almost exclusively with drip tips today. The 306 atomizer seems to be a favorite of people who tinker with e-cigarette equipment; you can find them at all resistance levels, with and without the metal bridge on top, with the holes on the bottom plugged to protect the battery and so on. The 306 atomizer is my favorite for dripping because it seems to produce a very warm, flavorful vapor. It works on any e-cigarette that uses L88B or 510 atomizers.
901 E-Cigarette Atomizers
From the top, 901 e-cigarette atomizers look very much like 510 atomizers. Turn one over, however, and you’ll see that the threading is recessed. Without an adapter, you cannot use a 901 atomizer on an e-cigarette that uses L88B, 510 or 306 atomizers. However, 901 atomizers are compatible with 510 drip tips. You can also use a 510 cartridge with a 901 atomizer, although the shape on the bottom is slightly different and the bridge of the atomizer may dig in to the plastic on the bottom of the cartridge. While 510 cartridges are usually round, cartridges made for 901 atomizers usually have whistle tips.
801 E-Cigarette Atomizers
The 801 e-cigarette atomizer has a very long barrel compared to other atomizers. Both the bridge and threading are recessed; to the best of my knowledge, the 801 atomizer is incompatible with both the threading and cartridges of 901 atomizers. However, an 801 atomizer can use a 510 drip tip. The 801 atomizer is pretty rare today; this atomizer was once used on long pen-shaped e-cigarettes that lost favor with e-smokers around 2010.