Smokeless Top Clearomizers
One of the fastest-moving product categories in vaping is that of ADs (Atomizing Devices). Of the two fastest-growing sub-segments within that product category, rebuildable atomizers and clearomizers, the faster in my opinion is clearomizers.
It seems like a new one is launched every week; yet few of these tend to make as much impact on the scene as those of the three major players in the clearomizer space, nor to have as solid a level of standardization, as those of Innokin, the Vision X.Jet/Aspire, and Kangertech.
Now, I’ve grouped Vision’s X.Jet line with the Aspire line for the simple reason that these two lines of clearomizers are, functionally and aesthetically, all but identical. This is why I didn’t group SMOK clearomizers in with Kanger’s offerings; although SMOK models use Kangertech atomizer heads, SMOK’s body designs are distinctly different enough to affect not only aesthetics but performance.
You may also have noticed that this post bears the same branding as my book, Smokeless, and the reason for that is simply that this is, in a sense, a free supplement/update of a section of that book. If this post proves popular, more like it may follow on similarly focused topics like top APVs, top Mechanical mods, and so on.
So without further ado, let’s dive right in.
Innokin has been a major player on the vaping landscape since at least as far back as the very first iTaste APV. The iClear series has been with us for just shy of a year and a half, as of this post, but in the strange and exciting “time-dilation” effect of such a rapidly expanding marketplace, it feels like decades.
In the following sections, I’ll provide brief overviews of two of its best current representatives, the iClear 16B and the iClear X.I.
The iClear 16D retains the form factor of its progenitor, the iClear 16. However, there are two key differences, one aesthetic and one structural, which make the 16D a whole new beast.
First, gone is the “collar” separating the mouthpiece from the tank body; this is a unibody clearomizer, much like the SMOK GBC (pictured below for comparison):
The structural difference in the iClear 16D is that it uses a new, robust bottom-mounted dual-coil atomizer head. Additionally, it benefits from a capacity increase of 0.4ml over its progenitor, bringing its total eliquid capacity up from 1.6ml to 2.0ml.
Performance is reported to be outstanding, at least equal to that of the Aspire and X.Jet clearomizer lines, while the longevity of its atomizer heads reportedly far exceeds that of its competitors. It features an eGo connection, making it a solid performing, stylish match for use with eGo-style batteries such as the Vision Spinner, iTaste VV 3.0 and iTaste CLK (with which it is often bundled in starter kits.)
The X.I is the larger of the next-generation iClear offerings, and was originally bundled with Innokin’s iTaste 134 Mini APV, launched as a standalone offering shortly thereafter. Featuring a 510 connection, pyrex tank, and 3.0ml of eliquid capacity, it’s fair to say that the iClear X.I is the immediate successor to the iClear 30 series of clearomizers.
Its performance and atomizer head longevity, however, reportedly place it far and away as the superior to its predecessor series in every way that matters to vapers.
The release of the Aspire and, shortly thereafter, the Vision X.Jet clearomizer lines late last year heralded the arrival of a new standard of clearomizer performance. The original Aspire BDC was so well received by Phil Busardo that I knew by the conclusion of his review that I had to try them.
Try them I did, and I was blown away by the intensely vivid flavor reproduction of the BDC. Shortly thereafter, through my position at Spinfuel eMagazine, I was able to try the X.Jet Spider along with both the Aspire and X.Jet renditions of the Vivi Nova, along with a few variations of their 1.6ml devices such as the Aspire ET and ET-S, and found each and every entry to display simply phenomenal performance characteristics.
One of the first of the current generation of clearomizer, the X.Jet Spider incorporates the new “wickless” atomizer heads developed for the Aspire line. Of course, the description of these heads as “wickless” is somewhat misleading, which has bothered me ever since I received and disassembled one to inspect it.
The X.Jet and Aspire heads do, of course, have wicks — the description arises from the fact that their wicks are entirely contained within the metallic body of the head itself, and so aren’t readily visible from the outside.
That digression aside, the X.Jet Spider is a compact and stylish 1.6ml, eGo-threaded clearomizer sheathed in anodized aluminum and available in an army of color choices. Performance from the Spider is was, for a good span of time, far superior to any other 1.6ml AD on the market.
While it has now been matched or surpassed in performance and atomizer head longevity, some consumers may still prefer it over the iClear 16D and even the Aerotank Mini due to its anodized aluminum sheath, which lends it greater durability than the unprotected pyrex tank of the Aerotank Mini and the unprotected plastic tank of the iClear 16D.
The Nautilus was, along with the original Kanger Aerotank, one of the first clearomizers to offer airflow control. Along with its 5.0ml eliquid capacity and 510 connection, this feature presents the Nautilus as an AD well suited to use on full-size APVs and Mechanical mods.
Airflow control is actuated by rotating the “dial” built into the base of the unit, with four tactile detents, or “clicks”, marking pre-set airflow control positions. The performance of the Nautilus is reported to be excellent thanks largely to its more robust atomizer heads, which are not compatible with the rest of the Aspire line due to their larger size.
Kanger was my very first introduction to clearomizers, beginning with the venerable T3 which accompanied the eGo battery which was my first foray beyond the cigarette-lookalike category of PVs.
Later, when they released the original ProTank, there I was again with one in hand. While each successive iteration of Kanger clearomizer was better than its predecessor, none quite managed to gain my admiration until the Aerotank was launched.
Featuring airflow control, a pyrex tank, the ability to fully disassemble the device into every single one of its components, and a 510 connection making it mech-friendly, the Aerotank absolutely floored me with its out-of-this-world performance — even as it left me wanting with the short-ish lifespan and hit-or-miss reliability of its atomizer heads.
While Kanger’s current offerings are reputed to have incorporated solutions to the shortcomings of their predecessors, Kanger clearomizers have also become known for one other less-than-exciting trait, and the current lineup is no exception, sadly. That trait is price. From the $22.00 introductory price of the Protank to the nearly $40.00 asking price of the Aerotank Mega, Kanger’s are some of the most flat-out expensive clearomizers on the market.
Are the Aerotank Mini and Mega worth the steep premium?
The Aerotank Mini boasts a pyrex tank, an eGo connection, and an eliquid capacity of approximately 1.3ml. With its durable steel base, collar and removable drip tip, this is an extremely handsome device that delivers truly next-generation performance, outperforming its predecessor the Aerotank and even reportedly outmatching its larger sibling, the Aerotank Mega.
Boasting the same improved airflow control and high-performance dual-coil atomizer heads as the Aerotank Mini, but packing a 3.5ml eliquid capacity, 510 connection, and two interchangeable tank walls (one pyrex, the other food-grade stainless steel), the Aerotank Mega is the go-to Kangertech clearomizer for long-haul vaping.
Aesthetically, the Aerotank Mega clearly hearkens to top-of-the-line rebuildables, in particular the Kayfun series. While its performance is reportedly not quite at Kayfun level, it is being hailed as one of, if not the, best clearomizer available today, combining sturdy good looks with amazing vapor, throat hit, and flavor delivery.
Recommendations and Conclusion
So which, if any, of these clearomizers gets my recommendation? It really depends on your vaping needs and your budget.
If your vaping is light or casual and seldom takes you into far beyond the comfort of the indoors and your battery or APV sports eGo threads, my recommendation to you is the cost-effective, user-friendly and solid performing Innokin iClear 16D – $5.71 from MyVaporStore.
If you crave higher performance and can swing the higher price tag, yet your vaping still seldom carries you far from your eliquid, you may wish to indulge in the more expensive stronger performer, the Kanger Aerotank Mini – $28.50 from Misthub.
If what you’re looking for is greater eliquid capacity and awesome performance that won’t break the bank, might I suggest the Vision X.Jet Nova – $14.50 from MyVaporStore.
On the other hand, if you’re willing to spend that extra dollar for performance that will just knock your socks off and do so for the long haul, perhaps you would prefer the $39.95 Kanger Aerotank Mega.