What is an atomizer?

What is an atomizer

In recent years, the cannabis industry has seen a significant shift towards vaping, and at the heart of this trend lies the atomizer. An atomizer, essentially a vape cartridge, is a device used to vaporize cannabis extracts for inhalation, offering a discreet and efficient way to consume cannabis. This article explores the intricacies of cannabis atomizers, their advantages, and compares them to traditional smoking methods.

What Is A Cannabis Atomizer?

A cannabis atomizer, commonly referred to as a vape cartridge, oil pen, or chamber, is a device designed for vaporizing cannabis extracts. The most common types include the 510 vape cartridge and electronic dab rigs like the Puffco Peak atomizer​​.

Composition of Atomizers

Atomizers consist of a heating element, mouthpiece, and chamber for holding cannabis extract. When a user inhales through the mouthpiece, the heating element vaporizes the extract, which is then inhaled. They are made with food and medical grade components, including a ceramic wick and steel heating wire, and the chambers are typically made from medical-grade metal and plastic​​.

How Atomizers Work

The key component of a vaporizer, or “atomizer,” is its heating element. It converts the cannabis product into tiny liquid droplets that can be inhaled. This battery-powered component is comprised of a wick and electronic coils. The wick, typically made from cotton or silicon fibers, absorbs the oil, which is then heated by the coils to produce vapor​​.

Types of Atomizers

  1. Cartomizers: Disposable and commonly used, cartomizers are prefilled and easily replaced. However, they are increasingly seen as outdated and can be cost-ineffective over time.
  2. Clearomizers: More expensive, clearomizers offer the most oil capacity and customization options, including rebuildable tanks, adjustable resistance levels, and wicking materials.
  3. Drip Tip Atomizers: Ideal for flavor enthusiasts, these allow users to directly drip cannabis oil onto the heating element​​.

Advantages of Using Cannabis Atomizers

  1. Efficiency: Vaporizing cannabis extracts allows users to inhale a higher concentration of cannabinoids, like THC and CBD, offering quicker and more intense effects.
  2. Control: Many atomizers allow temperature adjustments, affecting vapor density, flavor, and potency, providing a customizable experience​​.
  3. Health Benefits: Unlike smoking, which involves combustion and potential inhalation of harmful byproducts, vaporizing avoids these issues, making it a safer alternative for cannabis consumption​​​​.
  4. Potency: Vapor has a higher concentration of cannabinoids and terpenes than smoke, due to the decarboxylation process, enhancing therapeutic effects​​.

Types of Atomizers in Cannabis Vaping

Atomizers come in various styles and designs, each catering to different vaping preferences and experiences. Some are designed for longevity, while others focus on providing the purest and most flavorful vapor.

Common Types of Atomizers

  • Standard Atomizers: Often found in entry-level vape pens, these have a simple design and are easy to use.
  • Sub-Ohm Atomizers: These are designed for lower resistance, allowing for more power, more vapor, and often a more intense flavor.
  • Rebuildable Atomizers (RBAs): For the more advanced user, RBAs allow for customizing the coil and wicking system to tailor the vaping experience.
Resistance LevelLower resistance (sub-ohm) atomizers heat up faster and produce more vapor, but consume more power
Maintenance LevelStandard atomizers are low-maintenance, while RBAs require more knowledge and upkeep
Type of Cannabis ProductSome atomizers are better suited for specific types of cannabis products, like oils or waxes


The atomizer is a crucial part of the vaping experience, especially when it comes to cannabis. Understanding the different types and how they work can help users select the right one for their needs, ensuring an optimal balance of flavor, vapor production, and convenience.