Like many vapers, I started out with a 510-style cartomizer, but soon got bored of the continual refilling, and the fact that there’s no indication of how much is left. As soon as I discovered clearomizers I knew this was the way it should be. But finding a good one has taken a lot longer. The first clearos I tried were the Vision CE4 aka “Stardust”, and several other CE3- or CE4-style clearos from unknown manufacturers being sold by unscrupulous vendors. I was not impressed – compared to my old 510 bottom-coil carto, the clearos were practically flavourless. Sure, they were easier to refill, but they were also prone to leak. The genuine vision CE4 was the best of the bunch, but still very disappointing.
Fortunately, I’ve now found two clearomizers that I particularly recommend. They are both solidly built and “rebuildable” which means that (like the CE4) you can disassemble them for easier cleaning, and the atomizer head can be replaced when it dies without having to replace the whole clearo. The atomizer heads are also available in a range of different resistances.
The Kanger T2 is an eGo-thread clearo. It has the best flavour by a mile; combined with good vapour and a smooth draw, this makes it hands down my favourite clearo. I’m using “version 2” – other than an “improved mouthpiece” I’m not sure what the difference is from version 1, but from what I’ve read, the v1 had problems which the v2 has fixed. That mouthpiece is lovely, by the way – it’s smooth, and narrows down more than most drip tips so it feels really comfortable in the mouth for someone like me coming from a background of smoking thin rollies. As with most clearos, the mouthpiece screws onto the tank and is specifically designed for it, so you can’t replace it with your own choice of drip tip.
Alas, nothing in this world is perfect, and the T2 does have a few flaws:
I found the draw a bit tight (not quite enough airflow), so I bored the air holes with a needlepoint file to make them a bit bigger. You may not need to do this, I suspect it depends on precisely how the holes sit relative to your battery’s thread.
As with all short-wicked atomizers, you need to tip it to keep the wicks wet; but even though I do this, I periodically get a burnt vape from it, and a couple of times this has become permanent and can only be fixed by dry-burning the ato (if you’re not sure how to do this, there are plenty of videos about it on Youtube. The principle is the same for all clearos).
If you fire it so much that it gets hot (say, several long bursts within 30 seconds) it leaks slightly at the battery end – this manifests as seeming to be “blocked” when you try to vape. If this happens you just unscrew the battery and clean up with a cotton bud, so it’s no big deal as long as you’re using a sealed (manual) battery. But I’ve never had a leak from it in normal use, unlike most other clearos I’ve tried; it’s only when I’m firing it a lot (eg testing a new flavour).
Despite these issues, it’s still my favourite tank because of the superb flavour, especially for fruity/sweet flavours. it’s also the easiest to fill – the ato tube extends above the top of the tank, so you can holding the tank at 45 degrees you can simply dropper the liquid around the tube and into the tank with no chance of flooding the ato. Possibly because of the narrow mouthpiece, and unlike every other clearo, it has *never* spat hot liquid into my mouth.
Because the ato tube goes up that much higher, the ato itself is right at the very top of the tank, which means you can fill it right up. Clearos work best when filled to just below where the wicks enter the ato, and on the Kanger this corresponds almost exactly with the top mark of the scale drawn on its side: 2.4ml. In practice it does bubble a bit if filled precisely to this line, so I’d say the effective capacity is more like 2.3ml.
Of the three resistances available, I like the standard 2.2ohm ato best on this one. It goes superbly with either a fixed or variable voltage eGo battery.
Vision Vivi Mini Nova
The Vision Mini Nova is a 510-threaded clearo. Its flavour is not in the same league as the Kanger, but where it scores is reliability. I’ve never had a single burnt vape from it; never had a leak. Its long wicks feed liquid continually to the atomizer without the need for tipping (though long wicks also mean it takes longer to pick up a change in the liquid, so it’s not so great for tweaking flavour mixtures).
I found the standard ato was almost completely bland and flavourless, even at high voltage on my eGo Twist. It’s a lot better with the lowest-resistance ato (1.8ohm nominal, but it measures much higher), especially at low-ish voltage on a VV battery.
It seems to prefer, and emphasise, throaty flavours like menthol and aniseed, and de-emphasise fruit and sweet flavours. It produces massive clouds of vapour (which means it drinks liquid at a hell of a rate) and a strong throat hit.
There’s a lot more airflow available than the Kanger, and for that reason I always go for the Mini Nova when driving (there’s something different about the way that I vape when driving than at other times; I’m not sure why, but I seem to need an easier / more airy draw).
Most tanks have screw-on drip tips that are specific to that design, but the Mini Nova comes with a standard 510 drip tip, so you can replace it with a funky one if you so desire.
If you tip it upwards past horizontal while vaping, it will drip liquid into your mouth, but otherwise it’s very well behaved.
It has a wide base with a 510 thread that sticks out – this means if you put it on an eGo battery it looks a bit silly (but works fine), unless you also fit a special metal “cuff” or “plinth” to fill the gap (which also reduces airflow). You also can’t stand it upright when it’s off the battery. Personally I wish it had an eGo rather than a 510 thread, it’s really too big for a 510 battery anyway so I don’t understand why they decided to do it that way – but I suspect this is the reason why it has so much more airflow than the Kanger.
Filling requires a fairly thin nozzle on your bottles, or a pipette, to get between the ato and the tank wall, and as with all clearos you only want to fill it to just below where the wicks go into the ato or it will bubble, which makes the effective capacity about 1.75ml rather than the 2ml marked on the tank.