OK! So I’ve had this stuff for about a week and played with them a bit, so I thought I’d do a bit of a review.
To preface, I was looking for a solution whereby I could vape on the road and not have to drip every four pulls. Normally this would mean using a cartridge and atomizer combination, as is traditional, however I thought I’d take a dip in the cartomizer pool – specifically clearomizers.
I’ve heard a lot of great things about them and there are really some elaborate designs coming down the pipe these days. I pretty much skipped the traditional boge-type fill cartomizers as I never did like the idea of putting my juice in some poly fill, always found it left too much behind and muted the flavour. Enter the clearo.
A clearo (or clearomizer) is a cartomizer without the fill. A clear plastic tank that holds your juice and wicks it to the atomizer part. Pretty cool I guess. They come in two varieties: bottom coil and top coil. As far as I have read, they both have their pros and cons. Top coils, for example, give a rich warm vape and solid throat hit, but have wicking issues. Conversely, bottom coils suffer no wicking issues but the flavour tends to be more muted and the vapour cooler in addition to sometimes gurgling when they flood. I decided, for all my reading, to try a bunch of bottom coils before going to top coils.
In the last month, I have bought and tried three different bottom coil clearomizers and am generally happy with them. Specifically, I purchased the Firebird (phoenix), the Vision Nano, and the EVOD. I’ll take them one at a time.
The Vision Nano Bottom-Coil Clearomizer
This one I wanted to like. Truly. They are thin and stylish and come in an array of colours. Handy for telling which one has which juice in it. Pretty solid construction, hard acrylic-type plastic and a 510 connection. Filling is a snap – simply unscrew the lid, fill down the side, re-assemble and vape. Simplicity. Or so one would think. The day I bought them, I filled one up and gave it a go. It worked, but not well. The flavour was … absent. It crackled and produced vapour but even my strongest juices were wimpy and half-hearted. Not a good start. In my reading, I learned that they required a “break-in” period of a 3/4 of a tank before they really started to sing. “OK” I thought, I’ll give ‘er. I must have vaped two tanks and it was still muted. What’s more is the initial plastic flavouring, which I assumed was the manufacturing oils on the coil, persisted. Disgusting. I tried to like it while my juices tasted weak and acrid. Wondering if it was perhaps a dud clearo, i opened the second one up and filled with my “breath freshener juice”. To my delight, this one worked better and needed only a brief break-in before vaping properly.
Fast forward several weeks. The original one I complained about has ceased to produce any meaningful tasty product. It still fires, but now it tastes burnt, weak and plasticy. Also, I did notice on occasion that it leaked several times for no real reason and the centre post-poitive terminal kept wiggling up preventing a good battery connection. “I’ve had it with this one” I thought, as I chucked it in the bin. The other is still working beautifully.
But for how long? At $4 a pop, these aren’t the cheapest clearos and considering I bought 2 and one did nothing more than put a bad taste in my mouth and waste precious juice… well you get the idea. 50% success ratio is hardly encouraging. I doubt I will buy these again.
The Firebird bottom Coil Clearomizer
This one (also known as the Phoenix or CE3 clearo) comes highly recommended, by none other than Steel Jan of YouTube fame (for those who haven’t seen her, check her out, she is a DIY wizard). With its top-coil sibling, they seem to be somewhat of a standard in clearos.
Although a literal pain in the butt to fill, requiring a syringe (thoughtfully included in the package), the pay-off is that they are virtually leakproof. If filled properly (upside down) the juice will stay in there. For real. It seems that no break-in period was required as it started vaping like a champ the moment I started on it.
Though admittedly ugly, being plain plastic and metal, they are superbly functional. I have not used them long enough to test their longevity but hope they live up their claim of “long lasting”.
I like them. They are cheap as in 5 for $8 and the stupid rubber cap mouthpiece can be tossed and fit a your favourite drip-tip – very much unlike other clearos!
I have 10 more on order, I like these.
The EVOD BCC (Bottom-Coil Changeable Clearomizer)
This one is fresh on the market, apparently the successor to the much loved T3 clearo. Everything I heard about them was great so I thought I’d give them a shot.
So I get it in the mail, fill it up with my favourite juice and go to town. Result: fantastic.
Despite a built-in mouthpiece, the tip serves well and I find it quite comfortable to use. I guess the trade off here is solid construction versus modularity. Also, the design is quite sleek with it.
It holds more than the other two – about 1.6mL – and fits beautifully atop an eGo style battery. Its easy to fill like the Nano, though this time it fills from unscrewing the bottom rather than the top which stops flooding issues during filling.
The construction is solid as can be, smooth and durable. Some have complained about its “airy draw” from its four air holes in the atomizer base. Personally I find this ok, and even if I didn’t, I could always plug one or more holes with a dab of glue or what-have-you.
Unlike the other two, it is not 510 compatible as it lacks the threads on the inside, eGo only. This is not generally a problem as I use mostly eGo compatible batteries and can use a 510-eGo adaptor for the rest.
So far, I’ve vaped about 5 tanks through the thing with zero problems – no leaking, dry hits, gurgling whatever. Once I got a bit of juice in my mouth, but that seemed an isolated incident. I guess keep it vaping and don’t pull to hard.
Here is the best part though – even though the unit is $6 a pop, more expensive than the others, it features a coil that is CHANGEABLE. Yes, you can buy new coils for it for a pittance. Instead of junking the whole clearo, just get a pack of coils and pop a new one in. It will even accept a T3 coil apparently though not vape as well.
All in all I’m most impressed with this one. Great all-around performance.
I think it was a good idea to get into clearos. One cannot always be messing with dripping and bottles and tissues all the time when out. It’s too distracting and messy. They sure as hell beat the traditional cartridge and atomizer systems too for both usability and convenience.
As for our three contenders, I would have to say that there is no clear winner in this “showdown”. Both the EVOD and Firebird have performed exceptionally and I will continue to use both for the proper circumstances.
If I were to make a knee-jerk choice though, the EVOD takes it. Convenient, functional, stylish, durable and changeable. It has it all. I’ll be getting more of these, in differing colours, and coils etc. They are a fantastic vape.