What is a Cartomizer?


Let’s look at the e-cigarette market generally and get granular with the cartomizer, a component that is used when vapers want to mod (customize) their e-cigs.

  • E-cigarettes: Yes, They are Hot
  • What is a Cartomizer?
  • The Role of the Cartomizer
  • Wick-Fed Carts
  • Poly-Fill Carts
  • Tank Carts
  • Are Cartomizers Still Hip?
  • Make the Switch

E-Cigarettes: Yes, They are Hot

Incredibly, electronic cigarettes have been around for 13 years. Granted, it has taken a while for them to become more prevalent. In fact, the growth of this industry is only expected to accelerate. Analyst BIS Research estimated that the market will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.36% between 2015 and 2025. Just to put that into perspective, compare it to the growth of another incredibly “hot” electronic tool: the 3D printer. 3D printers are expected to grow at just over 16% between 2016 and 2020, according to IDC.

In other words, to say that vaping is on the rise is a vast understatement.

What is a Cartomizer?

A modified e-cigarette, also called a mod or an advanced personal vaporizer (APV), comes in three main pieces. These are the battery, atomizer, and tank or cartridge. To be more clear, that’s the makeup of a three-piece vaporizer.

The three-piece setup arose primarily from a desire to make e-cigs look as close as possible to analogs – traditional tobacco cigarettes. A substrate absorbed the e-juice from the cartridge or tank, and then sent it to the atomizer to be turned into vapor.

When designers considered improvements, though, they wanted to simplify. Hence, a cartomizer (or carto or cart – although the latter is also used for cartridges) was born – a combination cartridge and atomizer.

“The cartomizer gave manufacturers and e-cigarette developers the part they needed to expand the battery and create larger e-liquid reservoirs,” notes Quit Smoking Community. “Combining the atomizer with the cartridge or tank also made things much easier on the vaper as well.”

The Role of the Cartomizer

As described above, the cartomizer combines two of the three essential pieces – so all you need is a battery to create the e-cigarette. The cartomizer comes in various different popular styles. Let’s look at each.

Wick-Fed Carts

A wick-fed style of cart, usually glass or transparent plastic, has a tank with two or three wicks (made of cotton or a synthetic) within it. The wick absorbs the e-juice from the tank and sends it to the atomizer through a small tube. Within the atomizer, the liquid turns into vapor.

Poly-Fill Carts

These cartomizers are popular, possibly in part because they look similar to the cartridges that used to be more prevalent. It has a tube that contains an additional tube. Within the center tube is the heating element. “The heating tube also has a wick inside that is surrounded by layers of a poly-fill guaze,” explains QSC. “As the poly-fill is saturated with e-liquid the wick pulls the liquid into the heating tube where it is then vaporized.”

Tank Carts

These cartomizers are… Well, they’re enormous. They are the largest cartomizers for those who want to be able to hold a large amount of juice. The tank style can fit a huge amount of liquid because there is almost nothing else that is within the tank – so almost all space is available for juice.

The tank cartomizer is made with a tube at the center, with a little poly-fill and a heating element or atomizer. “The e-liquid is drawn into the tube through one or multiple holes at the bottom of the tube within the tank,” says QSC. “These are usually clear plastic or even glass, allowing the user to see exactly what remains of the liquid inside.”

Are Cartomizers Still Hip?

OK, well, no one wants to be walking around with a 1984 Walkman during the digital era. So, is the cartomizer up-to-date? Bringing together the atomizer and cartridge made sense when it was developed – and that still holds true. The major aspect that is still changing and improving is the way that the cartomizer is built and how it works – as indicated by the branches of various styles.

The consensus is building that the tank cartomizer is the ultimate style. However, there are sometimes issues with clogging and leaking; so there are reasons why people turn to other varieties. Some people think that the tank design needs to mature a bit before it’s the ideal way to vape.

The clearomizer is a way that some engineers have attempted to outdo the typical cartomizer. However, some clearomizers are simply transparent cartomizers – not really a significant advance.

Note that there is a bit of gray area in all these discussions because the terms are fluid. It’s a young industry, and users often take terms on, and they end up with multiple definitions.

However, the cartomizer – in some form, whether tank, wick-fed, or poly-fill – is understood to be the basic, standard delivery method for ecigs at this point.

Make the Switch

Are you thinking about quitting smoking with vaping? At eCIG.com, we provide the vaping community with the highest quality products and the best customer service in the industry. Check out our Mods & Rebuildables.

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