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The Ultimate Drip Tip Guide

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If you’ve ever vaped, chances are you’ve used a drip tip. Whether it was from a sub-ohm tank, an RBA, an old clearomizer, or anything in between, a drip tip is the only thing you’ll want between you and your vape. "But what exactly does a drip tip do?" you may ask. Well, keep paying close attention and you just may find out.

A drip tip is the mouthpiece that is inserted typically right at the top of the chimney, where vapor is expelled from the inner chamber—they were first implemented in an attempt to circumvent some of the drawbacks of using older vape hardware. In days of vaping past, poly-filled cartridges and prefilled cartomizers were actually acceptable vaping platforms—when juice was running low or they were feeling a change in flavor, vapers had little choice as to what to do next. They either went out of their way to refill their cartridge or paid way out of pocket for a whole new cartomizer—zero middle ground. It’s at this crucial turning point that drip tips came in, sending the entire vaping movement in an entirely new direction. With a drip tip attached to your atomizer rather than a cartridge or carto, you had much more flexibility in not only adjusting flavors by simply flushing out the old flavor with the new, but also in the performance you could coax from your vape.

Nowadays, although drip tips are hardly the innovative linchpin they once were, they’re still very important in getting the perfect vape from your setup as well as putting the finishing touch on the perfect look for your setup.

Material

While immediately apparent upon first glance—something that you count on when selecting a drip tip to complete your setup’s timeless color scheme—the material a drip tip is made from isn’t just for bragging rights, it also plays a huge part in its performance. From how it handles heat to how resistant it is to pressure, the materials composing a drip tip are an active and conscious choice made by the manufacturer—just like how Kanger decides whether to use a Pyrex or acrylic tank. Each type of material has its own benefits and drawbacks that may not be immediately apparent, but will no doubt arise after steady use.

                   

Metal

As one of the world’s most prevalent and influential materials, metal has not only shaped the very foundation of human civilization, but also continues to assist us in our continual technological advancement—and now it’s here to make our vapes awesome! Awesome!

Metal, as I’m sure you are fully aware, comes in an infinite number of alloys and blends, each possessing unique qualities that can be individually identified and exploited for maximum innovation. Brass, bronze, and copper are prime examples of such alloys—although some may be named after a pure metallic element, such pure formulations are extremely rare, as some amounts of other metals, no matter how minute, are almost always mixed in to increase the alloy’s overall stability. All three of these, however, are best suited for parts of your vape setup that won’t happen to stray close to your lips: copper, brass, and even bronze are notorious for garnering a coating of oxide—a chemical byproduct from reactions between the metal and the air—that can look pretty bad and taste even worse. Stainless steel, one such alloy, is formulated specifically to be as chemically inert and corrosion resistant as possible, meaning it will never grow a coat of nasty oxide to clean off and will always look as pristine as the day you picked it up.

Glass

Coming in just behind metal and plastic in worldwide popularity, glass is an extremely versatile material that is literally as flexible as it is heat-resistant. For vaping purposes, nine times out of ten, any glass will be borosilicate—most commonly known as Pyrex—a very heat-resistant glass with very low thermal expansion, which is good for our sub-ohm tanks and RDAs. Taking that into consideration, glass is a great choice for our drip tips, especially when combined with a material such as metal that will quickly absorb any stray heat and keep the tip of your tip as cool as you. Just don’t drop it—it’s tougher than it looks, but weaker than it wants.

Plastic

One of the most popular choices for drip tip material, plastic comes in a variety of different types, each with its own unique properties that make it more suitable for different situations. For example, Teflon—well-known for its use among non-stick cookware—is a relatively rare and proportionally expensive type of plastic that is highly heat-resistant and coveted for its silky smooth texture, but it’s still far less popular than delrin, the most common type of heat-resistant plastic available. Available in a variety of colors, delrin is a very versatile and inexpensive material, prompting manufacturers to begin using it extremely often until it was the plastic of choice for e-cig manufacturers. Ultem is another such plastic, although used far less often; where the others are opaque, however, Ultem has an eye-catchingly hypnotic slightly translucent yellowish orange, giving any device it’s attributed to a super slick look.

Wood

While wood isn’t exactly known for its heat-resistance, it does serve well to add an extra dose of pure style to your setup, not to mention wood’s natural insulating properties, which will help to keep the heat on your mod and not your lips. Plus, the natural designs etched into the grain by Mother Nature herself will guarantee that you’re getting a completely unique piece of art.

Stabilized Wood

Much more durable and hardy than its untreated brethren, stabilized wood comes from the same humble beginnings as any other average piece of wood. Stabilized wood, however, undergoes a special process that infuses the wood with resin during a treatment in a pressurized chamber—this allows the resin to displace the microscopic air pockets in the wood grain and set itself into a dense block that is reinforced by the natural structure of the wood, making it much more resilient and impervious to cracking or separation. This also gives the resin a gorgeous finish and complex translucence that can be polished to a brilliant shine.

Carbon Fiber

This high tech material is rarely utilized on its own—most often, it’s used in concordance with a material more structurally stable such as stainless steel—instead, carbon fiber is used to replace aspects of an object with a lightweight yet tough component that won’t easily degrade or wear away.

Ceramic

One of the most inert and nonreactive materials on the planet, ceramic is an incredible medium, sporting extensive resistance to heat, corrosion, chemicals, electricity, the list goes on. Ceramic is an extremely pleasant material to have for a drip tip—it’s even available in a variety of shades and colors, allowing you to find the absolute perfect addition to your setup. Just be forewarned: if the ceramic is polished to a super smooth finish, lip gunk abounds, so keep the alcohol wipes close on hand.

Rubber

Like to chew on your tips? Fretting over betting you’ll be the first to drop your newest super expensive ceramic drip tip? Never fear, silicone is here! Definitely one of the more heat-resistant materials, this flexible, stretchy, bendy stuff is liable to come in a huge variety of styles, shapes, and shades, thanks to rubber’s long-established standing in modern manufacturing. Just don’t go lighting it on fire: while it keeps heat in place, its relatively low flashpoint means it may handle hot ambient air well, but open flames are a no-no—not that we’re even using lighters anymore, anyway, right? ;D

Dimensions

Similarly to the material a drip tip is constructed out of, the form and designs of many drip tips, while nothing short of attention-grabbing, are just as functional as they are works of art. Sporting a variety of dimensions, shapes, and sizes, drip tips come in a wide range of designs in order to provide users with the chance to utilize the functionality incorporated into each design choice.

Tall vs Short

The length of your drip tip of choice not only has a surprisingly large impact on the quality of your vape, it also affects the coolness factor of your vape setup! If your thing is flavor-fiending, then a tall drip tip is most likely most prudent for your vaping style. A taller drip tip will better condense and concentrate your vapor, leading to an unbelievably rich and flavorful vape. In addition, a taller drip tip is far less likely to be plagued by any pesky spitback or stray juice droplets. On the other hand, a shorter drip tip, creating a shorter path for vapor to follow from atty to lips, has its own advantages to cajoling great flavor from your vape, bringing out entirely new notes and layers in your juice by allowing users to taste the vapor fresh off the coil without waiting for it to travel the full length of the chimney and potentially let some aspects of the juice get muddled. But it also comes with its own drawbacks, as it more easily allows for spitback, not to mention it can be lost that much more easily if accidentally dropped.

Wide vs Narrow

The width of a drip tip can have a number of benefits or drawbacks depending on how it is incorporated into the design of the drip tip. For example, a drip tip that has a wide opening on top, but a narrow bore that only tapers wider towards the top is good for creating turbulent conditions in the chimney as vapor escapes, promoting layered and nuanced flavor, but don’t count on that tapered bore to promote healthy airflow and subsequently rich, dense clouds. Additionally, the width of the drip tip can affect how much you enjoy using it, and if you don’t "lahv" it, then what’s the point?

Bore Width

The width of the bore—the opening in your drip tip that allows vapor to pass from the atomizer to you—is often neglected by novice vapers, but can easily make or break the perfect vape. Narrow bores are excellent for MTL vapers, allowing only a small but concentrated flow of vapor to pass, which intensifies the flavor of your juices. However, if your atomizer isn’t necessarily designed for MTL vaping and would otherwise allow a very large amount of vapor through, a drip tip with a tight bore would only serve to restrict the otherwise free flow of vapor. Alternatively, a wide bore drip tip is excellent for DTL atomizers with a large amount of airflow, such as RDAs or sub-ohm tanks. Furthermore, coaxing satisfactory performance from these types of atomizers is entirely dependent on the type of drip tip installed: while a MTL atomizer with a tight draw wouldn’t be restricted by a wide bore drip tip, attaching a drip tip with a small bore to an atomizer designed for DTL vaping would only serve as a detriment to the maximum airflow that could possibly pass through. So when deciding between drip tips, it’s always important to carefully consider your vaping style, what kind of atomizer it will be attached to, and how much airflow you want to allow.

Shape

A drip tip’s shape may appear to be entirely cosmetic, but that’s far from the truth: a drip tip’s shape, whether a basic cylinder or an intricate sculpture, not only decides how you will use it, but also how much you like using it! Feel free to pick your favorite, just consider what it’ll be like to put your lips on it day in and day out—while that snake head drip tip may look super cool on a website or in a glass display, you may not like having to stick a snake up to your lips all day.

510 or Nah?

While 510 drip tips are by far the most common and prevalent, they weren’t always, and with the direction towards heavy airflow the vaping industry is beginning to take, it looks like they won’t always be king of the proverbial hill. But never fear, if you have an atomizer with a 510 drip tip port, feel free to stock up on your favorites while they’re still so popular.

But if you don’t have an atomizer with a 510 port, that’s ok, too—there’s plenty of drip tips made for a variety of atomizers, such as CE4, 808, Reo, and many more. In addition, even RDAs without a 510 drip tip port or adapter have their own options for custom tips in the form of chuff enuff caps. These caps replace the stock top cap with an extremely wide bored cap, often equipped with heat fins, which allows maximum airflow to pass through the atomizer without being restricted by the usually disproportional bore of the stock drip tip.

Features

Drip tips have progressed far beyond the simple functionality they had when they first appeared. While drip tips in the past were made to simply allow for juice to easily pass and saturate the wick underneath, modern drip tips are available with a wide range of features and functionality. Auxiliary airflow, for example, is a favorite among cloud-chasers and flavor-fiends alike: as opposed to having simply two openings—one facing the atomizer and one facing you—drip tips with auxiliary airflow will have one or more openings in the side of the tip. This allows for additional air to enter the equation without having to pass through the atomizer beforehand. This can greatly assist in cooling down overly warm vapor, as well as diluting vapor that is too wet or dense for your taste. Additional functionality such as anti-spitback screens, cooling heat fins, o-ring–less friction fit, ergonomic swiveling tips, and even the ability to glow-in-the-dark is available from a number of drip tips—the only limit is your wallet!


Care & Maintenance

Because they are one of the most stressed parts of your vape setup, drip tips perform best when they are carefully cared for and kept as pristine as possible. Otherwise, residue from your juice, your coils, and even your lips themselves will begin to accumulate on the surface of the drip tip if you’re not diligent about keeping the state of your drip tip, and thereby the performance of your setup, as impeccable as possible.

The simplest way to care for your drip tips is to simply clean them periodically—about once a week is all it takes for a super happy germ-free fun time all the time. All it takes is a little soap, a little water, a little scrub, a little rinse, and after that, you’re practically good to go. Using a sterilizing solvent such as rubbing alcohol can be beneficial and sensible, but take care to avoid using it with plastic and acrylic drip tips—alcohol can degrade, crack, and fade the surface.

Conclusion

From size to shape and everything in between, choosing the perfect drip tip can some like a daunting task, but at least now that that much more equipped to make a wise choice and come away from it with a fantastic addition to your setup that will only skyrocket your love of vaping to new heights! It’s all about personal preference and trying out novel things, so feel free to experiment and experience all the kinds of drip tips out there!

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