What’s The Difference Between a Cartomizer and Atomizer

If you’ve never used one before and are in the market to make your first-ever e cigarette purchase, there’s a lot of information you’ll need to wade through and lots of alien terminology you need to familiarize yourself with, two of which are an atomizer and a cartomizer.

What exactly are they and what are the differences between the two?

Let’s start with the atomizer.

When referring to an atomizer, it can mean one or both of two things. First, it could refer to the heating element that is crucial to every e cigarette. Without the atomizer, an e cigarette would be just a battery because it’s the atomizer that heats and produces the vapor. Second, “atomizer” could be referring to the built-in heating element inside of a cartomizer.

In this case, we’ll be referring to the atomizer as the stand-alone unit that is found as a part of a 3-piece e cigarette, such as our Firelight Micro (seen here). The traditional 3-piece e cigarette consists of a battery, an atomizer, and a refill cartridge.

Now, onto the cartomizer.

“Cartomizer” is a hybrid word used to describe a refill cartridge and an atomizer. Instead of the atomizer being a separate piece that is, for the most part, exposed, it is now surrounded by the refill cartridge casing.

Pros & Cons to Using an Atomizer

The portion of the atomizer that sticks out and penetrates the refill cartridge is called a bridge, and dripping directly onto this piece is very simple.  Another benefit to atomizer use is being easier to clean because the coil (center part that heats up), bridge, and wick are more exposed and easier to access.

From a price standpoint, atomizers tend to be more expensive than cartomizers. Typically, a 5-pack of cartomizers range in the $10-15 range while single atomizers typically cost about $10.

Pros & Cons to Using a Cartomizer

Every cartomizer contains an internal atomizer, so you’re using a new heating element with every carto.¬†Because the atomizer is encased in the cartridge casing, it can typically hold more liquid than a regular refill cartridge. A regular cartridge is composed of the casing and a smaller internal tube, which limits the number of drops that can be placed inside. As opposed to placing just 4-5 drops in a refill cartridge’s tube, a cartomizer can hold 6-8 drops.

Since the cartomizer’s atomizer is covered, it can be harder to clean out.


To see our full line of atomizers and cartomizers, as well as the liquid to refill them with, visit our site by clicking here.