Out of all of the different factors that contribute to the quality of your vaping experience, your tank’s mouthpiece might be the factor that you think about the least. That’s a shame because every component of your vaping setup – even something as small as a drip tip – can actually change your vaping experience in subtle ways. Did you know that your vape tank’s mouthpiece is actually a component that you can remove and replace with any mouthpiece you like? Did you know there are actually quite a few reasons why you might want to do exactly that?
At the moment, you’re probably asking: Why would I even want to replace my tank’s mouthpiece? That’s what you’re going to learn from reading this article. What is a drip tip, and why might you want to consider replacing yours? What are the different types of drip tips that are available? Let’s dig in.
What Is a Drip Tip? A Brief History
Delrin (left) and Ultem (right) drip tips.
The term “drip tip” comes from the style of vaping known as dripping, and dripping was something that the vaping community created to get around a serious shortcoming with the first e-cigarettes. That shortcoming was a lack of vapor production and flavor quality. An early e-cigarette had a semi-permanent atomizer that screwed into the battery. The e-liquid was held inside a hollow cartridge that snapped over the atomizer. In the cartridge, there was a wet sponge that held the e-liquid, and as you vaped, the e-liquid would trickle from the sponge down to the atomizer.
The sponges inside the early e-cigarette cartridges tended to make everything taste like plastic. The sponge blocked airflow, hampering vapor production. In some cases, the sponge would even melt and stick to the atomizer. Vaping technology has come a long way since then. While the members of the vaping community waited for the technology to improve, though, they needed to find a way to have a better experience with the equipment they already had. That was dripping. Dripping involved removing the cartridge from an e-cigarette and dripping e-liquid from a bottle directly onto the bridge of the atomizer. Eventually, people began using hollow caps instead of the cartridges, and those caps became the first drip tips.
Today, many people still use the term “drip tip” to describe any removable mouthpiece for a vape tank or atomizer even though you don’t actually drip e-liquid down the mouthpiece when using a tank. The term was around for so long that it became part of the standard vaping lexicon, and it’s a term that we still use now.
Now that you know what a drip tip is, it’s time to go a bit deeper. Aren’t you fine using the drip tip included with your vape tank? Why would you want to replace your drip tip? Those are the questions we’ll answer next.
Why Might You Want to Replace Your Drip Tip?
This vape tank has a resin drip tip.
Until you’ve tried a few different ones, you might not realize the wide variety of different ways in which your drip tip can affect your vaping experience. These are some of the reasons why you might want to buy a new drip tip.
- You’ve dropped your vaping device and damaged your tank’s original drip tip. If dropping your device on a hard surface has taken a big gouge out of your drip tip, it can completely destroy the way your tank’s mouthpiece feels in your mouth when you vape. Did you think that you’d have to put up with the sharp edges until you bought a new tank? Nope! You can replace the drip tip whenever you like.
- You’d like to change your vaping experience from a flavor standpoint. Drip tips that taper outward encourage the formation of bigger vapor clouds, but they can also cause those enormous clouds to slip down your throat before you can really taste them. A drip tip that tapers inward slows the vapor down a little, focusing it on your palate.
- You’d like to use a drip tip that feels different in your mouth. Drip tips are available in several different materials; we’ll discuss those in greater detail shortly. They’re also available in a wide variety of shapes and contours.
- You’d like to switch between inhaling styles. A drip tip with a narrow bore is best for mouth-to-lung inhaling, and a drip tip with a wide bore is best for direct lung hits.
How to Buy the Right Drip Tip for Your Tank
This vape tank has a stainless steel drip tip.
Before you can buy a new drip tip for your tank, you need to know what type of drip tip you currently have. There are two primary types of drip tips, and virtually every vape tank on the market uses one type or the other.
- The 810 drip tip is the most common type currently in use. An 810 drip tip is much wider than the filter of a cigarette, and it’s used on vape tanks designed for direct-to-lung inhaling.
- The 510 drip tip is used for mouth-to-lung tanks, and it’s less common than it used to be because so many vape tank owners these days prefer the direct-to-lung inhaling style. A 510 drip tip is approximately as wide as the filter of a cigarette.
Since most drip tips come in one of those two standard sizes, you should have little trouble finding a replacement for your tank. If you’re currently using a sub-ohm tank designed for direct-to-lung inhaling, for instance, any 810 drip tip should fit. If you’d like to try a different type of drip tip with your tank, you can use an adapter. Just look for a “510 to 810” adapter or an “810 to 510” adapter depending on the type of tank you’re currently using.
There are a few vape tanks with proprietary drip tips that don’t conform to the 510 or 810 styles, but they’re not common. There are adapters that make it possible to use 510 or 810 drip tips with some proprietary tanks. You can usually find those by searching for the manufacturer of the tank along with the phrase “drip tip adapter.”
What Are the Different Materials Used for Drip Tips?
Resin is probably the most popular material currently used for drip tips. Since it’s easy to make resin drip tips in a wide variety of different colors, they’re a perfect match for today’s colorful vape tanks. Resin feels smooth and pleasant in the mouth, and it does a good job of insulating your lips from the heat of your tank’s atomizer coil. However, it’s just one of many different materials used for drip tips. Here are some other popular options.
- Delrin is a popular plastic for injection molding because parts made from Delrin can be manufactured with extremely high precision and are quite durable. Delrin can be used for gears, locks and gun components. Its main purpose for vaping, though, is that it’s an excellent heat insulator. If you find that your current drip tip becomes uncomfortably hot when you vape, Delrin might be an excellent alternative. The main reason why Delrin isn’t commonly used anymore for the drip tips included with vape tanks is because it isn’t colorful; Delrin drip tips are usually plan black or white.
- Ultem is a trade name for polyetherimide, a translucent yellow-orange resin that’s extremely resistant to heat. It’s particularly popular among people who use rebuildable atomizers and build extreme high-performance coils. Some people find that their coils get so hot, even Delrin doesn’t do a good enough job of keeping their lips from feeling overheated. For most vapers, though, Ultem’s ability to insulate the lips from heat is unnecessary. That’s especially true with today’s mesh coils, which operate at much more reasonable heat levels than the high-performance coils of the past.
- Aluminum is a popular option for drip tips because anodization makes it possible to manufacture aluminum drip tips in a wide variety of different colors. Unlike plastic, though, a metal drip tip doesn’t insulate the lips from heat. For that reason, aluminum drip tips work best with low-power vape tanks or smaller vaping devices. With a more powerful tank, you may find that an aluminum drip tip becomes uncomfortably hot during operation. Compared to plastic and stainless steel, aluminum has a slightly textured feel that some people enjoy.
- Stainless steel is an even more popular option than aluminum for those who enjoy metal drip tips. Although it isn’t available in a wide variety of color options like aluminum, it has a smooth surface that many people prefer. Like aluminum, though, stainless steel will conduct heat and isn’t usually suitable for higher-temperature tanks.
- A few companies specialize in making designer drip tips out of exotic stones like jade. Stone has a unique feel in the mouth that isn’t really comparable to metal or plastic. A stone drip tip is also a one-of-a-kind work of art that can be a great conversation piece that’s certain to draw attention from fellow vapers. It’s rare, however, to find stone drip tips in the 810 size. It’s more common to find them in the smaller 510 size, so most stone drip tips are strictly for mouth-to-lung vaping.