Thursday, May 30, 2024

A Love Story – Vapor Voice


Everyone can find something to love about Innokin’s new Ares 2 RTA rebuildable tank from Phil Busardo and Dimitris Agrafiotis.

By Mike Huml

The Ares 2 RTA is the latest rebuildable tank from Innokin. With input from avid mouth-to-lung (MTL) vapers Phil Busardo and Dimitris Agrafiotis, the Ares 2 provides one of the best MTL vape experiences possible. With the popularity of rebuildables, and subsequently sub-ohm tanks followed by pod systems, many more advanced vapers who preferred MTL vaping were left with very few options. Today, the Ares 2 stands out as the pinnacle of MTL vaping for intermediate to advanced vapers.

Historically, rebuildable atomizers have generally been considered a cloud-chaser’s game. While it is true that most rebuildables are intended for lung hits, huge airflow and massive vapor production, there are many who prefer MTL vaping but still want to gain the advantages of rebuilding. These include cheaper upkeep, a more customizable vape experience and generally improved flavor. Additionally, many prefer the ability to pair a 510 atomizer with a multitude of mods rather than be limited to the proprietary ecosystems provided by pod systems. The Ares 2 was created to fill the needs of these vapers and is largely successful in doing so.

The Ares 2 features a 2 mL reservoir and a wide range of airflow options. Many atomizers that claim to allow MTL vaping end up falling short due to compromises in airflow. MTL atomizers work best when the entire airflow chain is consistent rather than utilizing the adjustable airflow alone to restrict the airflow. The latter causes vapor production and flavor to be poor and the throat hit to be too harsh. The Ares 2 allows for adjustments to be made to the internal airflow underneath the coil as well as to the external airflow.

As a result, the Ares 2 could allow for restricted lung hits as well as MTL vaping without compromising vapor, flavor or throat hit. The internal adjustment is made by using the included screwdriver to rotate the ring that sits underneath the coil. While this may seem slightly obtuse, it effectively prevents accidental adjustments. The internal airflow is meant to be a “set-and-forget” adjustment, and while it might be odd, it’s also an ingenious solution to an underrated problem for many MTL vapers.

The Ares 2 is filled from the top by simply sliding the entire top cap in the direction indicated next to the mouthpiece. This reveals the fill port, which is sealed with silicone flaps. These flaps maintain pressure within the tank to ensure that open pressure does not cause liquid to flood the coil chamber. The tip of the e-liquid bottle splits the flaps and allows air to escape while filling, which prevents the e-liquid from backing up and overflowing. It’s a simple but elegant filling system that works perfectly.

While the Ares 2 comes with several premade coils, many will choose this tank to build their own coils. With the tools provided in the box, wrapping a coil is extremely easy, and installation is specifically designed to be as painless as possible. The coil is to be wrapped with a lead facing in either direction. The post screws on the deck are then loosened, the coil laid in and the screws tightened. The wicking material, preferably cotton, is then threaded and the ends trimmed to a length where they just barely contact the base. These are then inserted into the juice-flow holes. All that remains is to saturate and prime the wick, reassemble the tank and fill it up. While nothing fancy, the deck is one of the most forgiving on which to build a coil. This makes it the ideal tank for those new to rebuilding. While brand-new vapers will want to start with something nonrebuildable, the Ares 2 can make for an excellent second step into the vaping world.

The package comes with one of the most comprehensive tool kits to ever be included with a tank. Replacement tinted glass and replacement O-rings, gaskets and screws are all included. The replacement O-rings are multicolored, so they can be changed out due to the original O-rings getting lost or worn out or simply for a change in color. For rebuilding, the Ares 2 comes with two premade coils. These are 1-ohm, 26-gauge Kanthal coils. Additionally, one meter of 26-gauge Kanthal wire is included as well as a sheet of organic Japanese cotton.

Lastly, two building tools and a double-ended screwdriver are also included. The screwdriver has a flat head on one side and a Phillips head on the other, but it’s the building tools that are unique. One, marked as “Phil’s Build Tool,” has a smooth 3 mm diameter rod on one side and a 2.5 mm rod on the other. This is perfect for building contact coils but can also be used to build spaced coils. However, the other tool, labeled “Dimi’s Build Tool,” is better for this application. Dimi’s tool has threading to ensure perfect spacing, and each side facilitates wrapping in opposite directions. For the Ares 2, using the side marked “R” is preferred as this will ensure that the leads are in the proper position in relation to the post terminals.

No matter what type of coil is used in the Ares 2, it’s important to push the coil down with a tool as much as possible. A steel bridge ensures that the coil cannot be pressed so far down as to make contact with any of the metal on the deck. However, if the coil is not pressed down and aligned properly, it runs the risk of contacting the top of the bell and shorting out. Getting the coil as close to the airflow as possible is generally considered best practice when it comes to installing coils anyway, but the Ares 2 makes it foolproof.

Two mouthpieces are also included. One is black plastic and must be removed to slide open the top cap when refilling. The other is stainless steel and can remain attached when refilling. These can be changed purely based on personal preference. Both are extremely comfortable without being too long, and neither are too narrow that it causes accumulation and spitback, which generally isn’t as much of a problem with MTL vaping as it is with direct-lung vaping.

The result of the build is a smooth, quiet draw with airflow that can be adjusted to each vaper’s liking. With all the airflow closed, the draw is almost nonexistent. While vaping in this way is not recommended, it does demonstrate the quality and precision of the Ares 2. With the smallest airflow hole open, the draw is tight, which is great for vapers seeking the most analog-accurate vaping experience. At its most open, the Ares 2 is capable of restricted lung hits comparable to a Kayfun V5 or many pod systems.

Due to the nature of the wicking system and airflow, any e-liquid can be used. On one end of the spectrum, the Ares 2 can be built using looser wicking and maximum airflow in order to use e-liquid with a higher VG component to get flavorful restricted lung hits. On the other hand, airflow can be minimized and more wicking can be used to facilitate the use of thinner liquid or even high-nicotine liquids and nicotine salts to get a true smoking experience. Either route can be taken with no compromises.

In addition to the inherent versatility of being rebuildable, the Ares 2 has a standard 510 connection, so it can be paired with any mod or device that is compatible with atomizers that have a diameter of 24 millimeters or more. Most modern 510 mod or battery will fit this description, which leaves a near-limitless number of options open to pair with the Ares 2.

Mouth-to-lung vaping is not as much of a niche as it was several years ago. Pod systems have introduced many people to vaping, and a good number continue to upgrade as new products are made available or their old setups wear out. With the Ares 2, vapers such as these now have a rebuildable option without having to switch over to direct-lung vaping.

Not everyone has the desire to turn vaping into a full-blown hobby, but many still want a better vaping experience, and the Ares 2 is the best option. Not only does it provide arguably the best MTL experience possible, but it’s easy to use, customizable and versatile. Not to mention it comes with everything needed to build and install coils save for scissors.

Adding the Innokin Ares 2 to any product offering is undoubtedly a wise move. It’s a fantastic product on its own, but there are very few atomizers that are similar, let alone in the $30 to $40 price range. Anyone coming from pod systems can find something to love about the Ares 2, but advanced vapers looking to get a quality MTL vape can’t go wrong either. Innokin has never been a cloud-chaser’s brand, but it is renowned for its quality and reliability—two attributes exemplified by the Ares 2 RTA.

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