One of my favorite companies in the vaping business, Convict Vapor recently released the Lockdown RDA. Company owner and product designer Brian Grow isn’t a fan of constantly re-dripping, so he made the Lockdown RDA to hold a lot of juice. The atomizer also has a unique airflow design, allowing for excellent combinations of flavor and vapor production. I recently caught up with Brian at Monster Vape Lounge to get the skinny on his latest product.
The most striking feature of the Lockdown RDA is its L-shaped air holes. I was surprised to learn that airflow can be adjusted to accommodate cloud chasers and flavor fiends alike. The air holes have distinct looks, while being quite practical. Under the hood, the Lockdown RDA has a somewhat small building area and extremely deep juice wells. The post holes are very large, able to fit Clapton coils, parallel coils, etc. All told, this is a very versatile atomizer.
I’m also a fan of the Lockdown RDA’s clean and simple design. I loathe outlandish designs with overdone lines and knurling, so the atomizer’s looks fit right into my aesthetic wheelhouse. The Lockdown RDA is available in brushed and polished stainless steel. For vapers that prefer extremely hot builds, white and black Delrin caps are available for the atomizer.
On top of its great features, the Lockdown is backed by an outstanding one-year warranty. Convict Vapor is one of the most generous companies in the business when it comes to support and I really appreciate how well it treats its customers. In addition to getting a great vaping product backed by phenomenal customer service, the Lockdown RDA has a relatively low price — around $70 at most vape shops.
To learn more about the Lockdown RDA and to see its various finishes, check out my chat with Brian below.
RPadTV’s “Best of 2014” vaping coverage continues with a list of excellent atomizers and accessories. Similar to my list of favorite 2014 mods, there’s no such thing as a “best atomizer,” but for SEO purposes this article is titled that way (blame Google). Unlike most of the Southern California vapers I see regularly, I’m more of a flavor guy and not much of a cloud chaser. My top atomizer pick reflects that. Also keep in mind that I only included atomizers that I’ve used extensively. There are a number of great 2014 atties that I tried briefly, but since I didn’t spend significant time with them, I wasn’t comfortable putting them on my list.
As for the accessories, they’re more universal — products that every vaper should consider. Now let’s to this!
Neovapetek Venturi — There were dozens of “cloud chaser” atomizers released in 2014, but not many “flavor fiend” atties. The Neovapetek Venturi was one of the few atomizers made expressly for vapers looking for rich flavor. Its unique design produces a warm, highly-concentrated vape. As an added bonus, the design also makes it highly leak resistant. The Venturi is expertly made from top-notch materials and backed by outstanding customer service. While my cloud chaser friends sometimes make fun of my love for this atomizer, I simply don’t care. For the kind of vape that I enjoy, the Venturi was easily my favorite atomizer of 2014.
Ivation Ultrasonic Cleaner — Every hardcore vaper should have an ultrasonic cleaner. It’s a tremendously useful tool that’s great for steeping e-liquids and cleaning vape gear. I find ultrasonic cleaners especially useful for washing atomizers and mods; they’re just brilliant at removing gunk from crevices and threads. While there are a number of inexpensive models on the market, I went with the Ivation IVU96S. I like that the unit’s tub is removable, making it easy to wash. Btw, if you’re a vaper that wears glasses then you really need an ultrasonic cleaner. It’s a fantastic way to gently and thoroughly clean your specs.
The Convict — Yeah, I know that The Convict by Convict Vapors is already on my “Best Mods of 2014” list, but one of the reasons I enjoy vaping on it is its atomizer. The genesis-style atty on The Convict features a large 5ml tank, a reduced chamber, and easy-to-work-with posts. For me, it produces a stellar combination of flavor and vapor. When I want a vaping setup with capacity, The Convict is usually my first choice. The excellent genny on this hybrid mod is a big reason why.
Xuron LX Micro — Vapers that build their own coils should invest in a good set of wire cutters. My cutter of choice is the Xuron LX Micro. It’s rated to cut wire as thick as 18-gauge, which is overkill for many vapers, but could come in handy. This is a sharp and sturdy tool that will last a long time.
Cotton LABO Organic Cotton — It pains me when vapers buy organic Japanese cotton at vape shops. They usually pick up five pads for $5, which is ridiculous. For $7, you can get 200 pads of Cotton LABO Organic Cotton. It’s a much, much better deal. While some vapers claim to be able to taste the difference between various brands of organic Japanese cotton, I am not one of them. Cotton LABO pads are as good or better than any of Japanese organic cotton I’ve tried at vape shops.
Aqua v2 by Footoon — Last year, the Aqua by Footoon was one of my favorite atomizers. However, they’re hard to get serviced if something goes wrong, so I swore off UVO Systems products in general. Then the Aqua v2 came along. It’s a great improvement over the original. I love that it’s 22mm, easier to build, and easier to refill. For me, it offers an optimal blend of flavor, vapor, and convenience. The Aqua v2 is easier to work with, holds more juice, and looks better than the original. Footoon knocked it out of the park with this atomizer.
The Vape Kit — If you’re just getting into rebuildable atomizers, The Vape Kit is a great starter toolset. It has everything a new builder needs to get going and comes in a convenient case. Many advanced builders I know have The Vape Kit toolset and swap out some of the tools for ones that they prefer. (Here’s a shot of my kit with some personal additions.) It’s just a smart product that works well for many vapers.
Tobh Atomizer — While it’s not quite as popular as it was during the first half of 2014, the Tobh Atomizer by Tobh Mods was the most influential atty of the year. So many companies mimicked its features (heat fins, negative posts and base cut from one piece of metal, slam caps, etc.). I wish more companies would use techniques like the press-fitted brass and copper caps that Tobh Mods offers; they’re brass or copper on the outside, with stainless steel on the inside for safer vaping. The Tobh Atomizer is a great American vaping product that truly changed the atomizer game in 2014.
Kuro Concepts Coil Winder — I’m convinced that this product is fueled by wizardry. As a merely average builder, I really appreciate how quickly and conveniently the Kuro Concepts Coil Winder works. You can make clean coils in seconds with this product. They’re has to be a small sorcerer inside each one, right?
VLS Vulcan — The Vulcan is an inexpensive atomizer with great features and strong build quality. While I try to stay away from clones, I totally understand that some vapers feel that original products are overpriced. Vapour Lifestyle’s mission is to offer original products that are well made and easily attainable. The company did just that with the Vulcan. It also listened to customers that wanted more airflow out of the original by releasing a sleeve made for cloud chasers. While I like the product itself, I love that VLS is serving up original quality vaping products with relatively low prices.
Now that 2014 is over, let’s take a look at my favorite vaping mods of the year. While the title of this article is “Best Vaping Mods of 2014,” that’s simply for SEO purposes. Mods are subjective devices, with different people looking for different levels of performance, certain aesthetics, various buttons feels, and more. As for me, I like strong performance, but don’t really need top-of-the-line voltage drop. I prefer aesthetics that are simple and understated. The vast majority of my batteries are 18650, so I gravitate towards mods made for that particular size. I also put a premium on support and service, which is something most vapers I hang out with don’t seem to care about. Lastly, I generally prefer made-in-the-USA products.
Out of all the mods I used extensively in 2014 (there were lots of nice ones I didn’t get to spend much time with), these five were my favorite.
Vapour Art GP Paps X Lux — In 2013, Vapour Art’s GP Paps X was my favorite mod, so it wasn’t a surprise that the GP Paps X Lux ended up as my favorite mod of 2014. It has everything I love about the original — fantastic build quality, elegant looks, and a great button with a light touch. The GP Paps X Lux adds aluminum bronze to the mix, which is more conductive and more luxurious than the 316 stainless steel used in the original model. While there are hundreds of brass mods and several naval brass mods on the market, there aren’t many that use aluminum bronze. The metal helps the GP Paps X Lux stand out with its rarity and superior performance. While its performance isn’t quite as good as the other mechs on my list, this is one of the most beautiful and expertly crafted mods I’ve used. To top it all off, Vapour Art products are backed by outstanding customer service.
The Convict — For the last half of 2014, The Convict by Convict Vapors has been my workhorse mod. This genesis-style hybrid offers high performance and a huge 5ml tank. I love that it’s made in the USA and backed by an extremely generous warranty. The Convict that I’ve been using is made out of aluminum, which is highly conductive. Brass, copper, and stainless steel models are also available. When I need a vaping setup with capacity, I almost always reach for The Convict. It’s well made, it hits hard, and holds a ton of juice. Pardon the pun, but I think Convict Vapors is one of the most criminally underrated companies in the vaping business. The company makes fantastic vaping devices that are backed by extraordinary warranties.
Brass Knurled King Mod — My other workhorse mod of 2014 was the Brass Knurled King Mod from Surefire Vapor. I used the dusted brass model for most of the year and the nickel-plated brass model in December. Both American mods are well made and backed by strong customer service. The combination of brass, tight construction, and silver-plated copper contacts helps the King Mod deliver strong performance. Aesthetically, I love the way the mod looks — elegant and simple, yet distinct. I wasn’t a fan of the huge “lug nut” caps on the original King Mod, but I really dig the way the Brass Knurled King Mod’s knurled circular caps look. The nickel-plated brass model is probably my favorite mod of the year in terms of looks. While the $230 price tag made sense in early 2014, I do think Surefire Vapor’s prices were slightly high by the end of the year, with a number of great mods available in the $180-$230 price range.
Tantra Mod — A newcomer to the mechanical mod scene, Chillum Vapor kicked things off with a great product in the Tantra Mod. It features a naval brass body, tight engineering, and a unique disc spring. All of those aforementioned features add up for excellent performance. The construction of this mod is excellent and I love that Chillum Vapor uses naval brass instead of a cheaper alloy. I’m also a fan of the Tantra Mod’s 20 x 1 threading, which allows me to use it in hybrid mode with some of my favorite atomizers for direct-to-battery performance. In terms of looks, the Tantra Mod has about as much flash as I enjoy. It’s certainly the flashiest mod on this list, but relatively understated compared to many mods on the market. While the mod and company name conjure up images of South Asia, the Tantra Mod is an excellent made-in-the-USA mech.
Manhattan Mod — Forget all the controversy surrounding AmeraVape. The Manhattan is an excellent mod that offers stellar performance. For many competitors in cloud contests, it’s the mod of choice, which should tell you all you need to know about its performance. It’s made in the USA and backed by great customer service. Originally launched in aluminum, The Manhattan is also available in brass, copper, and a number of limited editions. While the strong magnet took some getting used to (especially as a fan of light springs), after a few weeks I came to enjoy the feel of The Manhattan. (And lets face it, it’s just fun sticking the mod on various metal objects.) I absolutely love its understated looks, with a simple AmeraVape logo engraved on the tube. While AmeraVape’s newer products have slightly better performance, I’m not a fan of the busy design language used on the Apollo and Skyline series of mods. I’ll happily stick with the simple beauty and strong performance of The Manhattan.
There is a lot to love about Convict Vapors. The company offers high-performance and high-quality vaping hardware that’s made in the USA and backed by an extremely generous one-year warranty. Convict Vapors hybrids are stylish and made from top-notch materials too. Lastly, the company does a lot of charitable work, employing convicts, donating mods and money to veterans, and more.
Several months ago, Alex from Vape Maps suggested that I contact Convict Vapors to learn more about the company and help vapers learn about its products. At ECC 2014, I finally caught up with Convict Vapors owner and head of product development Brian Grow. He spoke about how his company operates, how his products emphasize performance, the build quality behind his products, the one-year warranty he offers, and more. In addition to The Convict genesis hybrid (Convict Vapors’ first product), Brian talks about The Warden 26650 hybrid dripper, The Service Hybrid, and some upcoming atomizers.
In a very short time, Convict Vapors has grown into a top American vaping company. I’m really impressed by the product quality and design, while I find the company’s warranty policy extraordinary (to the point where I’m thinking, “Wow! These guys are too generous.). Check out the video above to hear the Convict Vapors story, learn about its current products, and hear about what’s coming next.