Before we go any further, it’s important to note that this review is specifically for this product.
There are multiple clones of this RDA and they are very different, so this review will not apply to any version other than this one.
This was the first CATs clone I saw and at the time I was super pumped about it. In fact, I had been seriously considering dropping over $100 on an authentic one only a couple days earlier after seeing a really positive review on it.
So here’s the deal with this thing. This is a rebuildable dripping atomizer (RDA). It’s taller than a typical RDA, but for good reason. The CATs features an “inner chamber” that houses the coil, then air/vapor flows in and out through holes on the inner chamber and on the top of the outer chamber via adjustable airholes.
The authentic CATS features a deck that is designed to easily allow you to build quad coils, with one center post and 4 screws in the deck. This particular clone uses a more standard 3 post setup that you see on a variety of RDAs.
Here’s an inside view of all the parts so you can get a better idea how it works:
What I DIDN’T like about the CATS RDA
Ok so the biggest problem with this piece is that it really isn’t designed well. I personally like the 3 post layout better than having screws in the deck, as I think it makes it far easier to attach coils and I really don’t use quad coils for anything other than novelty purposes anyway, so I much prefer the ease of use. Unfortunately, it’s all wrong on this piece. The airholes on the inner chamber are not aligned correctly with the coils – in fact they are not even close.
To make this work without any modification, you would have to build your coil legs extra long and position both coils way above the posts for them to be able to correctly sit in front of the airholes. Obviously doing that would raise even more issues than it would solve, so I don’t really consider it a good solution.
If you try to build a normal coil, you will get an extremely harsh hit and nearly no vapor production at all. Not a good experience.
The other problem with this piece is that the o-ring at the top seems to be done incorrectly. Whenever you attempt to adjust the airflow via the control ring, it shreds the o-ring. Now it’s a thick o-ring, so it can probably handle a little shredding, however I only toyed with this thing for a few minutes and the o-ring was already pretty devastated in that short time.
Overall, it just isn’t designed well.
What I DID like about the CATS RDA
I was expecting I would actually like this one more than the original because of the post setup but the design is so poor that you really can’t get a good hit off it without making major modifications to the chamber. As a result, this is basically unusable out of the box, and there really isn’t anything I like about it at all.
Who is it good for?
This is basically a $10 paperweight out of the box. Now you could take the time to drill a set of fresh holes in the inner chamber that correctly align with the position of the coils, then somehow figure out a way to block off the original holes, or keep them as-is. I’m generally pretty handy with modding e-cigs, but that seems like way too much work even for me. This piece just isn’t worth the hassle, unfortunately.
Where to buy?
You don’t want to buy this version. Instead check out this improved one:
Do I use it?
Nope. I gave it a try and tried to tinker it into shape but I couldn’t get it working well at all. I considered doing some mods to it, but frankly I just have way too many other options to do the major work required to get this thing functioning halfway decent.
The Bottom Line
Quality. It’s a nice enough piece materials-wise. It has a nice brass body and good quality inner parts. It also uses the red o-rings which I have always liked. Unfortunately it is not designed correctly, so none of that matters.
Performance. This is probably the worst out-of-the-box performance I have had from any atomizer I have ever bought – and it really isn’t even close.
Ease of Use. To get this to the point where it would actually function properly, it would take a large amount of customization. You would for sure need to drill some holes, and probably need some kind of additional material to block off the original holes. Not impossible, but more work than it’s worth.
Appearance. I actually really like the appearance of this piece. It looked great sitting on my brass Paps. Although it is a little taller than I normally like, it still isn’t half bad. The engraving was done very nicely.
Price. For $9, you are getting a complete piece of junk. If you pop for the extra $4 to get the second iteration, you will likely be much closer to getting your money’s worth. As it stands, this one isn’t even worth taking for free in it’s out of the box configuration.
Overall. I really don’t mind if a clone is not a 1:1, provided it is at least designed coherently so that it will still function correctly. In this case, the modifications the manufacturer made were clearly not well thought out and resulted in a product that simply does not work. There’s nothing more I can really say about it other than to either check out the better version they have, or just go with a different dripper. This one should not be bought under any circumstances.
- Ease of Use