I say YouTube reviewer, earlier this week the popular channel was taken down by the platform and it remains uncertain at the time of writing if it will be re-instated or is gone forever.
Given this is Vic’s ‘business’ it’s an obvious blow, but he says he will be continuing on another video host as well as Facebook.
OK, the Kelpie RDA is the follow up to the EHPRO Kelpie RTA that I reviewed last year – that was an absolute flavour machine and one I rated highly – apart from that loose top cap – so I’m hoping for big things off this dripper.
EHPRO might be one of the newer and smaller e-cigarette manufacturers but they really do have a good track record.
What Can We Expect From the EHPRO Kelpie RDA?
It’s fair to say there’s been a barrage of controversy over the EHPRO Kelpie RDA!
Vic is a controversial character so anything he brings out is and will be put under the microscope by fellow reviewers and indeed the vape community.
Early reports say the machining on the inside of the barrel left a lot to be desired – as you can see it’s there on the one’s I’ve recieved.
Vic has also pointed out that first and foremost this is meant to be used as a squonking RDA. This is mainly due to when used as a dripper, it can cause spit-back – again something I shall be looking at.
As with any RDA I’m looking most of all for good flavour – with clouds I guess a bonus and an easy build deck.
Adjustable airflow is also something high on the list for a good RDA and again I’ll be looking at that too.
OK, the Kelpies were sent to me direct from EHPRO – thank you – and for the record they arrived within 8 days after being posted out from Shenzhen 2 weeks ago – given the apparent ‘coronavirus crisis‘ in China you have to say that’s remarkable 😉
OK, and as most of us know a Kelpie is a fabled shape-shifting water based ‘monster’ found in Scottish lochs and waterways, so let’s see if this is going to become a legendary dripper.
Inside the Box
A simple box that at least has thumb slots to allow you to open it easily. Design wise I did think it looked a lot like a box of condoms when I first opened the parcel! Also the words Vaping With Vic are hardly what you might call ‘prominent’.
Inside you’ll find:
- Ehpro Kelpie RDA
- 2x pre made coils
- 3 O-rings
- Spare screws
- Squonk pin
- Instruction manual
EHPRO Kelpie RDA Specs
- Size: 24x36mm
- Material: Stainless Steel and Resin
- Single coil build deck
- 9mm deep juice well
- Solid 510 or BF squonk 510 pins
- Side adjustable airflow
- Honeycomb deck airflow outlet
This is a single coil RDA and smallish at just 24mm at the base.
It features a kind of half-pipe honeycomb airflow on the deck with two large open slots on the side.
The airflow is adjustable, however it’s not that clear as to when it’s open or fully closed as you are unable to see through the 15 holes on the outside of the barrel.
The single 15th hole is a bit of mystery – however I use it to set the airflow – if the stainless steel shows the RDA airflow is totally shut off!
For such a small device there’s a huge pair of juice wells coming out at 9mm – that’s deep, and more like a kind of hybrid RDTA.
The deck is a postless style with x4 slots and pre-installed allen screws with spares in the box.
Mine came with the dripping 510 pin installed and there’s a squonk pin in the box – as well as the usual O-rings – lump of cotton and x2 decent looking coils.
The EHPRO Kelpie RDA is currently available in in three colours: Black – Stainless Steel and Blue.
Design and Build Quality
OK, let’s tackle the elephant in the room – the tool marks on the inside of the barrel.
Yes the so called ‘chattering’ is found on all three of the Kelpies I’ve received with the marks showing up prominently on the stainless steel version.
After watching a few review videos and looking at photos I was expecting deep gouges with rough edges.
Mine could be a newer batch because whilst there’s a definite ‘chatter line’ they are smooth – but still the Kelpie RDA has to be marked down for build quality.
There’s also been some talk about the ‘seam’ between the main barrel and the checkerboard design at the top of the RDA. Sure the instinct is to turn that to adjust airflow, but you quickly realize it’s just a press-fit and move on.
However even in the short time I’ve been using the EHPRO Kelpie RDA – that seam attracts any juice residue or gunk – so you will find yourself wiping it a lot.
On all three of my Kelpie RDA’s the deck machining is pretty good with no machine marks or dinks – again this could be down to a newer batch.
Kelpie RDA Design
It’s very old school in the looks department – nothing really fancy going on with the shape.
The Kelpie logo is nicely etched into the barrel and doesn’t jump out in your face. A little design niggle – purely subjective – is the word Kelpie on the drip-tip – did it really need that? But again not a deal breaker in my book as you can switch it out no bother.
The deck is very similar to other RDA’s I’ve seen – can’t for the life of me put my finger on them! Answers in comments below lol!
The honeycomb airflow is designed to ‘surround’ the coil and as to how the RDA performs we’ll look at now.
How Does the EHPRO Kelpie RDA Perform?
Straight out of the box mine was set-up for dripping…but first the build.
Building On the EHPRO Kelpie RDA
Thanks to the clever design of the deck you have two ways to lay out your coils – legs in the same or opposite direction.
As always I used the coils out of the box and immediately found an issue.
The coils are a little to short for the deck – the four wraps only just and I mean only just stretch to both posts holes. Best thing to do is space them out a little before doing the build – I’m a slow learner 🙂
This of course means your coil can become misshapen and it took me a little while to get them looking tidy.
I’m not the world’s greatest builder by a long way, but also found the hex screws were tricky to bite into the coil legs – as I said I’m a fingers and thumbs kind of bloke so that could just be down to me.
The good news is once I was satisfiedish with how it looked, those coils glowed from the inside out almost immediately and came out at bang on 0.3ohm.
Wicking is a doddle given this is a dripper. However less is more as far as width goes, but given this has 9mm juice wells you will need much longer legs than is the norm.
As to coil placement? Given the coil by now had become stretched I had it about 1mm off the airflow as it refused to lift any higher – we shall see if that’s the optimum spot.
EHPRO Kelpie RDA – As A Dripper
Vic says he realizes the EHPRO Kelpie RDA is more of a squonker than an old school dripper suggesting you will get spit-back dripping your juice straight down the barrel.
Initially that’s exactly what happened – however wait a moment for the juice to follow gravity and all’s good.
Better still pop the nozzle of your e-liquid directly into the juice ports and fill it up – like I said almost like an RDTA.
EHPRO Kelpie RDA – As A Squonker
Swapping the 510’s out is easy even with a full build in there.
I popped mine on the awesome Augvape and Mass Mods S2 squonk mod and the black Kelpie looked a picture.
The squonking action was very good indeed with juice pretty much settling equally into both juice wells.
I over-squonked a couple of times with the barrel off – that was down to me watching the squonk action. With the barrel on I’ve not over-squonked once.
EHPRO Kelpie RDA – Flavour and Clouds
One word – WoW!
Yup, there’s no getting away from it, the EHPRO Kelpie RDA is a flavour machine to say the least.
My go to dripper is the Augvape BTFC RDA and the Kelpie RDA came as close as you like to the flavour off that one – impressive.
As for clouds – plenty if that’s your bag with my office filling with sweet smelling clouds within seconds.
EHPRO Kelpie RDA Airflow
Wide open airflow and it’s a little noisy to say the least.
Half closed and things quieten down a little and as to restriction?
Wide-open it’s quite a loose vape and I really liked it – half shut and it’s around a 5 out of 10 with 10 being wide open.
Completely shut-off and it is an MTL vape of sorts and there’s a 510 drip tip adapter in the box should you wish to go down that route.
After using it for a few days, I popped in one of my own longer coils and was able to lift it slightly higher. To be honest I didn’t see any loss or increase in flavour but felt it was easier to build on.
- Amazing flavour
- Tremendous clouds
- Easyish build
- Value for money
- Deep juice wells
- Great for squonking
- Simple design
- Pretty bad machining inside the barrel
- A little noisy
- Spit-back if you drip and vape immediately!
- Included coils are too short
Final Review Verdict
Vic’s previous release – the Kelpie RTA – had serious manufacturing issues – at least the one I received.
That one had an awful top cap that as I said in my review was ‘looser than a wizard’s sleeve’ and it did dump juice all over my jeans 🙁
Indeed as much as I liked that RTA it’s no longer useable.
With the EHPRO Kelpie RDA we once again have issues – this time with the machining.
Whilst the ones I’ve received are nowhere near as bad as some I’ve seen, you have to feel for Vic!
However these chatter lines should not – I’m led to believe – impact on the overall vape quality.
It’s not going to win any prizes in the looks or innovation department and that ain’t a bad thing.
Get your own coils in there – take your time dripping or better still use it as a squonker – and as I’ve said – the flavour is amazing.
So – are you using the EHPRO Kelpie RDA or thinking of buying it?
Let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below.