The Vandy Vape Widowmaker RTA review and this is a rebuildable tank designed by El Mono Vapeador.
I have to confess that I have no idea who this person is, so a little homework is in order!
It turns out he’s a Spanish YouTube vape reviewer with over 475K subscribers. How did he fall off my vaping radar? lol. I guess it helps if you’re fluent in the language.
El Mono also worked with Vandy Vape on the Widowmaker RDA featuring the option of single or dual coil configurations.
What Can We Expect From The Vandy Vape Widowmaker RTA?
All YouTube reviewers aside (they’ll hate me for saying that), Vandy Vape have designed some pretty awesome RTA’s in the past.
Some have been a little controversial where leaking and build quality have been a real issue.
I personally own a Kylin V2 RTA and it suffers with a leaky bottom that no “work-around” will fix.
I also have their Revolver RTA with its unique (surprise, surprise) revolving airflow barrel incorporated into the build deck.
The Widowmaker RTA features a veritable wind tunnel of airflow options. Configurable on the airflow control ring as well as the three included adjustable airflow barrels.
Expect to be able to run your build at quite high wattage with airflow fully open, coming in from the sides and below the coils.
A combined airflow/juice flow barrel means that we are looking at a much taller than usual RTA. It’s a bit like Marmite – something you’re either gonna love or hate.
You can also expect to notice a significant amount of weight with the Vandy Vape Widowmaker RTA, I believe it comes in at around 170g.
A 2ml TPD compliant version is also available. So if you purchase this, expect to be filling the tank on a regular basis.
See Neil’s Hands On Video
Inside The Box
The content listing on the back of the box is a little vague so let me tell you exactly what to find.
- Widowmaker RTA (complete with honeycomb adjustable airflow barrel)
- 2 x Adjustable airflow barrels (1 x dual cycloptic 1 x dual round)
- 2 x Triple fused Clapton coil 27ga*3 + 32ga A1 kanthal 0.35ohm 5 wrap 3mm inner diameter
- Instruction manual
- Spare 6ml bubble glass (Non EU version only)
- Coil trimming tool
- Spare O rings, washers, Allen key, grub screws and 510 adaptor
You also get the mass produced QC pass card and another that features the various colour schemes available – more on that in a minute.
Be warned! This is a bugger of a box to open! There’s no thumb cut outs so you’ll have to pull the sides of the carton with both thumbs before lifting the plastic sleeve.
- Size 51mm (L) x 25mm (D)
- Material Stainless steel
- Capacity 2ml (TPD), 5ml, 6ml (glass extension)
- 5mm deep juice well
- Postless build deck
- Honeycomb style bottom airflow
- Dual airflow intake ports via side and adjustable airflow ring
- Multiple airflow configuration with three removable airflow barrels
- Juice flow control
- Dual or single coil build options
- Adjustable protruding gold plated 510 pin
- Removable 810 drip tip with 510 drip tip adaptor included
The Vandy Vape Widowmaker RTA is available in seven colour schemes:
Blue, Frosted Grey, Gold, Gunmetal, Rainbow, Stainless Steel and the one I received for the purposes of review – Matte Black.
Before we continue it must be noted that I received this product free of charge for the purposes of review.
That will have no bearing on my thoughts and beliefs while testing the Vandy Vape Widowmaker RTA.
Design and Build Quality
Let me start out with my Neily the Elephant in the room.
This RTA is big. By that I mean tall! The diameter measures bang on 25mm. From the base (not including the 510 pin) to the top of the drip tip it’s a whacking 57.7mm.
I possess no mod that it’s actually suited to. It’s a subjective con, of course so let’s just hope looks ain’t everything.
Vandy Vape Widowmaker RTA – the Tank Section
The threading on the tank section is nice and smooth, being extremely quiet when attaching or removing the build deck.
The removable airflow barrels are held in place by dual O rings whose tolerances are very good.
Adjusting the airflow barrel initially is a little tight so I would suggest lining the insides with a dab of e liquid to remove this problem.
All three airflow barrels have dual slots and it’s the usual deal – what adjustment is made on one side is mirrored on the other.
A stopper at the top prevents the barrel from spinning freely out of control.
In From The Side? Depends On Your Angle
When removing the airflow barrel we can see exactly how the airflow has been structured to work.
This isn’t technically speaking side airflow because although it hits the side it enters the deck at a 45deg angle, this is going to make the build height crucial.
Looking inside the barrel exposes those airflow ports as well as the juice flow control. The machining here is quite good – not that it really matters that much.
My review version came with a poly-carbonate 5ml tank, one that simply refused to budge when attempting to remove.
The top cap is easy to remove as it’s one of those quarter turn bayonet style affairs.
I’m a big fan of them personally and the incorporated knurling really seals the deal.
So once the top cap is removed we are privy to the juice fill port. It’s a single kidney shaped one that measures 9.6mm diameter. Plenty of space for any and all bottle nozzle variations. Always a plus in my books.
I’m not quite sure why there aren’t two as is usually the case but it is what it is.
The 810 drip tip is a low profile, 10mm bore design and made of Delrin. Just like the tank, I was unable to remove it without the use of a suitable tool.
Vandy Vape Widowmaker RTA Build Deck
The machine quality on the build deck looks a little bit rough in all honesty, certainly not the best of finishes but again, a subjective observation, it’s not really gonna affect the vape.
I measured the wicking ports to be around 10mm with a well depth of approximately 3mm despite manufacturer claims of being deeper.
The honeycomb airflow port measures 15.8mm x 3.8mm. This kind of set up is designed for bigger diameter coils to allow a flavoursome, cool vape – the jets of air pushing up from beneath the coils.
The coils are installed using a postless system and because their height is crucial Vandy Vape has included a coil cutting tool.
It’s nowhere near the quality found with Simon Martin-Lemmon’s Coily Tool, which I would always recommend. (Political rant over!)
The airflow intake on the airflow control ring of the deck consists of a series of seven pinholes all fully adjustable on either side and incorporating a stopper.
The Vandy Vape Widowmaker RTA certainly offers plenty of options for finding that all important sweet spot.
The knurling found here also works a treat during real world use.
Finally, there is a protruding gold plated 510 pin which will allow for screwing down onto a hybrid mod. Not something I would personally endorse but the option is there, nonetheless.
El Mono’s logo is also stamped onto the base by way of reminding us who designed the Widowmaker RTA.
How Does The Vandy Vape/El Mono Vapeador Widowmaker RTA Perform?
Before we dive into how good or bad this RTA performs, lets have a look at how to build on the deck.
You’re going to need a dedicated coil building tool kit because being supplied with coils and an allen key won’t be enough to get you up and running.
Vandy Vape has also excluded any wicking material, bit of a negative Neil but not really a con.
How To Build On The Vandy Vape Widowmaker RTA
Using a coil leg cutting tool, trim both coils to the advised 5mm length.
Release the gold plated screws from the build deck using the supplied allen key. Make sure you release them enough to be able to install the relatively thick legs of the included Clapton coils.
Place a coil leg into the positive and into the negative post holes. Ensure they are firmly seated and gently screw them into position.
Once the coils have been tightened down, jiggle them into position with a screwdriver or other appropriate tool. Make sure they are both set to the same height and separated from each other.
Not so far apart that they may come into contact with the inner chimney – that’ll cause a short! Safety first, as always.
Beginning with a low wattage start dry burning or pulsing the coils. Slowly increase the wattage until they burn evenly from the inside while distributing to the rest of the coil.
Cut your choice of cotton to a thickness allowing for a slight restriction when passing through the coils.
You will also need to rake the ends out, thinning the cotton in the process. It all helps with the wicking.
Tease the ends of the cotton down into the wicking channels, checking the cotton while doing so. Now is the time to make any adjustments to its thickness.
Pour copious amounts of your chosen E liquid over the cotton and the coils. Once you’ve done this carry out a few test fires before screwing the deck onto the tank section.
NB: The deck spins freely so if you’re using a build tab of even your mod, you’ll have to remove it before screwing onto the tank section.
Filling The Vandy Vape Widowmaker RTA
- Turn the top cap anti clockwise to release from tank section
- Gently pour E liquid to desired level through the single kidney shaped fill port
- Replace the top cap using a clockwise motion
You may find that the glass tank rotates simultaneous when screwing or unscrewing the top cap. I found that to be a bonus because juice flow would close during filling and returned to an open position when replacing the top cap.
Of course you can prevent this by simply clutching the glass before removing the top cap – making it a two handed manoeuvre.
Let’s Get Those Juices Flowing
So does it work with a device that is a mere six months old? Is there life in the ‘ole juice flow control yet?
I’ll give that a thumbs up!
Simply grab hold of the adjustable outer barrel section and rotate the glass tube. An anti clockwise rotation will turn juice flow control off. This will then allow you to remove the deck for maintenance without losing a drop of liquid.
Pretty cool stuff.
Just remember to rotate the glass tube clockwise after filling or during vaping to prevent the inevitable dry hit.
Vandy Vape Widowmaker RTA – Flavour and Cloud Production
Although I initially installed the included kanthal A1 coils, they turned out to be far too hefty for my liking weighing in at 0.11ohm.
Both the tank and barrel were heating up extremely quickly even with airflow wide open across the board and there appeared to be a nasty after taste of machine oil.
I gave the entire RTA a thorough clean before re installing dual Wotofo Ni80 fused clapton coils. These came in at a more conservative 0.25ohm and ensured everything remained mildly warm during some rather intense periods of vaping.
I tested using the pre installed barrel with honeycomb style airflow (which incidentally features on the Widowmaker RDA) and closed off half way.
The bottom airflow control ring was left wide open. Flavour properties were diluted but still present while cloud production was dense.
A Turbulent Cloud Chucker!
I also noticed a mild amount of turbulence with the airflow during inhale yet very little restriction.
Shutting the AFC ring down to half way allowed the flavour to start flourishing. Cloud output suffered very little and this was still an airy vape with minimal restriction during inhale.
Finally, closing the AFC ring completely altered the airflow restriction considerably. The vape was now much warmer and many of the flavour tones were peaking and jumping around with much clarity.
The inhale was relatively quiet with this semi restrictive direct lung vape although some turbulence did remain.
I opened up the side honeycomb airflow completely and closed off the bottom AFC ring. The vape was at its loudest for certain and mild turbulence continued.
On this setting the RTA is a true cloud chucker!
The spice properties of the flavour profile were present but fruit content was more of an after thought merely expressing itself in the background.
If you like a subtle taste this could be the setting for you.
- Very good flavour and cloud production
- Juice flow control allows maintenance on build deck without losing E liquid
- A multitude of airflow options to suit a restrictive, semi restrictive and completely open direct lung vape
- Good build quality – especially to the knurling on the top cap and AFC ring
- Not a single dry hit while testing
- A very tall RTA. You won’t be putting this in a shirt pocket
- Prone to leaking at the base and occasionally from the side airflow ports
- At 170g it really increases the weight of your setup
- The included coils rapidly heat the glass and barrel section
- Poor AFC O ring tolerances
- An over engineered RTA that will lead to inevitable moments of frustration
Final Review Verdict
When I first got the RTA it was impossible to remove the drip tip.
It was also impossible to remove the pre installed poly carbonate tank section. It didn’t take long to realize this was a “dummy” tank – there was no opening for the fill port!
The tolerances on the O rings of the airflow control ring are poor. It’s too easy for it to just slip off. That’s a vaping pet hate of mine.
With the Vandy Vape Widowmaker RTA it works extremely well. Some folk will love the myriad of options available, others clearly won’t.
I fall into the later and let me explain why, it’s from a design perspective.
Even with the removable airflow barrels lubed with e-liquid, the RTA would sometimes decide to remove itself from the mod. Frustrating stuff!
On multiple occasions juice would seep from the side airflow ports – most noticeable after filling. Juice was also escaping from the base of the deck and pouring down the mod.
With the airflow control ring, unless all moving parts are completely tight the stopper fails to work. Leaving you literally “spinning” with frustration.
I can actually get past the fact that this is an unusually tall RTA. In fact I got used to it after a while.
What I can’t get used to is the number of moving parts. For me the Vandy Vape Widowmaker RTA is definitely over engineered.
When I’m using it, it’s almost like messing with a Rubik cube (I’m showing my age again). If I turned one section it seemed to affect another and usually for the worse.
The workaround is to use both hands. Using one to grip and one to adjust. That takes more time to get used to than the actual aesthetics of the atty. Something of a steep learning curve but really shouldn’t be necessary with modern RTA’s.
I’ve yet to own a Vandy Vape product that doesn’t leak – I know I’m not alone. Aside from a few machining issues I think that’s their only downfall.
It doesn’t matter if the product is associated with a YouTube reviewer with almost half a million subscribers. How many are likely to purchase it if it leaks on a regular basis?
It’s nice to end a review on a positive note. As much as I see juice flow control as a thing from a vaping bygone era it does actually work a treat on the Vandy Vape Widowmaker RTA.
Deck maintenance can be carried out with no loss of juice. I really like that.
More importantly though is the fact that not once did I receive a dry hit and I chain vaped the RTA on multiple occasions. There was zero loss in flavour, zero loss of fantastic vapour production.
Would I recommend The Vandy Vape Widowmaker RTA?
I experienced some very clean, intense and saturated flavour bursting forth from an abundance of thick, billowy white vapour production. Yup! I was highly impressed with the whole vaping experience.
My advice would be to tinker with all three removable airflow barrels and the bottom airflow control ring. Find the correct balance of flavour and cloud production then stop tinkering!
Far from the guarantee of a leak proof experience it certainly cuts down on the level of frustration the Vandy Vape Widowmaker RTA can instill.
I would recommend this device to an intermediate vaper. Someone with a basic knowledge of deck building.
To those that love cloud chucking direct lung vape experiences and to the flavour chasers out there because this is where the RTA excels.
It will appeal to those that have a high degree of patience. Something that I found myself running short on while reviewing this one lol!