THE AERO TANK: KANGER’S “COMEBACK KID”
This afternoon, I’ve taken the wraps off something I’ve been looking forward to with a healthy mixture of anticipation and nervousness. The nervousness didn’t abate much when I saw the packaging: the same understated black box with its silver accents and plain, no-nonsense description of the contents had me thinking of the Protank series. Sitting here looking at that box now, however, I think of it as camouflage. Because what’s inside is so unlike the storied but underwhelming Protank it isn’t even funny.
I have a history with the Protank, Protank II, and Mini Protank. The original Protank disappointed me with its airy draw, weak flavor, and less than satisfying throat hit. The Protank Mini was more of the same, but with less eliquid capacity. The Protank II upped the game modestly but isn’t exactly a standout performer, either. Simply stated, Kanger had become a benchwarmer in my eyes, relegated to the dugout and called into rotation only when the big boys were played out and in need of a rest.
The Kanger Aero Tank, on the other hand, is the Comeback Kid of the Kanger lineup. Read on and find out why.
Build Quality and Features
The first thing you’ll discover, on unboxing the Aero Tank, is a gray plastic tray housing the clearomizer itself along with two coil heads and the ubiquitous Kanger beauty ring. I love that Kanger is thoughtful enough to provide this accessory with, I would have to guess, just about every full size clearomizer they sell; I have to admit to worrying, though, that some future civilization is going to find the remnants of our own one day and conclude that Kanger beauty rings were our main form of currency…
The materials used — according to the description on the box, and I have no reason to doubt it — are stainless steel and pyrex glass, in keeping with the Protank line. But that’s really where the visual similarity to its older cousin ends. Comparing the Aero Tank to a Protank II, I discover that the Aero Tank appears to be head and shoulders taller than the Protank, and its stainless steel parts give the appearance of being a fair bit beefier, although they have the same 2.5ml capacity.
I believe I can chalk the size difference up to the breakout feature on the Aero Tank and the inspiration for its name: Airflow control. By rotating a knurled ring at the base of the Aero tank, the user can select a tight draw or a looser, more airy draw. We’ll get to how that works out, performance-wise, shortly, but as far as build quality is concerned, the airflow adjustment ring was actually the component that impressed me least with its feel; it felt light to the point of flimsiness, and it’s a fortunate thing that it’s integrated so well into the overall design, because I could imagine it failing in fairly short order otherwise.
Overall, build quality is excellent on the Aero Tank. It’s a solid, substantial piece of kit that should last you a good, long time.
Setting up the Aero Tank should be familiar to anyone who has already done so with another bottom-coil clearomizer. If you’re already familiar with setting up a Protank or EVOD, there’s no reason you can’t skip right past this section. However, for those of you who are considering the Aero Tank as your first bottom coil clearomizer, I’m happy to walk you through this quick and easy process.
Once you’ve unboxed your new Aero Tank and removed the device from the gray plastic tray, you’ll want to remove the rubber condom from the mouthpiece. Next, turn the tank upside-down and unscrew the base of the tank. Set the tank itself down on a clean, level surface. Next, remove one of the atomizer heads from the tray and, holding it with the long side up and the short side down, screw it snugly into the base.
Next, grab a bottle of your chosen eliquid. Holding the Aero Tank upside-down and at a slight angle, place the dripper of your bottle so that you can drip your eliquid into the tank. Note: Make sure to drip the eliquid along the wall of the tank, not into the central airflow tube. As the tank fills, reduce the angle you’re holding it at so that you’ll have a more accurate idea of when it’s time to stop filling. You want the level of eliquid to be just shy of the top of the central airflow tube.
Once your Aero Tank is filled to the appropriate level, screw the base-plus-atomizer-head back onto the tank. Make sure it’s snug and secure. Now give the eliquid a few minutes to fully saturate the wicking material in the atomizer head. After that, screw the Aero Tank onto the battery, APV, or mechanical mod of your choice and you’re ready to go! So what kind of performance can you expect?
I tested the Kanger Aero Tank on the Innokin iTaste VTR across a wattage range from 8 watts to 15 watts, with the airflow control alternating between fully airy and fully tight, and using “Grape Onya” from Mountain Oak Vapors in 18mg nicotine strength. I chose that eliquid specifically, because while I love most everything I’ve tried from Mountain Oak Vapors, I’m not as crazy about fruit flavors as I am about tobaccos, and I didn’t want my fondness for the eliquid to color my assessment of the clearomizer.
With that said, the Aero Tank left me slack-jawed with astonishment at its performance at 8 watts. At 15 watts, it left me flat out stupefied. I’ll explain that last bit momentarily. At 8 watts, the go-to starting point for most clearomizers, the flavor is not merely rich but vivid. This was true of the flavor at that wattage regardless of the amount of airflow dialed in. Where the airflow selection really made a big difference was in the balance between visual vapor output and throat hit.
With the airflow control fully open, the visual vapor output was is just stupid. Intensely thick and voluminous vapor for a clearomizer; frankly, the visual output from this thing beats what I get out of my RBAs — though let me temper that by saying that my RBAs aren’t high-end fog machines like the AC9 or the Steam Turbine. Still, cloud chasers will be very happy with this clearomizer, and I can see that being true of RBA aficionados as well. Those who have only seen clouds on YouTube are going to be doing some happy dances after their first dozen… two dozen… three dozen toots from this device, if I am not much mistaken.
With the airflow control fully closed, the balance goes fully to the other end of the spectrum, and what you get isn’t mere throat hit but lung hit that’ll have you reeling if you overindulge without being prepared. I actually had to set the VTR aside and take only the odd puff every 20 minutes or so, because even at 8 watts, with the Aero Tank dialed in for throat hit, I overdid it on the nicotine and gave myself a rush that left me light-headed.
But then I had to go and do something foolhardy: put the throttle down on the VTR to the tune of its full 15 watt output. For Science!
Frankly, I was expecting a burnt taste. I was expecting a harsh, scratchy throat hit. I got neither of those things. The flavor remained full and smooth, though its character did change just a tad from a tart grape to a slightly sweeter grape. The vapor actually got a little more dense, though it retained essentially the same volume. Ehm… and then there was the throat hit — pardon me — the lung hit. So full and forceful that I instantly remembered that I’d forgotten to dial the airflow ring back out toward the airy position.
Aaaaand then I had to lie down for a few minutes. Now, I was a pack a day smoker for 18 years. I like to think I can handle a nicotine rush. Well, no. No, I can’t. Not on that level. Simply put, you install this device on the right APV, it will give you all you can handle. Hell, it will give you more than you can handle, if you ask for it, and then it’ll laugh and tell you how cute you are. Performance-wise, the Kanger Aero Tank is more badass than I am. That’s winning.
Would I recommend the Kanger Aero Tank? I’m going to answer that with a qualified Yes, and let me tell you the qualifications:
The Kanger Aero Tank is substantial in size. It’s going to look a little dopey on a little eGo Mini battery. It looks best on APVs and mechanicals, in my opinion, although if you want to use it on an eGo and use the beauty ring that comes with it, it’s not going to look bad, just not quite right. Bear in mind that that’s my personal opinion on aesthetics; your mileage may vary.
The Kanger Aero Tank isn’t inexpensive. It’s not exactly going to break the bank, but it isn’t a cheap little EVOD, either. This Aero Tank was provided to us from 777 eCigs, and although pricing hasn’t been set yet from 777, you can expect to pay about the same for the Aero Tank as you would for other Kanger to-of-line clearomizers, though the performance is well worth it.
So here’s whom I would recommend the Kanger Aero Tank to: Anybody who has an APV or mechanical and wants the convenience of a clearomizer with the balls-to-the-wall performance of an RBA. Without intending to sound elitist or to slight anyone, the added feature of airflow control, the amazingly hardcore performance characteristics, the size, and the price point of this device put it, in my mind at least, outside the experience level or even the desires of the new or casual Vaper. But for the experienced Vaper who knows where he or she wants his airflow to be to dial in the best throat hit or visual vapor output and who insists on the highest possible fidelity in flavor reproduction — yet still craves the convenience in carrying and the ease of use and maintenance that comes with a clearomizer — it’s my opinion that this could very well be your new mainstay clearomizer.
John Castle is the author of Smokeless: An Introductory Guide to the Pleasures of Vaping. Grab your digital copy here. John is also a member of the Spinfuel Team and was recently promoted to Managing Editor.