The "BEST" of anything is what works for you to keep you from smoking. With that said I have over 100 different atomizers and there have been a couple improvements this year worth noting.
Mouth To Lung
(most smokers just transitioning prefer this style of vaping)
Direct to Lung
(most vaping hobbyists prefer this style of vaping)
eHPro Bachelor (not the Bachelor II)
Juice Flow Shutoff for filling
Adjustable 510 pin
Yeah I know this actually came out in 2015 but still is the best MTL to Mid draw tank ever and they really haven't come down in price much. The Bachelor has one downside and that is the juice flow control holes do not align with the build deck juice flow ports when the tank is fully tightened but you can back the tank off a little to get them to align albeit the tank will wobble slightly. This atomizer is a great "coil cup" design with elevated air inlet on the build deck, wide juice slots, and "postless" clamping screws under the deck. The old MTL favorite for flavor was the Rose which was also a coil cup design. The Bachelor opens up the air to a mid draw but can be easily dialed down with the AFC to a MTL. Definitely put a vertical build in the Bachelor, not a horizontal though they will work. And unfortunately they never released a black version and now have the second version out which as usual is not an improvement on the original. I wish EHPRO would just fix the juice alignment and come out with a black one for the next version, maybe one post taller for a vertical build and a taller chimney base to accommodate a taller vertical build. As is though, the original Bachelor is an all time favorite to rival the Taifun GT, GTII-S and Rose.
Geek Vape Eagle
Juice Flow Shutoff for filling
Adjustable 510 pin
Single Coil or Dual Coil
The Eagle has one downside and that is the type of posts which are of course capture screw and drilled too deep. Another is a flat needs to be ground on the top tank threads as the cap will compress the tank when it is attached and create suction when removed. However, the single coil HBC has the posts on the same side and an elongated and elevated air inlet on the deck making this stand out as a single coil tank. There are dual coil HBCs and the Eagle comes with one of each. Now Geekvape has several Hand Built Coils (HBCs) with different wires but all can be reused with your own wire and wick making this a glassomizer/clearomizer/subohm out of the box and an RTA from then on. Most people focus on the Griffin but the Eagle is by far the most versatile. Like the Griffin, the Eagle comes with standard or top airflow, stick to standard. Note that this is a 25mm atty and the same glass will work on the Griffin or the Eagle tanks. As a next version if Geek Vape went to posts like those on the Pivot or the Pharoah and filed a flat on the top tank threads it would be much improved and if Geek Vape also changed the deck and possibly chimney to accommodate a straight through Taifun GT or GT2 style coil and wick build it would be awsomesauce.
Historically speaking I have been pleased with EHPRO, SMOK and YouDe (UD) products. Now I can also add EHPRO, Geek Vape (Digiflavor) and Augvape. They have good offerings this year and I hope to see more next year.
There are lots of good tanks out there, Digiflavor single coil Fuji and Siren, Merlin, Wotofo Serpent, Geek Vape Griffin, Vaporesso Gemini, Taifun GT II Air, Taifun GT III to name just a few. Any of these work great and I have them all.
Stay away from Kayfun V4s and V5s. Why? because they are not TC nor high VG friendly. If you are handy with tools then you can modify a V4 or V5 to be TC and high VG friendly, otherwise stay away. Stay away from the Limitless, Petri, Aromamizer Supreme, and really all others that came out this year. Because there is a lot of bad out there. You'll be unhappy with leaking, posts that cut and don't bind, inconsistent and poor performance etc. Stick with the known good ones listed here and you'll be happy.
If you are looking for a tank that performs like or better than a dripper then the VCMT is for you. But be advised you may have some leaking. The most open draw, cloud producing machine I have ever had is the 30mm VCMT. But there are no juice controls on the VCMT so the e-liquid will literally evaporate out at an alarming rate. Also very prone to condensation. With the huge dense clouds they produce, you are going to want to work on your exhale technique. Release the fire button before you stop inhaling then exhale away from mod and tank or you will be sorry with the condensation.
I also want to alert you to the Krixus. You can get it in Black for $10 at VapeNW. I know a lot of people had issues with it and it is demanding of your wicking skills but if you get it right, it will not gurgle or leak. Further, it can be rebuilt with wire and without the ceramic heating element. For $10, pick up three or four.
Also Digiflavor released the SIREN. This is a Genisys style atomizer that usually I pay no attention to as we started with Genisys a long time ago and it was a real drag. I have felt that the introduction of the many various Genisys style tanks is a set back for the e-Cigarette/Vaping community. However, the SIREN (and a few others) are not strickly a Genisys. I know Digiflavor calls it a Genisys Tank Atomizer (GTA) and when the juice level falls below the bottom atomizer section in the tank it truly is a genisys style. However, it is also KAYFUN or KF style as long as the juice level in the tank is above the bottom of the atomizer section. So in actuality it is a Hybrid G/KF RTA. It has the best post design ever, the same type used on the Pharoah, a spring loaded clamping screw style. These are THE BEST post designs. I hope China takes note. All grub screw styles are drilled too deep and they cut and pull your wires. It's time to move on. In fact, this is the biggest complaint I have with the Serpent. The SIREN is a MTA or limited DTL as it comes with a removable air inlet. You may be surprised to note that the Digiflavor FUJI GTA also comes in single coil and it is a great DTL tank, though not as great as the 30 VCMT. Still, I can recommend the Siren and Fuji SC, they work well and they come in black ;). Note I have the 25mm version of both and the tanks are NOT interchangeable though the Fuji tank is interchangeable with 25 VCMT. So if you want a smoke tank for your 25mm black Fuji, this works: FT SKU 4670200. I know the replacement glass for the Eagle and Griffin are interchangeable but not sure if they fit either the Fuji or the Siren as I haven't tested them yet. If anyone wants this tested message me, contact info on my about me page.
Since Temperature Control was invented I really don't see a use for any other type of mod. If you start with a disposable and want more, go straight for a TC mod. And make no mistake a TC mod will show you the faults of an atomizer quicker than a VW or mech mod. Both of these picks work extremely well with TC and high VG. Stick to single coil until you perfect your build techniques. A dual coil atomizer needs each coil to be balanced fairly well. This allows for even heating. If the coils are not balanced, one side can run away from the other causing temperature spiking and the output of bad by-products albeit still safer than smoking but still, the point is to reduce risk. Balancing coils is more than just side to side same length of wire total, the wrap spacings have to be balanced as well and I can tell you just looking with the naked eye won't work. You need a FLIR or IR sensitive camera. Crank the mod to 600F, do not wick and do not juice. Use a camera, try the one in your phone and turn off the lights. Some work some don't. Fire your mod and you should see the coil glow. If you can then you can balance a multi coil build. Gently spread the wraps until all coils glow the same amount and at the same time. If they are way off then you may have one more wrap or longer legs on one of the coils.
Unfortunates and what not to look for:
The trend with velocity style posts unfortunately continues. While this style is better than the old three post design it is not as good as those used in the Pharoah RDA. The problem with the velocity style posts is China always drills the threaded hole for the grub screws too deep leaving a sharp edge that cuts your coil wire legs when you tighten the grub screw. You expect a coil post to capture your wire not cut it. Even under screw posts are superior to these even though they tend to pull your wire when tightening the screw but at least they don't cut it. The clamping style posts are the bomb. Clamping style has been and always will be far superior to through hole and under screw style posts. There are at least three different types of clamping style, "postless", "notched underscrew" and "clamp underscrew". I have no idea why China can't figure this out.
Also posts directly opposite the air inlet is old school. Posts on the same side of the air inlet or at least offset if on opposite sides is a must. We saw this on an RTA this year called the Pivot which few ever heard of. The Pivot excelled in it's air inlet, post locations and clamping style posts. Unfortunately, it never caught on. It did have a quirk that was unnecessary - a drip tray under the AFC. I managed to pick one up in black and it is the best RTA of 2016 but since you can't get it, I don't list it.
Spring loaded clamping posts are the absolute best but atomizers that have a spring in them connecting the 510 center positive pin to the deck are trouble with temperature control - namely the Kayfun V4 and V5. Nothing wrong with the earlier version Kayfuns or 91% and V2 Russians.
Further, air inlet holes on the deck need to be oblong to fit under the coil if it is a horizontal build atty, not circular. Circular air inlets on decks work best with vertical builds. I have no idea why China keeps screwing this up. We learned this years ago.
Worse yet I am seeing air inlets that are not raised off the deck. TA raised off the deck air inlet prevents siphon leaking for bottom build RTAs and we learned this years ago as well. I have no idea why China pushes atomizers like the Petri with no raised deck air inlet.
This year we saw a resurgence of genisys style atomizers somehow called "rdta" by China. This is misrepresentation at it's finest. The Fuji for example is a genisys when the liquid level gets below the deck. At best it is an RTA. The Limitless is clearly a genisys style. This thing fails at RDTA on two levels. First it is genisys style and second it uses side airflow just like the genisys. You can't even call this thing a bottom airflow genisys. At least the old 3D RDTA was truly an RDTA even if it was a side airflow. We have known for years that bottom airflow is far superior to side airflow. I have no idea why China keeps pushing side airflow atomizers.
Lastly, tank atomizers with top fill and no Juice Flow Control (JFC) or shutoff can be a problem, they tend to leak badly. One of the best JFCs I saw this year was the Panda V12. I picked up a black one and it is the best Clearomizer/Glassomizer I have ever had. Problem is they just aren't popular here and therefore unavailable and given 8.8.2016 I can't really recommend clearos/glassos and the Panda RBA really wasn't good. I gave them a design for a VRBA but of course they never acted on it so another could be great product dies. But it did have the best JFC I have ever seen.
All the information contained in these pages are only the opinions of the author and the author is not an expert at anything.