Published on March 9th, 2013 | by Trick10
The AGA-T2 from Youde
Summary: No other Genesis atomizer matches the AGA-T2 in bang for your buck.
Yes, we realize this ubiquitous Genesis-style atomizer has been reviewed to death, but it’s almost a requirement, if you’re going to own gennies, that this one has to be in the collection. As far as bargain-basement Genesis atomizers go, it’s the de-facto standard.
The AGA-T version 2 is a stainless steel Genesis-type atomizer, meaning that it is intended to be used with a rolled, stainless steel mesh wick, at the top of which a wire coil is placed to vaporize the juice as it is drawn up from a tank below. This is considered by many to actually be the third major revision of the AGA-T line, though other than the glass tank, it is identical to the second, usually referred to as the AGA-T+.
Other than the borosilicate tank, other differences from the original AGA-T include a press-on cap that allows throat hit adjustment by positioning the air hole, and a somewhat cleaner look as the result of the elimination of knurling on the exterior parts. Both have been mostly regarded as major improvements to this atomizer.
Like other Genesis atomizers, how well the AGA-T2 performs is going to depend mostly on the wick and coil you set it up with. The atomizer does not come with a wick and coil pre-installed, though small pieces of stainless steel mesh and resistance wire are included in a tiny packet in the box. We chose not to use those, mostly because it was not apparent what materials were used, or the specification of the mesh and wire. We opted instead for known quantities, using our own mesh and kanthal wire for testing.
We tested the AGA-T2 with two builds: one using 400 mesh and 32-gauge kanthal, for a coil resistance of approximately 2.0Ω, and a second build using 28-gauge kanthal and 400 mesh, with a resistance of .9Ω. The AGA-T2 performed very well under both configurations. We ran into no issues with wicking or leaks, vapor production was copious, and taste was excellent. Granted, more credit for this performance probably belongs to our own skills at setting up a Genesis than to the AGA-T2 itself, but nothing about the AGA-T2 made it particularly difficult.
It should probably be noted that many have noted a problem with hot spots at the top of the coil on the AGA-T2. While most blame the distance from the coil to the top post, we find it far more likely to be the result of the way the top of the coil is connected between two very small nuts on the center post. If one is not careful, it is easy to pull the wire when tightening the top nuts. This may tighten the coil at the top of the wick, ands can easily lead to the wire cutting through any oxidation layer. Doing so may result in a short, and consequently, a hot spot. We did experience this with our 32-gauge setup, though it was not an issue with the thicker 28-gauge wire.
Other issues that have been mentioned include rough edges on the glass tanks. While these seemed to be quite common in early batches of the AGA-T2, they seem to be less common now. It seems likely that the manufacturer has responded to complaints about tank quality.
Another common complaint we’ve heard is that the tank fits loosely, causing leaks. In most cases, though, this has been caused by a misunderstanding of how to assemble the tank. When the tank is put in place, the AGA-T2 can be tightened down by simply twisting the top cap; it will then screw down tightly onto the tank. In most cases where leaks were reported, they were the result of having tried to use the nuts on the center post to tighten things down, and yes, if you only do this the AGA-T2 will leak. Don’t ask us how we know this; it’s a little embarrassing.
So, here are some numbers:
Build Quality: 3
Build quality of the AGA-T2 is not bad for an inexpensive Chinese import. While there have been some quality control issues, such as rough tank edges and a large degree of inconsistency in the size of the air hole, for the most part the issues have been small ones. We would have preferred larger nuts on the center post — the nuts shipped with the AGA-T2 are extremely small, which can not only make the device harder than it needs to be to set up, but these nuts are very easy to lose. We do not recommend setting up the AGA-T2 in a carpeted room, particularly if you don’t have any spare nuts left.
The cleaner, simpler look of the AGA-T2 is regarded by many to be a vast improvement over the original AGA-T. The simple lines and stainless steel finish will make it a good match for a wide array of PVs.
The design of the AGA-T2 allows for a number of different configurations, though the most common will be a single mesh wick and coil. However, with two negative contact points and two holes drilled into the tank, a silica wick and even a U-wick are possible, though the performance of these alternate configurations was not tested.
Another upside for the AGA-T2 is its popularity — there are a lot of them out there. As a result, customizations such as after-market tanks, such as those offered by Bedazzle and IBTanked, are readily available.
Performance of the AGA-T2 will primarily be a function of how the wick and coil are set up. However, this may be complicated somewhat by the AGA-T2′s tendency toward hot spots, and the draw of the unit is somewhat unpredictable due to inconsistencies in the size of the air hole.
At $25 to $30 retail, the AGA-T2 is, quit simply, the starter Genesis; at this time, the price to performance ratio is well-nigh unbeatable. The popularity of this device also makes it a common target for co-ops, where the price generally seems to hover around $15.
Overall Score: 3.9