We get it. There are a lot of options. Even if you’re not a brand-new vaper, the world of possibilities available to you can make it hard to figure out where to start. We’ve broken e-liquid terminology down into its component parts so you can figure out which one is best for you.
PG and VG – what’s the difference?
There are two main ingredients in e-liquid, propylene glycol (PG) and vegetable glycerine (VG). They’re very similar but serve slightly different purposes. PG is thinner, waterier in consistency and vaporises more easily. It’s in your juice to carry the flavours and gives more of a throat hit (that feeling you get when you inhale smoke). VG is thicker, has a naturally sweet taste and is what makes the thicker clouds. Because it’s thicker you also need higher powered devices to use high VG e-liquids. It’s also much more gentle to inhale and will give you a more mild throat hit.
There’s a whole raft of combinations to choose from when it comes to the different ratios of VG:PG, though the most popular options are usually 50:50, 70:30 and 80:20. The one you choose depends on how you like your vape to feel, whether you want cloud or flavour more and what kind of e-cig you have.
Which PG/VG ratio should I use?
Like we said, PG vaporises more easily than VG does and has more of a throat hit. So, if you’re a transitioning smoker and want that stronger impact that feels like traditional cigarettes, something higher in PG is best. You’ll also get a better flavour payoff.
If you want more cloud and less throat hit, go for something more like a 65:35 or above. This depends on your vape but you’ll still get some decent flavour, however the emphasis is a little more “plumes of vapour” than the “I can’t believe it’s not a cigarette” feel.
What about nicotine strength?
Nicotine strength is another thing to think about. Whether or not you want it at all is one consideration. If you’ve been vaping awhile you may decide to do away with it all together (no nicotine often gives better flavour payoff and more vapour). If you want nicotine still, you might already know what you need but if not - read on.
If you’re transitioning from conventional cigarettes and you smoked a lot, you’ll want a high concentration. What we’d recommend (for people smoking around the pack-a-day mark) is nic salts. Nicotine salts are a newer form of liquid nicotine that are more readily absorbed by the body and can be used in a higher concentration without getting a super harsh throat hit or peppery flavour. You can get nic salts for pod kits in varying strengths and some incredible flavours. You don’t need to give up the nicotine even if you’ve given up smoking.
If you were more of a light or casual smoker, trying a freebase nicotine (the traditional format) juice is your best bet. If you smoked around the six to ten a day mark, go for a 6mg or 12mg strength. If that’s too high, you can always drop down. For very light or social smokers (a couple a day or only when you went out) try a 3mg strength. Remember - the higher the nicotine strength in freebase nicotine e-liquids, the stronger the flavour and throat hit will be.
Which vape flavour should I get?
This one really comes down to you. If you’re starting out, we’d suggest getting a few simple flavours to see which variety you’re drawn to. Tobacco, fruit, menthol and dessert are the four main categories but there are literally hundreds of combinations of all of those you can try. These days, most new vapers prefer fruit over tobacco but there are still plenty of amazing tobacco flavours you try. Combinations you might not expect like tobacco and honey or chocolate are a delightful take on a traditional flavour.
If you’re already sold on the idea of fruit (we wouldn’t blame you) you can get just about any fruit under the sun. From the ones you’d find in your fruit bowl at home like banana, apple, grape or orange to more exotic specimens like passionfruit, mango and dragonfruit. There’s a whole world of fruit vape combinations that already exist, or you can mix some yourself to make something just right.
Same goes for desserts - from creams and candy to pastries and jams, the world of dessert e-liquid is limitless and these e-juices in particular have a real texture to them you can feel. When it comes to menthol, you can vape these on their own or add a little to another of your favourites for a cool and refreshing aftertaste.
Which e-cigarette suits which juice?
If you already have a vape and aren’t sure which e-liquid is going to work best in your device, there are a few things to consider. With PG being more easily vaporised, vape juice with a higher PG ratio is better suited to lower powered devices. Putting a liquid in your lower powered vape with too much VG just won’t work - the coil won’t be able to get hot enough to turn it into vapour and you’ll have a less than satisfactory experience.
If you’ve got a sub Ohm vape, you can still use a 50:50 vape juice, but you’ll probably want to vape it at a middle of the range wattage. The higher you go, the hotter it’ll get, which is why these devices are better suited to juices with more VG than PG. With more VG you’ll get a lot more cloud and a decent amount of flavour and can really use any juice from a 50:50 ratio right up to 100% VG. It all depends how you want to vape.
When it comes to nicotine, another thing to consider is which strength you’re using in which e-cigarette. Low-powered devices with high PG ratios are better suited for those of you looking for a high nicotine vape juice. The reason is the same as why you wouldn’t necessarily want to put a high PG juice in a high powered device - it hits a lot harder. When you go to a sub Ohm vape it’s advisable to go so far as to halve your nicotine level. At most, a 3 or 6mg strength is best. With low powered mouth to lung devices, you can put high nicotine levels and nic salts in there. These ones are ideal for ex-smokers looking for a quick hit that gives high satisfaction and good flavour.