E-Liquid Ingredients - What Is PG/VG?
There are three base e liquid ingredients that you'll tend to find in most vape juices.
These consist of:
1. Propylene glycol (PG)
2. Vegetable glycerine (VG)
E liquids can also contain various strengths of nicotine, from completely nicotine free as found in Short Fill E Liquid ranges, up to 20mg. This is the highest legal nicotine content in e cig refills or vape juices, set by the EU TPD E Cigarette Regulations.
Cigalike e cig refills (otherwise known as cartridges or cartomizers) contain small amounts of eliquid which is produced from the same ingredients as listed above.
Nicotine in E-Liquids
There are lots of e liquids available without nicotine, however many vapers choose vape juices with nicotine as this can help with the transition from smoking tobacco to vaping.
Short Fill E liquids are a great choice if you use a sub ohm vape kit because these are sold without nicotine. You can then either vape with the nicotine free liquid or add 'nicotine shots'.
Nicotine Shots or 'NicShots' are 10ml bottles of flavourless nicotine e liquid. These can be added to short fill juices to reach a desired strength.
Regular vape juices are made with what's known as 'freebase nicotine' - the purest form of nicotine. Nicotine salts however are made from nicotine extracted from tobacco leaves. The extracted product is less acidic than freebase nicotine which results in a much smoother vape. This makes e-liquids with nicotine salts a great choice for new vapers who might need a higher nicotine strength to help them switch from smoking, but find regular vape juices too harsh at higher strengths.
What Are PG & VG?
Propylene Glycol or PG is commonly used in the food industry as a preservative. It is also used in the UK medical industry and can be found in asthma inhalers. It's a colourless liquid with a slightly sweet taste. Primarily used as a 'base' ingredient in e juices, it has a lower viscosity than vegetable glycerine.
Vegetable Glycerine or VG is also a colourless liquid used in the food industry, mainly as a sweetener & thickener. Like PG, VG is also used as a base for e liquids, as well as acting as a sweetener. It can either be synthetic or derived from plants or animals.
What Does the PG/VG Ratio in E-Liquids Mean?
E liquids are produced with different levels of PG & VG. Differing ratios of these two ingredients will alter the throat hit, strength of flavour and amount of 'cloud'. These mixes are displayed in percentages, often as '80/20 PG/VG' or '80VG/20PG', for example.
See the chart below for an idea of what effect the different ingredient levels have.
(usually classed as above 60% PG)
|50% PG/50% VG|
(or 50/50 PG/VG)
(most commonly 70%, 80% or Max VG*)
*Even High/Max VG juices tend to contain a small amount of PG, and vice versa.
Can You use High VG E-Liquids in Standard Vape Kits & Tanks?
It's not recommended to use high VG e-liquids in standard, above ohm tanks. VG has a higher viscosity than PG and therefore atomises at a different rate. This can quickly cause coils to burn out and taste pretty nasty!
Can You Use High PG E-Liquids in Standard Vape Kits & Tanks?
We don't recommend using high PG e liquids in sub ohm tanks or kits. High PG e liquids have a thinner consistency and therefore heat & atomise at a faster rate than VG based juices. You might therefore experience a burning taste and very harsh inhale if you try to use them in a sub ohm tank.
Some vapers like to use a 50PG/50VG ratio in sub ohm tanks. This is the highest ratio of PG that we would recommend for use with them.
Confused About Sub & Above Ohm?
Read our guide to different types of vape kits for more information.