E-liquid 101: Salt Nic vs. Sub-OHM /// VG vs PG
The first time you walk into a vape shop or browse a vape shops website can be overwhelming. The amount of choices you have can make it very hard to know where to start. There are a lot of what may be new words to learn. Atomizer, mod, coils, freebase nicotine, salt nic, vegetable glycerin, propylene glycol, open system, and closed system. We are going to focus on the basics to star things off. vegetable glycerin (VG) and propylene glycol (PG) in this article. PG and VG are the liquids that form the base of the e-liquid or e-juice that you will be vaping. They are both very different, and each behave differently when mixed with flavors and vaporized.
What Kind of Vegetable Is A Glycerin?!?
Before we dive into the differences between the 2 bases, let’s take a look at e-liquid in general. In addition to the PG/VG base, your e-liquid will also contain some flavoring and most likely some nicotine. The nicotine itself will either be freebase nicotine or nicotine salts. Without over complicating things, freebase nicotine will be in the juice and devices that give you big clouds, whereas nicotine salts will be in the smaller devices that produce less vapor. Both salt-based and freebase nicotine use VG or PG or a combination of both, so we will break down the different types of nicotine at a later date.
Both propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin are organic compounds that are non-toxic and considered safe for consumption by the FDA. You’ll find VG and PG in a variety of foods and household products.
Propylene glycol has a thin, runny consistency. It will generally wick and absorb more easily than VG and does not “gunk” up your coil or wick as quickly as a thicker base like VG. PG is an odorless tasteless liquid that does not affect the flavor of the juice. PG gives you a stronger “throat hit,” similar to traditional tobacco cigarettes. PG has been known to cause allergic reactions with some e-cigarette users. These tend to be mild, like an itchy throat, but can be more serious depending on the person using it. For folks that experience PG allergy, 100% VG liquids are available.
Vegetable glycerin is considerably thicker than PG. It has a lower wicking and absorption rate than PG and could gunk up or clog atomizers and coils more quickly. VG is slightly sweet, meaning it can have an effect on the taste or flavor of the juice being used. VG vaporizes more smoothly than PG, resulting in less of a throat hit, and VG tends to be less allergenic. VG produces significantly more vapor than PG due to its consistency.
Which Should You Choose?
This is a debate that has been going on for the last decade as e-cigarettes have gained popularity. It really comes down to personal preference, and most folks will find that a combination of VG and PG is what they prefer. Most name-brand juices will now tell what it’s ratio of VG/PG is right on the label. 70/30, 60/40, and 50/50 VG/PG blends seem to be the most common. At these levels, you are going to be getting the best of both worlds. More VG, you’ll notice a smoother, denser vape, while a blend higher on the PG side will give you a little more throat hit with vapor that is less dense. You can still find juices that are 100% PG or VG, but they are becoming increasingly less common. I recommend starting with a 50/50 blend and going from there. Maybe you’ll feel it’s lacking throat hit and will want a higher PG blend. If the vapor is a little harsh, you may want to try a higher VG blend. Like anything else, there will be some trial and error involved. Educating yourself on the differences between the two will help you save some money when trying new juices! Check back soon, we will be discussing the different types of nicotine available and which is best for you!