How to Choose the Right E-Liquid for Your Vape

Get clued up about e-liquid types, nicotine strength, flavours, and VG and PG ratio with this helpful guide to choosing your first e-liquid to vape.

How to Choose the Right E-Liquid for Your Vape

With a wide range of e-liquids available in different formulations, containing different amounts of nicotine, and with a frankly intimidating range of flavours, it can be tough to find the right e-liquid for your vape. 

Getting it right is important. Choose the wrong e-liquid and you could end up with an e-cigarette too weak to vaporise it, an uncomfortable throat hit, or a nicotine strength that makes you feel queasy. 

There’s a lot of conflicting information on the internet about vaping and e-juice. This article will tell you everything you need to know in simple terms. No matter whether you’re a complete vaping newbie or are a more experienced vaper looking to learn more about e-juice, everything you need to know is right here.

VG and PG

When choosing an e-liquid for your vape, you’ll need to consider its VG and PG ratio. These are two of the main ingredients in any vape juice. The proportion of VG and PG will define how the e-liquid acts and which devices it should be used with. 

VG, or Vegetable Glycerine, is a thick, syrup-like liquid. It is colourless and odourless but it has a slightly sweet flavour which can impact the flavour profile of your vape liquid. Derived from vegetable fats, this ingredient can also be found in cosmetics and foods. In e-liquid, VG is used to provide those huge clouds of vapour that some vapers love. 

PG, or Propylene Glycol, is a thinner e-liquid with no flavour, odour, or colour. In your vape juice, it is used to carry the flavour and provide a throat hit sensation similar to that of smoking a cigarette. Propylene Glycol is often used in foods and pharmaceuticals. 

Your e-liquid is made of a blend of Vegetable Glycerine and Propylene Glycol. Different e-liquids use different proportions of these ingredients to change the way that the vape juice performs.

High VG e-liquids

High VG vape juice tends to have a proportion of VG at 70% or above. Because VG is thicker than PG, high VG e-liquids can be very thick and syrupy, which means that they require more power from your vape’s battery to turn into vapour. Low-powered vapes like most vape pens or pod kits do not have enough power to heat up the coils sufficiently to vaporise the e-juice, so it’s important to only use high VG e-liquids with powerful sub-ohm vape kits. 

One common type of high VG vape juice is a shortfill. These nicotine-free e-liquids are ideal for sub-ohm vaping because they tend to have a high VG percentage of 70% or even higher.

50/50 e-liquids

50/50 e-liquids are vape liquids with an even proportion of VG and PG. Compared to high VG e-liquids, these are thinner and perform better at low wattages and temperatures. This means that 50/50 e-liquids are perfect for use in any low-powered vape kit such as a vape pen or pod kit. 

In summary, if you’re using a regular vape pen or pod kit with a single wattage setting, you’ll need a 50/50 e-liquid. However, if you’re looking to try sub-ohm vaping using a more powerful device, an e-liquid with a higher VG percentage is suitable.

Nicotine strength

The next thing to consider when choosing a vape juice is nicotine strength. Whether you’re upgrading from disposables for the first time, are making the switch from smoking, or have never vaped or smoked before in your life, you’re likely to have some questions about nicotine strength. 

In the UK and EU, the strongest nicotine strength permitted in an e-liquid under TPD regulations is 20mg. This is a high nicotine strength and is the standard amount of nicotine found in most disposable vapes. However, just because it’s what you find in disposables doesn’t mean this nicotine strength is suitable for everyone! In terms of cigarettes, you’d need to be a heavy smoker getting through more than a pack a day to consume the equivalent amount of nicotine.

Here’s a general guide to what nicotine strength you actually need in your vape juice:

  • 18mg to 20mg: only for heavy smokers who smoke more than a pack a day
  • 12mg: a medium-high nicotine strength that is suitable for the average smoker
  • 6mg: a medium-low nicotine strength which can help keep those nicotine cravings away without providing too much of a rush
  • 3mg: a low nicotine strength ideal for anyone trying to reduce their nicotine intake
  • 0mg: zero nicotine is ideal for people who have never smoked or vaped before or who want to focus on sub-ohm vaping and big vapour clouds

Keep in mind that everyone is different and has a different tolerance to nicotine; if you’re in doubt about the right strength, it’s always best to opt for the lower option instead of the higher. 

Nicotine type 

The type of nicotine in your e-liquid is another thing to consider. There are three main categories of vape juice: nicotine-free, freebase nicotine, and nicotine salts. 

Nicotine free vape juice

As the name suggests, nicotine free vape juices contain all the delicious flavours without any of the nicotine. These are ideal for people who are trying to quit nicotine, have never smoked before, or want to focus on blowing huge clouds of vapour. 

The most common type of nicotine free e-liquid is a shortfill, a bottle of 0mg e-liquid with some space at the top to add a nicotine shot if you wish. However, these can also be vaped without adding any nicotine.

Freebase nicotine e-liquid

Because nicotine in its natural state in the tobacco plant can be difficult for the body to absorb, cigarette manufacturers created ‘freebase’ nicotine. This means that the nicotine has been mixed with ammonia in order to change the chemical and make it easier for it to pass through the body. 

The earliest vape juices also used freebase nicotine to deliver their satisfying kick. This form of nicotine delivers a powerful throat hit just like that of smoking a cigarette.

Nic salts

A new addition to the vaping scene, nicotine salts or nic salts are e-liquids that use a different form of nicotine. Nicotine is technically a salt when found in its natural state in the tobacco plant. Instead of adding ammonia to freebase the nicotine, e-liquid manufacturers started mixing it with benzoic acid to change the pH and make the chemical easier for the body to absorb. As a result, nic salts deliver nicotine faster than other types of nicotine, often within just six seconds. 

Nic salts are preferred by many vapers because of their quick-absorbing nicotine as well as their gentle throat hit. Because nic salts do not cause the harsh sensation in the throat that freebase nicotine is known for, it’s easier to vape frequently without discomfort. Many vapers prefer nicotine salt’s smoothness.

Flavour

Once you’ve considered VG and PG percentage, nicotine strength, and nicotine type, the next thing to think about is flavour. E-juice is available in a huge range of different flavours, so picking a few to try is no small task. 

A good place to start is by considering the different types of flavours that you might enjoy.

Fruity

Perhaps the most common type of e-juice on the market, fruity flavours are many people’s favourites and a good place to start. There are e-liquids in almost any fruit you can think of as well as amazing combinations that blend multiple fruits into a stunning medley. From apple and raspberry to melon and passionfruit, there is really a fruit flavoured e-liquid for everyone. If you’re interested in trying a fruit-flavoured e-juice in your vape, the brands Twelve Monkeys, Nasty Juice, and Riot Squad are renowned for their fruit-inspired vape liquid.

Cooling

Minty and menthol flavours are another popular choice thanks to their refreshing taste. You may choose to opt for a no-frills menthol e-liquid for that tongue-tingling sensation or instead buy an e-liquid that combines menthol with another flavour for a satisfying blend. For example, Vampire Vape’s Heisenberg is one of the vaping community’s favourite e-juices thanks to its mix of juicy red berries on the inhale and cooling menthol on the exhale. If you like the sound of icy flavours, Yeti is an e-liquid manufacturer that specialises in combining mouth-watering flavours with icy crystal kicks.

Dessert-inspired

From ice cream and custard to caramel and doughnut, dessert-inspired vape liquids are loved by anyone who enjoys a sweet-tasting vape. One of the most famous dessert e-liquid flavour creators is the brand Dinner Lady. The makers of the famous Lemon Tart flavour, Dinner Lady have a wide range of shortfills, nic salts, and freebase nicotine e-liquids in various delicious dessert flavours.

Tobacco

Missing the taste of cigarettes? There’s no need. Tobacco-flavoured e-liquids are on the rise, with a wide range of different shortfills and nic salts available so you can enjoy the robust and full-bodied flavours. You don’t have to be an ex-smoker to enjoy these flavours either — any vaper who doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth will be sure to love vaping these types of e-liquids. 

Size

The last thing you need to consider is size. Due to TPD regulations, any e-juice which contains nicotine (nic salts and freebase nicotine) can only be sold in 10ml e-liquid bottles. These are usually very cheap, which makes it easy for vapers to buy a bunch of different flavours to try them all. 

Conclusion

If you have read this far, you’re now ready to pick out your e-liquid and start vaping. Enjoy! 

To find some of the UK’s cheapest prices for e-liquid and vape kits, check out Vaping 101’s online store. With thousands of different e-liquids for any type of vaping device, you’ll definitely find what you’re looking for.

Nicotine-free shortfills tend to come in much larger bottles — usually 50ml or 100ml, although some even come in 150ml bottles. These have a small amount of space at the top to add a nicotine shot if you want to mix nicotine into the e-liquid, although this is not necessary.