E-Liquids VG and PG in e-liquids

Published on August 6th, 2019 | by Theo


PG and VG – What Are They?

On E-Cigarette Reviews, we mention PG and VG a lot in our e-liquid reviews as well as when we’re talking about tanks. If you’re still relatively new to vaping, you might be experiencing a bit of confusion about what they actually mean and how relevant they are for you. Knowing what they are and how their ratios actually affect your vaping experience is important – so we’ll cover all the basics and explain why they differ. 

What are PG and VG? 

If you look on the back of your e-liquid bottle (or on the cardboard box it comes in) it’s more than likely that the ingredients on the back list propylene glycol (PG) and vegetable glycerin (VG) as the top two. Every ingredient in your vape juice is important, but these two make up the main volume of your liquid. 

Vegetable glycerin is a clear, thick liquid that has no smell and carries a naturally sweet flavour. You’ll find it in plenty of things you use daily including cosmetics and foods as a natural sweetener. 

Propylene glycol is a much thinner liquid by comparison and is a lot more runny than VG, it’s also odorless and flavourless. You’ll find PG in things like asthma inhalers, food (for carrying flavour there too) and in cosmetics to help stabilise them and prevent ingredients from separating. 

What do PG and VG do? 

Aside from their use in cosmetics, food and medical products, PG and VG serve slightly different purposes when it comes to vaping. PG is used in e-liquids to help carry flavour but also gives you that throat hit feeling you’re used to from smoking. VG on the other hand serves to create your clouds when it’s heated up. VG has a very mild throat hit feeling when vaped and has a mildly sweet flavour. 

What do the different ratios mean? 

You’ve probably also noticed when you’re buying e-liquids that they’ll have a ratio on the front. The most common ones you’ll find are 50:50 and 30:70. These indicate the PG to VG ratio of your juice. Due to the fact PG and VG perform slightly different jobs, getting the right ratio is important.

Things like nic salts and higher nicotine strength liquids will more than likely come with a 50:50 ratio. Nic salts and high nicotine liquids are usually more popular amongst transitioning smokers and newer vapers. This is largely owing to the fact that new vapers often want more of a throat hit and a stronger “head rush” from their nicotine to alleviate cravings quickly. They’re also usually used in lower powered kits that are commonly used by new vapers. 

High VG liquids are usually quite a bit thicker, have less of a throat hit and need more power to be vaped. Sub Ohm vapers will generally go for high VG liquids (essentially anything that’s 60% or more VG). These liquids are a bit sweeter because of the VG, hence why they can also clog up your coils faster than liquids with more PG. High PG liquids will often be more flavourful but also feel more drying to vape and give a harsher throat hit. 

Which one is best for me? 

This one really comes down to two things. How you want your vape to feel as you inhale and what kind of kit you’re using. 

If you want more of a throat hit, need a higher nicotine level AND you’re using a lower powered kit: 

Lower powered starter kits like mouth to lung vape pens and pod kits are the best for newer vapers. They’re ideal for those who want a stronger throat hit and higher nicotine level. You’ll be best off using a coil with a resistance of 1.0ohm or greater when you want more nicotine and throat hit. E-liquids with more PG are vaporised more easily so need less power for you to get great flavour and a nic rush. When your liquid is more viscous (like with high PG liquids) you’ll also get a stronger nicotine hit from them. High VG liquids on the other hand are much thicker and need a lot more power to evaporate. You’ll also get less vapour using higher PG liquids so they’re a more discreet way to vape.

If you want less of a throat hit, more cloud and a lower nicotine level AND you’re using a Sub Ohm kit: 

For those of you who are using more advanced vape kits with a coil resistance of less than 1.0ohm, you’ll be best off with the “high VG liquids” – containing 60% or more VG. Generally speaking, most people prefer a 30:70 ratio, 30% PG with 70% VG. It still carries a great amount of flavour, gives enormous amounts of vapour volume and an almost non-existent throat hit. 

When you’re using a higher powered kit, you’ll be able to vaporise much thicker liquids (those with more VG). There are ratios that go as high as 10:90 to a maximum of 100% VG. Some people find PG mildly irritating or drying to vape with, so these may be a good option for you. However, the more VG generally the more muted the flavour will be. We’d recommend starting with a 30:70 ratio and experiment plus or minus 10% VG from there to start with.

What happens if I use the “wrong” ratio? 

If you’re not getting the best vaping experience, it might come down to your juice. For example, if you’re using a lower powered kit with too much VG, you’ll get weak flavour and minimal vapour. This comes down to the power of your battery and coil resistance. To get decent flavour payoff you need a thinner juice – like a 50:50.

If you were to use a 50:50 juice with a 12mg nicotine strength in a powerful Sub Ohm kit, not only will you get a super strong throat hit, you’ll probably get some major head rush. When a powerful kit is combined with a low VG juice, it’ll evaporate much more easily. In turn, you’ll get a lot more nicotine in every puff. This is why most shortfills are made to be mixed to a 3mg strength. It’s usually just the right amount for most vapers.

If you’re struggling to choose a flavour, we’ve reviewed plenty of ranges from new releases to old classics. Look through everything from 50:50 nic salt formulations to high VG liquids to get some new inspiration and get the PG:VG ratio that’s just right for you.

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