Beginners Guide To E Liquids

So you're new to vaping and maybe you've already decided on what vape device you want to purchase, now it's time to pick a great tasting E Liquid. There's thousands of flavours and hundreds of E Liquid brands to look through and many all claim to be the best. With all the information and terminology, it can be a little daunting and overwhelming. That's why we will be going over some of the basics to help you decide what the best E Liquid is for you.

You may have a brief understanding of E Liquids but find that you’re still confused about what type of E Liquid you should be buying because you’re unsure of Nicotine, VG and PG. That’s why we will go over the ingredients. In order to 

What is in E Liquids?

Cigarettes are packed full of dangerous substances, in total there are at least 250 ingredients and chemicals in cigarettes that are known to be harmful, including hydrogen cyanide, carbon monoxide, and ammonia. In  E Liquids there is only three to 4 ingredients

  • Vegetable Glycerine
  • Propylene Glycol
  • Food grade flavouring
  • Nicotine (optional)

Vegetable Glycerine and Propylene Glycol

The two main ingredients of E Liquid are Vegetable Glycerine (VG) and Propylene Glycol (PG), you’ll find both of these widely used in food and medicine. Vegetable Glycerine is a clear liquid that is typically made from soybean, coconut or palm oils. It is odourless and has a mildly sweet taste and the consistency is like a sugar syrup. Propylene Glycol is an ingredient in many cosmetic products but don't worry, the European and US food authorities have declared that it is safe for the use in foods that are consumed.

In E Liquids, Vegetable Glycerine serves as a thickener which creates the vapour/ clouds while Propylene Glycol is used to carry flavouring and nicotine.

Food Grade Flavouring

Flavouring concentrates in E Liquids are typically a combination of both natural and artificial flavourings. E Liquid manufacturers now use ‘food grade’ flavouring concentrates approved by Flavour Extracts Manufacturers Association (FEMA).

These flavourings are what makes E Liquids taste so delicious, without flavour concentrates we wouldn’t have a wide range of E Liquids and the ones that exist would all taste the same. Flavour concentrates can be mixed together to create new combinations. E Liquid Manufacturers spend an incredible amount of time and money to bring us new and exciting flavours that have never been made before.

Nicotine

Nicotine is completely optional when It comes to vaping E Liquids. Nicotine is the addictive chemical in cigarettes and it is nicotine addiction that causes the symptoms we know as cravings. Nicotine is used in E Liquids to satisfy the cravings which prevent you from going back to cigarettes. Public Health England (PHE) have found that E Liquids and vaping, on the whole, is 95% less harmful than cigarettes as it does contain and produce no tar and contain no carcinogens.

With E Liquids there are two different types of nicotine which is used, Freebase Nicotine and Salt Nicotine.

What is Freebase Nicotine?

Freebase Nicotine is produced by converting nicotine from its natural state which is Salt Nicotine. With Freebase Nicotine, as you are stripping it to its 'pure' form, you are able to increase the potency without increasing the dose.

Freebase nicotine has been used since the 19960's when research from Phillip Morris (Owner of Marlboro) discovered that using freebase nicotine could make their cigarettes stronger and therefore, more addictive. Freebase nicotine is still used in Cigarettes, nicotine replacement therapies (gum, patches, etc.) and E Liquids.

What is Salt Nicotine?

Salt Nicotine is also referred to as Nic Salt is a type of naturally formed nicotine found in tobacco leaf. Nic salt E Liquids are the most efficient way to deliver nicotine to your receptors. Nic Salt also helps to give you a more satisfying vaping experience as they are easier to inhale and don't give a harsh throat hit that you get from Freebase E Liquids.

What is the best E Liquid Ratio?

This is a very common question that is asked and truth be told, there isn't a 'best E Liquid ratio' only a best E Liquid ratio for your needs and your device. However, we can recommend the most suitable ratios based on particular devices and what kind of vaper you are.

What is the Best E Liquid Ratio for Vape Pens?

Vape Pens are commonly used by smokers who are taking their first steps to becoming Smoke Free, though many vapers use these due to their simplicity. These devices tend to heat the liquid at a relatively low temperature. For vape pens, an 80% PG E Liquid is a good place to start. A PG ratio lower than 50% ratio could result in you needing to change your coils more frequently as the juice might be too thick.

What is the Best E Liquid Ratio for POD Vape Kits?

POD Vape Kits are similar to Vape pens and the same rules apply. Most pod systems are designed with a 50/50 VG/PG mix in mind, pod systems also tend to be designed for nicotine salt E Liquids, which once again tend to be 50/50 ratio.

What is the Best E Liquid Ratio for sub ohm devices?

Sub ohm devices create huge  clouds/ vapour and are very popular with the more experienced vapers. These devices come in many shapes and sizes, but ultimately they are high powered vapes which heat E Liquids at a higher temperature.

E liquids with a higher VG ratio are ideal for sub ohm devices and any vape juices over 50% VG will be suitable. Though when vaping at higher outputs on these devices, an 80% VG ratio is ideal.

Please also bear in mind that the resistance of your coil and the wattage that you output will impact how compatible the liquid is, e.g. the higher resistance a coil has, the less power it requires and vice versa.

What effects do VG and PG have on E Liquids?

The VG/ PG ratio can affect your E Liquids and when choosing the best E Liquid, you need to know what it is you're wanting. VG and PG can affect the taste, the hit and the vapour.

Taste

E Liquids with a higher PG percentage tend to have a more intense sensation when it comes to the flavour. PG helps to deliver the flavour concentrates as well as the nicotine. Whereas VG dilutes the flavour for a more subtle hint of the flavour.

Throat Hit

Many people prefer a throat hit when vaping as this helps to mimic the feeling you get from smoking. For those that have recently quit smoking, the throat hit is preferred with their E Liquids. If this is something you're looking for then we would also recommend a PG based E Liquid. This doesn't however mean that you wouldn't get a throat hit with a higher VG percentage, just that it's a little smoother.

Vapour

If you're looking at creating large amounts of vapour and doing some cloud chasing then a high VG percentage is the way to go. The higher the VG the better the clouds, evidently the best VG ratio for a cloud chaser would be 100% VG, though it is not often you will find a 100% VG E Liquid, the most commonly found E Liquids for cloud chasers are 70/30 and 80/20.

Below is a simple guide to help you with picking the best ratio for you.

VG/ PG Ratio

Taste

Throat Hit

Vapour

High VG

Low

Medium

High

50/50 VG/ PG

Medium

Medium

Medium

High PG

High

High

Low


Best E Liquid Ratios for Different Coils?

As we have discussed there are many E Liquids with different VG/PG ratio. It's important to know that you get the right ratio for your coils.

The most common ratios are:

  • 50/50 VG/PG – Ideal for coil resistance levels between 1.0 ohms and 2.0 ohms.
  • 70/30 VG/PG – Designed for coils below 1.0 ohms, which produce the most vapour from sub ohm vaping. 
  • 80/20 VG/PG – Perfect for coils at 0.5 ohms or below, you can create huge clouds without losing flavour

If you're looking for a standard style of vaping, coils with a 1.8 ohm resistance would be ideal and the wattage for your device shouldn't be any more than 10 watts. At this low power, a thinner E Liquid would be required which means an E Liquid with a higher PG percentage. 50/50 ratio would be a good start and this also means that you'll be able to handle a higher nicotine strength. Using E Liquids with a high VG/PG ratio of 70/30 at this temperature wouldn't result in a pleasant vape.

Coils with a resistance of 0.5ohm require more power at a minimum of 30 watts and heats to a higher temperature, so a thicker 70% VG E Liquid would be ideal. Sub ohm vaping which creates large clouds requires coils with a lower resistance like 0.5 ohms. Using a high PG liquid in a sub-ohm tank would result in lots of leaking.

Whichever ratio you choose is your decision, different ratios offer different results, so it's best to try out different coils to work out the pros and cons and enjoy the journey to a better vaping experience.

Which Nicotine strength is right for me?

Once again this isn't a straightforward question and there is a different answer for everyone. It simply comes down to your smoking habit. The best way to work out what nicotine strength you need is by looking at how many cigarettes you smoke in a day. If you are a heavy smoker  then we would recommend purchasing E Liquids with a higher nicotine strength. If you are a light smoker then it is best to go for a lower nicotine strength, if you find that your E Liquid isn't sorting your nicotine cravings you can try a higher strength. 

The same logic applies to if you think the E Liquid has too much nicotine, you can reduce it.

Common practice with E Liquids is to try to lower your nicotine intake to help you completely kick out the cravings so you are no longer nicotine dependent. The following Nicotine strengths are what is found with E Liquids that contain Freebase Nicotine.

0mg Nicotine

Nicotine free E Liquids is a great choice for social smokers who only have the odd cigarette when they’re out and just want the feel of smoking. It’s also vapers who have cut out nicotine but still enjoy the taste of E Liquids.

3mg Nicotine

This is the lowest level nicotine you can get in E liquids, it’s often the choice for people quitting smoking as ideally you want to be on a lower level as you may find that you don't actually need a high nicotine strength. We’d also recommend this concentration for light smokers who are getting through only a few cigarettes a day.

6mg Nicotine 

E Liquids with 6mg Nicotine is also considered a low level but it will give you the nicotine hit that you need. As a rough guide this would be a good choice if you typically smoke around 10 cigarettes a day.

12mg Nicotine

This strength is made for the average smoker who typically smokes a whole pack a day. It's the normal nicotine strength that most heavier smokers purchase when making the move to vaping.

18mg Nicotine

18mg is for those heavy smokers out there, if you get through a lot of cigarettes then this is probably the best choice for you to ensure you meet your nicotine cravings. So if you smoke over a pack a day we would recommend looking for E Liquids with this strength.

Due to laws set out by the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD), you can only purchase E Liquids (that contain Nicotine) in 10ml bottle size. All E Liquids sold within the UK over 10ml will NOT contain nicotine. This doesn't mean that you can't enjoy nicotine in larger bottles. The MHRA enforces laws set up in the TPD, a larger EU directive that moderates vape products and outlines a list of banned substances amongst larger legislative activity. This regulation carries to flavours and blends as a whole, with full toxicology and emissions reports having to be published before an e-liquid even reaches the market.

What are Shortfill E Liquids?

When looking around for E Liquids you may have seen the name shortfill. These are E Liquids with a 0mg nicotine strength that come in larger bottles that have enough space to add a nicotine shot into it. There are typically three different sizes of shortfills

30ml E Liquid Shortfill

These are 30ml Bottles that contain 25ml of 0mg E Liquid, this allows for half a 10ml Nicotine shot. Adding half a 10ml Nic shot will turn your 25ml shortfill from a 0mg to 3mg.

60ml E Liquid Shortfill

These are 60ml Bottles that contain 50ml of 0mg E Liquid, this allows for one 10ml Nicotine shot. Adding one 10ml Nic shot will turn your 50ml shortfill from a 0mg to 3mg.

120ml E Liquid Shortfill

These are 120ml Bottles that contain 100ml of 0mg E Liquid, this allows for two 10ml Nicotine shots. Adding two 10ml Nic shots will turn your 100ml shortfill from a 0mg to a 3mg.

On your hunt for E Liquids you may find other combinations of Shortfills, on Jumponthevape we always advise the amount of nicotine and the results it gives, so remember to check the product description.

We’ve covered all the main things to consider and now we can move on to the fun part…

What is the best tasting E Liquids?

There are thousands of different E Liquids to choose from and hopefully by now you know what nicotine strength and VG/PG ratio you want, now you can go out and explore the delicious flavours.

If you are moving from smoking to vaping we would recommend looking at Tobacco E Liquids as the taste will be similar. Though Tobacco E Liquids will not taste exactly the same as smoking, it will taste much nicer. As vaping is not smoking, you’re not burning dangerous chemicals. With vaping you will not get a burnt taste and the E Liquids are specially created with the taste in mind. Menthol E Liquids are also a great call for ex smokers who used to enjoy menthol cigarettes. If Tobacco  Liquids sound good then why not check out our The Best Tobacco E Juices article

As we said at the beginning, any flavour you can think of has more than likely been transformed into an E Liquid, it’s just a matter of looking at what flavours tickle your fancy. If you’re someone that has a bit of a sweet tooth then Dessert E Liquids or Candy E Liquids could be to your liking.

If they all sound good and you’re still not sure what to choose then why not check out our E Liquid Reviews? We also have a much loved article which shows some of our favourite E Liquids, Best E Liquid to Buy in 2021

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