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How to Choose the Perfect Vape Juice
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How to Choose the Perfect Vape Juice

Key Takeaways

  • There are thousands of different e-liquid flavors available around the world, but the exact variety will vary depending on where you live. Many countries have banned or plan to ban sweet and candy-inspired flavors. 
  • The ratio of Vegetable Glycerin (VG) and Propylene Glycol (PG) in e-liquid will affect your vape experience. High VG liquids give bigger clouds and a smoother inhale, while high PG liquids produce a stronger throat hit. 
  • E-liquid nicotine strengths vary from 1.5mg/ml to around 50mg/ml. Nicotine in vape juice is almost flavorless, but can sometimes add a slight bitter note and more intense throat hit in high concentrations. 
  • The two main types of nicotine used in e-liquids are freebase and nicotine salts. Freebase nicotine is more commonly used, but nic salts have grown in popularity due to a smoother hit and better nicotine absorption. 

Finding a vape juice that you enjoy and want to use every day is a very personal journey and different for every person who picks up a vape. Where the flavor is concerned, it will probably come down to personal preference alone. But picking a vape juice that isn’t just good, but perfect for you, requires a fair bit of consideration and thought.

Do you want more PG than VG? How much nicotine is too much nicotine? Can the vape and coil you use work efficiently with all types of ejuice? Should you be buying an ejuice with nic salts or freebase nicotine? How can the liquid you use affect the throat hit and amount of vapor? 

These are all questions that can arise before and after you start vaping, and although you can luck into the perfect vape juice on the first try, it’s much more likely to take a fair bit of experimentation. 

This guide to choosing the perfect vape juice will help new and existing vapers find the best vaping experience quicker, more easily, and with fewer wrong turns.

Choosing Your Flavor

In the last few years, the range of available vape juice flavors has expanded to an almost overwhelming amount. You can now probably pluck any flavor or flavor combination out of the air and find a juice that matches. Froot Loops cereal flavor? Yep, you can get that. Lemon cream pie? Also yes. Mustard and cream cheese? Ok, so maybe not any flavor…

Many new vapers decide to start with tobacco-flavored or menthol vape juice, in an attempt to recreate the smoking experience more closely. And there are certainly many options to choose from, even within this narrow flavor range. 

One of the best ways to discover a new favorite vape flavor is by speaking to other vapers. Most long-time vapers will have a favorite juice brand and flavor profile, like red berries with menthol. As long as you don’t expect to find the perfect flavor straight away, and are prepared to try juice flavors based on more than just their similarity to cigarettes, you’ll soon find a taste that works for you. 

Of course, you should also check out the dozens of vape juice buyer’s guides and reviews, all from experienced vapers, here at Versed Vaper. A few of our current favorite flavors include: 

  • Lemon Tart (lemon, cream, pastry) by Dinner Lady
  • Lava Flow (strawberry, pineapple, coconut) by Naked
  • #64 (blue raspberry, hibiscus) by Beard Vape Co
  • Fuji (Fuji apple, strawberry, nectarine) by Pachamama
  • Juiced Apple (crisp apple) by Solace

Many new vapers are happy to use the flavors chosen by the vape juice brands, and if you find a pre-mixed flavor you love, there’s nothing wrong with sticking with it. But that doesn’t stop you from building your own flavor mixes, tweaking the taste by combining several different liquids to create your own unique flavor profiles.

Choosing Your Ejuice Flavor

PG/VG Ratio

Most vape juice contains two main ingredients: Vegetable Glycerin (VG) and Propylene Glycol (PG). The ratio at which these two key elements are combined can be essential to how enjoyable, flavorful, and usable you find a vape liquid. 

All vape juice should show the ratio of VG and PG on the label or in the description, usually written as something like 50/50 or 70/30. The first number commonly refers to the VG percentage, and the second refers to the PG percentage. It is also possible to buy 100% VG or 100% PG vape juice, but most liquids will be a mixture. So what difference does the ratio make? And how do you choose the best for you?

Exactly how you experience the different qualities of the PG/VG ratio in a vape juice will vary. Some vapers have even reported experiencing irritation of the throat with high PG liquids, although this appears to be uncommon. Here are some of the most common vaping experiences, and the juice you should choose to achieve them. 

  • Big Clouds: High VG Liquid
  • Stronger Throat Hit: High PG Liquid
  • Smoother Inhale: High VG Liquid
  • Discreet Clouds: High PG Liquid
  • Sweet Flavors: High VG Liquid
  • PG Sensitivity: High VG Liquid

It is possible, particularly for new vapers, that both high PG or VG liquids will cause a dry mouth and sore throat. Vegetable Glycerin and Propylene Glycol are hygroscopic, which means they absorb water from the environment, i.e. your mouth and throat. Drinking more water for the first few weeks after you begin vaping should prevent or alleviate these side effects. 

The vape device you use should also be considered when choosing a vape liquid. Some devices are less able to handle liquids with high VG due to their higher viscosity. Vapes with a coil resistance of less than one ohm (sub-ohm vapes) are better for high PG juice. Coils above one ohm are better suited to high VG liquids. 

Nicotine Strength

Many people switch to vaping because they want to give up smoking. This can make your chosen nicotine level a guiding factor in how easily you find the switch to vaping. 

In the US, nicotine levels in vape juice can be as high as 5% or 50mg/ml. This is far higher than in many other countries. In the UK, for example, 2% or 20mg/ml is the maximum, and in many other European countries, it’s even less. But just because you can buy liquid with 5% nicotine, should you, and do you need to?

Nicotine from vaping is thought to be absorbed more efficiently than nicotine from smoking. That means that even a previously heavy smoker might not need to start on a liquid with a high nicotine percentage. The nicotine strength you choose to start with is, of course, up to you, but here are some guidelines to help you decide based on your previous smoking habits. 

  • Social/Light Smoker: Choose 1.5-6mg/ml Nicotine, or 10-20mg/ml Nic Salts.
  • Medium Smoker (1 pack a day): Choose 6-12mg/ml Nicotine, or 20-30mg/ml Nic Salts.
  • Heavy Smoker: Choose 12-18mg/ml Nicotine, or 30-50mg/ml Nic Salts.

Nicotine, when used in vape juice, is almost entirely flavorless. But when in a high concentration, it can sometimes add a slight bitter note and more intense throat hit. Choosing a juice with nic salts (learn more below) can help alleviate this.

Lower power pod-style vapes or vapes with a tight mouth to lung (MTL) draw are best suited to using a high nicotine strength liquid. High-powered devices (anything above 20w and below 1.0Ω resistance) are not ideal for high nicotine strength liquids because they often deliver too much nicotine with each draw.

Choosing The Type of Nicotine in Your Ejuice

Nic Salts or Freebase Nicotine?

Vape juices that use nicotine salts, or nic salts, rather than freebase nicotine have grown in popularity over the last few years. And many vapers would say that this is due to several excellent reasons. But before we delve into the why, let’s take a quick look at the differences between the two. 

Freebase Nicotine: All vape juices originally contained freebase nicotine, which is nicotine extracted from tobacco plants in liquid form. This is the purest form of nicotine, used in patches, gums, inhalers, and other nicotine products. A large percentage of the currently available vape liquids still contain this form of nicotine. 

Nicotine Salts: Nic salts are a different form of extracted nicotine. It was thought to be unsuitable for use in vape juices until the people behind the JUUL brand combined it with benzoic acid, another naturally occurring plant compound. This reduced the temperatures required to vaporize the compound and made its use in vape juice viable. 

Nic salts offer several appealing advantages over freebase nicotine. Firstly, nicotine salts are more easily absorbed into your bloodstream, perhaps allowing for a low-strength vape juice to satisfy as much as a higher-strength liquid. The benzoic acid also reduces the harshness of the nicotine, which allows for higher-strength liquids without the increase in acidity and throat hit associated with freebase nicotine. 

Your chosen vape kit again needs to be considered when choosing between freebase nicotine and nic salt juices. Although standard e-juice can be used in almost any vape, juice that contains nic salts is best used with a lower-powered pod-style vape or tight MTL device. 

Your Vaping Style Matters

The final thing to consider is how you vape. Vaping differs from smoking in several ways, but one of the most obvious is the way you can inhale. The two main methods of drawing on a vape are Mouth to Lung (MTL) or Direct to Lung (DTL or DL). 

If you are new to vaping, you will probably be content to vape using the MTL method, which is more similar to smoking. DL vaping is a bit more advanced, requires different vape kit, and takes a bit of getting used to. 

Not all vape juices are suitable for both vaping styles. Let’s take a look at both vaping styles and the type of juice that works best for each. 

  • Mouth to Lung: Higher nicotine, higher PG liquids. This combination of vaping style and vape juice will more closely replicate the experience of smoking. 
  • Direct to Lung: Low nicotine (around 6mg/ml), high VG liquid. This will allow for large, dense clouds of vapor, without overloading your system with nicotine. 

Check out our in-depth guide to learn more about the pros and cons of the MTL/DL vaping styles.

The Bottom Line

If you are a new vaper, you might not have considered just how much vape juices can vary. As we’ve shown, it isn’t just about choosing a nice flavor and picking a nicotine strength. To get the most from your vape, you really should know what goes into a vape liquid, and exactly what difference those ingredients make. Hopefully, our guide to choosing the best vape juice will help you perfect your vaping experience quickly, easily, and with fewer wasted bottles of liquid.

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Versed Vaper Team

The Versed Vaper team are a group of passionate and experienced vapers who take pride in writing helpful, quality content about vaping. From deals, to news and reviews, we've got you covered on all things vaping. Remember to subscribe to our newsletter, and follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook!

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