Over the years since it arrived in the UK circa 2007, vaping has become one of the most popular alternatives to smoking cigarettes. This is thanks to the fact that e-cigarettes share many properties with traditional cigarettes, including satisfying nicotine cravings and oral fixation through hand-to-mouth action (no jokes please 😉).
However, despite this popularity the success of your vaping journey will depend upon you choosing the right e-liquid for your taste and lifestyle. Here, we delve into the science behind e-liquid ratios, explaining how you can ensure you opt for the best PG VG ratio for you.
What is e-liquid?
E-liquid, also called vape liquid or vape juice, is the substance we vapourise in e-cigarettes to deliver the nicotine-containing vapour that satisfies cravings. E-liquids come in a variety of different formats depending on their recipe, with varying properties suited to different vaping styles. To find out even more about the ingredients in our e-liquid, check out our blog.
What is the difference between PG and VG E-liquid?
Two of the four vital components needed to make an effective e-liquid, propylene glycol (PG) and vegetable glycerol (VG) have very different properties, the amount of either used in an e-liquid recipe can determine the type of e-liquid produced, even influencing the maximum nicotine level available and the type of device needed to vape it properly.
Propylene Glycol (PG)
Propylene Glycol is a clear, tasteless and colourless base material used in many common products including inhalers. It’s a popular choice for e-liquids due to the fact that it is a very effective carrier for flavourings and nicotine (that means it helps things mix together properly when we blend our e-liquids). PG is thinner in consistency than VG and produces far less vapour when heated.
Vegetable Glycerol (VG)
Vegetable Glycerol is a clear, slightly sweet and colourless base material that is used in a massive range of products, from food to hand sanitiser. VG is perfect for e-liquids as it helps to create bigger and bolder flavours. It is very thick in consistency and can produce huge vape clouds. Most e-liquids tend to use a balanced combination of VG and PG, as VG is not an effective carrier agent by itself.
Almost every e-liquid will contain a ratio of both PG and VG, with differing amounts used by different products depending on their individual recipes.
When choosing your desired e-liquid, you’ll most likely be deciding between two typical camps – those with a balanced or higher volume of propylene glycol (PG) or those with a higher volume of vegetable glycerine (VG).
Balanced or PG-heavy e-liquids, often referred to as 50-50 e-liquids (because of that balanced PG/VG ratio), offer the broadest range of nicotine strengths (0mg-20mg) and tend to be thinner in consistency much like PG itself.
In addition, while these e-liquids produce less vapour than those with a higher volume of VG, they still offer an excellent flavour experience thanks to PG’s properties as a carrier agent.
E-liquids which have a higher ratio of VG in their recipe are most commonly referred to as High-VG or simply ‘HVG’ e-liquids. The most common ratio for these products is 70% VG to 30% PG, however our LiQuid HVG range is blended to 80% VG to deliver even bigger clouds and a smooth hit!
Because they have a lower available % of PG in their recipes, HVG liquids tend to only be available in lower nicotine strengths like 3mg or 6mg at most. This is partly down to manufacturing restrictions and VG being a poor carrier agent, but primarily due to the massive amount of vapour produced; inhaling so much at a higher strength like 18mg would be quite unpleasant for the user!
What is the best PG VG ratio for me?
When choosing the right PG VG ratio for you, it can be helpful to experiment with different products until you find the best option. It’s all down to personal preference, but here are a few things to consider when making your choice:
An important factor to consider when choosing your e-liquid preference is taste - and this is something which differs hugely from person to person. Both 50-50 and HVG e-liquids should have a good level of flavour, however you can expect a bolder experience from HVGs owing largely to the extra vapour they produce which allows more flavour to pass over the tongue.
Depending on what type of vaper you are, it’s likely that you’ll be looking for a different type of hit. Those who are using their device as a replacement for cigarettes will probably want that slightly harsh ‘back of the throat’ hit - similar to what you’ll get when smoking.
If this is the case, you’ll want to go for a higher nicotine strength 50-50 or PG-heavy e-liquid. Of course, you will still get a ‘hit’ from the high-VG variant, it’s just a little softer and smoother – ideal for the ‘cloud chasers’ and those vaping for fun.
The best route to take if you’re a cloud chaser trying to achieve bigger vape clouds on exhalation is to make sure you aim for a high-VG e-liquid. The higher the VG, the bigger and better the clouds. Here at LiQuid, we also make high-VG nicotine free e-liquids in our short fill range for those looking to limit their intake but still enjoy a bold vaping experience.
PG VG Ratios
Different brands have different approaches to PG/VG ratios depending on the end result they wish to create for their users, however, by far the most common ratios you are likely to encounter are:
- 50/50 – this is the most common ratio used, ideal for basic vaping devices like the LiQuid Pro with atomiser resistance levels between 1.0 ohms and 2.0 ohms.
- 70VG/30PG – designed for use with atomisers below 1.0 ohms, this is a common HVG blend formed to produce more vapour when sub-ohm vaping.
- 80VG/20PG – Perfect for sub-ohm devices as above but particularly effective with coils rated at 0.5 ohms or below, our own HVG ranges use this formula.