The Difference Between Nic Salts and Vape Juices Explained
Whether you knew about them before or, like many, you discovered them through disposable vapes, there’s no denying the popularity of Nic Salt e-liquids.
While not as expansive as some disposable flavour offerings, we do have our own range of £1 Nic Salts here at LiQuid, and over the years we have really gotten to grips with these interesting vape juices using specialised nicotine.
There may be more experienced vapers in the know, but for many people, the difference between a standard 50-50 e-liquid and a nic salt is less obvious. We’d even bet there’s a few ‘seasoned’ vapers out there who still don’t really get the difference and just vape what’s in front of them.
The good news is, it’s not all that complicated – and to help you understand the differences and similarities we’ve put together this quick guide! If you want to learn more specifics about Nic Salts and their science then head over to our blog, Nic Salts 101.
Read on, and you’ll have the tools you need to decide if nic salts or freebase e-liquids are for you!
What is a 50-50 Freebase E-liquid?
The key word here is freebase – it specifically refers to the nicotine used when we make an e-liquid. 50-50 simply refers to the amount of PG and VG used in the e-liquid – most ‘core’ e-liquids use a 50-50 split of these ingredients, hence the name.
You can find out exactly what goes into our e-liquids in our blog, What’s in an E-Liquid.
Freebase nicotine is the only thing that changes vs a nic salt – everything else in there is the same, they use the same PG, VG and flavourings – they are also often blended to a 50-50 recipe.
With the above in mind, using freebase and nic salt to describe these different juices is more sensible, as both can technically be a ’50-50’.
Freebase Nicotine is the type used in pretty much every vaping product with the exception of nic salts. When it is made, pure nicotine is diluted down into PG or VG (PG in our case at LiQuid) until it reaches a specific concentration that can then be accurately measured as a part of our e-liquid recipes.
It is called freebase, because the nicotine molecules are freely suspended in a base material – free-base. It is a mixture, not a solution – this is because the nicotine is not fully dissolved into the base PG, it is essentially floating in there.
Freebase e-liquids are typically available in a range of nicotine strengths like ours: 0mg nicotine free, 3mg, 6mg, 12mg and 18mg.
What is a Nic Salt E-Liquid?
Nic salts are a little different – as we have said, the only difference between these and freebase is the type of nicotine used. Every other ingredient is the same, and they are mixed to the same ratios.
So then, lets get to grips with nic salts – As we’ve said, freebase is called as much because the nicotine is freely suspended in a base material. Nic salts have their name because when they are made, they are specially combined with an ‘organic salt acid’.
This might sound a little odd, but there is method to the madness – it neutralises the taste of the nicotine.
Nicotine is naturally very alkali, this is why freebase has a harsher taste and throat hit at higher strengths like 12mg and 18mg. When it is being produced, adding the acid molecule helps to neutralise this alkali pH, which results in a very, very smooth nicotine.
Not only is it incredibly smooth to vape, even at high strengths like 20mg, but the nicotine has an easier time absorbing into your body, which means it hits harder, faster and lasts longer.
You might wonder, if nic salts do all of this, why do we even bother with freebase? Well, that’s all down to personal taste and of course you needs on your vaping journey – we’ll get into that below.
Nic salt e-liquids are typically found in two strengths: 10mg and 20mg. despite being quite high, neither hit your throat much at all, in fact they are more like vaping a 3 or 6mg freebase.
Should you vape Salt or Freebase?
As we mentioned above, the answer to this will depend on a two main factors:
- Personal taste
- The needs of your journey
Personal taste simply refers to your preference when vaping. Some people have come from an intense smoking habit, and in order to be satisfied prefer the harshness of a freebase 18mg to get their ideal throat feel.
Those with a lower smoking intensity before making the switch might prefer the lower strengths in freebase, which offer a little throat hit by comparison.
For some however, regardless of their previous smoking intensity, the harshness of freebase is simply too much. Before nic salts hit the market, there weren’t many options for someone who doesn’t enjoy the hit.
Thankfully that is no longer the case – there are plenty of nic salts to choose from and they can offer enough nicotine to satisfy even the strongest cravings, without the harsh throat hit!
So, in short – if you are a vaper (new or experienced) and you don’t enjoy throat hit but need a decent hit to beat your cravings – vape nic salts!
If you enjoyed that harsher hit from your old smoking days and want it in vape form – choose a medium-high strength freebase e-liquid.
Which Vape Kits Are Best for Nic Salt & Freebase 50-50 E-Liquid?
Quite simply, any standard vaping device will run both freebase and nic salt e-liquids. So long as the device and coil are suited to 50-50 blends, you will be fine.
If you aren’t sure about the differences between vape hardware, our guide, How to Vape Properly, can help you get your head around it all and match it to your chosen e-liquid type.
Most devices will give recommendations on their packaging so be sure to check these out – you should also have a look at the coil in your pod or tank, if it is rated 0.1 to 0.9ohms, this is ‘sub-ohm’ and is not recommended for nic salts as they are for high-VG juices and are far too powerful for the thinner 50-50 e-liquid.
You should make sure the coil you use is rated close to 1.0 – 1.8ohm coils in this range will run 50-50 e-liquid safely and efficiently.
If ohms are a bit confusing for you, an even easier way is to look at the holes in the coil – these are called wicking ports, and if they are really big it almost certainly means the coil is designed for high-VG juice. Those with smaller holes are more likely to be for 50-50 juice, and are what you should use with your nic salts.
For nic salts particularly, disposable vape devices are almost always filled with nic salt e-liquid, which means they are a very convenient way to try salts out. Despite this, disposable vapes are pretty bad for the environment and have caused a few problems here in the UK – read more in our blogs, but in the meantime try to stick to the circa 600 puff varieties if you must use them at all – these have a better chance of being safety tested.
Save Yourself the Fuss
Regardless of which e-liquid you choose, the best way to vape is with a LiQuid subscription. You have total control and flexibility, you can stop pause and swap products at any time to suit your needs, and you’ll be saving time and money – don’t think about running out, your order will be automatically placed and sent to your before that happens, simply choose your top-up frequency and you’re off!