Since arriving 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 attributes with traditional cigarettes, including satisfying nicotine cravings and oral fixation through hand-to-mouth action (no kidding please 😉).
The success of your vaping journey depends on choosing the right e-liquid for your taste and lifestyle. Here we delve into the science behind e-liquid ratios and explain how to choose the best PG/VG ratio to give you the most enjoyable vaping experience.
What is e-liquid?
E-Liquid, also known as Vape Liquid or Vape Juice, is the substance that is vaporized in e-cigarettes. As a vapor, it delivers a hint of nicotine and a delicious flavor that quenches cravings. Depending on the recipe, e-liquids come in different formats with different properties that suit different vaping styles. To learn more about the ingredients in our e-liquid, visit ourthe blog.
What is the difference between PG and VG e-liquid?
Two of the four vital components needed to create an effective e-liquid, namely Propylene Glycol (PG) and Vegetable Glycerin (VG), have very different properties. The amount of the two ingredients used in an e-liquid recipe can determine the type of e-liquid produced and even affect the maximum nicotine level available and the type of device you need to vape properly.
Most e-liquids use a balanced combination of VG and PG, as VG is not an effective carrier on its own.
Propylene Glycol (PG)
Propylene Glycol is a clear, tasteless, and colorless base material used in many common products, including inhalers. It's a popular choice for e-liquids as it's a very effective carrier for flavors and nicotine - meaning it helps to mix things up properly when we mix our e-liquids. PG has a thinner consistency than VG and produces far less vapor when heated.
Is PG safe to consume?
PG is completely safe for human consumption. Several international standards organizations have confirmed the safety of PG, including the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the World Health Organization (WHO). The UK's Food Standards Agency (FSA) has also approved the use of PG and it is widely used as a food additive. Propylene Glycol has been recognized by the European CLP Regulation as safe for oral, dermal and inhaled administration.
There are no documented health issues associated with inhaling PG vapor. However, due to its hygroscopic (moisture absorption) nature, new vapers may experience a dry throat and mouth. It should also be noted that certain individuals are extremely sensitive to propylene glycol, with research suggesting that prolonged exposure can cause breathing difficulties. If you are sensitive to PG, the best VG/PG ratio for you will tend towards higher VG percentages. In such cases, you can even find that 100% VG offers a better vaping experience. In summary, PG is safe for human consumption unless you are allergic to it, in which case there will typically be recognizable symptoms.
Vegetable Glycerin (VG)
Vegetable glycerin is a clear, slightly sweet, and colorless base used in a wide variety of products from foods to hand sanitizers. VG is perfect for e-liquids as it helps create bigger and stronger flavors. It has a very thick consistency and can produce huge clouds of vapor.
Almost every e-liquid contains both PG and VG, with varying amounts of different products being used depending on the formulation. Finding the best VG/PG ratio depends on various factors including product availability and the vaping experience you want to enjoy.
When choosing your desired e-liquid, you will most likely choose between two typical camps – those with a balanced or higher percentage of Propylene Glycol (PG) or those with a higher percentage of Vegetable Glycerin (VG).
Is VG safe for human consumption?
According to the WHO and FDA, VG is completely safe for human consumption, even in high concentrations. The UK FSA has approved VG as a food ingredient and the European CLP standard defines it as "not hazardous or toxic by dermal, oral or inhalation routes of administration".
Research into the toxicity of inhaling aerosolized glycerin in 2008 concluded that VG has no significant health effects. People who are allergic to vegetable oils, on the other hand, should refrain from smoking e-juice.
Balanced or PG-heavy e-liquids, often referred to as 50-50 e-liquids (because they contain a balanced PG/VG ratio), offer the widest range of nicotine strengths (0mg-20mg) and are in typically thinner in consistency, similar to PG itself.
Although these e-liquids produce less vapor than those with a higher volume of VG, they still offer an excellent flavor experience thanks to the properties of PG as a carrier. Therefore, for some vapers, the best PG/VG ratio for flavor is perfectly balanced between the two ingredients.
E-liquids with a higher percentage of VG in their formulation are most commonly referred to as high VG e-liquids or simply “HVG” e-liquids. The most common ratio for these products is 70% VG to 30% PG; however oursLiQuid HVG seriesis 80% VG blended to deliver even bigger clouds and a smooth hit!
Because they have a lower percentage of PG available in their recipes, HVG liquids are usually only available in lower nicotine strengths such as a maximum of 3mg or 6mg. This is partly due to crafting limitations and because VG is a poor vehicle, but mostly due to the massive amount of vapor produced; inhaling as much at a higher strength as 18mg would be quite uncomfortable for the user!
What is the best PG/VG ratio?
When choosing the VG/PG ratio that's right for you, it can help to experiment with different products until you find the best option. It all comes down to personal preference, but here are a few things to consider when making your choice:
An important factor when choosing your e-liquid preference is taste, so you should choose the best PG/VG ratio to achieve the taste you want. This can vary greatly from person to person. Both 50-50 and HVG e-liquids should offer a strong flavor if the products are of high quality, but you can expect a bolder experience from HVGs, which is largely due to the extra vapor they produce, resulting in more taste passes the tongue.
Every vaper looks for a different type of hit depending on the type of vaping experience they want. Those using their device as a cigarette substitute will likely want that slightly harsh "back throat" hit - similar to smoking.
If this is the case, you should opt for a higher nicotine strength of 50-50 or a PG-heavy e-liquid. Of course, you still get a "hit" from the high VG variant, it's just a little softer and smoother - ideal for the "cloud chasers" and those who vape for fun.
A vape juice with a higher VG content results in a smoother throat hit due to the sticky and oily quality of VG, and many vapers prefer this. However, since VG is sweet, the taste of high VG vape juice tends to be overpowering. In other circumstances, flavor is completely lost since VG is not a good carrier. When the best PG/VG ratio includes high VG content, solve the problem of lost flavor by increasing the power of your vaping device to produce more vapor and intensify flavor. However, it's important to remember the power level (wattage or voltage) you want your coils to run at, lest you destroy them by over-powering either!
The best way to go if you're a cloud chaser trying to achieve bigger clouds of vapor on the exhale is to make sure you're aiming 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 ourshort filling areafor those who want to limit their intake but still enjoy a bold vaping experience.
When out in public, high PG e-liquids deliver the best VG/PG ratio to keep your vaping unobtrusive. Higher PG/VG ratio vapes are ideal for reserved cloud chasers who like to stay hidden even when vaping in their favorite hangout! However, no matter how much attention you seek, remember that it is unlawful to use vaporizers in some public spaces or indoors without first obtaining permission from the owner.
A high VG juice is ideal for vapers who want big, thick clouds of vapor. A VG/PG ratio of around 80:20 or 70:30 makes for massive volumes of thick clouds. However, high VG concentration is not suitable for all types of e-cigarettes, as it can easily clog the wick or coil and cause the device to malfunction. Sub-ohm vaping is great for high VG concentrations. If you find your vape juice is too thick, add some deionized water to thin it out.
Device type and coils
The type of vaping device you own will have a significant impact on the best PG/VG ratio to use. Because PG vaporizes at low temperatures, e-liquids with high concentrations of PG work best with low-wattage devices. VG, on the other hand, is a viscous liquid that slowly soaks up the wick. It is also prone to clogging or jamming in mesh coils. Therefore, high VG concentrations work best with high wattage or sub-ohm atomizers.
PG vaporizes faster than VG and also absorbs faster into the wick. Because of this, you are less likely to get an unpleasant-tasting “dry hit” when using PG e-liquid, although this can still happen if your vape coil is not fully charged before vaping or for other reasons liquid is bathed. If you can't wait a few seconds between puffs, high VG isn't for you. Because it has a higher viscosity, it takes longer to reach the wick and absorb than PG.
To address the issue of slow VG seeping into a wick, current atomizers and sub-ohm tanks include wider portholes for faster absorption. This delivers a nice vaping experience without the dry hits that certain VG liquids can offer.
Finding the best PG/VG ratios
For e-liquids, the PG/VG ratio can affect or destroy the product. E-Liquid contains a variety of substances including flavors, nicotine, and PG and VG in variable amounts. Nicotine typically bonds best when dissolved in a mixture of one or both liquids. Flavors also play a key role in making your vaping experience enjoyable; PG delivers more flavor through the vapor clouds.
Different brands have different approaches to finding the answer to the question "What is the best PG/VG ratio?" The best ratio always depends on the end result you want to create for the users. Although there can be many possible combinations, the most common ratios you are likely to encounter are:
- 50/50 - this is the most commonly used ratio, ideal for basic vaping devices like theLiquid Prowith atomizer resistances between 1.0 ohm and 2.0 ohm.
- 70VG/30PG - Designed for use with atomizers below 1.0ohm. This is a common HVG blend formed to produce more vapor when vaping sub-ohm.
- 80VG/20PG - Perfect for sub-ohm devices, but especially effective on coils 0.5ohm or below. Our ownHVG areasuse this formula.
It's entirely up to you what the best VG/PG ratio is for you, and hopefully after reading our guide you'll have a better idea of what suits your preferences. We have many options for you to exploreour range, and even more information that you can discover in ourblog section!