Vaping 101: How to pick the perfect PG/VG ratio for vaping the tastiest e-liquids
Have you ever purchased a new bottle of e-liquid that simply didn’t live up to your expectations? Perhaps the vape juice had a brand name that made your mouth water, but the resulting vapor brought tears to your eyes instead. Even though the manufacturer’s website had lots of positive reviews, the e-juice just didn’t make your toes tap with delight.
Don’t worry. The solution might be as simple as purchasing a different PG/VG ratio of the same vape juice.
The manufacturing of e-liquids used in vaping is actually quite simple. E-juice is made from only three key ingredients: propylene glycol (PG), vegetable glycerin (VG), and a combination of flavorings. The fourth component – nicotine extract – is optional but does not affect the e-liquid’s overall taste.
That’s it. Only those three or four simple ingredients. Contrary to misinformation often spread throughout social media, e-liquids are not secretly laced with formaldehyde, antifreeze, or other nasty chemicals. In fact, e-liquids are even 100 percent tobacco-free!
Furthermore, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), both PG and VG are safe for human consumption. Consumers buy grocery items all the time that have propylene glycol listed as a supplementary ingredient. Some examples include flavored teas, toothpastes, cake mixes and frostings, and even ice creams. If you’ve ever eaten an Entenmann’s pastry, then you’ve already consumed a bit of propylene glycol.
Regarding vegetable glycerin, lots of our condiments and candies use this very common sweetener. Apple ciders, vinegars, mustards, margarines, and lots of over-the-counter baked goods contain VG. Where propylene glycol has a watery texture that is also tasteless and odorless, vegetable glycerin is more syrupy, more gooey in comparison.
Different PG/VG ratios taste differently
It’s the VG that makes the vape juice taste sweet, and it’s the PG that maintains the equal distribution of flavorings throughout the entire bottle. As a result, if a vape juice has more VG than PG, it might tend to taste sweeter. Conversely, if it has more PG, the flavor profile may be more bland or uneven from vape to vape. Different PG/VG ratios will tweak the overall flavor of the vape just ever so slightly.
- For a stronger throat hit, try higher PG e-juices. For newbies newly starting to vape as a way to quit smoking, higher PG e-liquids tend to produce a harsher throat hit that more closely resembles that of a combustible cigarette. Many first-timers often complain of how long it takes to become accustomed to vaping. Consequently, the varying enjoyment levels between smoking and vaping is what often leads many newbies to relapse back into smoking after only a few days or weeks. Before heading to the 7-Eleven for a pack of smokes, try vaping a higher PG e-liquid. After a while, you can always transition to a higher VG alternative for a smoother vaping experience.
- For bigger clouds, try High VG e-liquids. Vegetable glycerin or VG is thicker and sweeter than PG, which means it creates bigger, more robust clouds. This also means that the user draws more vapor into his or her lungs, too. If your brand of vape juice leaves you wanting “more,” then perhaps try purchasing a higher VG blend of the same juice. On the other hand, if you are a secret, stealthy vaper – one who tries to hide your vaping from others nearby - a high PG blend would be preferable.
- For more flavor, choose higher PG e-liquids. Remember that VG is a sweetener. It’s the PG that mixes the flavorings evenly throughout the entire bottle. If you want more flavor in your e-juice, then you want to increase the percentage of propylene glycol.
- For less tank gunk, try higher PG e-juices. Since propylene glycol has a runny consistency, it is also easily absorbed into the wick and coil. This means less residue gunk on the heating element, which translates into a cleaner vaping experience with less maintenance.
Most e-liquid suppliers allow the customer to buy each brand in different PG/VG ratios. For example, a 50/50 ratio means there are equal amounts of both propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin. A 40/60 combo usually means there is 40 percent PG and 60 percent VG. Ratios can come in any variation, and sometimes you can even buy all-PG or all-VG e-liquids, too – each with the very same flavorings.
Related Article: Get involved: 3 easy ways to help stop the FDA vape ban
(Image courtesy of Shutterstock)