Vaping for newbies: What is the best PG/VG ratio for e-liquid?

For newbies to vaping, choosing the right e-liquid with the proper PG/VG ratio can have a crucial effect on your enjoyment levels.  Choose the wrong vape juice, and your journey into the vaping world may be short-lived.  Before relapsing back into smoking, take the time to learn about the different ingredients that go into making a quality e-liquid.

E-liquids are made of four primary components: propylene glycol (PG), vegetable glycerin (VG), flavorings, and usually a bit of liquid nicotine.  The largest portion of any e-liquid, perhaps as much as 90-95 percent, will be comprised of a combination (or ratio) of propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin.  Different ratios produce different tastes, textures, sweetness levels, and cloud production capabilities. 

What is propylene glycol (PG)?

Propylene glycol or PG is a clear, odorless liquid that is somewhat watery in texture.  It’s the PG in e-liquid that keeps the flavorings and liquid nicotine perfectly blended and consistent throughout the entire bottle of vape juice.  Without PG, the other ingredients would probably fall to the bottom of your cartomizer in between vapes.  PG can be found in many common foods in your local grocery store, including:

  • Flavored teas
  • Toothpastes
  • Ice creams
  • Cake mixes
  • Cake frostings
  • Food colorings
  • Entenmann’s pastries


Oddly, propylene glycol is also a common ingredient in antifreeze, but don’t let that scare you.  Chemists only include the PG to make it safer for pets and children who might accidentally consume it.  The anti-vaping politicians love to spread the myth that vaping e-liquid is like vaping antifreeze, which this notion is just plain false.  According to the FDA, propylene glycol is generally regarded as safe to consume in moderate amounts, although some people have been known to develop allergies to PG.

What is vegetable glycerin (VG)?

Vegetable glycerin or VG is another very common food additive.  It’s made from vegetables.  So, even vegetarians can consume it and not feel guilty. The cool thing about vegetable glycerin is that it doesn’t promote tooth decay.  So, it is a common ingredient in lots of over-the-counter baked goods and candies. Other common foods that contain vegetable glycerin are:

  • Ciders
  • Mustards
  • Vinegars
  • Butter-alternatives (margarines)
  • Non-sugar sweeteners
  • Pet foods
  • Baked goods
  • Candies

Vegetable glycerin is also found in many beauty products, shampoos, and soaps because of its slippery-smooth consistency.  As a result, VG also gives your e-liquid that thick, syrupy texture, whereas propylene glycol is more watery.


VG also has a slightly sweet taste and is almost odorless.  Vape juice made with high percentages of vegetable glycerin tend to vape smoother than those made with high levels of propylene glycol.  While the PG fluid is generally responsible for evenly blending the flavorings and liquid nicotine throughout the entire e-liquid, some suppliers also manufacture a 100-percent VG mix that offers the same capabilities.

What do the different PG/VG ratios mean?

Every vaper will develop his or her own vaping preferences.  And their tastes may change over time or depending on their mood.  For newbie vapers, experimentation with different e-juice flavors is part of the fun, but don’t forget about the PG/VG ratios, too.  Different ratios produce different effects.

  • For a smoother vaping experience, a High VG vape juice is probably the way to go. It just feels thicker, more substantial in the mouth and the back of the throat.  The flavor profiles may taste a bit muted in High VG brands, but that is easily remedied by increasing the power of your vape mod, in most cases.  But don’t go overboard.  Too much power can produce dry throat hits.
  • For a sharper throat hit, a High PG e-juice is a good choice. Many newbie vapers have trouble adjusting to vaping at first because the experience does not closely resemble that “kick” that you get at the back of the throat when you smoke a conventional tobacco cigarette.  The problem may be your PG/VG ratio of your e-liquid.  Try a High PG vape juice before you relapse back into smoking.
  • For “secret” vaping, a High PG e-liquid tends to produce fewer, less-robust clouds. So, if you’re trying to vape in secret or are trying not to be too annoying when vaping around other people, give a High PG vape juice a try.  But remember, no e-juice is totally cloud-free. 
  • For bigger clouds of vapor, High VG e-juice makes the thickest, densest clouds. For cloudchasing contests, the thicker the cloud, the greater the reward.  The winner is usually the one who can blow the biggest, darkest clouds the farthest distances.

There are so many things that newbies to vaping should consider before giving up the vape entirely and returning to smoking.   If you find that vaping is not as enjoyable as you thought it would be, it could be any number of things.  It could be the brand of your vape mod.  It could be the power settings that you are currently using.  It could be your brand of e-liquid. Or it could be the PG/VG ratio of your vape juice. 

Since many e-liquid manufacturers offer the same brands in different PG/VG ratios, a little experimentation might be in order.   Just have fun with it!  And don’t give up! Vaping saves lives!


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