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Vape Showdown: Nic Salt vs Freebase Vape Juices - TABlites

Vape Showdown: Nic Salt vs Freebase Vape Juices

Vape Showdown: Nic Salts VS Freebase Vape Juice

Nic Salt VS Freebase E-Liquid: What should I choose?

When making the switch from smoking to vaping, one of the most exciting things is the huge range of vape flavours to choose between. But, it’s important to select the right type of vape juice and kit to suit your specific needs. We have decided to create a guide to help you understand the difference between nicotine salts and freebase e-liquids to help you on your vaping journey.

Over the past few years we have seen how nicotine salt e-liquids have made a significant impact on the vaping industry. Freebase vape juice (High VG, 50/50 and High PG) still remains a popular choice for those that have been vaping for some time. So let’s jump right in and compare the two, and see if nic salt e-liquids, or vaping freebase juice is the right choice for you and your needs.

When it comes to vaping, there are two main types of nicotine commonly used in e-liquids: nicotine salts (nic salts) and freebase nicotine. Here's a breakdown of their characteristics:

Nicotine Salt E-liquid: Nic salts are the same form of nicotine found naturally in the tobacco leaf, they differ to freebase because benzoic, citric or levulinic acid is added. The addition of acid helps to neutralise the pH making it a lot smoother on the throat when inhaled. Nic salts speed up the rate of nicotine delivery, close to the nicotine fix from combustible cigarettes.

Nicotine found in the tobacco leaf possesses the chemical composition of a salt. A salt is made from a chemical reaction that has a positive charge (acid) and a negative charge (base). This was discovered in the 1960’s by Phillip Morris, the company that owns Marlboro. They found that by altering the pH levels in nicotine, it can provide more of a powerful hit and stronger dose compared to other cigarettes available. This made their cigarettes more addictive and gave them a competitive edge in the cigarette market place.

Although the sensation that vaping nic salts provides may feel similar to smoking cigarettes, no tobacco is being burnt, therefore it does not produce tar or carbon monoxide, two of the most harmful elements in tobacco smoke. 

One of the first things to consider when deciding what e-liquid to choose is what nicotine strength you require to satisfy your nicotine cravings. You want it to be strong enough, but not too strong. Nicotine salts are mostly available in 10mg and 20mg strengths, so if you are looking for a low strength e-liquid like 3mg or 6mg, nic salts may not be a great choice for you.

Pros of using Nic Salts:

  • Smoother throat hit: Nicotine salts are generally milder on the throat, making them more suitable for higher nicotine concentrations.
  • Fast nicotine delivery: Nic salts are absorbed more quickly into the body (15-20 seconds), which can satisfy nicotine cravings faster and for longer periods of time.
  • Higher nicotine concentrations: Nic salt e-liquids often come in higher strengths, making them popular among people transitioning from traditional cigarettes.
  • Cheaper/Less juice: Nic salts generally work out cheaper because you don’t need to vape as much to get your nicotine fix.
  • Stronger nicotine hit: A more concentrated dose of nicotine will curb your nicotine cravings for longer periods of time.
  • Real smoking sensation: Nic salts are suited to new vapers as they emulate a throat-hit similar to traditional cigarettes.
  • Compatible with inexpensive vape kits: Nic salts are compatible with low wattage, pod system vape kits like the Aspire Gotek X or Eleaf iStick IORE Lite 2 both priced at £9.99 and come with a free e-liquid.
  • Discreet vaping: Nic salts don’t produce large clouds of vapour and are ideal for stealthy vaping while on the go.
  • Ideal for MTL (mouth to lung) vaping: Nic salts provide a mouth to lung inhale. This inhaling technique is where you draw the vapour into your mouth, hold it in your mouth before inhaling it into your lungs. This technique mimics the restricted inhale from a regular cigarette.
  • Great choice for beginners: Nic salts provide a satisfying inhale, they work well in pod system vape kits that are generally cheap to purchase and are beginner-friendly.
  • User-friendly: The majority of devices that are compatible with nicotine salt e-liquids are easy to use and hassle-free. They are generally pocket-friendly, lightweight and compact. Some even offer you the choice of prefilled cartridges if you don’t want to refill the pod yourself. Two great examples of vape kits that use prefilled pods are the Crystal Plus by SKE and the Elfa by Elf Bar. These devices use the same great tasting e-liquid found in popular disposable vapes, only difference is you can recharge the battery offering a cheaper and more eco-friendly option.
  • Slow oxidation: Nic salts generally have a longer shelf life compared to freebase juice because the oxidisation process is much slower. This is due to nic salts being in their natural state and are more stable.

Cons of using Nic Salts:

  • Lower vapour production: Nic salt e-liquids may produce less vapour compared to freebase e-liquids, which could be a drawback for cloud-chasing enthusiasts. Nic salts will provide a satisfying inhale, but won’t provide huge clouds of bellowing vapour.
  • Not for high wattage DTL (direct to lung) devices: If you prefer turning the wattage of your device up, low strength (3mg or 6mg) high VG freebase vape juice may be a better option for you. Using nicotine salts in a sub-ohm device would be very harsh on the throat, and the thin consistency of the liquid may cause leaking issues.
  • Less nicotine strength options: Nic salts are available in 10mg (medium strength) and 20mg (high strength).


To discover the best Nic Salt e-liquids at TABlites read our blog: Top 10 Best Nic Salt Vape Juice Flavours Right Now!

Freebase Vape Juice: Freebase nicotine is the purest form of nicotine used in e-liquids. It is the traditional nicotine form and is commonly found in regular cigarettes. Freebase juice can feel quite harsh on the throat, especially when vaped at high nicotine strengths like 18mg. 

Freebase e-liquids are a great choice if you have been vaping for some time and enjoy the harsher throat-hit. If you find the sensation on the back of your throat too harsh, and it’s making you cough or causing irritation, then consider trying nic salts.

The term ‘Freebase’ covers High PG, High VG and 50:50 e-liquids.

Pros of using Freebase:

  • Wide flavour variety: Freebase nicotine allows for a broader range of flavour options, as it does not interfere with the taste as much as nicotine salts.
  • Increased vapor production: Freebase (high VG) e-liquids generally produce more vapour, making them popular among those who enjoy producing large clouds.
  • Purest form of nicotine: Freebase vape juice is purer than nicotine salt and contains no additives.
  • Suitable for most vaping styles: High VG Freebase vape juice and shortfill e-liquids are designed for DTL (direct to lung) vaping. High PG e-liquids are designed for MTL (mouth to lung) vaping. 50:50 PG:VG offers a middle ground between the two offering a satisfying throat hit along with medium cloud production.
  • Larger cloud production: E-liquids with a higher ratio of VG (Vegetable Glycerin) to PG (Propylene Glycol) are often referred to as High VG and are designed for use in higher wattage devices. They are generally vaped at lower nicotine strengths (3mg or 6mg) with a low resistance coil, and produce large clouds of vapour.
  • More nicotine strength options: Freebase e-liquids are available in a wider choice of strengths. Our popular TABlites e-liquid range is available in 0mg, 3mg, 6mg, 12mg and 18mg.

Cons of using Freebase:

  • Harsher throat hit: Compared to nicotine salts, freebase nicotine can be harsher on the throat, especially at higher nicotine concentrations.
  • Slower nicotine delivery: It takes longer for the body to absorb freebase nicotine, which means it may not provide the same instant nicotine satisfaction as nic salts.
  • More juice needed: More puffs and e-liquid are required for a comparable nicotine hit.
  • Weakened flavour: The flavour of Freebase e-liquids can be weakened when nicotine is added.


In summary, the choice between nic salt e-liquids and freebase vape juice depends on personal preference and nicotine requirements. Nic salts are often favoured by those seeking higher nicotine concentrations with a smoother throat hit, while freebase e-liquids offer a wider variety of flavours, nicotine strengths and increased vapour production. It's essential to experiment and find the option that suits your vaping style and nicotine needs best.

Nic Salt FAQ’s

Why are Nic Salts so popular?

The popularity of nic salts started back in 2015. A vape company based in the USA called Juul (Pax Labs, Inc) were the first company to require a US patent for their nicotine salt formulation. Juul kits that use closed system vape pods pre-filled with nicotine salt e-liquids launched, and quickly dominated the US market. They became so popular because their ingenious nic salt juice formula was said to provide a throat-hit that closely replicates the inhale from a traditional cigarette, compared to other vape liquids on the market. Instantly making JUUL a household name around the world.

Do disposable vapes contain Nic Salts?

Yes, disposable vapes like Elf Bar, Lost Mary, Elux and SKE all contain salt nicotine. Disposable vapes are designed to offer the ultimate in vaping convenience, they can be used directly out of the box with no previous vaping experience. The use of nic salt is a great choice for smokers looking to replicate a real smoking sensation.

Who are Nic Salts for?

Nic salts are a great option for heavy smokers and those interested in nicotine consumption. They are an ideal replacement for combustible cigarettes, and because of the effectiveness of the nicotine delivery, are a popular choice for if you have long intervals between vaping.

What are the most popular Nic Salt e-liquid ranges?

The most popular nic salt e-liquid ranges feature flavours based on the flavour profiles found in disposable vapes. Some of the best-selling disposable vape brands even have their own 10ml nic salts that are filled with exactly the same vape juice found in their single-use disposable devices.

As the vape market continues to move forward, customers are looking for the same great tasting flavours found in disposables that they can use in their rechargeable and refillable devices.

Top 10 Most Popular Nic Salt E-Liquid Ranges:

  1. Elux Legend Nic Salts
  2. Elfliq Nic Salts by Elf Bar
  3. TABlites Nic Salts
  4. Bar Juice 5000
  5. Seriously Bar Salts by Doozy Vape
  6. IVG Bar Favourites
  7. Pod Mate by Nasty Juice
  8. Element Nic Salt
  9. IVG Salt
  10. Double Drip Nic Salt

What are Bar Salts?

Bar Salts are a range of nic salt e-liquids designed to replicate the flavours found in popular disposable vapes. Bar Salts are served in 10ml bottles and offer high concentrations of vape flavourings to reproduce the same flavours found in disposables. Bar Salts are compatible with low powered MTL (mouth to lung) refillable pod kits like the Aspire Gotek X and OXVA Xlim Pro Kit.

Bar Salts are available in both 10mg and 20mg nicotine strengths to cater for both high and medium strength vapers looking for a smooth inhale with fast acting properties to satisfy your nicotine cravings quickly and for a longer period of time.

Do Nic Salts provide large vapour clouds?

Nic salts are most commonly blended with a 50/50 PG/VG mix to provide medium throat hit and medium cloud production. Salts will provide vape clouds, but if you are looking for huge, fluffy clouds we recommend taking a look at our vast range of high VG shorfill e-liquids from the best brands in the industry.

Are Nic Salts safe?

Nicotine salts are neither safer nor less safe compared to regular freebase e-liquids. Public Health England suggests that “While vaping may not be 100% safe, most of the chemicals causing smoking-related disease are absent and the chemicals which are present pose limited danger. It has been previously estimated that electronic cigarettes are around 95% safer than smoking. This appears to remain a reasonable estimate.”

It is important to always purchase your vape supplies from trusted suppliers like TABlites and always check that the vape juice you are using meets UK safety standards. All the products sold at and our UK vape stores fully comply with TPD regulations.

Can Nic Salts go bad?

Over time all e-liquids will expire, but nic salts will degrade at a slower rate compared to freebase nicotine. Nic salts are more chemically stable, meaning that they degrade and oxidise at a slower rate.

Most e-liquids have a shelf life of around 2 years from the date of manufacture and should be used within this time period. Store your e-liquids in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight for best results.

How do I know when my e-liquid has expired?

  • Change Colour: E-Liquid will darken over time due to oxidation. Has your e-liquid turned brown? This could be a sign that you need to buy some new juice.
  • Nicotine Strength: Over time the nicotine in your e-liquid may lose its potency and become weaker.
  • Overall Flavour: The flavour of your e-liquid may degrade over time, the flavourings in your liquid will interact with one another, and with the PG/VG base mixture. This often results in your vape juice tasting different to how it was intended, with weaker flavour profiles.
  • Thick or Thin Juice: Different e-liquid formulations may react differently and either become thicker or thinner in consistency than it once was.
  • Separation: The ingredients in some e-liquids may begin to split and separate over time, with heavier ingredients sinking to the bottom.

Where to buy Nic Salts online?

At TABlites we carry an abundance of nic salt e-liquid flavours ranging from; tobacco, menthol, fruit, dessert, candy and sodas. Take a look at our multi-buy e-liquid vape deals and start saving on your vape haul today.

We also carry one of the UK’s largest selection of disposable vapes from the most trusted names in the industry including; Elf Bar, Lost Mary, Elux and more. Purchase any 5 disposable vapes for only £20!

Does Nic Salt have salt in it?

Nic salts do not contain the same salt you sprinkle on your chips, nor do they taste salty.

Nic salts differ to freebase e-liquids because food-grade acid is added to the formulation. The addition of acid to freebase e-liquid is the step needed to turn regular freebase e-liquid into salt nicotine. This step reverses the chemical transformation and changes the nicotine back into a salt. The nicotine molecule has an extra proton that binds it into a salt.

Is Nic Salt better?

Nic salt can be better than freebase e-liquid for people looking to make the transition from smoking to vaping and for dual users who enjoy a mix of smoking and vaping. Nic salts provide a strong throat hit that replicates the sensation of smoking, they offer a smooth inhale even when vaped in high doses, and are suited to pod kits, pen vapes and lower powered vape devices.

If you are looking to make the switch from smoking to vaping, pod vape kits and nic salts could be a great place to start. Pod vape kits are generally inexpensive and easy to use, and when combined with nicotine salts will provide a smooth and satisfying inhale that will quickly curb your cravings. Most pod kits feature inhale activation, so just puff on the mouthpiece to vape. It’s that easy!

Is Nic Salt stronger?

Nic salts tend to provide a stronger, smoother and more satisfying nicotine hit compared to freebase vape juice. 20mg e-liquid is the highest nicotine strength legally allowed in the UK, so if you are looking for a vape fluid that hits harder, give 20mg nic salts a try.

What Nic Salt strength should I choose?

Nic salt e-liquids are available in 10mg and 20mg nicotine salt strengths. If you smoke 5-10 traditional cigarettes each day you could try 10mg. If you smoke 10+ cigarettes each day you could try 20mg. Every smoker/vaper has different needs, so we recommend experimenting and exploring various strengths to find the one that suits your specific vaping needs.

For more information about nicotine strengths read our guide: E-Liquid Nicotine Strengths Guide.

What are the main ingredients in e-liquid?

E-liquid is made up of four main ingredients; PG (Propylene Glycol), VG (Vegetable Glycerin), flavourings and nicotine.

Freebase FAQ’s

Are Freebase e-liquids harsh on the throat?

Freebase e-liquids when vaped at high nicotine strengths like 18mg can be harsh on the throat. If you find free base vape juices are causing irritation, are too harsh or are making you cough, we recommend trying nic salts for a smoother vape.

At TABlites we carry a large quantity of nicotine salt vape flavours from the most reputable vaping brands including; Nasty Juice, Doozy Vape, Fantasi, IVG, Elux, Elf Bar, and more. If you are looking for a smoother and less harsh draw from your e-cigarette explore our best-selling nic salt e-liquids today.

Can Freebase e-juice be used in any vape?

Technically yes, freebase e-liquid can be used in any vape. First of all let’s break down the various types of Freebase e-liquids available:

High VG E-Liquid: High VG (Vegetable Glycerin) e-liquids are thick, viscous and odourless liquids derived from vegetable oils, often made from soy, coconut, or palm. VG is used in food, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.

In e-liquids, VG serves as a base and is responsible for producing vapour when heated. It is known for its smoothness and ability to create dense clouds of vapour. VG is also slightly sweet, which can contribute to the overall flavour of the vape juice.

E-liquids with a greater ratio of VG to PG are often referred to as high VG e-liquids or sub-ohm liquids and are intended for high-powered sub-ohm vape devices that are capable of reaching high temperatures. Sub-ohm vape kits with low resistance sub-ohm coils (any coil that measures below 1.0Ω) will work well with high VG vape juice.

Examples of popular sub-ohm vape kits: Eleaf iPower 2, VooPoo Vinci 3, Vaporesso Gen PT60.

High PG E-Liquid: High PG (Propylene Glycol) e-liquids are colourless, odourless, slightly sweet, with a syrupy consistency. PG is commonly used in various food and pharmaceutical products, cosmetics, food and in manufacturing. In e-liquids, PG serves as a carrier for flavours and provides a throat hit, which is a sensation similar to the feeling of smoking a regular cigarette. PG is thinner than VG and has a higher flavour intensity, making it popular for e-liquids with strong flavour profiles. It also helps enhance the overall flavour and acts as a preservative.

High PG e-liquids are ideal for vape starter kits, pen vape kits and pod system kits. High PG e-liquids are thin in consistency therefore the coils are made with smaller inlet holes to allow thinner e-liquid enter the coils.

Examples of popular starter vape kits: Aspire PockeX, Aspire Flexus Q, Innokin T20S.

50:50 PG:VG E-Liquid: E-liquids that contain 50% VG and 50% PG are often referred to as 50/50 e-liquids and provide equal measures of vapour cloud and throat hit. 50/50 e-liquids will technically work in any device but are best suited to lower powered vape kits such as pod kits and pen kits with plus ohm coils (any coil that measures above 1.0Ω) in resistance.

Examples of popular pod vape kits: Uwell Caliburn A3, Smok Nord 2, Aspire Gotek X.

What are the most popular Freebase e-liquid brands?

  1. TABlites E-Liquid
  2. Vampire Vape
  3. Simple Essentials
  4. Wick Liquor
  5. IVG
  6. Nasty Juice
  7. Dinner Lady
  8. Doozy Vape
  9. Element E-Liquid
  10. Zeus Juice

We hope you found this article useful and has helped in making the choice between nic salts and freebase e-liquids an easy task.

For more information about vaping why not read our vape guides and our blog?

If you need any help or advice on e-liquids, vape kits, tanks or coils, feel free to contact us. We are always happy to help.

Tel: 0161 723 0064


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