PG and VG… If you're familiar with vaping, you'll likely have come across these terms when choosing between the wide range of e-liquids available. But, what do they actually mean?
PG and VG are acronyms for propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin. These substances are two of the most important components in e-liquid, and they are the reason behind some of vaping's most enjoyable features: flavour, throat hit, and clouds.
In this guide, we're going to dive deeper into the world of PG and VG. After finishing this quick(ish!) read, you’ll be the expert on the two, knowing which is best for you and your vaping style.
- What Are PG & VG?
- PG VG Ratios in Vapes
- Nicotine in Vapes
- MTL and DTL Devices Explained
What Are PG and VG?
Short for propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin, most vape juices contain a blend of the two. The ratios of each will differ - for example, should you buy a max VG vape, the e-liquid will have very little traces of PG.
Deciding what blend is right for you is a question, of course, of taste. So, to help you create the best vape experience possible, let’s take a look at the features of each.
PG (Propylene Glycol)
PG is an odourless, colourless liquid made from natural sources like palm, soybean or coconut oils. It is a common ingredient in many everyday foods, medicines, and cosmetics including:
- Soft drinks
- Skincare products
In the vaping world, PG contains nicotine in the e-liquid to mimic what smokers and vapers alike call the 'throat hit'. If you've smoked traditional cigarettes in the past, you likely know that dry, scratchy sensation when inhaling. PG helps to recreate that sensation, helping many smokers transition from smoking to vaping.
PG's other job is to carry the flavour of the e-liquid. PG is thinner than VG so the flavour profiles blend into it well, making for those potent flavours when vaping.
VG (Vegetable Glycerin)
VG is a natural chemical derived from vegetable oils and a common ingredient in the food industry. It is used in products such as:
- Ice cream
- Soft drinks
When it comes to vapes, however, VG has one important role - to create those awesome clouds of vapour at a much smoother throat hit.
Its thicker, more viscous base means that, when it is heated, it produces denser clouds compared to PG - so much so that VG is even used in theatrical smoke machines!
Are VG and PG Safe?
With complicated names like propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin, it's fair to wonder whether these ingredients are actually safe to inhale. This is especially true because so many of us quit smoking to improve our overall health.
Wonder no more, though…
PG and VG are both natural products and approved as safe for use by the UK Foods Standards Agency. We've already seen how widespread these ingredients are in everyday products, so it's highly likely you've consumed them both countless times already!
In terms of safety and vaping, e-liquids are tightly regulated in the UK, which means the ingredients in them (including VG and PG) have to meet strict safety standards and undergo regular testing.
This isn't to say that vaping is considered entirely risk-free, but leading health organisations in the UK agree that vaping is significantly less harmful than smoking cigarettes.
- British Medical Association
- Royal College of General Practitioners
- Royal College of Physicians
- Cancer Research UK
The main thing to consider when it comes to the safety of e-liquids is nicotine. As we should all be aware of by now, nicotine is a highly addictive substance. If you're not vaping as a means to quit smoking, we suggest you use a nicotine-free type of e-liquid which will be labelled 0mg or 0%.
Another aspect of vaping safety to consider is that some people are sensitive to PG. If they intake a higher PG e-liquid, they may experience mild symptoms such as:
- Sore throat
- Rashes and skin irritation
- Sinus problems
- Dry throat
What Else Does E-Liquid Contain?
Outside of PG and VG, e-liquid contains two other components: nicotine and flavouring.
The flavourings are synthetically made in a lab to emulate a vast array of taste profiles, including:
- Fruit - Popular favourites include Tropical Blast, Sour Green Apple, and Blue Raspberry - for a refreshing, tangy vape experience.
- Desserts - Known for such favourites as Vanilla Custard, Cherry Bakewell, and Honey Crunch - like a breathable pudding that would go perfectly with a cuppa!
- Traditional - For the purist who doesn't want to stray too far from the cigarette experience, traditional flavouring includes menthol and tobacco flavours.
- Experimental - Taste combos unheard of outside of vapes such as Heisenberg, Frozen Cherries, and Pink Fizz.
- Soft drinks - When you just want to breathe in the fizz, there's Red Rush, Professor Pep, Pina Colada, and Cherry Cola.
Nicotine is a tobacco extract that acts as an addictive stimulant in both cigarettes and vapes. The highest legal amount in an e-liquid, according to UK regulation, is 20mg per ml of vape juice.
PG (propylene glycol) and VG (vegetable glycerin) are naturally derived chemical liquids most commonly used in food products and are two of the main components of e-liquid.
PG helps to carry the nicotine and flavour within the e-liquid and also provides stronger throat hits, whereas VG helps create clouds of vapour found when exhaled.
Both ingredients are formally recognised and approved by the UK Food Standards Agency, and e-liquids themselves are put under strict health standards in the UK thanks to tight regulation.
Although vaping isn't considered entirely risk-free, leading health organisations like the British Medical Association recognise it as a significantly less harmful alternative to traditional cigarettes.
PG VG Ratios in Vapes
E-liquids often come in various ratios of PG/VG - the higher the PG ratio, the stronger the flavour and throat sensation, whereas a higher VG ratio means bigger clouds of vapour.
So, what do the differing percentages of PG VG mean for you when it comes to vaping them in an e-liquid?
High VG Ratio
We know that VG helps create clouds when vaping, so if an e-liquid displays a high VG ratio, it will create bigger clouds. High VG ratios include:
- 70/30 VG PG
- 80/20 VG PG
- 90/10 VG PG
- Max VG
The lower nicotine in high VG ratios is important to cloud-chasing vapers because too much nicotine in a large amount of vapour makes for an unpleasant throat sensation.
Whereas the maximum VG liquids come with no PG and therefore no nicotine hit, the lower ratios such as 70/30 VG PG are for vapers who want a slight nicotine sensation on top of their epic clouds.
Pros of Vaping with a High VG E-Liquid
Still not sure whether a high VG e-liquid is for you? Let's briefly run through the benefits that come with this style of vaping.
- Smoother vaping experience - DTL devices that use high VG e-liquids often provide a smoother, less harsh throat hit due to the lower nicotine strength.
- Customisable - DTL kits best suited to high VG ratio e-liquids often come with a variety of settings that enable you to change the power and intensity of your vaping experience on the fly.
- Reduces the likelihood of PG allergy flare-ups - If you have a sensitivity to PG, using a higher (or 100% VG) e-liquid will allow you to vape without experiencing unwanted symptoms.
Cons of Vaping a High VG E-Liquid
Although they provide a smoother, more customisable experience, there are some drawbacks of vaping with a higher VG e-liquid.
- Weaker throat hit - For those looking to simulate the feeling of smoking a traditional cigarette, VG liquids aren't as well suited.
- Less economical - VG liquids are typically thicker and more viscous, leading to resistance coils becoming clogged up quickly and being replaced sooner. VG liquids can become a high cost over the long term.
- Dehydrating - VG liquids allow you to intake more vapour, but this can lead to dehydration, sore throat, and dry mouth more quickly if you're not drinking enough water in between vapes.
Looking for a DTL vape device? If you're looking to start your cloud-chasing with a new vape device, we offer a wide selection of sub-ohm kits to get you started, including the UWELL Aeglos P1 Pod Mod Kit, which comes with a free e-liquid.
We've also got you covered when it comes to VG e-liquids, too. You can get 2 for £20 on the ever-popular Blue Raspberry Shortfill E-Liquid by IVG, which also comes with a free nicotine shot. Best of all, you can enjoy free delivery on all orders over £20!
High PG Ratio
High PG e-liquids offer a much more different experience for vapers than high VG liquids do. Where high VG liquids are best for hobbyist vapers to chase the biggest clouds, PG liquids are most suited to ex-smokers.
Why is this?
As we know, high PG e-liquids carry nicotine better than VG liquids as they are thinner and less viscous. This means that even small inhales can transfer high levels of nicotine to the body, satisfying those familiar cravings whilst providing that signature throat hit that many ex-smokers have come to know and love.
Pros of High PG E-Liquid
So, we know that ex-smokers prefer high PG e-liquids because they simulate the smoking experience better than high VG liquids do, but are there any other benefits to high PG liquids?
- More subtle - The lower VG ratio means that smaller clouds are created, which is perfect for those who don't want to surround themselves in a fog of vapour whenever they use their vape. This is ideal for 'stealth vaping' or use in public.
- More flavour - PG is responsible for carrying not just the nicotine but the flavour of the e-liquid, too. If you've got a high PG liquid, you'll enjoy the taste of your e-liquid much more on top of the sensation it brings.
- Lower heat - The thinner properties of PG liquid means that it takes a lot less heat to vaporise than thicker, more viscous VG liquid. This means that your vape device is less susceptible to heat damage during your vape session, and the coil of the device will last longer than a typical high VG device.
Cons of High PG E-Liquid
So, high PG e-liquids are more subtle, more flavourful, less intense liquids for vapers - but do they come with any drawbacks?
- Can be too harsh - Some find the harsh sensation on the throat to be too much at times, leaving some with a sore throat for a while after vaping.
- Dehydrating - Similar to high VG liquids, extended use can result in a dry, sore throat if enough water or liquid isn't drunk during your vape session.
- Less vapour - Some people enjoy a throat hit as well as cloud production, but with high PG e-liquids, you trade big clouds for flavour and nicotine sensation.
Do high PG e-liquids sound perfect for you? Get started on one of our MTL devices like the Aspire PockeX AIO Kit. Every one of our starter kits comes with a free e-liquid so you can get vaping right away.
We also offer a wide variety of freebase e-liquids - including the ever-popular TABlites range - for great prices and free delivery over £20.
Are you unsure whether high VG or high PG liquids are for you?
Would you prefer a balanced mixture of flavour, strength, and cloud production?
You are in luck.
50/50 liquids are a relatively recent addition to the e-liquids family, offering a balanced vaping experience that is perfect for the vaper that wants the best of both worlds.
The 50/50 split of VG and PG means that these liquids can be used in DTL and MTL devices. That's because they produce enough vapour to suit the low-resistance sub-ohm devices whilst also producing a strong, flavourful hit typically found in pens and disposables.
50/50 liquids have become very popular because they offer this balanced vaping experience, but some vapers believe that 50/50 liquids are just dulled-down versions of PG and VG liquids.
For example, 50% of PG means the liquid brings good flavour and strength, but not as much as a higher PG liquid would. Similarly, 50% of VG liquid provides decent clouds, but not as much as a purer VG liquid would offer.
Vaping is a largely subjective experience; however, the experience will change from person to person. Where some people find 50/50 liquids to be less intense of an experience, others argue that they allow more nicotine to be inhaled with reduced harshness to the throat.
50/50 PG VG liquids are ideal if you're looking for a fine blend of the two types of liquid and don't want too much of either. However, if you're more interested in big clouds or strong hit and flavour, you're more likely to enjoy a higher ratio of VG or PG liquid.
Nicotine in Vapes Explained
We know that, on top of the artificial flavouring, PG and VG are two major components of e-liquid. But what about nicotine? How does the substance that is naturally present in the tobacco leaf get into synthetic e-liquid?
As it turns out, a couple of ways actually.
The most common method of delivery for nicotine in vapes is freebase nicotine.
Freebase nicotine is created by converting nicotine into its purest form, which also results in higher potency and a harsher throat hit.
Whilst some vapers may find the harsh sensation of freebase nicotine to be too much, it is ideal for those looking for a similar feeling to cigarette smoking as well as those who like to only vape a little throughout the day.
Freebase nicotine is also good for creating large clouds of vapour, which makes them well-suited to sub-ohms and other DTL devices.
Nicotine salts are a type of naturally forming nicotine found in the tobacco leaf. They are the most efficient way to deliver nicotine into the body.
Compared to freebase nicotine, which builds up in the body over time, nicotine salts can be absorbed within 6-7 seconds, curbing any cravings in almost no time at all.
Nic salts are also more cost effective than freebase nicotine liquids because they deliver higher amounts of nicotine more efficiently. This translates to you vaping less whilst enjoying the same amount of nicotine, saving you money on new e-liquids over time.
The PG VG ratio of your vape liquid will determine how strong and flavourful the inhale is, how much nicotine is consumed, and how big your clouds will be.
A high PG e-liquid will offer a strong, flavourful vape at the cost of a smaller cloud and occasional harshness on the throat, whereas a high VG e-liquid trades some of the more intense flavours for smoother, more intense clouds.
50/50 VG PG e-liquids offer an equal amount of both. This provides a balanced experience for vapers who want a good blend of flavour, strength, and cloud production.
50/50 VG PG e-liquids can be used in MTL and DTL devices but should be used cautiously with the latter. The combination of high nicotine and vapour can be overwhelming for DTL vapers who are more used to smoother inhales.
DTL & MTL Vaping Explained
When discussing PG and VG in vapes, MTL and DTL devices tend to come up a lot, too. We now know which PG and VG levels are best for each device, but what exactly are these different types of vapes and what do they offer users?
This type of vaping refers to the way in which the vapour is inhaled into the mouth, and then into the lungs. It is a common vaping technique among new vapers - especially as it more closely resembles the way in which most people smoke traditional cigarettes.
The coils in MTL vape kits (the part of the device that heats the e-liquid) have a higher resistance, which allows the liquid in the tank to be vapourised at a cooler temperature, resulting in a cooler, thinner vapour. This vapour density more closely resembles that of cigarette smoke, which is another reason why MTL kits are favoured by beginners.
As we know, the PG VG ratio for MTL vape kits is higher, ranging between 50-70% PG. This is because the thinner viscosity of PG works best with the lower resistance of MTL kits, whereas thicker VG liquids tend to clog MTL vapes sooner.
Pros of MTL Vaping
- Simulates cigarette smoking more - Makes for the perfect transitioning vape kit for beginners who are used to the sensation of smoking a cigarette.
- More cost-effective - MTL kits tend to use less vape juice because they use higher PG VG ratio liquids that contain more nicotine, meaning your e-liquid will last you longer.
- More flavourful - The high PG VG ratio in typical MTL vapes means that it brings out flavour better.
- Simple - Unlike DTL devices, which can come with complex wattage and power settings, MTL kits are typically much more accessible and easier to use.
This vaping technique involves the user directly inhaling the vapour from their device to their lungs. DTL vaping is often favoured by more experienced vapers as it usually results in larger, more dense clouds of vapour, which can be overwhelming for many new vapers.
DTL kits - also known as sub-ohm devices - are usually bigger than their MTL counterparts and include sophisticated setting customisation for wattage and power to personalise a vaper's unique experience.
E-liquids typically used in DTL devices have a higher VG ratio due to the lower nicotine levels. However, because the amount inhaled is larger than with MTL kits, you'll still experience a stronger hit of nicotine in one go.
Pros of DTL Vaping
- Smoother, warmer vapour production - DTL devices are known for an enjoyable vape experience thanks to its subtler vapour production.
- Lower-strength nicotine - You can opt for lighter nic strength levels due to more being produced with each draw.
- More customisable - DTL devices can be more easily tailored to suit individual preferences.
TL;DR: A Closing Summary of PG VG Vape Juice
So, there's everything you need to know about PG and VG in your vapes.
They're both essential components of your e-liquid and can wildly determine the kind of experience you'll have when you're vaping depending on personal preference. If you're still unsure, here is a quick TL;DR:
High PG ratio
- More nicotine
- Stronger throat hit
- Higher flavour intensity
- Smaller cloud production
- Used more in MTL kits (classic vape pens, disposables)
High VG ratio
- Thicker vapour and more impressive clouds.
- Less flavour
- Smoother throat hit.
- Used more in DTL kits
50/50 PG VG
An equal amount of PG and VG providing a balanced experience for those who want the best of both worlds.
Explore Our PG/VG Ratios for a Custom Vaping Experience
Looking for that perfect blend of strength, flavour and vapour? Want to immediately satisfy your nicotine cravings? 50/50 nic salts may be the e-liquid choice for you.
At TABlites, we have a huge range of the ever-popular nicotine salt e-liquids from well-known brands like IVG, Doozy, and Vampire.
If you want some great deals on your nicotine salt e-liquids, then look no further than TABlites - you can get 3 nic salt liquids from a brand of your choosing for just £12. Alternatively, enjoy 3 of our own TABlites nic salts for just £9.99.