What To Look For When Buying E-Liquids?
E-liquids are essential to your vaping experience that produces flavour and vapour. E-liquids should be purchased with caution because they can both make and break the vaping experience. They are generally made of four basic ingredients: PG, VG, nicotine, and artificial or natural flavouings. PG and VG are flavour and vapour carriers, whereas the flavourings used are always food and pharmaceutical-grade. There are quite a few types of e-liquids available in vape shops, but it's easier to understand them when we categorise them:
Types Of E-Liquids
Based On PG/VG
VG stands for Vegetable Glycerin, whereas PG stands for Propylene Glycol. VG is used to thicken up the juice, and PG is used to deliver the flavour. The higher the VG content, the thicker the fluid will be, affecting the significantly thicker clouds and the second how long it takes your coil to rewick. It will take longer, so you can only chain vape as fast as getting burnt/dry hits.
The higher the PG content, the thinner the juice is, which will affect four things: first being mild, smaller clouds; second being flavour, which will feel more concentrated, third that your coil will rewick faster; and fourth PG provides more of the throat hit that people who chain smoke prefer.
The Ratio Of PG/VG
Most e-liquids come in different ratios of PG and VG, and people pick the one that fits their needs best. You can determine the percentage by asking what type of vaping experience you want and which device would best suit your requirements.
VG Base E-Liquids
Vg-based e-liquids are those that contain more than 50 percent VG. These e-liquids work best with kits and coils with less than 1ohm resistance. These vape gears are usually designed for sub-ohm vaping and DHL vaping.
PG Based E-Liquids
PG-based e-liquids contain more than a 50 percent ratio of PG in them. These e-liquids are suitable for kits and coils with more than 1-ohm resistance. These vape gears are generally recommended for classic or MTL vaping styles.
50:50 PG/VG Ratio
E-liquids with 50:50 PG VG ratios are recommended for beginners as they are balanced and easy to deal with. This ratio works with many kits, tanks, and coils, but the recommended resistance for coils is below 0.5 ohms.
Based on nicotine, e-liquids can broadly be categorised into two types.
- Freebase e-liquids
- Nicotine salt e-liquids
Nicotine salts are extracted from tobacco plants that contain natural nicotine salts. These salts contain positively charged ionised nicotine molecules bonded with organic conjugates. Whereas freebase nicotine, which is present in most traditional e-liquids, is also acquired from salts found in tobacco plants but with an addition of ammonia that increases the PH level. Hence the nicotine returns to its neutral state of freebase nicotine.
Salt nic is a nicotine extraction method that allows for higher concentrations of nicotine (25-50mg) without being super harsh. While freebase will get intense, around 12mg and 6mg can be too harsh for some. Now it's on the user's need and preference for what they want from their vaping experience. Salt nic will give you a head rush, whereas freebase e-liquids are known for their potent throat hit.
When considering the average use rates for each type of nicotine, for an average user, the atomizer itself and the style of vaping will have a considerably more tangible effect on the flavour than the type of nicotine used. However, in idealised scenarios where good un-oxidised nic is used at predictable and familiar volumes, the kind of nic does not cause any notable disparity in flavour.
How To Determine The Right Nicotine Strength For Me?
As a general rule of thumb, the nicotine strength of your e-liquid can be determined by taking your previous nicotine consumption as a reference point. For a pack-a-day smoker, the starting nicotine strength would be 16-20mg, whereas for someone whose daily cigarette consumption was less than 10, 6mg is a good starting point. Having the right nicotine strength in your e-liquid would help you fight cravings and slowly curb nicotine intake. For someone trying to give up on cigarettes, e-liquids would help them easily transition to a safer alternative and wean themselves off nicotine without any withdrawal symptoms.
Flavours Of The E-Liquid
Taste is subjective, and it varies from person to person. Hence there needs to be an objective ground to determine the best e-liquid flavour. But you can figure out the flavours that work best for you by getting something you already know. For example, if you like the taste of strawberries or find the smell of berries extremely appealing, you may get either of those flavours. Vaping is a sensory experience that involves both your senses of taste and smell. Therefore, you would want a flavour that is manageable for you. E-liquid flavours are categorised into 5 broad categories: fruity, dessert, mint/menthol, tobacco, and drink/beverage.
Do E-Liquids Go Bad?
Like any perishable product, e-liquid can also go bad. Every bottle you buy should have an expiration date. Don't buy a bottle close to expiring unless you're sure you'll use it up by the expiration date.
If you store your e-juice properly can last up to two years. However, improper storage and handling can make it go bad before that. For example, if your e-liquid is exposed to the air, the nicotine can get oxidised and give you a peppery taste. The best place to store e-liquid is the refrigerator or a cupboard. If you can't or don't want to store it there, keep it in any location shielded from heat and light. Keep it tightly sealed.
There needs to be a one-fit-for-all recipe or strategy for purchasing e-liquids, and it may take a while before you find the appropriate flavour, nicotine strength, and PG/VG ratio that works best for you. The only thing to remember is that finding the perfect e-liquid is a matter of trial and error, and you shouldn't shy away from making mistakes. Part of the process is a lot of experimentation which may involve a few wrong choices too. But you must get your vape gear and e-liquids from reputable brands that combine high-quality ingredients and maintain 100% transparency.