What is the most important aspect of the vaping experience? If you ask us, the answer is probably e-liquid. The e-liquid that you choose determines the flavor that you experience when vaping. It also profoundly influences the level of satisfaction that you get from vaping. If you want to enjoy vaping more, it all begins with choosing the right e-liquid. Experimentation is fun, but it’s even better to know the qualities of your ideal e-liquid before you spend your money – so let’s start off on the road to e-liquid mastery!

What Is E-Liquid?

E-liquid is the substance that your e-cigarette vaporizes for inhalation. Aside from replacement atomizer coils, you’ll buy e-liquid more often than any other vaping product. Depending on your preferred nicotine strength and how often you vape, you may go through several ml of e-liquid daily. Since e-liquid is what you taste and inhale when vaping, it is arguably the most important aspect of the vaping experience.

What Are the Ingredients of E-Liquid?

The four primary ingredients of most e-liquids are:

  • Vegetable glycerin: A common ingredient in foods, cosmetics and supplements.
  • Propylene glycol: Another common food, cosmetic and supplement ingredient. Vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol make up the bulk of any e-liquid. They help the ingredients stay mixed. They also dilute the nicotine and flavors to the correct strengths.
  • Flavors: An e-liquid achieves its flavor profile using a mix of food-grade flavors. E-liquid makers use the same flavoring agents that other companies use when making foods, candies, sodas and other edible products.
  • Nicotine: Most e-liquids contain nicotine, but it is also possible to buy nicotine-free versions of most flavors.

What Are Vegetable Glycerin and Propylene Glycol?

Vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol – usually abbreviated VG and PG – are most of what a bottle of e-liquid contains. Flavors and nicotine, on the other hand, are usually less than 10 percent of what’s in an e-liquid bottle. VG and PG are both common food ingredients. They retain moisture to keep foods fresh longer. They also help to keep ingredients mixed. Vegetable glycerin also appears in some foods as a sweetener. Adjusting the balance of VG and PG in an e-liquid changes the e-liquid’s characteristics. VG contributes to increased vapor production, and PG contributes to faster wicking and a more clearly defined flavor profile.

What Is Throat Hit?

Throat hit is the mild irritation that you feel in the throat when you inhale vapor – or smoke – containing nicotine. Although throat hit is a form of irritation, many smokers enjoy that irritation because they equate it with the satisfaction of using nicotine. Since vaping is another way of inhaling nicotine, it also produces a throat hit. Throat hit is one of the main reasons why many people find vaping more satisfying than other nicotine replacement products.

What Does Vaping Taste Like?

E-liquid creators use food-grade flavors when blending their vape juices. There are hundreds of different commercial flavoring compounds available, and e-liquid makers use those compounds in an endless variety of combinations. Vaping, therefore, can taste like almost anything you can possibly imagine. You can find e-liquids with dessert flavors, fruit flavors, menthol flavors, beverage flavors and much, much more. Since an e-cigarette produces no smoke, there is no e-liquid that fully recreates the experience of smoking a cigarette. There are many e-liquids, however, with flavors reminiscent of tobacco.

What Is Nicotine Salt E-Liquid?

Nicotine salt e-liquid contains a salt of nicotine rather than the freebase nicotine that you’ll find in most e-liquids and nicotine replacement products. Nicotine salt has a slightly lower pH than freebase nicotine. As a result, some people find nicotine salt e-liquid less irritating to inhale. The reduced irritation makes it possible for e-liquid companies to produce nicotine salt e-liquids with very high nicotine concentrations. Because nicotine salt e-liquids usually have high nicotine strengths, they’re appropriate only for small pod vaping systems and certain low-temperature vape pens. Nicotine salt e-liquids are usually not appropriate for higher-temperature sub-ohm vaping devices.

What Is Natural Tobacco Extract (NET) E-Liquid?

NET e-liquid uses real tobacco as a flavoring agent. To create a tobacco extract, the maker places shredded tobacco leaves in a solvent such as alcohol and allows the mixture to steep for several days or weeks. The maker then filters the mixture to remove any tobacco solids and uses the resulting extract as a flavoring compound for e-liquid. Used sparingly, a natural tobacco extract can add a tobacco-like complexity to an e-liquid. Although e-liquid doesn’t burn and can’t replicate the taste of smoke, many people find that NET e-liquids produce the most cigarette-like experiences that e-cigarettes can deliver. Some NET e-liquids exclusively use tobacco extracts as flavorings. Others blend tobacco extracts with other flavors.

How Do I Choose the Right E-Liquid Nicotine Strength?

The right nicotine strength for you depends on your personal nicotine needs and the type of vaping device that you use. In general, though, you should lower your nicotine strength when you switch to a higher-output vaping device.

  • If you find the vapor from your device irritating and unpleasant to inhale, your nicotine strength is probably too high.
  • If you go through several tanks of e-liquid each day and still aren’t satisfied with your vaping experience – or you continue to smoke cigarettes occasionally – your nicotine strength is probably too low.

Next, we’ll provide some general guidelines for the right e-liquid nicotine strength depending on the type of vaping device you use.

  • Pod vaping system: 25-50 mg
  • Small vape pen: 8-16 mg
  • Sub-ohm vape pen or mod: 3-6 mg

Why Do Some People Call Certain E-Liquids “Coil Killers?”

Sucralose is an extremely popular e-liquid sweetener. It can make any e-liquid taste as sweet as candy, and just about everyone loves sweet flavors. Sweetened e-liquids have become so popular that many e-liquids with wide distribution now contains sucralose. The problem with sucralose and similar sweeteners, though, is that they tend to burn rather than vaporizing cleanly. Sucralose leaves a film on atomizer coils. As the film builds up, it caramelizes and burns. People call heavily sweetened e-liquids “coil killers” because the film that they leave behind will shorten the life of your vaping coils. For the longest possible coil life, use lightly sweetened or unsweetened e-liquids.