Anyone getting into vaping will typically pre-occupy themselves on two things in particular: 1.
their hardware and 2. the e-liquid; in particular, the flavours and levels of nicotine in the case of
After a few months’ vaping experience, attention shifts to more specific details such as the
impact of variable wattage and voltage, and some users might even scale up to higher
performance devices like mods.
In the case of e-liquids, one often ignored consideration by beginners (and even some
experienced vapers) is the “base” of the e-juice – vegetable glycerine (VG), propylene glycol
(PG), or a mixture of the two.
That is a mistake because selecting the proper PG/VG blend is central to your vaping experience
in terms of flavour, throat hit and cloud production.
This guide is to illustrate the possibilities – and why they matter a big deal.
Characteristics of PG and VG
An e-liquid’s base plays two major roles. It “carries” the other ingredients in the vape juice, and
also has a huge bearing on the flavour, vapour produced, and throat hit.
Unless you are one of those who preoccupy themselves with the terms and conditions section,
the boring details about these two ingredients aren’t compulsory for most vapers to read
through. Both bases are largely deemed safe and commonly used in an array of consumable
The one major health caveat to be aware of is the fact that a small number of people are
allergic to propylene glycol, and interaction with it could spark symptoms such as stomach
upsets, rashes and hives.
PG may also cause throat irritation in some individuals, and the reasons for this will become
apparent in a jiffy.
In such instances, the option for these users is to switch to a VG juice.
PG and VG both have their distinct characteristics which have a direct effect on the vaping
experience – and a major one at that:
PG is a synthetic non-toxic liquid which is runny (thin) in nature with no natural flavour, an
element that makes it a great carrier of flavours present in an e-liquid. Due to its non-natural
ingredients, it also boasts a longer shelf life.
PG packs a strong punch (throat hit) and this is largely why you may experience some throat
irritation if it is concentrated.
It has a higher temperature resistance, meaning it requires a higher voltage in order to create
clouds. Therefore, with PG, there is less vapour being inhaled, and consecutively, thinner clouds
being exhaled. And if the voltage isn’t regulated properly, there is the possibility of a burnt
VG is a natural substance which is thicker and harbours a naturally sweet flavour. Due to its
organic nature, it has a shorter shelf life.
When used as a base for e-juice, VG creates thicker and denser vapour, although it has less of a
throat hit compared to PG.
This makes it a smoother vape on the inhale, with huge clouds on the exhale.
Common PG/VG Ratios and Ideal Uses
A mix of the two does more than simply bring out the best of both worlds.
What you will realise over time is that different PG/VG ratios work best for different families of
flavours, not to mention the type of device.
You will also discover that juice high in VG blended with several flavours takes more time to
steep. As well, you will find that a lot of “interesting” flavours and most high-nicotine
concentrates are not available in a VG-based e-liquid.
This all has to do with the inherent properties.
As far as the e-liquid ratios go, here are the possibilities available to you:
100% VG: (Max VG): 100% VG is most ideal in two situations – competitive cloud chasing or for
people allergic to PG. There’s virtually zero throat hit, and the sweet VG obviously alters the
flavour while also posing a device maintenance issue since it gums on coils, wicks and other
80% VG/20% PG: (80/20): Also has little throat hit but guarantees voluminous clouds. It is at
this level that the sweetness of VG begins to noticeably affect flavours. It is also the point
where high VG content can start becoming a concern with regard to gunk build-up on your
wicks and coils.
70% VG/30% PG: (70/30): If you are interested in large clouds but still fancy a little throat hit,
this is the level to go for. It is smooth on the inhale without overpowering and big plumes on
the exhale. This is the spot that most users find offers them the best of both worlds.
60% VG/40% PG (60/40): Another popular ratio, this mixture provides a perfect balance
between large clouds and flavour saturation.
50% VG/50% PG: (50/50): This blend has a perceptible, but not harsh, throat hit, along with
quality exhales. It used to be the industry standard before it was overtaken by 70/30. A perfect
level to start with.
20% VG/80% PG: (20/80): This ratio has an increased throat hit with just a whiff of clouds.
Common with users who used to be heavy smokers or anyone who fancies a good nicotine hit
with a little VG to balance it out.
100% PG: (Max PG): Used to be quite popular some time back, but now not so much. This
flavour ratio is not for everyone. It has the strongest throat hit which can be too sharp for most
people. The amount of vapour produced is also noticeably meagre.
And there you have it.
Again, if you are just starting out and want to try out the different combinations, the best
place to start is the 50/50 baseline or 70VG/30PG. Then move on from there.