High VG or PG E-juice: Which E-liquid Should You Buy?

Choosing the right e-liquid might sound simple on the surface, but it’s one of those things that often stumps new vapers when they first start. It can be overwhelming having to make a choice when there are thousands of different e-liquid types and flavors available, all with different ingredients characteristics.

It can be a lot for someone who is still trying to grasp the basics. But there’s one particular characteristic that, once you grasp it, can really help you understand and sift through all the e-juice options out there.

That characteristic is the e-liquid’s PG vs VG concentration. VG and PG refer to vegetable glycerine and propylene glycol, the two main ingredients in e-juice, and it’s an acronym every vaper should know before making their first e-liquid purchase.

PG and VG make up most of the volume in an e-liquid, and almost all e-liquids report how much of both is in them with a ratio on their label. Some liquids have both in equal amounts, while some have a higher ratio of VG or PG.

PG and VG concentration is usually written as a proportion that looks like this: 40% PG/60% VG. In this example, the e-juice would be made up of 60% vegetable glycerine and 40% propylene glycol.

Knowing the characteristics of high VG and high PG e-liquids is the first step to truly understanding the art of vaping. If you can figure out what kind of PG/VG ratio you prefer for your e-juice, it can help you drastically narrow down your options and put you on a faster track to hunting down an e-juice flavor you love.

High VG vs. High PG Eliquids

High VG e-liquids and high PG e-liquids differ in a number of ways. Choosing the one that’s right for you can mean the difference between a totally smooth, pleasant vape and a disappointing, uncomfortable experience.

First off, a basic primer:

  • Propylene Glycol (PG) is a thin, clear liquid that acts as the main flavor carrier in e-juice. High PG e-liquids don’t produce as thick of vapor, but generally have a stronger flavor. It has a stronger, harsher “throat feel” than high VG liquids. Any e-liquid with a 60% or higher proportion of VG is generally considered a high VG juice.
  • Vegetable Glycerin (VG) is a thick, clear liquid in e-juice that produces big vapor clouds. High VG e-juice is more viscous, produces thicker vapor, and has less flavor because of the lack of PG. It is generally less harsh on the throat. Any e-liquid with a 60% or higher proportion of PG is generally considered a high PG juice.
Vegetable Glycerin is the thickest, heaviest ingredient, while Propylene Glycol is thinner and lighter.

What kind of e-liquid will work best for you depends on many personal factors, such as how warm or cool your like your vapor, whether you vape for big clouds or for flavor, and what kind of throat feel you want from your vape.

Another thing you have to take into consideration when choosing between high or low VG e-liquid is your device. Some kinds of e-cigarettes and tanks work better with one type over the other, and you have to consider whether your device was built for flavor, clouds, or something in-between when selecting the best e-juice to complement it.

What kind of e-juice you decide on will depend on what’s most important to you. This guide will help you decide what VG/PG ratio you should look for based on their different characteristics and your personal preferences.

What Works Best With Your E-Cigarette?

High PG liquids will work in just about any kind of vape. For high VG liquids, sub-ohm tanks and drippers are ideal, but certainly not the only options. You can find mods and many other types of e-cigarettes that vape high VG e-juice just fine.

Image courtesy of Jim Hedd on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/comandosupremo/

Some popular clearomizer tanks, like the Kanger Protank, are not well suited for high VG liquids. Before buying high-VG e-juice, make sure to look up your tank model to make sure it can tolerate high-VG liquids well.

Since high VG liquids are thicker, they tend to cause more coil clogging issues than high PG e-juice. If your e-cigarette tank tends to get clogged, you will want to get liquids that are high in PG or have a 50/50 ratio.

Bottom line: If you want a low-maintenance liquid that’s easy on your e-cigarette, go with high PG e-liquid.

VG vs PG E-liquid: Flavor

The PG in e-liquid is what the flavorings are dissolved into, so a high PG e-juice is going to give you the most flavor. High VG e-juice just doesn’t hold flavor as well.

Bottom Line: If you care a lot about flavor, choose a high PG e-liquid for a stronger taste.

Vapor Clouds

High VG e-liquid creates the biggest, thickest clouds and is the best option when it comes to cloud chasing.

But if big clouds aren’t a priority for you, then you should go with high PG e-juice. It produces smaller, less-obtrusive clouds and it’s the only way to go when you want to stealth vape.

Bottom Line: If you want thicker vapor, go with high VG liquid. If you want smaller, less obtrusive clouds, choose high PG juice.

Propensity for Leaking

Since high PG liquid is thinner and flows more easily, it is more likely to seep and leak out of your tank.

VG e-liquids are more viscous and less likely to leak, but you have to watch out for clogging. The extra thickness causes gunk to build-up faster, so you’ll likely have to clean your tank, wicks, and coils more frequently.

Bottom Line: High VG e-liquids are less likely to leak (as long as your e-cigarette’s tank can handle high VG liquids).

How Quickly it Gets Used Up

Since VG is thicker than PG, high VG e-liquids takes longer to heat up and generally last longer than high PG liquids. However if you are using high-VG liquid for sub-ohm vaping, you’re bound to go through liquid quick no matter what.

It’s more likely to do with your e-cigarette. If your vape has multiple coils, high-resistance coils, or is otherwise designed to heat to a higher temperature, it’s a recipe for guzzling lots of e-juice fast.

Bottom Line: If you want your juice to last longer, go with high VG e-liquid, but the benefit is minimal if you vape at high heats.

Texture and Throat Hit

High PG e-liquid produces the “throat hit” that many vaper, especially former smokers, crave. It creates a sharper feel in the back of the throat that some people enjoy but others find too harsh or irritating.

High VG e-liquid, on the other hand, has a much smoother throat feel. The vapor also has a thicker, denser texture that many vapers enjoy.

Bottom Line: If you like the feel of a strong throat hit, then high PG e-liquid is what you’re looking for. If you don’t like the harshness and want a smoother vape, choose a liquid high in VG.

Conclusion

Having the right e-liquid can mean the difference between a smooth, pleasant vape and a terrible experience. Many people who attempt to switch to e-cigarettes fail because they don’t find a good e-juice that works for them.

Many people start with e-juice that has a 50/50 ratio of PG and VG, for a more balanced, basic vape. But sooner or later, as they figure out what it is about vaping they like, most vapers want to fine-tune their vaping experience.

Some vapers end up going one way and exclusively vaping either high VG or high PG e-juices. Other vapers keep a variety of e-liquids with different PG and VG ratios around to use with different devices or circumstances. There’s no right or wrong way to vape, as long as you’re safe, responsible, and respectful of others!

It takes a little bit of patience and research to find an e-liquid or two that gives you the vaping experience you’re looking for. But once the search is over and you find your favorite e-juice, it will be well worth the effort.

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