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What is VAPE JUICE / E-liquid?
Eliquid or E-Liquid (commonly referred to in the vaping community as E-Juice or Vape Juice) is a viscous liquid, either with or without flavorings and liquid nicotine.
E-liquid, through a wicking process, soaks the metal coils of the atomizer, so when the coil is heated, the e-liquid is vaporized – producing vapor. This vapor isn’t entirely the same as the steam created by heating pure water. It doesn’t evaporate/dissipate as quickly, but it is similar.
Vape Juice & E-Liquid Ingredients
Vape juice is typically composed of two main liquids; Vegetable Glycerin (VG) and Propylene Glycol (PG). These liquids, either alone or mixed together in some ratio, form the base carrier of any e-liquid.
Also, most vape juices contain small amounts of concentrated flavorings. Vape juice flavorings can be either natural extracts or artificial, lab-based chemical formulations, and they are typically sold diluted in PG.
PG vs. VG
PG is a thinner viscosity liquid than VG and more neutral in flavor. VG does have a slightly sweeter taste and is much thicker.
PG is commonly thought to be better for flavor delivery, and VG is better for vapor production. VG is almost certainly better for vapor production but is probably just as good for flavor delivery as PG; just being a more viscous liquid, it takes longer for flavors to meld and mature in VG.
With higher-power, sub-ohm vaping being so popular, VG has become the base liquid of choice since it produces thicker vapor clouds.
Vape Juice & E-Liquid Flavorings
There are thousands of vape juice flavors available on the market, from the standard fruit and dessert flavors to more exotic and complex blends.
Recently many flavoring companies have reformulated their flavors to remove certain chemicals, as some were targeted as being potentially harmful to vape and inhale. Since vaping is still in its early days, there aren’t any long-term studies of respiratory health effects, so it is still controversial. The best way to minimize any risks is to vape only unflavored e-liquid and eliminate all risks entirely, then don’t vape.
Liquid Nicotine, which is usually lab synthesized, can be added to e-liquids to deliver nicotine to the user and create what is called a “throat hit,” which is the impact you experience on the back of the throat.
The quantity of liquid nicotine used in any e-liquid comes down to the vaper’s choice. Most manufactured vape juices range from 0mg – 18mg of nicotine in their ranges. All vape juice will have a label warning this product contains, with the nicotine strength highlighted.
Over time, most vapers tend to reduce the amount of nicotine in their vape juice & e-liquids. This is sometimes just a natural process but can also be intentional to minimize nicotine dependency, as nicotine is an addictive chemical.
Steeping Vape Juice
The process of mixing e-liquid can be likened to that of curing wines or spirits. Over time flavorings will dissolve into the solution, but they can take time to suitably meld and develop their full flavor – this process is called “steeping.”
This is the reason most vapers tend to prefer mature e-liquid, as they have had the time to develop their full intended flavor compared to fresh liquids.
The critical ingredient of steeping is time. Vape juice has a long shelf life — measured in years, and older liquids tend to taste better. However, if a particular e-liquid tastes good fresh, then go ahead and vape it. If it doesn’t taste right, then store it in a cool dark place and try it again after a week or two. The main thing is understanding the steeping process and then finding the right point at which you are more than happy with the flavor profile to vape it.
What Makes a Quality Vape Juice?
In general terms, a quality vape juice will be well-blended, taste great, and produce plenty of vapor. Light-colored or clear e-liquids are held in higher esteem than darker-colored e-liquids, as it seems those gunk up coils quicker.
But quite simply, a quality vape juice is one that you like to vape. All other factors — price, ingredients, reputation, etc. — are just secondary considerations.
Health and Safety
When it comes to health and safety interests in vaping, it all comes down to vape juices and the ingredients that we are inhaling. Human beings are designed only to inhale clean and moderately humid air – so anything else we inhale raises legitimate concerns. We already know of the long-term respiratory problems from smoke or other particulates (like asbestos), so this is where the inhalation of vapor from vape juices can also raise concerns.
Types of Vape Juice
If you’re looking for the best vape juice for your own personal preferences, you’ll need a basic understanding of how different types of vape juice are classified. There are several ways to categorize the varieties of e-liquid available, but here’s an overview of the most significant ones:
There are many different types of vape juice and e-liquid flavors. These are the most common categories:
- Fruit: Fruity flavors are among the most popular. They are simple and recognizable.
- Dessert: Cakes, pastries, and other sweet foods are examples of this. Chocolate and cream/custard may be classified as separate categories, but they might also be included here.
- Tobacco: These e-liquids, sometimes known as RY4s, contain tobacco and other components.
- Menthol: This could include the classic cigarette-style menthol or other menthol flavors like peppermint or pure mint.
- Candy: Candy flavors are specific to candies, and are usually based on traditional real candies or sweets.
- Beverages: Coffee and tea variations are becoming common in vape juice beverage flavors, but cocktails are also rising in popularity.
Type of Nicotine
There are two different forms of nicotine used in vape juice – you can learn more about nicotine here. You can also get nicotine-free vape juice:
- Ordinary (freebase) nicotine: Lower amounts of freebase nicotine are generally used in e-liquids, which employ the molecule in its absorbable form. These tend to have less than 12 mg/ml of nicotine and more VG.
- Nicotine salts: Nicotine salt bottles are generally smaller and contain higher doses of nicotine, often over 18mg/ml and up to 50mg/ml. The nicotine salt form is derived directly from tobacco plants. These usually have a greater amount of PG. Nicotine salt is also commonly used in disposable vapes.
- High VG: Vape juices that contain high VG levels (70% or more) are intended for use in devices like sub-ohm tanks, rebuildable atomizers, and higher-power pods. They are suited to DL (direct-lung vaping)
- Low VG: Vape juices that contain lower VG (50% or lower) are intended for lower power devices like pod systems and vape pens. They are better suited to MTL (mouth-to-lung) vaping.
- Cheap: Cheap vape juices are not necessarily bad. However, the vape flavors may be more simple combinations and less delicious flavors.
- Premium: Because of their greater complexity, premium vape juice tends to come in fewer flavors per brand, but has a higher quality and is often based on one particular flavor profile. Premium brands may focus more on exotic or tropical flavors in their e-juice to create a complex more exciting mixture on your taste buds.
- Small bottles: Small vape bottles are typically 10ml. They are used as samples for you to try a flavor before you buy a larger bottle.
- Medium bottles: These are 60ml bottles, which are the most common nowadays. They could provide weeks of vaping depending on your use.
- Large bottles: Bottles of 100ml are less common, but some brands do offer them. More cost-effective if there’s a single e-juice flavor you regularly use.
- Short-fill bottles: These are 60ml bottles that are filled with 50ml of juice, and you add a 10ml ‘nicotine shot’ to them for your desired strength. These are typically sold in Europe, allowing companies to sell larger amounts without EU regulations on nicotine.
Finding the right vape juice for your own tastes is never an easy task. It might take many attempts trying different vape juice flavors and vape juice brands before you find your one true elixir.
However, we hope we have helped you not only understand a little more about e-liquids. But given you a great place to start with our comprehensive best vape juice list. While all the vape juices we recommend are from reputable brands and offer some amazing flavors, remember taste is subjective. So the best thing is to get out there and start trying some for yourself.