For a first-class vaping experience, knowing the difference between vg and pg e-juices is a must. In this article, we crack the code so you can choose wisely.
Choosing the right e-liquid sounds easy, but is it really?
E-cigarettes are being used by more and more people. The e-cigarette industry is forecast to be worth $50 billion by 2025. So lots of people are getting into vaping, but there's not a lot of information about how to get started.
With a huge range of choices of vape flavours, devices, and e-liquids, it's no wonder people get confused. The two main base ingredients in e-liquids are VG and PG. The better you understand the characteristics of them both, the quicker you can find an e-liquid you love.
If you've ever wondered about the difference between VG and PG e-juice, here's everything you need to know.
VG and PG: What Do They Mean?
The two major ingredients in most e-liquids are vegetable glycerin (VG) and propylene glycol (PG). They are the chief component of any type of liquid that you buy. Both act as a carrier for the flavour and nicotine in the bottle.
Check the label and see, the percentage of either will usually be listed. Often you'll find that a liquid has both.
A popular proportion is 50/50, which usually means equal parts of the two. The ratio will be written something like this: 30% VG/70% PG. This particular liquid would have 30 percent vegetable glycerine and 70 percent propylene glycol.
(This might not include the PG or VG that the flavour concentrates themselves have been dissolved in.)
Although sometimes called oil, the actual chemical group of both is alcohol. When heated, the liquids produce a vapour that allows for inhalation.
If you have tried both, you'll know they have a different thickness and taste. The sensation of the vaping experience also differs between the two.
While there is some scaremongering about the liquids, both are actually used in many other household and food products. They are non-toxic and both are organic compounds.
Propylene Glycol or PG
PG liquid is the more popular of the two. It has a thin and runny consistency. This means it is less likely to clog up vapes, as it doesn't lead to a buildup like VG.
Its tasteless and odourless nature also means that it carries flavour well and doesn't impact taste.
It's derived from petroleum and gives an intense throat hit. This makes it popular with tobacco users. The harsh sensation can be a bit jarring if you're not used to smoking cigarettes.
PG is a humectant, so it absorbs moisture. This can lead to a dry mouth and throat and make you thirsty. If a high-level PG liquid does this to you, increase your water intake when you begin vaping.
There's a slightly higher chance of an allergic reaction to PG versus VG. For most people, this isn't a concern, but there may be a minor irritation of the throat or tingling sensation. Stop and switch to VG if this concerns you.
Also, remember some of the side effects you think are coming from vaping could be the effects of quitting smoking.
Vegetable Glycerin or VG
If you've ever seen a huge attention-getting cloud of vapor, the liquid used probably had a high concentration of VG.
One of the main characteristics of VG is its thicker consistency. It does not absorb as quickly in wicks and cartomisers as a result. VG does require more maintenance, though, because of its thickness. You will need to clean your vape more frequently if you use VG liquid.
In contrast to PG, this type of liquid has a slightly sweet aftertaste. This does mean that flavours can be more muted with VG.
The risk of allergic reaction is lower with VG. However, there's a chance that you may get a phlegm buildup from using high VG juices. The throat hit effect will also be much lower with VG.
On the plus side, the thick VG liquid will give you some awesome clouds. It produces a lot more vapour.
Differences in the Vaping Experience
Okay, now you know the choices, it's time to get down to the nitty-gritty. What's the difference in the smoking experience for VG vs PG liquids? Here are the three important areas in which they differ.
When it comes to flavour, PG liquid is the stronger carrier of the two. PG is what flavourings are actually dissolved into. (Flavours usually come in powder form and are dissolved in a solvent to create a concentrate.)
An e-liquid with a high VG content won't give the same strong taste that a PG one will.
If flavour is important to you, choose a high PG liquid. You'll still get a bit of taste with VG, but it won't be as strong.
Looking to stealth vape? Then PG is also the better choice for you. The vapour clouds produced are much smaller and less obtrusive.
The VG liquids, on the other hand, create impressive thick clouds. If you're into that and don't need to be discreet about your vaping, choose VG. Competitive vapers use high VG vape juices for exactly this reason.
Not to mention, it looks pretty cool!
If you're budget conscious, or just want to have your liquid last longer, here's what you need to know. VG takes longer to heat up, so in general, for longevity, a high VG liquid is best. However, this benefit cancels out if the vaping is done at too high of a heat.
The huge popularity of sub-ohm tanks is another thing to consider. This is a type of vaping technology that tests the limits of how long a liquid can last. If you're a fan of sub-ohm vaping, you're going to more e-liquid no matter the type.
Keep in mind as well that your device will impact your e-liquid's longevity. Vapes that have multiple or high resistance coils will drink up liquid pretty fast. Think of them as high-performance cars that tend to guzzle gas.
Overall there's not a huge difference if you are going to vape often and at a high heat. And if you are going to go sub-ohm level, then the longevity of the juice used is probably not going to matter.
Which Does Your E-Cigarette like the Best?
When choosing between VG and PG your device will make a huge difference. Some are built for more vapour or more clouds, and some work better with one type of e-liquid over another. Try to choose the e-liquid that complements your device the most.
The most versatile choice would be PG liquids. They suit most devices with no problems.
For VG liquids, though, the types of e-cigarettes recommended are sub-ohm tanks and drippers. If you don't have one of these but still want to vape with VG liquid, don't worry. There are mods to make them compatible.
One thing to be mindful of when choosing between VG and PG for your device is that high VG liquids are thicker. This can lead to clogging. If this is an issue for your e-cigarette, stick to high PG liquids or use a 50/50 split.
Before purchasing any high VG liquid, research your model to see if it can handle VG well. Popular models like the Kanger Protank don't take to VG. If you don't want to worry about your device model at all, get a PG e-liquid.
Texture and Feel of VG and PG
Once you put aside all the scientific and practical reasons, we get down to why we vape in the first place. You don't want to choose an e-liquid that won't give you an enjoyable experience. The texture and feel in the throat is the final difference between VG and PG.
Your first option, an e-liquid high in PG, will produce a throat hit that many people enjoy. It's super sharp but for some a little too much so. If you don't like a harsh throat hit, this may not be for you.
The second option, VG, will give you a mellower experience. It will go much more smoothly down the throat. The thicker and denser texture of the vapour is also something that could be a plus.
Basically, for a smoother vape, you're going to want a high VG liquid that doesn't feel harsh. If you're trying to quit smoking and miss the strong throat hit of cigarettes, go for high PG.
Choosing Between VG and PG
Your choice of e-liquid makes the difference between a smooth blissful vape experience and a horrible one. If you've just started, you're more likely to quit vaping because of the wrong liquid. Hopefully, though, you've now got the tools to decide between VG and PG for yourself.
A good method is to start with a 50/50 ratio and fine tune it as you become more experienced. Some people end up exclusively using one type. Many though keep around different types, both VG and PG, for different e-cigarettes and circumstances.
You may need to do a bit of research first, but there is one thing you can be sure of. Once your search is over, the right e-liquid or two will give you the ultimate vaping experience that you want.
Looking for more great vaping info? Check out our blog's guide to vape juices.