Back in the cigalike days of e-cigarettes, high VG e-juice was basically unheard of. The most popular mix in those days was 80% PG, with much more PG than VG. But over the past few years, as vaping technology has evolved, vapers have started making different choices. High VG e-liquid seems to be getting more and more popular.
But why? What are the benefits of Vegetable Glycerin e-juice? Should you try a VG-based juice, or is a PG/VG ratio close to 50/50 right for you?
Experimenting with different blends to see what you prefer is the best advice, but there are several things you can think about before you even make a purchase that can point you in the right direction.
So should you try a high VG e-juice? Here are 6 things to think about.
What is a High VG E-Juice?
Before we look at whether VG e-juice is the right choice for you, it’s important to be clear about what we mean by it. A high VG e-juice is simply an e-liquid primarily made of vegetable glycerin. Other than that, the definition gets a bit fuzzy – what exactly classes as “high” VG?
Today, many e-juices (particularly premium e-juices) come in a 30% PG / 70% VG mix. It makes sense to class anything at this level or higher as high VG e-juice. We’ll cover this later, but when the ratio gets much higher than this, it can lead to performance issues with some types of atomizer. You can 80% VG juices or even higher, but this is why we’d set the cut-off point at 70%.
6 Things to Help You Choose Between PG vs. VG in E-Juice
While we’ve taken a look at the key points before, most discussions of PG vs. VG in e-juice (ours included) talk more about the type of vape each ingredient give you. This is plenty of information to make your decision, but if you’re finding it a lot to take in, it might help to focus more on your situation with vaping, your setup and your preferences. So here are six key things to think about when you’re making your choice.
1 – Are You a New Vaper?
There are no hard-and-fast rules with vaping, because personal preference plays a huge role, but PG does have an advantage for newer vapers. It’s thinner in consistency than VG, and this means that it works a lot more efficiently on simple, beginner-friendly atomizers. It also has a slightly punchy throat hit that does a better job of replicating the feel of smoking than VG.
When you’ve been vaping for a bit longer, your preferences for throat hit tend to change. You’ll also probably change your setup, so your options are much more open.
If you’re a new vaper, a lower-VG mix is usually a better choice, but for longer-term vapers, high VG e-liquid does bring it’s own benefits.
2 – How Important is Vapor Production to You? Are You Chasing Clouds?
The big plus-point for VG among longer-term vapers is its vapor production. VG produces a much thicker, fuller vapor than PG, which tends to be slightly wispy and anemic.
The trend towards cloud-chasing is a big factor in the switch to high VG e-juice in the industry. If you’re hoping to produce tons of vapor, enter cloud contests or do vape tricks, higher VG is better.
There are plenty of exceptions, as always, but newer vapers tend to be more concerned with staying smoke-free than blowing (admittedly awesome) clouds. Vapor production is still important, but a 50/50 mix or something around that will be more than satisfying for most new vapers.
3 – How Important is Throat Hit to You?
Image: Vape Loft
As mentioned in the first point, PG produces a stronger throat hit than VG. For replicating the feel of smoking cigarettes, this can be a really good thing, and it’s often important to newer vapers.
When you’ve been vaping for a longer time, the need to mimic the sensation of smoking fades. The smooth throat-hit of VG becomes a lot more enjoyable.
There are two questions you should ask yourself: how much do you care about throat hit? What type of throat hit do you prefer?
If you’re not too interested in throat hit, then you don’t need to weigh this too heavily when you make your choice. If it is important to you, though, you should choose a higher VG e-juice if you prefer a smooth throat hit and a higher PG one if you like a punchy throat hit.
Other things affect your throat hit too, though. The main one is the nicotine strength of the e-liquid, with more nicotine giving more of a throat hit. Increasing the power you’re vaping at can also boost the throat hit. So if you want to choose high-VG for the clouds but still like throat hit, you can still find the right balance.
4 – Are You a Flavor-Chaser?
One of the key differences between PG and VG is that PG is a better carrier of flavor. Food flavorings are dissolved in PG for this reason. VG, on the other hand, has a slightly sweet flavor on its own, so this can impact on the flavor of your e-juice.
This means two things for making your decision. First, if you’re a “flavor-chaser” (who wants the clearest, best flavor possible), then higher-PG e-liquid has a definite advantage.
But it also depends on the type of flavors you vape. Since VG is sweet, it doesn’t really interfere too badly with sweeter flavors – it can actually add to them. For other types of flavor – such as tobaccos – too much VG can drown out the intended tastes, so a lower VG e-juice is a better choice.
Lunar Rover’s two lines of e-juice show this idea really well: the high VG e-juice line is based around sweeter, cocktail flavors, but the 50/50 PG/VG line are tobacco flavors.
5 – What Type of Atomizer Do You Have?
High VG e-juice is notably thicker than high PG e-juice, and this has important consequences for vapers. When you vape, the coil in your atomizer gets hot and vaporizes the e-liquid in the wick. The wick then has to soak up new e-liquid ready to be vaped again. The speed of this wicking process – and whether it can keep up with your vaping – is a key factor in getting a consistent vape.
High PG e-juice doesn’t have a problem with this. The liquid is thin and it soaks up into wicks really quickly. You’re more likely to have a problem with “flooding” (too much e-liquid getting pulled into your coil head) than “dry puffs” (where the e-liquid can’t replenish quickly enough and starts burning your wick).
High VG e-juice is a lot thicker and doesn’t soak your wick as quickly. This makes intuitive sense: it’s harder to suck milkshake through a straw than it is cola. This means dry puffs can be a bigger problem.
The deciding factor is what type of atomizer you have. If you have a basic vaporizer pen, and especially if your coil is at the top of the tank rather than the bottom, high VG e-juice will cause you problems. For vapers with more sophisticated “sub ohm” tanks, or many other modern tanks with better wicking, you can vape high VG e-juice without problems. The same is true for rebuildable atomizers and high-VG e-juice.
6 – Do You Have a PG Sensitivity?
A final issue is PG sensitivity. This is different from an allergy, but still has the same consequence: if you have one, it’s best to use high VG e-juice. Allergies to PG are possible but quite rare – it’s used in so many cosmetics and household products you’d probably know about it before you started vaping anyway.
But some vapers are especially affected by the throat hit from PG. It might feel less like a pleasant kick on the inhale and more like a painful burning or stinging sensation. If you don’t have experience vaping, it’s better to assume you won’t have this issue – it seems to only affect about 10 percent of people. However, if you’ve vaped before but found it unbearably irritating to your throat, it’s definitely worth trying a high VG e-liquid.
Finding the Right PG/VG Ratio for You
Those six points should lead you in the right direction when it comes to choosing a higher-PG or higher-VG e-juice. But settling on a specific ratio isn’t quite as easy. Will you want 70% VG, a 50/50 mix or a classic 80% PG blend?
This is the area where your personal experience is the most important guide. However, if you’re not a cloud-chaser, but want good flavor and a satisfying throat hit, 50/50 PG/VG e-liquids are a great all-round choice.
If you want more of a throat hit, better wicking and crisper flavors, you could shift the balance in favor of PG, to a 60% or 70% PG blend. You probably won’t need to go higher than this unless you really want a punchy throat hit and aren’t interested in vapor production much at all.
If you want more clouds, vape sweeter flavors and have a modern sub ohm tank, high VG e-juice is the best choice. 70% VG has become a high-VG standard for a reason: it offers the benefits of VG e-juice without impacting wicking too much, and without completely removing the throat hit. But again, if you really want big clouds and don’t care about throat hit at all, you could go beyond this.
Getting the Most Out of a High-VG E-Juice
If you’ve decided that high VG e-juice is for you, this post should have already given you an idea of the type of setup you need. Here are the key things to remember:
Use a sub ohm tank, rebuildable or other modern tank: These have good enough wicking for high VG e-liquid. Check out some sub ohm tanks here.
Get a mod: If you’re using a sub ohm tank or rebuildable atomizer (and if you want more vapour), you’ll need a mod or a sub ohm compatible vape pen style device.
Choose a sweeter flavor: High-VG juice is inherently sweet, so it works a lot better with sweeter e-juice flavors.
Increase your nicotine strength to boost your throat hit: If you want high-VG e-juice and throat hit, go up one nicotine strength higher than usual to give it more of a kick.
Tailor your setup for more vapor: If vapor production is your main motivation in choosing a VG e-juice, then you should combine it with other tips to boost vapor production. These include increasing your airflow, using a higher power setting and building coils for vapor production.
Conclusion: High VG E-Juice is Getting More Popular for a Reason
Now you’ve learned about PG/VG ratios in e-juice, the trends in vaping technology should give you a good idea of why higher VG e-juice is getting more popular.
Sub ohm tanks and other modern atomizers don’t strictly limit your VG content like older models, and high-power box mods are quickly becoming the norm for established vapers. Not only do both of these suit cloud-chasing very well, the increased power output of e-cigs also gives your throat hit an extra kick, so high-PG juice isn’t needed as much any more. Finally, longer-term vapers tend to care less about throat hit and more about vapor and fruity or dessert-inspired flavors, both of which suit VG e-juice.
Higher VG juice has a lot going for it, and that’s why it’s easier to find than ever before. But you shouldn’t get swept up with the trend if it doesn’t suit you. If you’re just making the switch from smoking, you shouldn’t neglect the benefits of PG when it comes to replicating smoking.
This post should have given you a good idea of whether high VG e-juice is right for you, but the best thing to do is get out and try some flavors and see for yourself:
Read Our High VG E-Juice Reviews
Vape Wild (Offers a choice of PG/VG ratios)
UK E-Cig Store Enhanced VG E-Juice
Liquid State Vapors Review
See also: Best VG E-Juice
This post was a collaborative effort with Lunar Rover e-liquid. We’d like to thank Max for his contribution and offering this useful information for new vapers.