What Is VG/PG Ratio in E-Liquid?
Friday, 16 October 2020

 Until 2020, the United States was a nation in which the vast majority of the people who vaped used pod-based systems with pre-filled pods.

 That particular trend began to change rapidly, though, when the U.S. government issued an edict at the beginning of the year forcing vaping product manufacturers to pull pre-filled pods in flavors other than tobacco and menthol from the market. The edict didn’t cover e-liquids sold in bottles, though, which remained available in all flavors. Suddenly, bottled e-liquids became more relevant in the U.S. than they had been in years. Millions of pod system users scrambled to identify refillable vaping devices that would work for them and to learn about the complexities of buying e-liquid.

Maybe you’re one of those people. Flavored vape pods have been banned in the U.S. for a while now, but it’s possible that you stuck with your pre-filled pod system for a while with the hope that you’d eventually come to enjoy tobacco or menthol e-liquids. That didn’t happen, though, and now you’re browsing the selection at a vape shop like V2 Cigs UK and are trying to figure out what you should buy. 

You’re about to learn that buying e-liquid isn’t as nearly as confusing as it may initially appear to be. It’s all about choosing the nicotine strength that’s right for you, selecting a flavor that you’ll enjoy and – most importantly – buying an e-liquid that’s going to work well with your vaping device. This article will focus on the third item on that list. Choosing an e-liquid that will work well with your vaping hardware mainly comes down to the e-liquid’s VG/PG ratio – a number that you’re going to see on the label of almost every bottle.

What is VG/PG ratio in e-liquid? How does it affect your vaping experience, and what’s the ideal VG/PG ratio for your vaping hardware? Let’s dig in and help you find the best vape juice for your needs.

What Are VG and PG?

Vegetable glycerin (VG) and propylene glycol (PG) are two of the most common ingredients in fields as far ranging as the food, cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries. It’s very likely that, long before you began vaping, you were already using products containing both PG and VG every day.3
VG is in ready supply around the world because people use lots of soap, and glycerin is a product of the soapmaking process; adding lye to fat produces soap and glycerin. In addition to the properties described below – which VG and PG have in common – VG differs from PG in that it tastes slightly sweet. One of the reasons why VG is used in some foods is because it can lend a sweet flavor to low-sugar and sugar-free products.

PG is a chemical that can be synthesized from a variety of different compounds including glycerin. PG can also be synthesized from corn and from petrochemicals, although oil-derived PG isn’t suitable for e-liquid or for human consumption. PG has a long history of use in fog machines, which could be one of the reasons why it became a key ingredient of e-liquid. In addition to the properties listed below, one of the unique properties of PG is that it is an excellent solvent and emulsifier. The fact that PG helps to keep ingredients mixed is one reason why it’s often used in cosmetics and in medications.

VG and PG both attract and trap moisture. That property is one of the reasons why both of those ingredients are so common in foods and cosmetics. You’ll often find glycerin as a moisturizer in lotions, for example, while PG is a popular ingredient in eyedrops. The fact that both of those ingredients retain moisture also means that they can help to prevent products like shelf-stable breads and snack cakes from spoiling. In addition to those properties, VG and PG both inhibit microbial growth.

How Does an E-Liquid’s VG/PG Ratio Affect the Vaping Experience?

You’ve learned now that VG and PG are similar compounds in many ways. They both help to keep an e-liquid’s ingredients mixed together, and they’re necessary for diluting an e-liquid’s nicotine and flavors – both of which are extremely potent in their original forms. VG and PG are the majority of what’s in any bottle of e-liquid, and they create the clouds that you see when you vape.

The ratio in which they’re used, though, can have a profound impact on an e-liquid’s performance. That comes down to the thickness and the flavor of the two compounds.

VG is considerably thicker than PG. As mentioned above, it also has a slightly sweet flavor. An e-liquid with more VG than PG:
  • Will have a thicker, creamier mouth feel
  • Will create bigger clouds that hover in the air for a while before disappearing
  • Will have a sweeter flavor, which may sometimes cover an e-liquid’s subtle flavor notes
  • Will be smoother and will have a less pronounced throat hit
PG is much thinner than VG, and it has almost no flavor of its own. An e-liquid with more PG than VG:
  • Will have a thin, almost nonexistent mouth feel
  • Will create wispy clouds that disappear quickly
  • Will have a flavor that’s less sweet unless the e-liquid contains an added sweetener
  • Will have a more pronounced throat hit

What’s the Right VG/PG Ratio for Your Vaping Hardware?

The most important thing to know about an e-liquid’s VG/PG ratio is that the thickness of an e-liquid determines the type of vaping equipment with which it will work best. In a vape tank or pod, the e-liquid flows from the reservoir to the heating coil through openings on the outside of the heating coil assembly. If the openings are small, the e-liquid should be thinner. A tank with large openings will work best with a thicker e-liquid.

Many vaping devices work well with a variety of different VG/PG ratios, but you can use these guidelines as a starting point when shopping for e-liquid.
  • If you use a box mod with a large glass tank, you’re likely to have the best experience with an e-liquid containing more than 50 percent VG.
  • If you use a refillable pod system, you’re likely to have the best experience with an e-liquid using a 50/50 blend of VG and PG.
  • If you use a small cigarette- or pen-shaped vaping device, you should choose an e-liquid containing the least amount of VG possible.


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