What is E-Liquid?

Beard Vape Juice

E-liquids (aka e-Juice or Vape Juice) are fluids that are used in e-cigarettes and vaporizers. They can come in many different flavors, come with or without nicotine, and you can find them with VG, PG or variations of both.

There is no right e-liquid, and it depends primarily on what the user wants based on their preferences.

Experiment with different e-liquids until you find the one that is perfect for you. To help you decide, check out my best e-liquids page.

I hope you enjoy our little scientific journey on what e-liquids are, how they are made, and what you can expect from certain brands of e-liquids. 😉

Let’s dive right into what are e-liquids, how nicotine affects e-liquids, and how they are made.

What is E-Liquid?

E-liquids are the fluids that one would use in an e-cigarette or other types of vaporizers such as vape pens.

E-liquids provide the flavoring and varying levels of nicotine or THC depending on the user’s preferences. It is also the vapor that one would see after inhaling and exhaling from a vaping device. The vapor is intended to simulate traditional cigarette smoke.

E-liquids come in a variety of flavors and vapers have the option of getting them with different concentrations of nicotine.

There are two separate types of e-liquids which are high VG and high PG. Each of these uses different chemical bases and provide different tastes and sensations based on user preference. Most e-liquids come with a particular ratio of both VG and PG, but there is much room for customization based on one’s preference.

What is VG and PG E-Juice?


High VG

VG or vegetable glycerin is a non-toxic organic compound (safe to consume) that is used in e-liquids. E-liquids that contain VG have a thicker consistency which causes a slower rate of absorption in cartomizers and wicks, and because of the thick consistency, it clogs up vaporizers. One can imagine that they will spend more time cleaning their vape after each use.

By itself, e-liquids containing VG have a slightly sweet taste; while it makes e-liquids taste sweeter, it also makes it harder to distinguish between flavors. VG e-liquids are also less allergenic than its PG counterpart.

While a vaper can expect less of a throat hit compared to PG-based e-liquids, they can expect a pleasant vapor quality that is perfect for those engaged in cloud chasing. This lessened throat hit is also ideal for beginner vapers who are just starting out.

An excellent high VG e-liquid that you can try is the Element Dripper Series.

Castle Long Reserve e-Liquid

High PG

PG or propylene glycol is also a non-toxic organic compound that is used in e-liquids. Just like with VG, it is safe to consume and is regularly used as a food additive. While many users use both VG and PG, it is known in the vaping community that PG-based e-liquids are the most popular of the two.

PG e-liquids, unlike VG, have a thinner consistency which allows for a faster absorption by wicks and cartomizers. It also causes less build-up in your vaporizer, compared to VG, because of its lower density. This means less clean-up after each use.

Propylene glycol does not have any taste, so it will not affect the added flavors in e-liquids. If you were once a tobacco cigarette smoker, then you will be pleasantly surprised that PG-based e-liquids offer a strong throat hit that simulates tobacco cigarettes.

If you are looking for an e-liquid with both VG and PG, you should try the Castle Long Reserve brand.


Propylene glycol has been known to cause allergic reactions in some vape users. It can cause minor irritations such as tingling throat sensations to more severe irritations that can spread over the body. It’s strongly advised that if you experience any of these side effects, that you stop using PG e-liquids and switch to VG. If possible, also consult your doctor.

E-liquids can come with either no nicotine or varying concentrations of nicotine.

E-liquids are typically labeled on packaging using milligrams and milliliters to measure weight and volume. Nicotine strengths vary depending on the manufacturer and are known to reach levels of 42 mg/ml.

Deciding which nicotine strength is right for you depends on if you have experience vaping and had experience using nicotine products.

If you are new to vaping, prefer to vape without nicotine, or are trying to quit nicotine, it is best to use an e-liquid that is absent of nicotine.

Nicotine can be absorbed through different areas of the body, but the fastest way would be through inhalation either with smoke or vapor.

Cosmic Fog

E-Liquids that Contain Nicotine

Regarding nicotine absorption, vaping closely resembles smoking.

Many e-liquids contain nicotine. The strength of the nicotine found in e-liquids depends on the manufacturer, but from what I could find, standard nicotine strengths found across the board are 0 mg/ml (no nicotine), 8 mg/ml (extra light), 12 mg/ml (light), 18 mg/ml (regular), 24 mg/ml (high).

It can prove difficult to determine what the best dosage of nicotine is for vapers. Determining the nicotine level that is right for you is largely based on many factors such as time of day, stress level, frequency, and even how deep a draw one would take.

If you are a heavy smoker, then it would be best to use higher strengths such as regular or high. These levels are also best for beginner devices such as the JUUL e-cig by Pax Vapor.


If you are a light or moderate smoker, using a light strength (12mg/ml for example) is a perfect starting point. This power is also ideal for “tank” devices such as the Wismec Predator 228.

If you are a dripper and commonly use rebuildable atomizers or sub-Ohm tanks such as the Freemax Starre Pure, it might be best to go with an extra light strength.

Nicotine Salts

For users who are looking for something a little more unique, you can always check out e-liquids that contain nicotine salts.

Nicotine salts, also known as Nic Salts, are a processed form of nicotine that can be found in e-liquids or vape juice. There are some vapers in the vaping community that find nicotine salts more satisfying than regular nicotine.

It is easier to inhale, less harsh on the throat, and vapers can use stronger liquids as well as inhale more nicotine per draw.

Nic Salts come in a variety of flavors and work best with low-powered devices.

I would recommend trying JUUL by PAX Vapor since they have a great selection of nicotine salt e-liquids. They have several flavors to choose from like mango, cool mint, Virginia tobacco, fruit medley, and creme brulee.

Pro Tip:

Keep in mind to take it easy when using strong nicotine salt e-liquids especially with high-powered devices. It is very easy for a vaper, especially one who is inexperienced, to overdo it.

E-Liquids Without Nicotine

If you do not want nicotine, many e-liquids come with this option. If you are new to vaping, want to enjoy vaping without nicotine, or are trying to quit using nicotine products, then using e-liquids without nicotine is your best option.

If you don’t use nicotine regularly, starting with a nicotine e-liquid can make your vaping experience harsh, and the side effects of nicotine rushing through your bloodstream can be quite unsettling.


If you have never used tobacco products, it’s important to know that nicotine is a highly addictive substance and can have varying chemical effects to your body. You can still enjoy vaping for other reasons other than just “taking in” nicotine.

To make e-liquids, one must use any combination of 5 different chemicals.

There is typically a certain percentage of each chemical that has to be used to make the right mixture of an e-liquid, and it depends on user preference.


If you are going to make an e-liquid that contains nicotine, exercise caution. Nicotine is considered a poison and is toxic. It is recommended that you wear protective gloves and glasses when handling nicotine and that you keep e-liquids that contain nicotine out of reach of small children and pets. It may cause serious injury or death.

Materials Used to Make Vape Juice

To make e-liquids, the main components that one would use would be:

Vegetable glycerin (VG) or propylene glycol (PG) – ensure that these are strictly the food grade version of these products.

E-liquid flavoring – it’s recommended that you only use candy flavors in your e-liquids.

Distilled Water – it is not recommended that you use tap water or bottled water.

Various Additives – some people like to add other herbs and additives in their e-liquid to augment the flavor.

Nicotine Liquid – it is better and safer to use commercial nicotine liquid (no homemade).

Best e-Liquid

The Chemical Process

For e-liquids with no nicotine, you mix:

  • 15% Distilled Water
  • 15% Flavoring
  • 70% VG or PG

For e-liquids with nicotine, you mix: 

  • 10%/10% Distilled Water and Flavoring
  • 60% VG or PG
  • 20% Nicotine Liquid

It is not recommended that you add a greater amount of nicotine liquid to your e-liquid. If you want e-liquid that produces larger clouds of vapor, you can add less water. If one desires to use additives in their e-juice, then can replace the amount of water with the additive.

It might take some time to perfectly mix your e-liquids if you plan to make them from home. Experiment with blends until you find a combination that makes you happy.

Well, there you have it.

You should now know what e-liquids are and this information will help you when you make your first purchase of an e-liquid. Or maybe you have already bought e-liquid and you simply wanted to learn more. Either way, I hope you got the most out of it.

To wrap up though, e-liquids are fluids used in electronic cigarettes and e-liquid vaporizers. You can get them with VG, PG, nicotine or no nicotine. They come in a variety of flavors and I am sure that there is one that will suit your fancy.

To find the perfect vaporizer for your e-liquids, check out my best vape mods page.

Next up in our e-liquid education series is how do e-liquid vaporizers work. 🙂

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