PG vs VG E Cig Juice: What are they, and how do I choose the best PG VG ratio?

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How to Decide on the Perfect PG VG Ratio for Your E Cig

So you’ve figured out your electronic cigarette setup and you’re ready to pick out your e cig juices; great job making it this far! You might be looking at different e juice vendors and reading about the different ingredients. You’re probably familiar with our good friend nicotine, and you probably know what food grade flavorings are, but you might be asking yourself: “What the heck is this propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin nonsense?! I don’t even know what this is and I have to decide what PG VG ratio I want! Are they even safe? What PG VG ratio is best for my current vaping set up? What magic is this?”

First of all, it’s not magic. Second of all, don’t worry! Propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin might look like big and scary words, but in reality they’re relatively harmless, and they both have a lot of common everyday uses, even outside of the wonderful world of vaping. We’ll go over what these compounds are, and how to decide which ratio is perfect for you based on your personal preferences and your e cig set up.

Propylene Glycol (PG) Unmasked

If you’ve ever used an inhaler, or known someone who has used one, then you’re already familiar with propylene glycol (most commonly referred to as PG in the vaping community). PG is the non-medical suspension agent used in inhalers, and it’s also used as a sanitizing agent in hospitals.  PG is a very thin liquid with a low viscosity. It’s an organic compound that’s colorless, almost completely tasteless, used as a preservative, and can be found in a lot of FDA approved oral and topical medications. And don’ t worry,  there’s no evidence of  PG  being carcinogenic, so you can feel safe vaping it.

Vegetable Glycerin (VG) Unmasked

Vegetable Glycerin (lovingly referred to as VG), is a pretty thick liquid with a high viscosity. It’s an organic compound commonly used in foods (as a sweetening agent), medications, soaps, and cosmetic products. If you’ve washed your hands with soap and/or ate any food food containing corn syrup, you’ve already had some interactions with VG. 

Now that I know what PG and VG are, what PG VG ratio should I choose?

Your choice depends on what you’ll be using to vape your e cig juice with and your personal preferences.  PG and VG have a few different vaping properties that will weigh into your decision. Let’s explore these factors.

Different E Cig Setup Requirements

  • Clearomizers, Dripping Atomizers, and RDAs are pretty flexible and will probably work with any PG VG ratio that you choose. There aren’t any limitations, so your choice will boil down to personal preference.
  • Cartomizers and Carto Tanks are a bit more finicky and typically do better with either 100% PG e juice or a PG VG blend. Cartomizers have a thick poly-fill that surrounds the heating element. The poly-fill needs to absorb the e juice  in order to work properly. If you’re using a tank, the e juice also needs to be able to be absorbed through the holes punched into the cartomizer.
  • With a pre-punched carto, I’ve found from personal experience, that a 100% PG e cig juice to a 50/50 PG VG ratio works best. However, if you’re willing to spend a little extra time priming and/or slotting your cartomizers, you can use up to a 100% VG ratio as well; it just requires a little bit of extra work.

Personal Preference Factors

So now that you know about any e cig device limitations, let’s look into the other factors that will weigh into your decision. Are you more interested in flavor or vapor production? Are you looking for a stronger or smoother throat hit? How hot do you like to vape? Do you have any PG sensitivities?

Vapor and Flavor

100% VG will give you those big sexy fluffy clouds of vapor, but might mute the flavor, making it less intense for your taste-buds. 100%  PG concentration will give you better flavor, but the clouds will be less voluptuous.  If you’re looking for a balance between the two, you’ll probably want a mixture of both. Remember, more PG=more flavor, and more VG=bigger clouds.

Throat-Hit (or Lack Thereof)

If you’re missing that punch to the back of your throat that cigarettes used to give you, you might want to get a higher PG concentration since VG tends to vape as smooth as a baby’s behind. PG helps deliver that oh so familiar throat-hit and might help stave off those pesky cigarette cravings. However, if you’re looking for a ride smoother than a German luxury car, you’ll probably want a higher ratio of VG. If you’re looking for a balance between the two, choose a mixture of both. Just remember, more PG=more throat hit, and more VG=less throat hit.

Turning up the Heat

If you’re looking to really turn up the dial on your volts or watts, VG has a higher resistance to heat, so you can really crank it up! PG is a bit more sensitive to heat, so the taste of higher PG based liquids might taste burned if you’re vaping at higher volts/watts.

Allergies and Sensitivities

A small segment of the vaping population are allergic and/or have a sensitivity to PG. It’s common to have a bit of a sore throat and cough a little when you first start vaping, but if your symptoms persist and are more severe (sore or swollen mouth, gums, and/or back of throat), you might want to consider moving to a 100% VG e juice. If you need to move to a 100% VG e juice, but your set up requires thinner e juice, you can always ask your favorite e juice vendor to cut the VG with some distilled water, or even add your own distilled water at home (if you add the distilled water yourself, this will reduce the concentration of flavor in your e cig juice).

E Juice Longevity

100% VG e juices might not last as long as 100% PG e juices, or e juices containing some PG. Remember how we mentioned PG is a sanitizing agent? Since PG is a preservative, it helps to keep contaminants from festering in your e juices. VG, while great for people who want more vapor, like higher vaping temperature, and for people with a PG sensitivity, does not have these same anti bacterial properties. So if possible, even if it’s only 5-10%, use some PG in your liquids to lengthen their shelf-life. If you’re allergic, or flat out refuse, no worries! After you’ve steeped your e cig juices and they’ve reached the desired taste, keep your 100% VG e juices in the refrigerator to keep them fresh, and throw them out if they start to taste funky.

Adding it all Up

Propylene Glycol and Vegetable Glycerin are both perfectly safe substances that are used everyday! Now that you know the differences between PG and VG, all you have to do is decide what you want out of your vaping experience. Figure out the limitations (if any) of your device. Decide if you want more flavor (more PG) or more vapor (VG). If you want to feel the vapor hit the back of your throat like a ton of bricks, use more PG. If you want a smoother experience, use more VG. If you like to vape at higher volts/watts, use more VG. If you vape at lower temperatures, use more PG. And finally, if your allergic, or sensitive, to PG, do yourself a favor and use either 100% VG, or use VG that’s been cut with some distilled water. But most importantly, have fun and vape on!

PG Safety Pro-Tip: PG is typically harmless for humans, but dogs and cats (especially cats) are sensitive to propylene glycol and can get really sick from inhaling or ingesting pg. If you have an animal, make sure you don’t blow it in their faces. Vape in an open area of the house with the door open, so you don’t hot-box your fuzzy lil’ friends.

20 thoughts on “PG vs VG E Cig Juice: What are they, and how do I choose the best PG VG ratio?

  1. Hello from North Wales!

    Thanks for all your articles which I’ve found really useful. Especially the one about VV/VW. Mostly though, thanks for the heads up about cats and PG, I will now take my little Murphy’s sensitivity into account and vape more carefully in the house. She miaows her thanks too.

    Cheers!

    Oz

    Reply
  2. Thank you profusely for this informative piece of work particularly for newbies like me.

    I am using 80% pg / 20% vg but I am a cloud chaser: I wonder whether I can use the VG sold in Walmart to make me eiquid 50/50….. I have just watched a video on youtube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HkYi8rpklHk) . He claims that we can use it. Is it safe?

    Your answer is greatly appreciated
    Thanks in advance

    Reply
  3. Thank you for this info. I have a question In hoping maybe you can help with.

    I was using an itaste MVP vv/vw with nautilus. I tried a max vg juice once and it was very hard to vape with my setup because it didn’t wick well. I had to turn the settings up to max 11 w 5 volts to get anything. My MVP died shortly thereafter.

    My boyfriend gave me a setup he no longer uses. Siegli box 50vw. I vape pg/vg blends at about 9w currently. I still have the nautilus tank.

    Since I can now vape at a significantly higher wattage could I give the max vg juice another try? Or is vg juice simply meant for RBAs and not tanks?

    Reply
    • Hi Sarah, max vg juice is much thicker than a blend, and the Nautilus just doesn’t have very large juice intake holes. Using the Nautilus I would recommend something like a 70VG/30PG blend, or try a different atomizer. I use the Atlantis and with max VG, it wicks fine. Just make sure the entire wick is soaked in liquid before you take a puff.

      Reply
    • SARAH I USE 100%PG HALO SUBZERO 1.2 LIQUID WITH MY MVP SET ON 3.1 AND IT WORKS EXCELLENT. I HAVE TWO MVP AND ONE IS WELL OVER A YEAR OLD. YOU MAY HAVE FRIED YOUR NAUTILUS TRYING TO VAPE VG NEEDING TO RUN ON SUCH HIGH VOLTS YOU BATTERY MAY STILL BE OK. I WOULD TRY BUYING A NEW TOP AND SWITCHING TO PG AND RUN ON LIKE 3.1 VOLTS AND YOU SHOULD BE PROBLEM FREE. BEST WISHES TO YOU DEAR

      Reply
  4. I think you all have pg and vg mixed. If you did 100% pg you would feel like a donkey just kicked you in the throat. PG is the thicker liquid and 100% VG is what is used for cloud chasing. More PG means more throat hit and more VG means more vapor

    Reply
  5. This is the most informative article I’ve read on e juice components. Great job. Now, if you could just tell me the difference between using a high voltage and a high temp, I would be ecstatic. I have a new Eleaf I Stick TC40w with adjustable temp and watts. I’m currently running it with a low wattage (18) and a temp of 360. I have 40 watts available and have no idea whether I’m making the most efficient use.
    Thanks.

    Reply
    • The wattage setting determines how fast your coil will hit the desired temperature or as its called – ramp up time. The final temp is obviously how hot or cool the vapor will be which effects total vapor production and throat hit. Hope this helps!

      Reply
  6. LOVE THE ARTICLE I VAPE WITH AN MVP TOO I USE 100%PG HALO SUB ZERO 1.2. I’M NOT LOOKING TO EAT SOAP AND VAPE LIKE A GERMAN OBAMANATION LUXURY GENOCIDE HITLER CAR EXAUST GAS CHAMBER LOL I’LL STICK WITH WHATS USED IN ASTHMA INHALERS THAT HELP YOU BREATH. I DONT WANT THOSE THICK GUNKY CLOUDS THAT ARE SMOOTH AS A BABIES ASS LOL LOL I WILL STICK WITH MY SANITARY HALO. THANKS GUYS THIS ARTICLE ROCKS.

    Reply
  7. What is the meaning of PG Base or VG Base ? Please any one can tell me ,Thank

    Reply
  8. PG carries the flavor. VG dampens the flavor. So in essence the higher the PG the more flavor the higher the VG the less flavor. Hope this clears this up. Let me know if you have any other questions.

    Reply
  9. I am wondering if MAX VG juice contains formaldehyde or any types of carcinogens and whether second hand vapor is harmful to someone with allergies and / or is in remission from cancer? If I vape only MAX VG, would it affect those problems? The allergies and whether it has carcinogens? I would really appreciate it if you could get back to me ASAP.

    Reply

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