50/50, 40/60, 30/70, 20/80
Oh my! Too many numbers! What does all of this mean?
Most seasoned vapers employ certain vape jargon in a very casual way, not thinking about how completely absurd their terminology may sound to bystanders. Vapers may not notice vape-muggle eyebrows raising while they're deliberating about whether the ideal ratio of PG/VG is 30/70 or 20/80. For the uninitiated, it may sound as though they're debating over a new type of nuclear energy, and this can make vaping appear a little frightening, confusing, or exclusive for incomers. Understanding these terms and how they relate to everyday vapers really is not as hard as you might believe, which is why we are here to break it down (break it down, break it down).
What do PG and VG even stand for?
PG — Propylene Glycol
VG — Vegetable Glycerine
PG and VG are the base materials used in eliquid to suspend the flavoring and nicotine. If you want to think about it like coffee, the VG and PG are the water, while the flavoring and nicotine are the coffee grounds, but the ratio of PG to VG has a big effect on the sensation you'll get form a particular eliquid. This sensation could be more or less of a throat hit and more or less vapor production. Throat hit and vapor production are not the only jobs of PG and VG in e-liquid. More PG tends to bring out more flavor, and more VG tends to increase vapor production (ch-ch-chuckin' and so forth).
A vaper's PG/VG preference is often determined by the type of device they use as well as the throat hit or vapor production. The reason the device is a determining factor in vapers desired PG/VG ratio is because some devices work better and are more satisfying with certain ratios, and some devices won't even work with a particular ratio (ever try putting 100% VG in an eGo? If not, here's what happens. It won't wick, and your cotton will burn. Lame.)
Let's dive right in and find out why PV and VG matter.
PG (Propylene Glycol)
Propylene glycols are chemicals made by the reaction of propylene oxide with water. Propylene glycols have had an excellent reputation for safe use in a wide range of consumer products, including food, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, animal feed as well as industrial applications.
Vaping Purpose: PG gives more of a “throat hit" sensation and carries the flavoring very well because of its bonding properties.
Misconceptions: Propylene glycol is the same as Ethylene glycol... WRONG! Propylene glycol is NOT the same as Ethylene glycol - which is toxic.
Medical Uses: Used in asthma inhalers and nebulizers.
*Note: E-juice's come in all ratios of PG and VG.
VG (Vegetable Glycerine)
Vegetable Glycerine is a simple polyol (sugar alcohol) compound. It is a colorless, odorless, viscous liquid that is widely used in pharmaceutical formulations. It is used in toothpaste, cosmetics, shampoos, soaps, pharmaceuticals, and other household items.
Vaping Purpose: VG is thicker, gives less throat hit, but will produce more vapor.
Misconceptions: Vegetable Glycerine is the same as vegetable oil.... INCORRECT! Vegetable Glycerine is NOT the same as vegetable oil!
Medical Uses: Used in medications and toothpaste.
** Note: E-juices come in all ratios of PG and VG.
What ratio is right for me though?
Picking PG/VG by Devices
Finding out the right PG/VG ratio is something that may take experimentation. There are some vapers who are very particular about their ratio, and there are some who prefer having a variety for all of their different devices. The best we can do is dive into each of these and figure out what the ratios mean when it comes to vaping sensation.
The consistency of the different ratios of PG and VG in e-liquid has a lot to do with the devices they are compatible with. Propylene glycol is a thinner viscosity liquid which works best in some of the simpler, non sub-ohm tanks such at nautilus and evod’s. E-juice with a higher propylene glycol ratio is typically better vaped at a lower wattage. Vegetable Glycerine on the other hand is a much thicker liquid that performs a lot better in higher wattage or sub-ohm devices.
Clearomizers are tanks that many people start off vaping on, and many still use them. These type of tanks are generally used with a higher PG ratio because the wicking cannot handle the higher VG juices because it is simply too thick. Using higher PG in these types of devices is a lot better because flavoring is carried by PG which means that flavor will not be lost while using a tank like this.
Sub-ohm Tanks &
Rebuildable Tank Atomizers (RTA)
Sub-ohm tanks and RTA’s really are the trend this past year and with these tanks, many e-liquid companies were forced to change their PG/VG ratios to a higher VG concentration. People were finding that the more powerful their devices became the more uncomfortable the higher PG e-juice became.
Unlike clearomizers, sub-ohm tanks are able to handle thicker juices and because of the heat from a lower resistance coil, PG e-liquids were becoming very uncomfortable and quite harsh to vape.
Many vapers who use sub-ohm tanks find that 30pg/70vg e-liquid is a very good balance of flavor, smoothness, and vapor production. Vapers who are looking for more of the throat hit while still using a sub-ohm tank will generally go for a little bit lower VG like 40pg/60vg which gives a little more of that throat hit that some really enjoy. The higher VG such as 20pg/80vg juices do fairly well with sub-ohm tanks as well but there are some vapers who feel the flavor is diminished while using this ratio in a sub-tank.
Rebuildable Dripping Atomizer (RDA)
Rebuildable dripping atomizers, or RDA’s can be a lot of fun for vapers who enjoy experimenting with a lot of different e-liquids. With RDA’s, vapers are able to really customize their build to accommodate the e-liquid they are using. For example, vapers who enjoy a hotter vape will almost always go for a high VG e-liquid such as a 20pg/80vg. For vapers who like a little more flavor might go for a 30pg/70vg and for those who like a little throat hit and even more flavor will go for a 40pg/60vg.
The variety is very large when it comes to what PG/VG vapers prefer for dripping, however most vapers who use RDA’s just like to go with 20pg/80vg because building for other ratios it a lot harder to figure out.
The biggest reason that most vapers who use RDA’s go for a higher VG e-liquid is because flavor is amplified when using dripper’s. Some e-liquid companies raise the flavoring in ratios like 40pg/60vg and 30pg/70vg which can be great in a sub-tank but too much for an RDA.
Picking PG/VG by Throat Hit
80/20 (PG/VG): Very low vapor production, and a fairly strong throat hit.
70/30 (PG/VG): Low vapor production, medium-strong throat hit.
60/40 (PG/VG): Decent vapor with a medium throat hit.
50/50 (PG/VG): An even mix, with quality vapor clouds and a soft throat hit.
40/60 (PG/VG): Good vapor production and a soft throat hit.
30/70 (PG/VG): Very good vapor production and very little throat hit.
20/80 (PG/VG): Excellent vapor production and almost no throat hit.