What are PG and VG?
PG and VG are propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin, odorless liquids that are mixed with nicotine and flavor additives to make e-juice or e-liquids for vaporizers. PG and VG have different consistencies, and each contributes a different taste to vape juices. PG and VG have different sensations in the mouth and throat, and the two are often combined.
How are PG and VG different?
PG is less viscous than VG, so it provides a better throat hit but makes the vapor plumes comparatively less dense. VG has thicker vapor and tastes slightly sweeter than PG, though PG is considered more flavorful than VG. VG is often considered smoother than PG, and some vendors will provide 100% VG mixes for sub-ohm vaping.
Other uses of PG and VG
PG is an ingredient often present in asthma inhalers, pet food, oral or topical medical products, and even beauty products. VG has been used as sweetener, and can be present in beauty products like makeup, mousse, bubble bath, deodorant, and aftershave. It is also found in pet food, hand cream, pills, and toothpaste.
Side Effects of Vaping PG and VG
Some people say that PG irritates their throat, and in rare cases experience allergic reactions. If you see any rashes or having unpleasant reactions because of PG, it is time to look at VG. The most common side effects of PG are a sore throat, dry mouth, and feeling thirsty. This only lasts for a few days to a week while the body gets used to PG.
Liquids that have a high level of VG cause clogging in the coils faster, and keep it from functioning properly. Older models of vaporizers that still use small coils like clearomizers are more prone to VG clogging. The side effects that people commonly experience are dry mouth, increased thirst, and sore throat. Drink plenty of water or stop vaping for a while if needed.
VG vs. PG – At a Glance
Choosing the Right Setup
It’s not simply a matter of picking a juice with proportion of PG to VG and hoping that it will be good for you. Your equipment plays a key role in the decision. If the juice is not correct for the setup, your vaping experience won’t be the same, mainly because of issues that will arise with the wick, and throat irritation.
VG/PG Ratios and Tank Types
Clearomizer – This is the most common style of tank for vaping, such as the Mini Nautilus and Kanger Protank. The length of the coils in these two mods ranges between 1.2 to 2.5 ohms and vapes no more than 15W. Using high VG liquid in these tanks is not recommended. The coils are not able to cope properly with gloopy fluid, which can cause the cotton to burn. A 50/50 VG to PG ratio is ideal for this type of tank.
Sub-ohm tanks – This type of tanks include brands like Aspire Atlantis and Kanger Subtank. They are ideal tanks for the powerful sub-ohm vape mods, and are geared to do well with high-VG e-liquids juices. Using high-VG e-juices produces thicker vapor, offers batter taste, and doesn’t consume the juice too quickly.
RDA/Drippers – If you choose to utilize a dripper, there is more flexibility on your fluid ratio, which will be dictated by the strength of the coil you use. You will need sub-ohm coils if you want to use a higher-VG mixture. Conversely, you would need high-ohm coils to use a higher-PG juice, though cotton wicking won’t be as hard. As always the ratio is up to you, but dripping tends to be best at a 30% PG, 70% VG mix.
How do VG and PG Affect Vape Flavor?
Steeping – Steeping takes longer in high VG juice because they’re thick. It can take longer if you’re steeping e-juices based on multi-flavor recipes. On the flipside, some high PG e-juices can be vaped right away without any steeping.
Thinning High-VG E-Juices – In case you have made e-juice using a ratio of VG, there might be an issue with wicking gloopy fluid with your coil. Pour in distilled water to your juice, so it thins out a little. This way, the cotton will be more absorbent to the fluid.
Nicotine and Flavorings – Most flavor concentrates and nicotine come with a PG base. You need to make an important consideration about this when you are making an e-juice with high VG; if the juice has higher percentages of nicotine and flavor, the level of VG drops even more. You will also find nicotine and flavorings in VG, but this is not yet commonly sold.
The Right VG/PG Blend for You
Choose higher PG ratio for:
- Higher throat hit
- Stealth vaping
- Easy clean up
Choose higher VG ratio for:
- Added sweetness
- Smooth flavor
You might have to experiment with different combinations of the two to find your ideal VG/PG blend. However, remember that the ideal flavor, throat hit and vapor depend on many other factors such as your hardware, the quality of the e-juice, and voltage/wattage setting. You can also check out our best vape juices section to find the right e-liquid brand or flavor.