Most people who are currently vaping probably have a good idea what they’re doing when selecting hardware and liquids to match. Because of this, information revolving around a new vaper making the switch from cigarettes has gotten a bit stale and out of date. The intention of this is to help educate what to look for rather than specific suggestions for hardware/brands so that you can be empowered to pick up a box, look at the specs and have a good idea if the product is right for you.
Lets start with e-liquid and see the pros, cons and other relevant facts. For the purpose of this article, I’ll be breaking liquid down into three sections.
- High Vegetable Glycerin (VG) liquids – most bottles today will opt to display a ratio of Vegetable Glycerin (VG) to Propylene Glycol (PG). The PG content is a bit misrepresented as it is usually a mix of PG, Flavouring and Nicotine, but the VG is quite accurate. A “70/30” blend will typically be 70% VG with the remaining being PG or PG based products.
- Higher VG (typically 65% or more) produces larger clouds
- Tends to be sweeter tasting as VG is used as a sweetener in many products
- Extremely wide variety of flavours on the market
- Used in sub-ohm devices (coils with a resistance of less than 1 ohm) which tend to consume liquid faster
- Other Relevant Facts
- Should be vaped at higher wattage, 50 to 200 watts depending on your preference
- Should not be used in smaller pod systems as the liquids are much thicker and do not absorb into higher resistance coils very well
- Should saturate in new coils for several minutes before attempting to vape these liquids. All coils should be primed, but the higher VG products require longer to accomplish this.
- Low VG liquids – Usually found in a 50/50 ratio of VG to PG or lower.
- Thinner liquids are used in higher resistance devices that run at a lower wattage, which uses less liquid per puff
- Often available in higher nicotine strengths (but not salt nicotine) because they are vaped slower
- Higher PG content provides a bit of a harsher throat hit. Some vapers can use lower nicotine strengths for this reason.
- Far less common on the market. Mainstay brands such as Gold Seal are made in a 50/50 ratio
- Fewer flavour choices
- Flavours often less potent because it is vaped at a lower wattage (usually 10 or less)
- Other Relevant Facts
- Vaping at a lower wattage usually means higher nicotine strengths compared to the High VG counterparts. This doesn’t mean each puff you are getting more nicotine because you are vaping considerably less.
- This is the type of blend that started the industry. Gold Seal was originally 30VG/70PG, and Fresh Tobacco to this day is still available in that format.
- Salt Nicotine – Usually found in a 50/50 blend and unlike the name suggests it is not salty.
- Salt Nicotine gets into the blood stream faster, so a single puff usually satisfies a craving
- Available in extremely high nicotine strengths so that low wattage devices or pod systems can deliver a satisfying puff
- If you’ve tried e-cigarettes in the past and they didn’t help transition from combustible tobacco, Salt Nicotine is a great way to try again because of the speed of effectiveness of satisfying a craving
- Flavour options are limited as the lack of VG and wattage of applicable devices make certain flavour preferences difficult to create
- Vaping several times in rapid succession can lead to a bit of a head rush.
- Other Relevant Facts
- Most pod systems on the market today are designed to work with Salt Nicotine.
- Open pod systems that allow you to refill your own juice will also take the above-mentioned low VG products like Gold Seal
With the liquid out of the way, the hardware becomes easy to match up. Lower VG products should be used with lower wattage devices, which usually means a smaller design more like that of a pen. Lower wattage would be somewhere between 10 and 30 watts.
Higher VG products will need higher wattage devices (50-200 watts). Like the variety of High VG, there is no shortage of hardware that supports these liquids. At this point, you can start looking at things like
- tank size to minimize how many times you refill
- battery capacity which will usually increase the device size as well as the duration/charge
- aesthetics of the device
- how well it fits in your hand
Ask your local vape shop what products they suggest.
Salt Nicotine devices can be found in a few different options. Closed pod systems like Juul, Vype or STLTH make changing to new liquids a little less cost effective but significantly more convenient and less potential to be messy. Open pod systems let you fill your own pods which creates a wide array of options for flavours and strengths at the cost of convenience and with the benefit of being cheaper/mL. Devices that work with the low VG liquids will also work with Salt Nicotine.
I hope that helps educate how to choose your hardware based on your e-liquid, or your e-liquid based on your hardware. There is really no right or wrong way to start as every individual is different. Don’t be afraid to walk into your local vape shop and start asking questions; it is by far the best place to start.
True North Vapor