(PG) PROPYLENE GLYCOL
Propylene Glycol, or PG, started it all for vaping. It’s the blood of the mix and the carrier of the flavors from the e-liquid solution to our mouths. The reason PG is used in eliquid is because it’s very aqueous which allows it to soak our wicks very easily. It’s also easy to work with where many flavorings are already diluted into PG. Some vapers have issues with PG, being harsh or irritable, making them only able to use low or even PG free eliquids. It also helps with “throat-hit” and allows our vapor to have “weight”. The higher the PG levels in your eliquids, the more “punch” it has. Also the more fluid the mix is, so it’s having a higher PG content in your recipes is good for those who use tanks with small wick holes. Non-toxic and water-soluble, this solution has been used in food, pharma, and cosmetics, though it has not had any long term studies done on the continuous inhalation of it so as with anything in vaping, use at your own discretion.
(VG) VEGETABLE GLYCERIN
Vegetable Glycerin, or VG, is a prime component to our eliquids. It’s the glue of the mix, holding everything together and allowing the mix to live on your coil, awaiting is turn to atomize when heat. VG is made from hydrolyzing palm, soy, or coconut oil down separating the fatty acids, and then further distilling it to a very “pure” form. There are different grades, but in vaping you should make sure your’s is USP Food Grade. Also, pay attention to water content. The best VG has the lowest water content in the solution. VG is also the proponent in vaping that gives vapor its….well…vapor. The cloud production from your recipes is directly related to the amount of VG in your mix. The higher the VG, the more “clouds” you produce. There are no long term studies on the effect of constant inhalation of VG on our lungs, but VG has been used in our food, pharma, and cosmetics for ages. But as with anything in vaping, use at your own discretion.
MAX VG vs 100% VG
One thing that I want to get out of the way is that Max VG IS NOT the same as 100% VG. 100% VG means that the entire mix is made from only VG, and that absolutely no PG is present in the eliquid. The flavors and nicotine both being suspended only in VG. Whereas, Max VG is just a sales gimmick meaning that there “was no EXTRA PG added”. Max VG does not account for flavorings suspended in PG (which 99% of them are), nor nicotine (which comes in both VG or PG variants). So you can actually have a 70% PG solution, with only 30% of it comprising of VG, and vendors can technically say its “Max VG”, because no extra PG was added on top of the flavorings and nicotine. It’s nothing more than a gimmick trying to bank off the “cloud chasing” craze that dominated the market. If you want 100% VG, you need to make sure your bottle says 100% VG, and not Max VG because Max VG means nothing.
HIGH VG E-liquids
Now what I consider High VG eliquids are mixes that contain more than 80% VG. So 80VG/20PG, 90VG/10PG, and 100% VG are high VG eliquids. High VG eliquids have an emphasis on cloud production, and are a favorite by those who have PG “allergies”. If you want to make your recipes High VG, know that it doesn’t affect your recipe, but it does affect the vape that’s produced. A high VG mix will be more fluffy, voluminous, and less vivid or saturated, than mixes with a high PG ratio. If you are someone who enjoys pushing out big fluffy clouds, or doesn’t like strong vivid flavor, then you’ll want to have at least a ratio of 80VG/20PG. If you want a more dense, vivid, and saturated vape, then it’s a good idea to stay away from high VG mixes. One last point is that high VG mixes take much longer to steep as it takes longer for the flavorings to “bloom” in viscous, high VG eliquid.
Next I want to talk about the “standard” ratio in vaping, as of the date of this article. And that’s 70VG/30PG or 60VG/40PG. These ratios are what dominates the market right now and are the best blend between cloud production and flavor saturation. According to the Poll I made on FB, it’s easy to see that the majority of the vaping community enjoy 70VG eliquids. If you’re building recipes to hit a wider audience, testing at these ratios is your best bet. These mixes need an average steep time and are thin enough to work in tanks, yet thick enough to produce great vapor. If you want a “standard” ratio for your recipes, those two are it.
Next we’re on to 50VG/50PG. This is my preferable ratio at the time being, coming down from both 70VG/30PG and 60VG/40PG. The reason I moved to 50/50 was a myriad of reasons. One being saturation. There’s just so much more saturation in 50/50 compared to high VG mixes, and just a bit more compared to 70VG/30PG. Vapor also has just the right amount of weight for me, allowing a nice satisfying “punch.” Something not many people enjoy. Lastly, it’s very fluid making it easier to mix and have shorter steep times. If you’re only worried about flavor and could care less about vapor, I think 50/50 is the best choice. But if you want a smoother, fluffier, and lighter vape, then move higher.
HIGH PG E-Liquids
High PG eliquids, which is anything higher than 50VG/50PG on the PG end, is something quite rare. These used to dominate the market when vaping was first around, but have since been phased out once vapor production started to become more important. Those CE4, ego-tanks, and cigalikes are all filled with High PG eliquids, as they pack a big punch, and are fluid enough to wick through very tight wick-holes. If you want a vape that hits hard, super dense, and super saturated, and don’t care at all about vapor production, then you’ll want to mix at higher PG levels.
And that’s all there really is about VG/PG. Remember that the “flavor” of recipes always remain constant throughout different ratios, but the way you get those flavors are vastly different. And in turn, that can affect the “impression” of your recipes. So always develop recipes at your favorite ratio, and if you’re mixing for others, using the standard ratios is always best. And in terms of difference between 80VG/20PG all the way down to 50/50, are very subtle in flavor and don’t really make much a difference. So don’t worry too much about the ratios and just use what you like.