When comparing the benefits of refillable vape pens vs. pre-filled vapes, you’ll find that there are many valid reasons for choosing a refillable device if you’re new to vaping. For instance, pre-filled vaping devices typically have only a few different flavors available – whereas with a refillable device, you can use any bottled vape juice you like. That means you have hundreds of different flavors from which to choose.
The one challenge of buying a refillable vape kit, though, is that your first kit won’t quite include everything that you need in order to get started with vaping. To complete your purchase, you’ll need to add at least one bottle of vape juice – and if you’re buying your vaping supplies online, you might not have someone available to walk you through the process. That’s where this guide is going to help.
This is your comprehensive start-to-finish beginner’s guide to buying the best vape juice for your needs. We’re going to discuss the different factors that you’ll need to consider when buying e-liquid, such as the nicotine type, the nicotine strength and the flavor. When you’re done reading, you can be completely confident that the e-liquid you buy will work with your vape kit and provide a satisfying and enjoyable experience.
How to Choose Between Nicotine Salt and Freebase Nicotine
Whether you’re buying from a brick-and-mortar vape shop or an online seller, one of the first things you’ll notice is that the retailer’s selection is divided into two sections based on nicotine type. The two choices are freebase nicotine and nicotine salt. Depending on where you live, you may also notice that the bottles of freebase nicotine vape juice are significantly larger than the bottles of nicotine salt vape juice.
The biggest difference between freebase nicotine and nicotine salt e-liquid is that the two types of vape juice typically come in very different ranges of nicotine strengths.
- If you live in a region without a regulatory restriction on e-liquid nicotine strengths, the two most common strengths for nicotine salt e-liquid are 25 mg/ml and 50 mg/ml.
- If you live in a region with a regulatory restriction on e-liquid nicotine strengths, the two most common strengths for nicotine salt e-liquid are 10 mg/ml and 20 mg/ml.
- In all regions, the two most common strengths for freebase nicotine e-liquid are 3 mg/ml and 6 mg/ml.
Even if the region in which you live limits the nicotine strength of e-liquid to a maximum of 20 mg/ml, there’s still a big difference between that strength and the 3-6 mg/ml range that’s typical for freebase nicotine e-liquid. Therefore, choosing between freebase nicotine and nicotine salt is the most important decision that you’ll make when buying vape juice for the first time. If you make the wrong choice, you’ll have an unpleasant experience because you’ll end up consuming far less – or far more – nicotine than you need.
The easiest way to choose between freebase nicotine and nicotine salt is by looking at the size of your vaping device. If you have a small device like a pocket-sized vape pen or pod system, you need an e-liquid with a higher nicotine strength and should probably buy nicotine salt vape juice. If you have a large device like a box mod or a pod mod, you need an e-liquid with a lower nicotine strength and should probably buy freebase nicotine e-liquid.
How to Choose the Right Nicotine Strength
Now that you’ve decided the type of nicotine that’s right for your vaping device, the next thing that you’ll need to do is choose your nicotine strength. Regardless of where you live, both nicotine salt and freebase nicotine e-liquids are usually available in two different strengths as detailed in the previous section of this article. Here’s how to select between the two different strengths.
- If you’re buying nicotine salt e-liquid and live in a region without restrictions on nicotine strengths, we suggest starting with the higher strength – usually 50 mg/ml – if you are an everyday smoker. At that nicotine strength, you’ll get approximately the same nicotine from each puff of vapor that you’d get from a puff of cigarette smoke. If you’re only an occasional smoker – someone who smokes socially during weekends, for instance – consider starting with the lower strength because your nicotine needs aren’t as great.
- If you’re buying nicotine salt e-liquid and live in a region that has restrictions on nicotine strengths, we suggest starting which the highest strength available. That’s usually 20 mg/ml. Because a nicotine strength of 20 mg/ml won’t give you as much nicotine per puff as a tobacco cigarette if you’re using a small vaping device, this strength should be appropriate for you whether you’re an occasional smoker or an everyday one. The lower 10 mg/ml strength is intended for people who use more powerful vaping devices or are trying to use vaping to quit nicotine.
- If you’re buying freebase nicotine e-liquid, you should start at the other end of the spectrum and choose the lowest nicotine strength available. That’s usually 3 mg/ml. The reason why you should start with the lower strength is because most modern vaping devices optimized for freebase nicotine vape juice produce so much vapor per puff that higher nicotine strengths are unnecessary. If you’re using a smaller vaping device – or your nicotine needs are particularly high – you may ultimately step up to the higher 6 mg/ml strength. For most people, though, the 3 mg/ml strength is more than enough.
How to Choose the Best Vape Juice Flavor
Now that you know what nicotine type and strength you’re going to buy, the final step in selecting the right e-liquid for your needs is choosing a flavor that suits your palate – and the best thing about using a refillable vaping device is that you can fill it with any e-liquid on the market.
Vape juice makers typically use a combination of natural and artificial food-grade flavorings to achieve their desired flavor profiles, and they use the same flavoring agents utilized within the food and beverage industries. That means an e-liquid can taste like almost any food or drink that you could possibly imagine. Some of the most popular vape juice flavor types include fruit, candy and beverage flavors. You can also find vape juices that taste like baked goods, cereals, ice cream, custard and lots of other tasty things. Of course, you can also find e-liquids with cigarette-like tobacco and menthol flavors.
With the incredible amount of variety in the world of vape juice flavors, how can you know what type of flavor will appeal to you? The simple answer to this question is that taste is subjective, and there’s no single vape juice flavor that appeals to everyone. When you buy vape juice for the first time, you should strongly consider buying a few different flavors. That way, you’ll be certain that at least one of them will appeal to you. Consider trying at least one new flavor every time you stock up on e-liquid. Over time, you’ll get to know your personal preferences while experiencing everything that the best vape juice makers of the world have to offer.
How to Choose the Right VG/PG Ratio
Aside from the flavor profile and nicotine content, another of the factors that makes a vape juice different from others is its ratio of vegetable glycerin (VG) and propylene glycol (PG). VG and PG are the base liquids that give vape juice its body while also diluting the nicotine and flavoring agents to their correct strengths. VG and PG differ from one another in subtle ways, so adjusting the ratio of the two liquids allows vape juice makers to create e-liquids with slightly different properties.
If you’re new to vaping, it’s not necessary to make an e-liquid’s VG/PG ratio part of your buying decision because most mass-market vape juice uses VG and PG in a roughly 50/50 ratio for the widest possible compatibility with the devices that users are most likely to own. As you gain experience, though, you might want to pay closer attention to this detail in order to tailor your vaping experience to your preferences. Here’s a summary of how VG and PG differ from one another.
- Vegetable glycerin is thicker and sweeter than propylene glycol. Because of those properties, an e-liquid that’s higher in VG than PG will tend to produce bigger, thicker clouds and will also have a full and silky mouth feel. Because of its sweetness, though, VG may make some of the subtle notes in a complex profile difficult to taste.
- Propylene glycol is thinner than vegetable glycerin and is nearly flavorless. Because of those properties, an e-liquid that’s higher in PG than VG will tend to produce very thin clouds that disappear quickly after you exhale them. Because it has little flavor of its own, PG is an excellent carrier of flavors and is an excellent base for e-liquids with complex flavor profiles.