By: Nicholas King.
For many casual vapers, the intricacies of e-liquid and the ingredients used in their manufacture might be of little interest. Indeed, a large portion of those who vape simply enjoy their newfound freedom from tobacco, and the opportunity to enjoy nicotine in a safer manner. Many of the common terms like vegetable glycerin (VG) and propylene glycol (PG) are given little attention in most discussions that focus on the superiority of one electronic cigarette choice over another. Given that these are essential ingredients in the liquids used in vaping, however, it is worth every vaping enthusiast’s time to develop at least some familiarity with both PG and VG. Start with this introduction to e-liquids to understand the basics of this liquid.
Propylene Glycol (PG)
PG is the most common base ingredient for the e-liquids used in electronic cigarettes, and offers a number of important benefits in that regard. It is thinner than its VG rival, which enables it to form liquid recipes that flow to the wick and atomizer in a more fluid manner. Because of that thinness of consistency, e-liquids that use propylene glycol as a base have less chance of clogging your e-cig coils or caking on the interior of the tank. That makes them much easier to clean up.
This compound also tends to help maintain moistness, and that translates to the hit that your electronic cigarette gives you with each inhalation. While the vapor hit is strong on the throat, it is not dry or uncomfortable. PG also has no impact on flavor, which means that it won’t distort the impact of the flavoring ingredients.
It does have one drawback, but only for those who are sensitive to propylene. Anyone with an allergy to this compound may experience irritation in the throat while using e-liquids containing PG. Though this is not common, it can be a cause of concern for some vapers, take a look at the e-liquids side effects article we wrote to understand the impacts. Fortunately, sensitivity issues can be resolved by switching to e-liquids that use vegetable glycerin as a base.
Vegetable Glycerin (VG)
Of course, that vegetable glycerin option brings a whole different set of characteristics to the vaping table. As you might expect, VG offers greater thickness that provides a slower, more gradual flow to the wick and atomizer. That can make it more of a chore to clean your device, since the liquid can cling to the coil and tank. Most users just rely on alcohol to clean their e-cigs when using VG-based liquids.
There is also a flavoring effect, as the vegetable glycerin adds its own sweet taste to any ingredient mix. That actually seems to attract some users to VG liquids. Of course, part of the popularity of VG e-juice rests in the thicker clouds of vapor that these juices enable – the natural result of using a thicker liquid. At the same times, however, people new to VG should be aware that this type of liquid often results in a less pleasant throat hit, especially for users who are not accustomed to receiving such a large hit of thick vapor all at once.
There is good news on the allergy front, though. While there are instances in which people demonstrate sensitivity to VG-liquids, such problems are rare. As an overall rule, the vast majority of vaping fans seem to experience no allergic reactions when using vegetable glycerin e-juice products.
Combinations of the Two
As might be expected, some manufacturers have decided to mix both bases in some varieties of their e-liquids, producing products that offer the stronger flavor of PG while also providing the thicker vapor clouds VG enables. These combinations can take many forms, with some favoring more propylene to avoid interference with the flavoring, and others opting for more of an even mixture to ensure maximum benefits from both base ingredients.
Is One Better than the Other?
One of the most frequently asked questions has to do with whether one of these base ingredients is inherently better than its rival. The answer is a resounding “no!” But using this simple formula may help:
PG: Gives you a better flavor and more of a hit on your throat so you can feel the vapor.
VG: Creates more vapor and makes the vape smooth.
Both are perfectly acceptable base options. That is why manufacturers make products that rely on either one, or even some combination of the two. Unless your choices are limited by some form of allergy, the real choice about which one is better will ultimately come down to a matter of your own personal preference.
If you’re not sure which option sounds best to you, then try them all. Through trial and error, you can eventually find the best choice for your vaping needs and ensure that you get the best e-cigarette experience. In the end, whether you find that you prefer PG or VG, the option that provides you with the most satisfaction will be the right choice for you.