When using e-liquids (also known by some as e-juice) it is important to know the differences
between PG and VG. Each component has an affect on how your juice reacts such as flavour,
cloud production and throat hit.
So What Are PG and VG Exactly?
PG and VG are the liquids that make up the major proportion of the base (Around 90%) of
the liquids that you use that vaporizes to carry the flavour and nicotine that you inhale.
PG stands for Propylene Glycol and VG stands for Vegetable Glycerin. Far from being new,
these liquids have been in use for quite some time and are already found and used in many
products we use every day.
Propylene Glycol (PG)
Propylene Glycol is an organic glycerol made from propylene oxide, a petroleum by-product.
It is widely used here are just some of the everyday items you can find that use it:
- Ice Cream: Propylene Glycol is used to help stop ice crystals forming and
provide a smoother, creamier product.
- Artificial Sweetener: Used to preserve moisture to prevent the product
- Soft Drinks: Used to help spread fatty acids throughout the drink in order
to stop separation and keep a consistent flavour.
- Medications: Used for softening and smoothing medications to make them
easier to ingest.
- Dog and Cat Food: Used as a preservative.
Propylene Glycol can also be found in deodorants, skin care products and even baby wipes.
Vegetable Glycerin (VG)
Whereas Propylene Glycol is a manmade product Vegetable Glycerin on the other hand is a
naturally occurring glycerol made from vegetable oil. When mixed with water and raised to a
high temperature under pressure the Glycerin is absorbed by the water. Food grade VG that
is used in e-liquids is 99.7% pure with the remaining 0.3% being water.
Vegetable Glycerin is widely used in the food industry as a sweetener due to its lower calorie
count than sugar and also does not contribute to tooth decay. Due to the liquid being
hygroscopic, meaning it can absorb moisture, it is also used in many products to keep food moist.
Other uses include:
- Cosmetic Products: Used in many cosmetic products to relieve dry skin
conditions and moisturizers due to its ability to draw moisture from the
lower levels of the skin.
- Botanical Extracts: Used as a substitute for Ethanol to make herbal
essences for those sensitive to alcohol bases used in other products.
- Soap: Used as the basis of glycerin soaps and products for those with
sensitive/dry skin ailments.
- Medicines: The basis for many cough medicines due to its soothing
properties, especially for children where alcohol bases are not permitted.
What is the Real Difference?
PG juice is a tasteless liquid that is clear when viewed, due to the inert taste of the liquid it
is excellent at carrying flavour in e-liquid. As it is of a much thinner, less viscous consistency
when compared to VG it tends to build up less residue on the atomizer coil.
PG is much better for use in the cartomiser type system of vaporizers as the materials used
for wicks in the atomizers absorb it much easier.
In comparison, VG has a naturally sweeter flavour which can affect the overall taste of liquids
for some. The much thicker VG liquid can clog up your coils leading to more cleaning.
VG produces much more vapor than PG and also vaporizes at a higher temperature (which is
why for safety sake we do not recommend high VG liquid be used in plastic clearomiser tanks
as it can lead to cracking and shattering of the tank).
Many liquids provide a mix of the two liquids to balance flavour delivery with cloud production.
Bakery, candy and sweeter flavours also benefit from a higher VG content as the natural
sweetener avoids artificial ones having to be used in the added flavour essences.
PG delivers much more of a throat hit than VG liquids. Higher ratio PG liquids are recommended
for those recently switching to vaping from analogue cigarettes.
Which Liquid Should I Choose?
It’s a matter of personal choice, if you are looking for a throat hit and a less sweet taste head
for liquids with a higher PG level. If you want large creamy clouds and a smoother throat hit
aim for higher VG liquids.
As a general rule of thumb see the following:
- 100% PG: Very strong throat hit, with clean flavours and little vapor production.
- 80/20 (PG/VG): Still very little vapor production, and a moderately
strong throat hit.
- 70/30 (PG/VG): A little more vapor, a little less throat hit.
- 60/40 (PG/VG): Decent vapor, throat hit noticeable but not huge.
- 50/50 (PG/VG): An even mix, quality vapor clouds, soft throat hit.
- 40/60 (PG/VG): Noticeably larger vapor clouds, reduced throat hit.
- 30/70 (PG/VG): Good vapor production and a minimal throat hit.
- 20/80 (PG/VG): Excellent vapor production and a very small throat hit.
- 100% VG: Massive vapor production.Very little throat hit.