You have the perfect e-cig for your needs, but the bottle of e-liquid that originally came with it is now empty. Now what?
If the battery of an e-cig is the heart, and the atomizer is the brain, then e-liquid is its soul. Once you’ve run out of it, you’re left with a useless piece of tech.
With all the options and choices when it comes to e-liquids, how do you know which one to choose?
The first thing to consider when buying e-liquid is the flavor. Even if all the other variables – nicotine strength, PG or VG and vapor production – are perfect, if you don’t like the flavor, the e-liquid won’t be used. Fortunately, e-liquids come in almost any flavor you could think of: fruity, food, cocktails, and of course, tobacco blends.
New users often choose tobacco blends that closely match the flavor of their favorite cigarette brands. Many e-liquid manufacturers know this, so they create various tobacco blends that mimic the taste of popular brands.
Eventually, users get more adventurous and start to try out various fruit or food blends. Some prefer food flavors such as wafer, cake, or pizza, while others like fruity ones like grape, watermelon, or mango. There are also mixed blends, where various fruit, food, and tobacco flavors are mixed to create new and exotic flavors.
With all the mixing and virtually infinite blends that are possible, it’s only natural that cocktail flavors appear. Beer, brandy, and wine are just a sampling of alcohol-inspired flavors..
When choosing e-liquid flavors, start with the ones that you’re pretty sure you’ll like. Once you have a good stock of those, you can start experimenting with other flavors.
Once you’ve chosen your flavor, the next step is to determine your preferred nicotine strength.
Nicotine levels come in various strengths:
Low: 6mg and below – For light smokers who go through half a pack or less per day.
Medium: 9mg to 16mg – For average smokers who consume half a pack to one pack a day.
High: 18mg to 36mg – For heavy chain smokers.
Getting the right nicotine strength is important because too little will make you vape more to compensate, while too much may give you headaches. A good rule is to start with medium strength, then adjust accordingly.
The main base solution in e-liquid is either Propylene Glycol (PG), Vegetable Glycerol (VG), or a combination of both. PG provides more flavor, but produces weak vapor. VG is more viscous and has a slightly sweet taste – thus muting the flavor somewhat – but produces massive clouds of vapor.
Because of the differences in vape quality of both, manufacturers produce e-liquid that come in an all-PG base, an all-VG base, or a mixture of the two in varying ratios.
A common PG to VG ratio is 40:60, and many users are satisfied with the flavor and the amount of vapor this mix produces.
However, there are people who are allergic to PG. If you find yourself itching, getting hives, or having a hard time breathing after vaping on a pure PG or PG/VG mix, you might need to acquire pure VG blends or at least, e-liquid with a mix ratio of 80% VG and 20% PG.
The sheer number of e-liquid mixing options can be overwhelming for any vaper, new or experienced. If at all possible, try to test flavors first before you make a purchase.
The importance of testing cannot be stressed enough, as it gives first-hand experience on what’s available. Not all e-liquids are made equal, with variations in flavor and nicotine strength occurring across different brands.
One brand’s mango flavor may taste different when compared to another brand’s mango flavor. Nicotine strength can also vary between two brands that advertise the same nicotine levels. You may find one brand’s 12mg strength to be perfect for you, while another with the same nicotine level might be too strong or too weak for your taste.
When purchasing from a brick and mortar store, most offer testers for customers to try. Online vape stores, however, are a different story. While you can’t test flavors from online stores, you can purchase special “tester packs.” These tester packs are usually a set of different flavors in smaller bottles, sold in 5, 10, or sometimes even 20 flavors per pack. You can choose varying levels of nicotine strengths as well when ordering to ensure you find the right combo for you.
It may take some time before you find the flavors, nicotine strength, and PG/VG ratio that works best for you. Don’t just settle for what’s immediately available. Part of the fun is trying new things, so don’t be afraid checking out other brands. Just be sure to buy high-quality liquid from established manufacturers. The money you save on the cheap stuff will end up costing you more in the long run.
All it takes is a little experimentation. Once you find a rhythm, you’ll be an experienced e-liquid consumer.