Choosing the Right Vape Juice

It wasn’t that long ago that vapers had very limited options when it came to buying e-liquid for their electronic cigarettes. Unless you were into modding or DIY, your choices were mainly either cartridges meant for cigalikes and a few e-liquids – mostly high-PG products. Today, however, the options are endless. You can choose between high PG and high VG, nicotine salts and freebase, and more – and that doesn’t even touch on the extremely wide array of flavours you can try. In many ways, this variety is a good thing, as it helps make vaping a truly personalised experience that you can design to suit your own unique preferences. However, it can also make buying e-juice confusing for someone who is just starting out. Let’s take a look at the different types of vape juice and how you can determine which ones are right for you.

Key terms

In the world of vaping, it helps if you understand a few key terms that you’ll hear on occasion. If you’re trying to find the right e-liquid, you may encounter terms such as:

  • Nicotine salts: This refers to a form of e-juice made with the salts naturally present in tobacco leaves to provide a smoother throat hit. Freebase liquid, on the other hand, refers to e-liquid without these nicotine salts.
  • Hybrid e-liquids: These juices contain both nicotine salts and freebase nicotine.
  • PG: Propylene Glycol. Used in e-liquid, PG is thinner than VG and provides a stronger throat hit.
  • VG: Vegetable Glycerin. VG is thicker than PG, creates a smoother throat hit, and is slightly sweeter.
  • MTL: Mouth to lung. MTL refers to a method of vaping that involves drawing vapour into the mouth and holding it there briefly before inhaling it into the lungs.
  • DTL: Direct to lung. DTL means that you inhale the vapour directly into the lungs (without holding it in the mouth first).

Choosing your nicotine strength

Whether you are using a simple e-cigarette or an advanced vape mod, you’ll need to find the right nicotine strength for you. The trick here is that if you choose a nicotine level that’s too low, you aren’t likely to find vaping satisfying enough and are less likely to switch from smoking successfully. Choose a juice with too much nicotine, and you may experience the unpleasant symptoms of nicotine overload (nausea, increased heart rate, headache, or dizziness). Here’s a good rule of thumb:

  • If you smoke 15-20 cigarettes or more a day: Heavier smokers may want to look for e-liquids with more nicotine (up to 2% or more). That way, you’ll be more likely to truly satisfy your cravings, even without cigarettes.
  • If you smoke less or prefer light cigarettes: Lighter smokers can usually choose lower nicotine content e-juice (0.6% to 1.2%). In general, it’s a good idea to start lower and increase if needed.

Keep in mind that you can always switch to a different nicotine level if the first one you try doesn’t work for you.

More considerations

Once you’ve decided on a nicotine strength to try, there are many other choices to make and factors to consider to find the right vape juice for you. Here are some tips to help you get started.

  • E-liquid for a strong throat hit. If you are accustomed to smoking cigarettes, then you may actually enjoy the harshness at the back of the throat – many people do. Look for a higher-PG e-juice, which will better re-create the throat hit you may miss when you quit smoking.
  • E-liquid for a smoother throat hit. If the harsh throat hit is a turn-off for you, you have a couple of options. First, choose nicotine salts, which both smooth out the throat hit and deliver nicotine faster. Second, you could look for a higher-VG juice, although these are more popular with vapers who use more advanced equipment and want bigger, more voluminous clouds of vapour.
  • E-liquid for cigalikes. If you want your vape cigarette experience to more closely mimic the experience of smoking a traditional cigarette, there are two options. Again, a higher-PG liquid will provide a stronger throat hit more similar to that of a cigarette. Also, you can look for a pod system, such as the ePuffer XPOD, which use a blend of nicotine salts and regular e-juice for a very realistic smoking experience.

A word about flavour

When you shop for your first bottle of e-liquid, you’ll quickly discover an entire world of possibilities. Your choice of flavour is a very personal one, and the best way to find your favourites is to simply experiment. The main thing is to decide whether you’d like a tobacco or menthol flavour or something totally different, such as a fruity or dessert flavour. Again, though, the best way to find what you like is to try it. In fact, many people find that one of the most fun parts of vaping is trying new e-juices, so don’t be surprised if you end up with a rather large collection of options that you enjoy.


As you can see, a lot goes into choosing your vape juice. However, once you learn a little about the various factors and identify your unique needs, it becomes much easier to narrow down your best options. Have fun exploring the wonderful and widely varied world of e-liquids!