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What Is PG/VG In E-Liquid?

What Is PG/VG In E-Liquid?



What is PG/VG?


Two common ingredients in vapor are propylene glycol (PG) and vegetable glycerin (VG). In most e-liquids, PG or VG is combined with flavoring and nicotine to create e-liquid. Both are non-toxic organic compounds frequently used as food additives, and can be combined in different proportions to have different effects on the taste of the liquid.


Depending on the liquid, your overall vaping experience can be much different when it comes to the size of your cloud and how it feels on your throat.


In this article, we’ll look at what goes into VG and PG, how they differ, and why someone might prefer one over the other. Most of the liquids commercially available use a combination of both VG and PG, so it’s good to know what each abbreviation stands for when you’re getting your latest batch of liquid.


When you look at a bottle of e-liquid, check the label, you should be able to find an ingredients list including flavoring, sweeteners, nicotine content and two numbers for the PG/VG ratio. Knowing what ratio you prefer will provide a much better overall vaping experience.


When looking at the ratios in online descriptions or on the label of a bottled e-liquid, it’s good to be able to recognize which ingredient goes where and how that will affect the taste of the liquid. Usually the PG comes first followed by the VG (as P comes before V in the alphabet), but as VG gets more popular, this isn’t always true, so be mindful when you’re reading the ratio!


The labels are usually shown on bottles and website descriptions displayed like this: PG/VG: 30/70 or VG/PG: 30/70. Once you get comfortable with your preferences, it’ll be easy to just check the label to see what how it corresponds to your needs as a vaper.  

Propylene Glycol (PG)


Propylene glycol is one base ingredient for e-liquids. PG is additionally found in consumables including coffee drinks, ice cream, and sodas, as well as in hand sanitizers and pharmaceutical inhalers.

One characteristic of PG is that it it rapidly absorbs moisture and provides a strong and familiar “throat hit,” the bite felt at the back of the throat that will be recognizable to any ex-smoker used to smoking combustible cigarettes.  


Additionally, PG has a thinner viscosity, allowing liquid to saturate high-resistance coils more easily, leading to less likelihood of a "dry hit."


It’s generally believed PG is the primary means through which flavor is conveyed in e-liquid.

PG is also an odorless substance and so has a minimal impact on flavor. While the extent of the impact of PG and VG on flavor are debatable, it is true that most flavor concentrates are suspended in a PG base, so even "Max-VG" liquids will have at least some PG from the added flavor.


Many ex-smokers choose PG-based e liquids to help curb their tobacco cravings because the throat hit and dry throat feeling replicates the experience of smoking a cigarette.


One potential negative effect of using PG-based e-liquids is allergic reactions. Many vapers have reported minor and major allergic reactions and throat irritation from PG-based e liquids. If this happens, consider switching to a VG-heavy liquid or curtailing your vaping, depending on severity.



Vegetable Glycerin (VG)


VG is the dominant base ingredient in most open-system liquids. It's thick and slightly sweet, and is the primary contributor to creating the visible clouds highly prized by some vapers. It's commonly derived from plants such as soy, palm or coconuts.


In addition to its use in vapor products, VG is found in foods where it adds sweetness and preserves moisture, as well as in pharmaceutical products, cosmetics, foods and botanical extracts.


VG is noticeably sweeter than PG, which has the advantage of making sweet flavors even sweeter. Some prefer this over the odorless and tasteless PG.


High-VG liquids are also preferred by vapers who use advanced mods with sub-ohm coils, particularly the "cloud chaser" subset. This is because VG is a thicker solution than PG, which means that it produces more vapor than its PG-based liquids and makes for huge clouds.


VG also produces less throat hit than PG, making for a smoother inhale and exhale many experienced vapers grow to favor over the harshness of high-PG liquids.


A drawback to VG-based liquid is that it could lead to an increase in phlegm and mucus build-up in the throat.


While some vapers prefer one over the other, most e-liquid flavors use some combination of VG and PG. Many popular liquids today use between 70 and 80 percent VG, with 20 or 30 percent PG rounding out the bill for a well-balanced mix of throat hit and sweetness.


The best devices with which to use VG-heavy liquids are larger sub-ohm tanks, because they’re better equipped to handle thicker liquids (PG/VG 20/80, for example) that would clog the smaller coils in po-style devices. Pod systems or vape pens, meanwhile, are good for liquids that have less VG in them (such as PG/VG: 50/50).


In short:

Vegetable Glycerin (VG) : more vapor, less throat hit.

Propylene Glycol (PG) : better throat hit and flavor.


Reasons to choose a PG-heavy e-liquid:

  • Odorless and colorless
  • Replicates throat hit of cigarettes
  • Better flavor
  • Thinner and easier on coils         
  • Reasons not to choose a PG majority e-liquid:

  • Allergic reaction
  • More throat irritation

    Reasons to choose a VG-heavy e-liquid:


  • Sweeter flavoring
  • Smoother throat hits
  • Thicker cloud production        
  • Reasons not to choose a VG majority e-liquid:   


  • More mucus and phlegm build-up

  • In summary, PG majority e-liquids are a...


      • Great Choice for:
    • Ex-smokers who want to taste the familiar harsh throat hits

      • Bad Choice for:
        • Vapers who are sensitive to allergic reactions and throat irritation


      In summary, VG majority e-liquids are a ...


        • Great Choice for:
      • Vapers who enjoy sweeter flavored e-liquids and big clouds

        • Bad Choice for:
          • Discreet vapers turned off by flavors that are too sweet.


        Check out Breazy’s vast library of vaping resources here.