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PG Vs VG: What Are They?
PG and VG are the two most common names used in the vaping world. To both newcomers and advanced vapers, both terms can be confusing. Understanding what each is all about and what to expect from vape liquids that have superior concentrations of either PG or VG can significantly improve your vaping experience.
This quick and easy to follow guide will crack open the box and provide you with all the information you need to know about PGs and VGs.
What is PG (Propylene Glycol)?
PG is almost odourless and colourless alcohol. It’s safe and non-toxic and used in a wide range of vape liquids.
Other than its application in the vape industry, PG also has other uses like:
- Pet food (but not cat food)
- Nicotine inhalers
- For oral, injected or topical medical products
- For beauty products like make-up, shampoo and also baby wipes
- In oral hygiene products like toothpaste
Because PG is easy to vaporise, it’s recently been added in asthmatic inhalers, fog machines and its most popular application which is in PG e-juices.
What are the characteristics of PG e-liquid?
Vape liquids that have a higher concentration of PG to VG have certain characteristics that you might want to be aware of as a vaper. These include:
- Thin Consistency – PG has a runny consistency, which means that vape liquids that contain more PG will have a thinner consistency. This makes PG vape juices easier to absorb inside the wicks allowing more rapid vapes.
- Less Gunk – PG vape liquids have a low density. They don’t leave as much gunk on the coils as VG alternatives. That means you don’t have to clean your heating elements as often. Your heating element might also last longer when you’re using PG liquids.
- Doesn't affect flavour – PG is tasteless. That means when vaping, vape liquids that contain PG retain the originally engineered s flavour providing a better experience.
- Allergy Risk – Some vapers might have some allergic reactions when using e-juices with high PG concentrations. The reactions vary in severity with some as simple as tingling sensations to other more serious ones like irritations.
What is VG (Vegetable Glycerine)?
VG is an alcohol like PG. It’s also colourless and odourless, but has a sweet taste to it with a less runny consistency.
VG is often referred to as Glycerol and is non-toxic and is safe to eat. Like PG, VG has a wide range of applications mainly because of its sweetness.
- It’s used in pet food
- Used in hand creams and soaps
- Increases moisture in baked products
- Toothpaste and other dental care products
- As an alternative for sugar
- In beauty products like bubble bath, make-up, deodorant, mousse and aftershave
- As a gel for capsule pills and jellies
Needless to mention, VG is also a primary ingredient in the vape industry in making VG vape liquids.
What are the characteristics of VG E-liquid?
E-liquids with higher VG concentrations are slightly different from their PG counterparts and offer a different experience. Here is what you should expect from a VG e-liquid.
- Thicker – VG vape liquids are thicker because of the high viscosity of VG. Compared to PG vape liquids, VG varieties have a slower absorption rate which means you might have to wait a while longer between the vapes for the wicks and cartomizers to absorb the liquid.
- More Gunk – Because of the higher viscosity, VG liquids collect more gunk and clog vaporisers more easily. If you like using VG liquids, you will need to clean your equipment more regularly to prevent clogs and dry hits.
- Sweeter – VG has a sweet taste on its own. As a result, the vape juices are sweeter, and the original flavour can be harder to detect.
- Allergy Risks – As with PG blends, VG is also known to have allergic reactions on different vapers.
Key Differences Between PG and VG
There are a lot of similarities between PG and VG but there are also differences. In vaping, the differences are more important. Understanding the different experiences that each of the two compounds can provide will help you choose your next vape liquid more carefully.
PG has a stronger hit
PG has a stronger hit compared to VG. For some vapers, the stronger hit might not sound pleasant but for those that have just switched from smoking cigarettes, a strong throat hit replicates the experience of smoking better.
If the throat hit is a little too much for you to take, you can take a VG based e-liquid. They are much smoother and don’t pack a punch to your throat.
VG has better vapour production
Cloud chasers are crazy about VG blends because of the intense clouds of vapour they can produce. VG produces thicker and denser vapour making it perfect for vapers.
For new vapers, it's essential to strike a balance between flavour and clouds. With little or no VG, cloud production is limited or non-existent.
That’s why you should consider a 40 to 60% VG mix as a beginner. It gives you the right amount of clouds and flavour as well as saves you some of the VG troubles like gunk build up.
PG wicks more efficiently
VG doesn’t soak very well into wicks. It’s more viscous than PG and takes longer to reach the coil which could cause problems when you vape.
PG is better at this. It soaks rapidly and allows you to draw rapidly. However, with improved wicking, you might not notice the challenges posed by VG, especially with RTAs. But, you could have some performance problems with basic clearomisers.
PG has a better flavour
PG doesn’t have better flavour. In fact, PG has no flavour at all. This fact is what makes it ideal for flavoured juices, because it doesn’t impose its flavour on the juice. If you’re looking to maximise on flavour, PG flavours provide you with a better solution.
What Setup Should You Use?
There’s no question that PG and VG are different in many ways. But, using the right setup can help bridge the gap and enhance the benefits that each of them offers.
- Clearomizers – These are the most commonly used vape tanks. They have higher resistance coils and vape below 15 watts. When using a clearomizer like the Aspire BVC, try to stay away from high VG liquids. The coils in these types of tanks don't handle liquid starvation well and can easily lead to dry hits. Instead, go for high PG fluids or at least a 50/50 ratio.
- Sub-ohm Tanks – Sub-ohm tanks have a lot more power and are better designed to handle the strains of VG juices. Sub-ohm tanks require powerful batteries and use up the juice much faster. Because of how they are built, sub-ohm tanks are best used by advanced vapers.
- RTAs – Advanced vapers that enjoy the comfort of making their own coils can consider RTAs. RTAs give you better flexibility on the e-liquid ratio you prefer. Even though the coils you choose still matter, they are more forgiving.
What are PG/VG Ratios?
In e-juices, the composition of PG and VG is expressed as a ratio. This indicates the percentage of either compound in the e-juice. For instance, a 50/50 e-liquids have equal portions of PG and VG while a 60/40 e-liquid constitutes 60% PG and 40% VG. The same case applies to other blends like 70/30.
The order of the figures could be reversed depending on which of the two has a higher concentration. In such cases, the labels on the vape liquid will clearly indicate.
Which is the Best PG/CG Ratio?
The best PG to VG ratio differs from user to user. Choosing the best ratio is a matter of personal preference. Now that you know what each of the different compounds offer, you have a better chance of making the right choice.
Some of the factors you need to consider when making a choice are:
- Do you prefer a throat hit?
- Are looking for thick and dense clouds?
- How quickly do you want to draw?
- How do you feel about regularly cleaning your coils and atomiser?
If you’re able to answer these questions, you can comfortably pick a ratio that works for you. The next challenge will be choosing your preferred flavour.
If you still can’t figure it out, you can go with the rule of thumb which is to go for the standard range and see where your palette takes you from there. If you have any challenges, you can adjust the PG/VG ratio accordingly until you find the ratio for you.
Understanding the theoretical part of VGs and PGs is quite easy. Each of them has different benefits and downsides, and they both work differently. However, they all have the same goal which is to help you enjoy the best vaping experience ever.
It might take time for you to find your sweet spot, but you shouldn’t be discouraged. Keep trying different vape liquids with different ratios. It’s just a matter of time before you land on the right one.