2021 Vape Juice Guide - Everything You Need to Know
Choosing your first vape juice can be a scary process, especially if you don’t know anything about e-liquids. Thankfully we are here to help. With eJuiceDB’s “2021 Vape Juice Guide - Everything You Need To Know,” we cover a wide range of topics, all concerning vape juices.
So, if you always wondered, what is in vape juice? What are the types of vape juice? How to choose an e-liquid flavor? All these answers and more are below.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- What is Vape Juice?
- What Is Vape Juice MadeOf?
- What is Vape Juice Nicotine Level?
- E Liquid Flavour Concentrates
- How To Choose The Best Vape Juice
- How Long is the Vape Juice Good After the Opening?
- Vape Juice Pricing
What is Vape Juice?
Vape juice, also known as e-juice, e-liquid, vape liquid, and e-cig juice, is the fluid used in electronic cigarettes and the liquid that creates the vapor. E-liquid includes four ingredients:
- Propylene glycol
- Vegetable glycerin
- Nicotine (Which is optional)
- Artificial flavorings, also known as food-grade flavorings.
This e-liquid comes in various flavors and nicotine strengths, and the percentage of the vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol found in e-juice can vary greatly. But we’ll explain all of this further down on the guide. For now, let’s start with a history lesson.
History of Vape Juice
The history of vape juice begins with a bad dream. Hon Lik, a pharmacist in China, awoke one night after numerous nightmares caused by a nicotine patch he forgot to take off. He then realized that the only viable way to create a smoke-free device was to mimic the sharp nicotine rush smoking provided and not the constant nicotine release that patches offered.
In 2003, he patented the first e-cigarette and introduced it to the Chinese market through his company. It was a quick success, which was the first time vape juice was introduced to the world.
However, little thought was put into the liquid inside the device. It was only for carrying the nicotine. But by 2006, three years after the e-cigarette was invented, all this changed with the cartomizer's invention. For the first time, users could refill the liquid inside without throwing away the whole device. And this where the market for vape juices began to grow.
One of the most prominent players at the start of the vape juice market was Dekang; the company attributed it to creating the industry's first flavors. After Dekang released the flavors, smaller companies took notice and began using these flavors and rebranding them as their own.
But it wouldn’t be until 2009 when the flavor explosion occurred, mainly due to the DIY vaping community, which began posting vape juice recipes online that used food-grade flavorings.
From their experiments, many flavors were born. As the resources for making e-juices became more readily available, vape juice companies, and vape shops, began popping up all over the world, which today provide vapers with every type of flavor imaginable.
Types of Vape Juice
There are many different types of vape juices available, and you can tell them apart by the percentage of vegetable glycerin (VG), and propylene glycol (PG) found inside each of them. For example, the most common ratio is 80% vegetable glycerin and 20% propylene glycol. Below are some of the most common types you will find in your local vape shop:
This type of vape juice is best suited for vapes that produce less heat or have a higher coil resistance, usually higher than 1.8ohm. With this type of vape juice, you can expect a more substantial throat hit but less cloud production. Nicotine level with this ratio tends to high, between 6 mg and 24 mg.
Another important type of vape juice, which uses a ratio of 50VG/50PG, is nicotine salts. Nicotine salts are different from traditional vape juice, for the single fact that it uses nicotine salts instead of freebase nicotine.
Nicotine salts are the newest trend in the world of vaping since they create a more potent head rush and have less of a throat hit, so you’re able to get a higher dose of nicotine with none of the harshness. This type of vape juice is exclusively made for pod systems with low wattage, and higher coil resistance since large amounts of nicotine need to be delivered at lower temperatures and with fewer clouds.
What Is Vape Juice Made Of?
As mentioned before, vape juice is made out of:
- Vegetable glycerin
- Propylene glycol
- Nicotine (which is optional)
- And artificial flavorings, otherwise known as food-grade flavorings.
Vegetable Glycerin is a natural chemical extracted from vegetable oils, to be more specific from soy oil, coconut oil, and palm oil. It is the ingredient in the vape juice that creates the thickness of the clouds. It is evident in color and dense. It is used in food and cosmetics products. According to the FDA, vegetable glycerin is considered “recognized as safe” (U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 2020). However, keep in mind that there are few studies on the effects of VG as an aerosol.
Propylene Glycol is an organic compound and a petroleum by-product. It has no taste or flavor, and it is less dense than vegetable glycerin. It’s used mainly in vape juice to replicate the throat hit and to carry the flavorings. It’s also used in toothpaste, medical products, pet food, shampoo, and baby wipes. According to the FDA, propylene glycol is considered “recognized as safe” (U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 2020). However, studies of its effects as an aerosol are still inconclusive.
Nicotine is an organic compound extracted from the tobacco plant. It is the active ingredient in cigarettes and cigars, which caused the head rush. It is highly addictive because it works as both a stimulant and tranquilizer (The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica, n.d.). Keep in mind that the nicotine in vape juice is optional and goes from 0mg to 24mg.
Artificial flavorings are what give the aroma and flavor to your favorite vape juices. Most vape juice manufacturers use ‘food grade’ or ‘GRAS’ flavoring concentrates approved by FEMA (Flavor extracts manufacturers association). Still, the long term effects of artificial flavorings are relatively unknown, especially when being inhaled.
PG vs. VG
As we explained earlier in the guide, the different types of vape juices available are created using different percentages of propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin. In this section, we’ll explore the advantages and disadvantages of using PG versus VG are.
- Cloud Production: If you want more significant clouds, you have to go with a higher VG percentage. Since VG gives clouds their thickness, a high VG vape juice is also ideal for cloud chasers, which seek to make immense clouds possible.
- Throat Hit: If you want a sharper experience, similar to smoking, with a more harsh throat hit, then you need a higher percentage of PG. Since PG is less dense, it will provide you with a drier throat hit.
- Flavor: If you’re looking to flavor chase, you might get a better taste with a slightly higher PG percentage. PG is odorless and tasteless. It allows for the artificial flavorings to be the star of the show. Although, to be frank, some great flavored vape juices use a higher percentage of VG.
- Viscosity: A higher percentage of consistency will mean that more gunk will be stored in your coils, which will lessen their lifespan. Usually, vape juice with more VG will create more gunk, while a vape juice with more PG will cause less gunk.
Vape Juice Flavors
There are thousands of vape juice flavors. From fruit flavors to chocolate to even Red Bull flavored vape juices. If it’s edible or drinkable, there’s probably a flavor of vape juice for it. Below you can find some of the most common flavor categories.
Perhaps one of the most popular vape juice flavor categories. From mango to apple to combinations such as blueberries and raspberries, fruit-flavored vape juices seem to be among the most well-liked types available.
Candy-flavored vape juices are a close second in terms of popularity. And it’s pretty obvious why, from gummy worms to Laffy Taffys to powdered candy, you can even find candy-flavored vape juice flavor that tastes exactly like Sour Heads.
Dessert vape juice flavors are perfect for people with a sweet tooth. You get to try delicious renditions of various desserts, from cannolis to pies, to even Asian desserts, and the best part is that you don’t put on any weight.
Menthol vape juice flavors are most commonly reserved for vapers who like to stick to the classics. Although there are strictly mint and menthol flavors, there are also exciting combinations like strawberry menthol or mint ice cream flavors that will soothe your throat.
If you love yogurt, you’re in luck since some of the most delicious vape juices combine yogurt. For example, there are tons of parfait flavors, as well as other combinations with cereals. However, some of the most beloved renditions are simply fruit yogurts, which are only strawberry flavored, for example.
Don’t knock the seasoning flavored vape juices until you try them. You might find yourself enjoying a delicious cinnamon vape juice, or a honey-flavored e-liquid, or even a sugar one. Plus, their combinations with other flavors often make for tasty and complex flavor profiles.
Tobacco flavors are for the purists. Not everyone wants an overtly sweet taste with their nicotine; that’s why there are many options for classic tobacco flavors. Still, for those who would like to dip their toes trying new flavors, there are also combinations with surprisingly good tobacco.
From Gatorade to lemonade, almost every drink you can think of has a vape juice counterpart, and they are equally delicious. There’s also energy drink and coffee vape juices, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Nostalgic and delicious, cereal vape juices are among the most sought after vape juices in the market. With renditions that imitate fruity loops, frost flakes, fruity pebbles, and lucky charms, it's no wonder this flavor category is one of the favorites.
While you might think that you wouldn't try nut flavored vape juices, consider some of the most famous combinations with nuts; Peanut butter and jelly, banana nut bread, and even trail mix. Those are some pretty good flavors if you ask us.
Some fine alcohol flavored vape juices are in the alcohol vape juice category, from the delicious flavor notes of pina colada to bourbon's dark notes. And the best part, no hangover.
The foundation of most desserts, custard, is the inspiration behind some of the most decadent vape juices available in the market. From cakes to puddings, custard flavored vape juices do not disappoint.
How Are The Best Flavors Created?
Most flavors that make it to market go through a rigorous process before they are sent off to vape shops worldwide. After long hours of research and experimentation, flavors that make it out of the vape juice companies' labs must go through user testing.
This testing could mean bringing in a focus group to do an initial flavor testing to see if the taste is a hit or flavor testing. If the flavor passes this initial test, then it is most likely distributed in a test market to see how it performs. If the flavor passes this second test, then it most likely becomes a vape juice flavor you'll be able to find in your local vape shop.
Does Organic Vape Juice Exist?
If the vape juice has propylene glycol, it cannot be organic since propylene glycol is a synthetic compound derived from petroleum. Since most vape juices use PG, it's impossible to describe them as organic. The same goes for flavorings, which are all artificial.
There’s also the fact that some vape juices use nicotine that has synthetic additives, which makes the nicotine synthetic and therefore not organic. Although nicotine extracts organically, this process is costly.
Finally, for something to be 100% organic, it needs to be certified and regulated by a government agency. In the United States, this happens to be the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and in the U.K., it’s the Soil Association. Because these agencies make it extremely difficult to obtain 100% organic certification, very few vape juice companies are 100% organic.
However, there is one ingredient in a vape juice that can be organic, vegetable glycerin. Since vegetable glycerin is made from vegetable oils, you can technically have a 100% V.G. vape juice that is 100% organic.
So, if you’re looking for a vape juice that is 100% organic, it will most likely be a maxed-out V.G. vape juice that has no nicotine, no P.G., and no flavorings.
What is Vape Juice Nicotine Level?
The nicotine level is the level of nicotine that goes into your vape juice. It usually displays as milligrams of nicotine or mg. Although, you might also find it as a percentage. Whether you see it as mg or as a percentage, in the end, it represents the same thing, the amount of nicotine that goes in each milliliter of e-liquid.
For example, if you have a bottle with 5mg/ml of nicotine, you would have 5mg of nicotine for each milliliter found in your e-liquid bottle. If this bottle were 10ml, you would multiply the milligrams of nicotine per the milliliters, which would be 10, so the bottle would have a total of 50mg or 5.0% nicotine.
It’s essential to consider the amount of nicotine in your vape juice since this can directly affect your vaping experience and determine what level is best to curb your nicotine cravings.
Vape Juice Nicotine Strengths
The nicotine strength you end up using can depend on several factors. How your body absorbs nicotine, the vape device you use, whether you use nicotine salts or traditional vape juice, among other things. However, below you can find an approximation of how many cigarettes each nicotine level represents.
- 0mg/ml: Zero milligrams equals zero cigarettes. This level was created so people who want to stop using nicotine can kick the habit by slowly lowering their nicotine level until they reach zero nicotine.
- 3mg/ml: A relatively small amount of nicotine was created for vapers that smoked less than ten cigarettes a day.
- 6mg/ml: This amount of nicotine equals about half a pack of cigarettes a day.
- 12mg/ml: When you're vaping 12mg, you're vaping about a group of cigarettes a day.
- 18mg/ml or higher: If you're vaping 18mg, cigarettes' equivalent would be about a pack and a half a day.
E-Liquid Flavour Concentrates
If you’re looking to get into DIY vape juice making, you should learn about e-liquid flavor concentrates. e-liquid flavor concentrates are the already mixed flavorings that take the hassle out of creating that perfect combination. With e-liquid flavor concentrates, you only need to add nicotine, vegetable glycerin, propylene glycol, and you’re good to go.
Pros of Flavour Concentrates
Some of the pros of using flavor concentrate include:
- You’ll always have a perfect mix.
- They are easy to use.
- You’ll save money by not wasting money on flavorings or buying the ready-made vape juice.
- You can recreate your favorite vape juices.
Cons of Flavour Concentrates
Some of the cons of using flavor concentrate include:
- You won’t be creating exciting new flavors
- It takes longer to make compared to buying already made vape juices
- You’ll need to invest in mixing equipment
How to Use Vape Juice Concentrates
Here’s how you mix flavor concentrates step by step.
- First, you’ll need the following items. You’ll need a bottle of propylene glycol, a bottle of vegetable glycerin, and strongly concentrated nicotine to use as a base. You’ll also need flat-tipped syringes, large gauge needles, and scales. Finally, you should also have plastic bottles to store the final mixes in.
- The biggest challenge at the beginning of the DIY e-liquid making process is getting the ratios right. However, this process is made simple using a vaping calculator like the one found in Steam-Engine.
- Next, you’ll want to input the size of the bottle you want to make, your nicotine strength, and VG or PG based, you target nicotine strength and your PV/VG ratio. You’ll also need to input the percentage of flavoring concentrate you want on your e-liquid. Most bottles come with a recommended rate, so follow the share on the bottle. If there is no percentage on the bottle, a good rule of thumb is to use between 15% to 18%. On the right-hand side of the calculator, you’ll see the recipe section, which will tell you how much of each ingredient you have to add.
- Using accurate scales, measure all the ingredients, then pour them into an empty bottle. Shake the bottle until all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed, and voila, you’re ready to enjoy your first DIY vape juice.
How to choose the best Vape Juice?
Although there is no science behind choosing the best vape juice, there are some things you should keep in mind when choosing your first e-liquid. These are:
- Nicotine level
- VG/PG Ratio
Since we already covered the VG/PG ratios in the “Types of Vape Juice” section above, we’ll just focus on flavor and nicotine level.
What flavor should I choose?
The question comes up often, and in the world of vaping, where you can almost technically find any flavor, it’s hard to settle on a flavor you want to vape. That’s why we recommend that you first go with what you know you like.
If you know you like vanilla bean ice cream, then, by all means, try to choose a vanilla-flavored vape juice. If you don’t want any fruit or candy-flavored vape and would instead stick to the original taste of tobacco, by all means, go with a tobacco flavored vape juice. There is no wrong, or right answer here as the flavor each like is always subjective.
What Nicotine percentage should I start with?
Although we can approximate how many cigarettes per day equals nicotine, just like the flavor, this is a highly personal preference. It is not only because of how much nicotine you like in your vape but also because everyone absorbs nicotine differently. Everyone has a different device that delivers nicotine differently.
So to answer the question of how much nicotine percentage you should start with, we recommended you start low and make your way up. If you feel like 10mg is not enough, bump up the nicotine to 12mg and see how it feels.
What are the effects of each nicotine level?
As stated earlier, everyone has a different reaction to nicotine, it’s hard to say how each nicotine level will affect you. We know that too low a nicotine level will have you compensating by vaping more often to curb your nicotine addiction. Too high a nicotine level might expose you to too much nicotine, and this can cause dizziness, headaches, and nausea.
Does Vape Juice Expire?
In short, yes, vape juice can expire. One way you can tell that the vape juice has passed is if it looks darker than usual. Another way to know that the vape juice has expired is if the flavor is dull and tasteless. However, just like most products, the way to tell if vape juice is passed is by checking the bottles’ expiration date. Usually, vape juices are good two years after their born on date or expiration date.
Steeping Your Vape Juice
Vape juice steeping is the process of aging the vape juice away from sunlight to achieve a peak flavor profile. When the tea is steeped, this process helps the ingredients in vape juice come together and blend thoroughly, so the flavor becomes more complex and profound.
How To Steep Vape Juice
Although steeping is used more for DIY vape juice mixing, you can also steep already mixed vape juices. Here’s how you steep vape juice:
- Grab your bottle of vape juice and shake it thoroughly.
- Please put it in a dark, cold place, preferably a cabinet.
- Wait one week, but while you wait, intermittently shake it up and put it back on the cabinet.
- If the vape juice has gone a bit darker, then it should be ready.
Why Is the Vape Juice Turning Dark?
Vape juice turns dark because of nicotine oxidation. As nicotine is exposed to air and light, it breaks down and becomes brown. This is a natural reaction that occurs to every vape juice, so you shouldn’t be alarmed. Also, keep in mind that the more nicotine your vape juice has, the darker the vape juice will become.
How Long is the Vape Juice Good After The Opening?
Most manufacturers and vape enthusiasts state that vape juice can last up to two years after it is first opened. Of course, this all depends on storing the vape juice and how much you use it
How Long Does Vape Juice Last?
How long a vape juice lasts will depend on many factors. What kind of vape you use, how often you vape, and the nicotine strength you prefer all play a part in how long an e-liquid can last. However, if we were to estimate, a bottle of 30ml usually lasts about a month.
Is it Safe to Vape Expired Vape Juice?
Although no studies on the effects of vaping expired vape juice have been completed, it’s most likely not dangerous. Still, you shouldn’t try it. If you have an older bottle than two years old, we recommend throwing it out and buying a new one.
How to Properly Store Vape Juice?
If you want to extend the lifespan of your vape juice and properly store it, we recommend the following things:
Store it in a dark place away from sunlight.
After using, always close the cap tightly.
Do not shake it or move it if possible.
The Bottle Type Matter: Plastic vs. Glass
Believe it or not, the type of bottle that comes with the e-liquid matters. There are two main types of bottles that come with vape juices, plastic and glass bottles. Both of the bottles have unique characteristics that set them apart.
For example, plastic bottles are great for short-term storage, and they won’t break like glass. They’re also less expensive. However, they are not ideal for long-term storage since light and air can penetrate plastic more easily. Not to mention that plastic tends to degrade, which can affect the taste of the vape juice.
Glass bottles, on the other hand, are great for long-term storage, but they tend to be more expensive. Still, because glass is thicker than plastic, light and air won’t penetrate (that’s why wine is stored in glass bottles), which will extend shelf life.
Vape Juice Pricing
Vape juice runs from $10 to $30; however, many factors can affect the price. For example, the type of bottle it comes in (glass or plastic), the bottle size, if it’s been pre-steeped, and the type of ingredients used.
Economic vs. Premium E-Juice
While premium e-juice brands might come with flashier, more expensive packing, and in glass bottles, economy brands can taste just as good. Since almost all vape juices use the same ingredients, whether a brand is considered premium or not often comes down to the flavor, and since the flavor is subjective, you might find yourself being a fan of an economy brand. As long as you think it tastes good, that’s all that matters.
Now that you know everything there is to know about vape juices, all that’s left to do is going out there and buying your first vape juice. But remember that you might not find that perfect vape juice right away, and that’s okay. This is a hit and miss process, and only by trying different kinds of e-liquid will you find that perfect all day vape.
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2020, April 1). CFR - Code of Federal Regulations Title 21. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=182.1320&SearchTerm=glycerin
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2020b, April 1). CFR - Code of Federal Regulations Title 21. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/cfrsearch.cfm?fr=184.1666
- The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. (n.d.). Nicotine | chemical compound. Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved January 20, 2021, from https://www.britannica.com/science/nicotine
DISCLAIMER: EjuiceDB articles and blogs are meant to entertain and educate. However, we are not medical professionals and do not intend to give medical advice through them. Furthermore, Vaping products and nicotine use are only meant for persons over the age of 21.
Children, breastfeeding and pregnant women, persons with risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, or that take medications especially for depression or asthma should not use nicotine or vaping products. Always consult a licensed physician prior to use.