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WARNING: This product contains nicotine. Nicotine is an addictive chemical.

Gift Battle: Nicotine Salts VS Freebase Nicotine

Gift Battle: Nicotine Salts VS Freebase Nicotine

Perhaps the newest craze in the vaping world is nicotine salts. But are nicotine salts that much better than traditional freebase nicotine? Which of the two is more cost-effective, and which is more convenient? In this blog, we’ll put nicotine salts vs. e-juices (or freebase nicotine) head to head to see which one is the better product. 

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction to Both Products
  2. Benefits and Drawbacks of Freebase Nicotine
  3. Benefits and Drawbacks of Nicotine Salts
  4. The Difference in Price
  5. The Difference in Convenience
  6. Conclusion 

Introduction to both products

Freebase nicotine and nicotine salts are two types of nicotine, but that’s pretty much where the similarity ends. In truth, they have strengths and weaknesses to set them apart. In this section, we’ll explain what freebase nicotine is and what nicotine salts are.

What is freebase nicotine?

Freebase nicotine was invented in the 1960s by Phillip Morris, the company that owns Malboro. Freebase nicotine is the nicotine changed from its natural salt state into its purest form or base state. Researchers remove the protons that prevent it from moving freely through the body, therefore creating freebase nicotine, allowing the nicotine to be (when heated) more potent and addictive and allows it to reach the lungs and brain faster. 

Freebase nicotine is the most widely used type of nicotine found in cigarettes, gum, and nicotine patches. In vaping, freebase nicotine is commonly used in all traditional e-juices. 

What is salt nicotine?

Nicotine in its most natural state is salt nicotine. In other words, it’s the state of nicotine in tobacco leaves. Although, as we mentioned above, in its natural state, salt nicotine can not move freely through the body, recently, scientists discovered how to make nicotine salts more bioavailable (or more easily absorbed by our bodies). 

The key to making nic salts move freely through the body lies in adding benzoic acid to nicotine salts. Benzoic acid transforms nic salts and makes them more absorbable by the body, lowers their pH levels, and allows nic salts to be vaporized at lower temperature levels. Users can have a similar experience to smoking combustible cigarettes. 

Benefits and Drawbacks of Freebase Nicotine

There are many benefits and drawbacks to each of these nicotine types. Let’s start with the drawbacks and benefits of freebase nicotine. 

Freebase Nicotine has the following drawbacks:

  1. Has a lower absorption rate: It takes longer to reach the brain and lungs, which might make it less effective (when trying to replicate cigarette smoking) than nicotine salts.
  2. It is harsh on the throat at higher dosages: If you were to vape the same dose of nicotine as nicotine salts but as freebase nicotine, it would be harsh on the throat since freebase nicotine has higher pH levels.
  3. It has a shorter shelf life: Since it is more unstable than nicotine salts, it has a shorter shelf life.

It requires high power devices: Freebase nicotine requires devices with higher wattage to properly vaporize it. In contrast, nicotine salts can be vaporized with lower power devices, which are cheaper.

Freebase nicotine has the following benefits: 

  1. Can handle more complex flavors: This means that you’ll be able to detect more flavor notes when vaping as opposed to nicotine salts that can’t contain complex flavors as quickly. 
  2. Large cloud production: Freebase nicotine also creates large clouds, something that nicotine salts can not do. 
  3. Less expensive: Freebase nicotine also tends to be cheaper by volume than nicotine salts. 
  4. More flavors available: Since nicotine salts are relatively new, there are more flavors of traditional e-juice on the market than nicotine salts. 

Benefits and Drawbacks of Nicotine Salts

Now that you know the benefits and drawbacks of freebase nicotine, let’s explore the strengths and weaknesses of nicotine salts:

Nicotine salts have the following disadvantages:

  1. Tend to be more expensive by volume: Nicotine salts, as opposed to traditional e-juice, which uses freebase nicotine, and tends to be more expensive by volume. 
  2. Can only be used in low-wattage devices: While freebase nicotine can be used with all kinds of vapes, nic salts are better suited to low-wattage devices since high power devices, if used with nicotine salts, will deliver a dangerous rush of nicotine to the body, which could create an overdose.
  3. Less cloud production: If you want to make large clouds, nic salts will not do since they use low wattage devices.
  4. Easier to get a nicotine overdose: With nicotine salts, it is easier to get a nicotine overdose since the hits are smooth and almost unnoticeable. 

Nicotine salts have the following benefits

  1. Have a longer shelf life: Because nicotine salts are in their natural state, they are less volatile and last longer. 
  2. Ideal for new vapers: A great benefit of nicotine salts is that they are ideal for new vapers giving up smoking. Since nicotine salts create a sensation that is closer to smoking (and provide higher dosages of nicotine), smokers find this vaping more enjoyable. 
  3. Smoother at higher dosages: Since nicotine salts aren’t harsh on the throat, they are easier to ingest and result in a smooth inhale.
  4. Allow for higher nicotine strengths: Nicotine salts allow for higher nicotine levels, which is essential for ex-heavy smokers who need that added dosage of nicotine when vaping. 

The Difference in Price

If we were to compare both types of nicotine just on price alone, freebase nicotine would win. Although e juices can be more expensive, e juices come with more nicotine by volume than nic salts, which come in small quantities and don’t last as long. 

Also, pod systems use nicotine salts, which utilize pods and cartridges that can be more expensive than traditional e-juice and don’t have as much e-juice. For example, a pod might have 1.3ml of liquid while a bottle of e-juice comes with 30ml.

The Difference in Convenience

Although freebase nicotine is more cost-effective when it comes to convenience, nic salts would win. Because e-juices refill manually, this makes them have a higher upkeep than nic salts. 


So, which one is better? Well, the answer is that they both serve a purpose when it comes to vaping. Nicotine salts are excellent for new vapers looking to replicate cigarette smoking, and e-juices with freebase nicotine provide veteran vapers with various flavors in low nicotine levels. 

But remember that there are no rules or laws to vaping. If you find yourself enjoying nic salts more than freebase nicotine, by all means, continue, and if you find yourself a fan of freebase nicotine, then carry on. Everybody absorbs nicotine differently, so there is no right or wrong type of nicotine. As long you’re enjoying your vaping experience, that’s all that matters.


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.

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Andres Roman

Andres Roman is a content writer with 3+ years of experience, a former 3 pack a week smoker who used vaping to kick the habit, he now wants to educate the world about vaping. You can find him on Linkedin and Twitter.