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PG vs VG

Propylene glycol vs vegetable glycerin

Bottles of vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol e-liquid for vaping

What is vegetable glycerine (VG) and propylene glycol (PG)?

Both PG and VG are non-toxic, organic compounds that are considered safe for human consumption. Both have been widely used for decades as food additives in a variety of commercially available food products such as cheese, cereal, ice cream and soft drinks. PG and VG make up the base of all e-liquids and are what produce the throat hit and vapour clouds when vaping.

Vegetable glycerin vs propylene glycol - what is the difference?

What is the difference between VG and PG?

Vegetable Glycerin is a thick, sweet liquid that is the main producer of large vape clouds when vaping. Due to its thick consistency smaller vaporisers struggle to absorb VG liquid and it can sometimes cause a build-up of gunk in your atomiser. Some people have allergy’s to propylene glycol and for these vapers a max VG mix recommended.

Propylene Glycol is a thin tasteless liquid which mainly produces the throat hit while vaping. It is best suited to use flavours with a higher PG concentration for smaller vaporisers as it is less likely to gunk your atomiser. Your wick absorbs the liquid faster meaning you can vape it right after filling your vaporiser. It is also more descret vaping high PG mixes as it produces less vapour clouds.

Bottle of propylene glycol used for vaping and its attributes

Key charecteristics of propylene glycol:

  • Less vapor produced – Due to PG’s lower density it produces small vapour clouds in comparison to vegetable glycerine. If you want to be discrete about your vaping and produce significantly smaller vapour clouds, using a high PG e-juice is recommended.
  • Higher flavour intensity – Unlike VG, propylene is completely tasteless. PG delivers a sharper throat hit and with this comes a slightly sharper flavour hit.
  • Stronger throat hit – If you have come from smoking cigarettes, you would be used to the harsh throat hit felt from cigarettes. PG delivers a throat hit similar to that of cigarettes. PG delivers a powerful humectant, meaning it holds a lot of moisture. Due to this it will dry your mouth and throat faster while consistently vaping.
  • Tasteless and odourless – PG does not affect or alter the flavour of your e-juice as it a odourless and tasteless substance.
  • Thinner consistency – Propylene glycol has a low viscocity with a runny consistency similar to water.
  • Lower gunk build up – The low density of PG means that there is a low chance of gunk building up on the heating components of your vaporizer. Gunk will build at a much slower pace than the thicker VG liquid.
  • Higher allergy risk – Some people are sensitive to propylene glycol as it has been known to cause allergic reactions in a small percentage of vapers. This can vary from minor reactions such as tingling sensations in your throat to unbearable scratching and burning sensations in your throat. It should be noted it is normal to experience dry throat and harsher throat hits when vaping PG. If you are experiencing unusual symptoms outside of this it’s best to stop using PG and switch to MAX VG concentrates.
  • Faster wick absorption – Due to the the low viscocity of PG, it can wick coils much faster as the cotton buds absorbs thinner liquids faster. With high PG e-liquids you will more easily be able to wick and vape right away.
Bottle of vegetable glycerin used for vaping and its attributes

Key charecteristics of vegetable glycerin

  • More vapour produced – VG is the main producer of large vape clouds. Due to its thick consistency it is capable of producing significantly more vapour than PG liquids. If you are a cloud chaser, mixes with a high VG content is best suited for you.
  • Lower flavour intensity - Unlike PG, vegetable glycerine has a slightly sugary note to it. Due to this it can slightly mask a flavours full potential, delivering a slightly lower flavour intensity to its PG counterpart.
  • Weaker throat hit – VG has a weaker throat hit than PG. If you find your flavours being a little to harsh and irritating your throat, mainly tobacco flavours, switching to a higher VG liquid should help alleviate this.
  • Slightly sugary taste and odourless – VG has a slight sweet taste to it. This sweetness makes flavours taste a little sweeter and can slightly mask the flavour. 
  • Thicker consistency – Vegetable glycerin has a thick, dense consistency similar to the density of corn syrup.
    Higher gunk build up
    – Because of VG’s thick consistency it can sometimes gunk up and clog cheaper atomisers, requiring more cleaning and replacing.
  • Low allergy risk – Vapers who have allergies to VG is very seldom in comparison to the amount of vapers with allergies to PG liquids. VG on the other hand has been known to build up more phlegm in your throat. Phlegmier coughing is common for consistent and constant high VG vaping. 
  • Slower wick absorbtion – Due to the high viscocity of VG, it takes a longer amount of time to wick cotton buds as the desner liquid is slower absorbed. It is recommended that you wait a few minutes to let the VG liquid soak into the wick before vaping as you may get a burnt harshness due to the wick not being fully wicked yet if you vape it right after wicking.

Can you mix VG and PG?

Mixing the two is very common and in most cases, they come pre-mixed together in your e-liquids. You may have often found yourself asking what 50/50, 60/40 and 70/30 means when you are looking at e-liquids to purchase. This is in reference to the VG to PG ratio in the e-liquid. When mixed together you get the best of both worlds by having the flavour intensity and throat hit of PG while also enjoying the large clouds and sweetness of VG.

What percentage of VG and PG e-liquids should I buy?

The vaping community is quite divided when it comes to the preference between VG and PG. Some vapers, mainly ex-smokers prefer the intense throat hits of PG more than the flavour and the vapour clouds of VG as it more closely mimics smoking. While others enjoy the sweet, thick vapour clouds of VG. Most vapours start off with a ratio of 50/50 VG to PG and often find as they buy box mods with larger atomisers switching to higher VG mixes such as 70/30 VG to PG as they can produce larger vape clouds on a device that can handle the thicker consistency of VG.