There are many aspects of vaping that are extremely and often unnecessarily complex, from vape kits, to coil compatibility, tanks to technical mods. What is often overlooked though, is the nuance of e-liquid and the different types. When choosing an e-liquid as a first time vaper, many questions arise; what is the best liquid for a beginner? Will this liquid work with my kit? What does a coil have to do with the liquid I use?
It can be overwhelming, and that paralysis of choice can cause frustration for first timers, which in turn might leave you thinking – I’m just gonna carry on smoking, it’s so much more simple.
NO, STOP RIGHT THERE!
Fortunately for you and the fact you’re still reading, we have the answers to your questions. So let’s start off with the basics, what types of e-liquid are there?
Types of E-liquid
Nicotine Salt E-Liquid
In short, Nicotine Salt is the naturally found nicotine in tobacco leaves. This Salt is then extracted, processed and bottled into and mixed with a few ingredients to create a special type of e-liquid “nic salts”. Whilst most people think that nicotine is a seriously harmful chemical, it is actually tobacco and other toxins that is the reason that cigarettes are so harmful to humans.
Nic Salts are in our opinion, the single most effective type of e-liquid for quitting smoking. They haven’t been around all that long, but boy are they helpful. Why you ask? Well due to the way nic salts are made and the fact they are more pure, they are absorbed into the bloodstream much faster than regular e-liquid.
We go into more technical detail in our post on nic salts, but for simplicity we’ll leave the technical stuff out here.
Why are Nic Salts always 10ml?
One question we’re asked a lot is if we have any 50ml Nic Salts. People ask this and it’s a very valid question.
Due to regulation governed by the European Union, namely the Tobacco Products Directive, any e-liquids containing nicotine cannot be sold in a greater volume than 10ml. Therefore, due to the very nature of nic salts containing nicotine, you can’t buy them above 10ml. You can however buy “nic salt shots” which are just nic shots in nicotine salt form.
So who are Nic Salts for?
Without doubt, Nic Salts are for beginners and first time switchers. The reason for this is that nic salts allow you to vape high levels of nicotine which is needed to replicate cigarette cravings at first. If you were to vape nicotine at 20mg and it wasn’t a nic salt, you would have a seriously harsh throat hit. Nic salt liquid stops this and allows for high MG of nicotine, without killing your throat.
This doesn’t mean you can’t use nic salts if you’re an advanced vaper, you definitely can. But the chances are, you already know about nic salts and either still use them, or have moved on to bigger and better things. Now, onto the next one…
Freebase Nicotine Liquid
Freebase nicotine liquid is another type of e-liquid that instead of using nic salts, uses something called Freebase Nicotine. It’s worth noting at this point, that it’s the nicotine that is freebase, not necessarily the liquid itself. Freebase nicotine can be seen as the step after nic salts. To make freebase nicotine, the salt from the tobacco leaf would need to be purified into pure or freebase form. In simple terms, freebase is purified nic salts.
Now whilst you might think, well isn’t that a good thing? Pure nicotine, surely that’s most effective? Actually, it’s not.
The key issue with freebase nicotine is that it is very difficult to comfortably consume at high concentrations (mg). This makes high mg freebase e-liquids extremely harsh to your throat. For example, you can comfortably vape 20mg Nic Salt without a throat burn, with freebase you couldn’t do that. Most people therefore vape freebase at around 3-6mg nicotine content.
Is freebase or Nic Salt’s better?
A great question, but a subjective one. If you are a beginner, Nic Salts are infinitely better because you simply won’t be able to vape high mg freebase nicotine which you will likely need if you are a heavy smoker making the switch. Without this high mg, you will find it difficult to keep your cravings at bay. Many people start with Nic Salt e-liquid and then switch to freebase as they decrease their nicotine consumption over time.
We’ve covered Nic Salts and Freebase Nicotine e-liquid, but one question still looms – what are shortfills?
Shortfill e-liquid is a bottle of e-liquid that comes in “short” that has space to “fill” with nicotine shots. Simply put, it is an e-liquid with no nicotine in a bottle that has spare space for you to add nicotine. Vapers will add their own nicotine strength to shortfill e-liquids, mix it in the bottle to produce a nicotine strength desired.
Shortfill e-liquid normally comes in 50ml, 100ml or 200ml format. There is typically room for 1 x 10ml nicotine shot in a 50ml shortfill, and 2 x 10ml nicotine in a 100ml shortfill. This is not universal, but normally bottle sizes have capacity for 60ml e-liquid and 120ml e-liquid totals.
The Vape.co.uk Guide to Nicotine:
Due to TPD regulation, nicotine cannot be sold in e-liquid bottles of greater than 10ml volume. Therefore, shortfill e-liquid If bought in the EU or UK should never have pre-mixed nicotine. If you do encounter this, we recommend avoiding this as it is likely not a regulated product.
Who are shortfill liquids best for?
Shortfill e-liquids are typically used by more experienced vapers that have discovered their preferred flavour and vaping style. Advanced vapers usually use different VG/PG ratios to beginners, to achieve greater cloud production and more dense flavour. Shortfill e-liquids typically have a high VG ratio, meaning they are more suited to coils with resistances of less than one Ohm – this is also known as Sub-Ohm vaping.
You can use shortfill e-liquids as a beginner, but we recommend you stick with Nic Salts if you are new to vaping for the reasons mentioned above.
What e-liquid is best for my kit?
So all of this leads us here – what liquid should you use with that new kit you’re thinking of getting? What if you’re a beginner?
The short answer to this is, it depends. Much like most things to do with vaping, it’s never that simple.
The type of kit you have is almost always less important than the coils you use. Coils are the most important factor when choosing e-liquid.
If you buy a starter kit, most of these will be compatible with Nic Salt E-liquids, generally the more complex and expensive the kit the more likely shortfill e-liquid will be best suited.
As a safe and simple rule…
If your coil is above 1.0Ohm in resistance, Nic Salt is perfect for your kit. If it is below this but it is a pod kit, this is usually fine too. If your coil Ohm is below 1.0Ohm resistance and it is not a pod kit, we recommend using either freebase or shortfill e-liquid with a high VG.
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