PG vs VG - what you need to know

Find out what the difference between PG and VG e-liquids is and how to choose the right PG/VG mix to suit your vaping needs.

PG and VG are two terms associated with e-liquid but few people know the difference. We delve into what each term means, and show you how to choose the right PG/VG mix based on your needs.

If you use e-cigarettes, you’ll quickly become familiar with the terms VG and PG. Both are key ingredients for e-liquid, and are safe to use, but there are differences in them that it’s good to know about.

PG - Propylene glycol

PG is a thin, clear, odourless liquid, which has long been used as a food preservative, in beauty products, in pet food, in inhalers and other medical products, and to carry flavour in food and e-liquids.

E-liquids with a high PG content provide a strong throat hit, which some people compare to the feeling of smoking tobacco. Because it carries flavours so well, it’s often used in e-liquids to enhance the taste of the flavour concentrates.

A very small percentage of people can be allergic to PG, while others can experience irritation when using it in their e-cigarettes. Side effects could be a rash, shortness of breath, stomach upset or sore throat. Some of these side effects could also be caused by stopping smoking, and others could disappear after a few weeks of using e-cigarettes. It’s important to drink lots of water when you switch to an e-cigarette with a high PG count, and switch to 100% VG if the symptoms don’t fade, or if you do experience an allergic reaction like a rash.

VG - Vegetable Glycerine

Unlike PG, VG e-liquid is thick, naturally sweet and heavy, made from vegetable oil. It’s commonly used in food products, cosmetics, toothpaste, as a sweetener, and now in e-liquid.

There’s little risk of allergy to VG e-liquid, unless you are sensitive to vegetable oils like coconut or palm oil, so it’s a great alternative to PG. It also gives a smooth vaping experience, without the same strong throat hit as PG, which lots of people prefer when vaping.

One of the most enjoyable things about VG is that high VG liquid can produce great vape clouds, so it’s great if you like thick clouds when you vape. The downside to the thickness of the liquid is that it needs more power to produce the vapour, you can sometimes get a ‘burnt’ taste, and it means more regular maintenance of your e-cigarette.

Just like PG, you might find that you get a sore throat when you first start vaping high VG e-liquids or stop smoking cigarettes, but lots of water should help you.

What to choose

You’ll find that most e-liquids have a combination of PG and VG in them, to help users experience a good ratio of vapour, flavour, and throat hit.

When you first start out vaping, it can be a good idea to test out different VG/PG mixes to see which you prefer. If you want big clouds, sweetness or a smooth feeling, go for a high VG liquid or 100% VG. If you want a strong throat hit, hardly any vapour, or stronger e-liquid flavours, look for a high PG count.

Another thing to consider is the vaping kit that you use – some need a specific VG/PG mix to work properly. Always check the e-cigarette instructions to make sure you use the right blend.

You’ll soon find the perfect PG vs VG ratio for you, leaving you ready to sit back and experiment with flavours!