If you have bought e-liquid before, you may have noticed the PG and VG ratios on the front of the bottles. PG stands for Propylene Glycol and VG stands for Vegetable Glycerin, they are considered to be the main ingredients in e-liquids, so when combined they create vapour, it also carries the flavour and dictates how strong your throat hit is. The different PG:VG ratio dictates the type of effects and what type of vape kit to use the liquid with.
What is a PG?
PG is an organic compound that belongs to a group of non-toxic compounds called polyhydric alcohols. It was originally derived from the processing of mineral oil, however in the modern day it is organically synthesised through the fermentation process. PG has been widely used in various products for over 50 years due to its tasteless, odourless and having a low toxicity.
PG’s role in your e-liquids is to carry the flavour, as it is thinner than VG (Vegetable Glycerin) it allows for the flavours to meld and mix into it better therefore delivering a more potent and complex flavour profile. It also delivers what we call ‘throat hits’ which is the throat sensation that ex-smokers look for when they make the switch to vaping, as it resembles smoking a traditional cigarette.
E-liquids that contain a higher content of PG deliver less vapour and require less heat and power to evaporate. Vapers usually find that e-liquids with 50% PG is enough to give a decent throat hit, good flavour and a fair amount of vapour.
What is a VG?
VG, is also an organic compound that is a part of polyhydric alcohols. VG is slightly thicker in consistency and has a mildly sweet flavour to it; it is widely used in the food industry as a sweetener or moisturiser in soaps, toothpaste and beauty products.
VGs are put into your e-liquids to deliver a mild inhale as well as large and dense clouds. As it is a lot thicker than PG, it needs more power to vapourise to give off more vapour. Some e-liquids come with a VG content of more than 70% (sometimes at 90%!), they would be considered as ‘high VG e-liquids’.
However, the amount of VG you have in your e-liquid does have an affect on the flavour intensity, if there is not a lot of PG in the e-liquid it can make the flavour less potent. Using high VG e-liquids (70%) is about right for a mild to no throat hit while still delivering rich flavour.
PG and VG - What are the Differences?
There are a few notable differences between VGs and PGs. Firstly, the vaporising points of both PG and VG, as PG has a slightly higher vaporising point than VG (190 °C vs.160°C). PG also has the ability to produce more flavour by having a better flavour retention resulting in stronger taste.
Additionally, PG is thinner than VG therefore higher PG e-liquids have a faster absorption rate as well as a harder throat hit. This makes high PG e-liquids well suited for vapers looking for a traditional smoking experience. VG is thicker in consistency and does not absorb as quickly as PG based e-liquids, however this allows vapes to enjoy the flavour for a longer period of time.
PG can cause some irritation to those with sensitive throats so the VG is often added in higher PG concentrations to add a little thickness and create a more satisfying throat hit. VG delivers slightly more vapour than PG but it also gives off better flavour and taste. VG is great for vapers looking for an authentic vaping experience. PG is well suited for vapers intending to lower their nicotine strength whilst receiving a nice throat hit.