Propylene Glycol (PG) vs Vegetable Glycerin (VG)
Propylene Glycol, also known as PG and Vegetable Glycerin, also known as VG, are the terms linked with e-juice and are confusing to the newcomer. But knowing these can benefit you and help build your vaping experience. Through this article, you will understand the terms PG and VG and how these devices give you vaping experience.
What are PG and VG
PG and VG are odorless liquids blended with flavors and nicotine to form vape juice flavors. These belong to the alcohol chemical class classified as sugar alcohols. These liquids have somewhat different consistency with slightly different tastes. Technically both PG and VG belong to the alcohol chemical class and are classified as sugar alcohol. These generate different mouth and throat sensations when vaped. Many modern e-liquid use a combination of two fluids in varying ratios.
Propylene Glycol (PG)
Propylene glycol is a petroleum product. It is fluid with no odor or color and is less viscous than VG. While vaping, it gives a throat hit. While some users consider it similar to the sensation experienced while smoking tobacco, it carries more flavor effects than VG. This makes it a commonly used suspension fluid for flavor concentrates and nicotine.
What is Propylene Glycol (PG)?
Propylene Glycol is a viscous, colorless liquid and is odorless but has a sweet flavor. It can dissolve substances well and retain moisture to make it a great additive to certain products. In basic terms, it has a synthetic liquid additive used in different products to offer beneficial effects. It's also used in many food products. It can increase the shelf life of foods and prevent the same from depletion. It also prevents food from drying and ingredients from separating. You can also use it in cosmetics, topical creams, injectable medications, and other hygiene products.
In vaping liquids, you can pair the same with vegetable glycerin (VG) to create the base of all e-liquids. The PG also works as an emulsifier to retain the ingredients of the e-liquid mixed. Also, it works well with the product that can get vaporized and inhaled and act as a thickening agent.
Key Characteristics of PG
Propylene Glycol (PG) is a chemical compound with the molecule formula C3H802. It contains solvent and hygroscopic properties, toxicity, high boiling and freezing points, and viscosity. It dissolves a vast range of substances like organic compounds and inorganic materials.
Propylene glycol contains tiny levels of toxicity and is considered safe for various applications, including food, pharmaceuticals, and personal care products. It makes it suitable for use in items that come into contact with humans and animals.
High Boiling and Freezing Points
Propylene glycol has a relatively high boiling point of around 188.2 degrees Celsius (370.8 degrees Fahrenheit) and a freezing point of around -59 degrees Celsius (-74.2 degrees Fahrenheit). These characteristics make it useful in applications requiring stable liquid form at high and low temperatures.
It is also a highly viscous liquid as it allows it to function as a thickening agent in certain products, offering texture and consistency. It also acts as a lubricant in particular applications.
More Throat Hit
PG vape hits a sharp throat while vaping. Smokers can feel the “kick” at the back of the throat, and PG offers more than VG.
Choosing the right vape juice prevents gunk buildup. Also, PG-based liquids generally form less coil gunk while using a sub-ohm tank, you should not switch to a high PG-based juice. A low VG juice gives you dry hits, so you should ask how to stop your coil from building up gunk. For this, you can try using a 50/50 blend of VG/PG. It increases the lifespan of the coil.
An allergic reaction to PG is uncommon and anticipated to present in around 3.5% of individuals. Propylene glycol contact allergy might be more prevalent in atopic patients and others with compromised skin.
Faster Wick Absorption
On account of the low viscosity of PG, it can wick coils quickly as the cotton buds absorb thinner liquids quickly. And with high PG e-liquids, you can wick and vape easily.
PG is considered a flavorless compound and does not contribute to any taste or flavor of the products in which it is used.
In context to e-liquids, it is also combined with other ingredients to generate different flavors. These flavorings combined with ingredients create different flavors and are added to e-liquid to provide its taste and aroma. PG is used as a carrier or base ingredient that helps distribute the flavorings and deliver them when the e-liquid is vaporized.
It also has a thin consistency and a sweet taste providing a smooth and pronounced flavor experienced when combined with flavorings in e-liquid.
How is Propylene Glycol Used?
Propylene Glycol is found in many household items like nicotine inhalers, oral hygiene products and toothpaste, medical products, pet food, and beauty products.
Is PG safe to ingest?
Studies have revealed that PG is safe to ingest orally, and the FDA has deemed it safe to be used as a food additive. However many studies into the safety of propylene glycol look at ingestion instead of consuming it in vapor form.
Does PG have any side effects?
Though Propylene glycol allergy symptoms have disastrous effects, propylene glycol does not. It is harmless for some and can generate unpleasant side effects. Some might have allergy reactions to it like
Many of these symptoms are more sensitive to PG than propylene glycol allergy which can likely cause allergic contact dermatitis. Studies showed around 2% of vapers are PG-sensitive.
VG also known as Vegetable Glycerin is a natural oil generated from vegetable oils. It's best for vegetarian consumption generally used in e-liquid to give a “thick” sensation to vapor and has a sweet taste, and is also thicker than PG. Vegetable Glycerin offers a much smooth throat hit than Propylene Glycol, making it best for sub-ohm vaping. Nicotine and flavorings are least present in PG.
What is Vegetable Glycerin (VG)?
Vegetable Glycerin is thicker than Propylene Glycol. Due to this, it gets difficult to prevent clogging in the vape pen while using primarily VG-based e-liquid. VG is also sweeter than PG, meaning it can impact the flavor of the e-liquid. It also offers thicker vapor density meaning the plumes of vape generated when using a VG-based e-liquid are more voluminous than those generated using a PG-based e-liquid. Primarily VG mixes might be tasteless but has sweet undertones. You can use the same in e-liquids, cosmetic products, and foods.
Key Characteristics of VG
VG is one of the main components of e-liquid or vape juice. It is a clear and odorless liquid derived from palm oil, coconut oil, or soybean oil. VG contains vegetable glycerin known as glycerol. It is a sugar alcohol and consists of hydrogen, oxygen atoms, and carbon with the chemical formula C3H803.
VG is a thick and viscous liquid with a syrup-like consistency. Its high viscosity helps create dense vapor clouds when heated in a vape device.
Vegetable glycerin's function is to produce vapor. When heated, VG vaporizes and creates visible clouds of vapor which are associated with vaping.
VG has a naturally sweet taste. Its sweetness contributes to the overall flavor profile of an e-liquid, though not as pronounced as the flavors added to the vape juice.
VG offers a much smoother and less harsh throat. This characteristic makes VG preferable for individuals who prefer a milder vaping experience.
VG is considered safe to consume and widely used in various industries, including food and pharmaceuticals. Some individuals may have allergies or sensitivities to it, although such cases are relatively rare.
You can use VG with propylene glycol (PG) in e-liquids with varying ratios of VG and PG, which affect the vaping experience. Higher VG ratios (e.g., 70% VG or higher) tend to produce denser vapor clouds, while higher PG ratios provide stronger throat hits and carry flavors more prominently.
VG is recommended for those new to vaping, and they get a less intense vaping experience. VG e-liquids are also thicker than PG e-liquids, which makes them easy to wick and vape. It also generates a higher vaporization temperature than PG means it needs more heat to convert VG into vapor. As a result, when the vape device coil heats the e-liquid containing VG it generates more vapor.
VG has thick consistency in contrast to other components generally used in e-liquids like propylene glycol (PG). VG is also a viscous liquid containing a syrup-like texture, while PG is thick and watery. It got its thickness due to its molecular nature, as it has many hydroxyl groups, contributing to its high viscosity.
It is also dense and more resistant to flow. Its thicker consistency is one of the factors that contribute to producing dense vapor clouds when heated in a vape device. Viscosity also allows VG to retain moisture for the creation of larger droplets when vaporized, causing vapor plumes commonly associated with vaping.
VG does taste sweeter. It is also used as a sweetener in some food products and beverages for it has a naturally sweet taste. However, its sweetness is generally mild, and when used as a component in e-liquids or vape juices, it contributes to the overall vape experience.
How is Vegetable Glycerin used?
VG is one of the chief components used in e-liquids or vape juices. It is combined with other ingredients to create e-liquid and is also responsible for generating vapor when heated in a vaping device. VG also produces a less harsh throat hit than PG providing a smoother sensation while inhaling a vapor.
VG in e-liquids helps reduce the harshness that some vapers might experience and act as a carrier for flavorings in e-liquids. There can also be variation in VG ratios in e-liquids depending on personal preference and the desired vaping experience. E-liquids with higher VG ratios also produce dense vapor clouds.
Is it safe to ingest?
Vegetable Glycerin is safe for humans and approved by the FDA. It is used in many food items and other applications. Only in rare cases or minor throat inflammation or skin irritation discontinue using it. It is also safe to inhale but when intended in e-liquids. But its long-term effects are still being studied and are a topic of ongoing research, and some might also have allergies or sensitivities to VG though this is relatively rare.
Does it have any side effects?
VG is generally safe for consumption and inhalation when used, it can cause side effects or reactions. Some individuals might get allergic reactions to VG, dry mouth or thirst increased cough, and blood sugar levels.
Key Characteristics of Different VG/PG Ratios?
The VG/PG (Vegetable Glycerin/Propylene Glycol) ratio can impact key characteristics. Some are associated with different VG/PG ratios:
VG and PG are linked with cloud chasing due to their ability to generate dense and voluminous vapor clouds. It is generally concerned with vaping at higher wattages, which can increase power consumption and strain on the device and battery. Cloud chasing might require safety precautions like battery handling, getting acquainted with Ohm’s Law, and using adequate devices and materials.
If you enjoy a sharp throat hit while vaping, you would prefer having a high PG vape, and opt for Max PG or 10 VG/90 PG. You will get strong flavors and throat hits but at the expense of cloud production.
A high level of VG fluid gives a much smoother feeling on the throat with a substantially thicker mouth feel. You also cannot feel the presence of flavors in VG fluids but can counter the same by using power to generate more vapor. However, use vapes within the voltage/wattage limits of your atomizer or lose the chance of dry hits or even damage to your equipment. The highest level of VG blend is enough to mask the throat-hit sensation creating smooth e-liquid.
For stealth vaping reduce the quantity of VG to reduce the dramatic creation of vape clouds. Its best ratio is 50/50, but as a rule, the less VG, the more stealthy you will be. Do not tip the balance enough, as a heavy PG mix can get harsh on your throat.
Steeping Your Juice
Steeping is a process to improve the flavor of e-liquid, which you allow to mature, allowing VG and flavor concentrate to homogenize into a uniform mix. While steeping e-juice, the G/VG ratio does not impact the steeping process, but the ratio does impact the overall consistency and flavor profile of the steeped e-juice.
Looking for More Flavor?
The PG/VG ratio is subjective and can vary depending on individual preferences and the particular flavor profile of the e-liquid. If you are looking for more flavor, you can opt for higher PG ratios like 50% PG or higher.
It gives more intense and pronounced flavors, however, the experience can depend on different factors like e-liquid recipe, vaping device, and coil setup. You should try different ratios and find the best that offers the most enjoyable flavor experience.
Which Ratio Will Kill My Coils Faster?
For many vaping devices, particularly those which require smaller coils, too much VG can gunk up coils quickly due to its thickness. It can have your coil die quickly so it's a wise idea to educate yourself on which ratio is best for your device.
For vape coils, the ratio can also impact coil longevity. Its higher VG ratios produce thicker vapor clouds and can lead to faster coil gunking. VG is thicker and sweeter than PG leaving residue on the coil and reducing its lifespan. Higher VG ratios may result in quicker coil degradation.
Most Common PG: VG Ratio?
The most common PG:VG used for vaping depends on personal preferences and the specific brand or product. However, there are a few standard ratios commonly found in the market:
This is considered a balanced or equal ratio, offering a middle ground between propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin. It offers a balanced combination of throat hit, vapor production, and flavor.
This ratio in e-liquid means that the e-liquid consists of 60% PG and 40 % VG. It indicates a slightly higher concentration of PG in contrast to VG in the e-liquid. The lower VG content means slightly lower vapor production but can still offer cloud production.
This is preferred by many vapers, a higher concentration of PG offering a stronger throat hit and pronounced flavors. The higher content allows for decent vapor production, the concentration of PG in the liquid, stronger throat hit, flavor intensity, and vapor production. This ratio is versatile and can be used in different vaping devices.
This ratio indicates 80 of PG and 20 VG. It is a likable ratio for many sub-ohm vapers and e-juices. Still, you can have noticeable flavors and a subtle throat hit. This ratio least works for MTL vaping devices.
To conclude, the basic essence of PG and VG are quite easy to grasp, and both work in many different ways with each having its advantages and disadvantages. The best is to start vaping with a 50-50 ratio, and then try different combinations and see what you prefer. Also, ascertain that your vaping setup deals with different ratios.
Vapers use different levels of PG and VG in different flavors and duration. Fruits, beverages, and tobaccos often go well with PG as the tart or fizz of the flavoring. In the same way, flavors dependent on cream, custard, and yogurt can also go very well with high VG as the sensation gives a dessert-like feeling. Follow the vaping rule of what you want and what your taste buds desire.