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VG and PG: a beginner’s guide

VG and PG: a beginner’s guide

John Boughey |

Last fact-checked 30 April 2024

Confused by the VG and PG symbols on your e-juice? You’re not alone! New and experienced vapers often get confused by the VG/PG of their e liquid, and it’s not always clear which VG/PG is the best choice for them. 

In this guide, we’ll explain what VG/PG ratio means, show you why both Vegetable Glycerine (VG) and Propylene Glycol (PG) are used in e-liquid, and give you some pointers on finding your own personal perfect VG/PG balance!  

What are VG and PG?

VG (Vegetable Glycerine) and PG (Propylene Glycol) are the main ingredients of e liquid. VG and PG make up the ‘base’ of a vape juice (e-liquid). Different flavourings are then added to the base to give each e-liquid brand its own distinctive taste. 

Both vegetable glycerine (VG) and propylene glycol (PG) are used in food, pharmaceutical and cosmetic products. VG and PG are food-grade compounds, widely considered safe for human consumption. 

The VG/PG balance of an e-liquid completely changes the vaping experience. Depending on the amount of vegetable glycerine and/or propylene glycol in your vape juice, you’ll get a totally different taste, texture, throat hit and vapour thickness. 

What is VG?

Vegetable Glycerin (VG) is a non-toxic compound derived from vegetable fats like coconut oil and soy oil. It’s not completely flavourless (it’s slightly sweet) but it carries other flavours reasonably well. 

Vegetable glycerin gives e-liquid vapour its thickness. High-VG e liquids give off a good cloud and have a smoother throat hit. They're a natural choice for sub-ohm devices. If you buy an e liquid that promises “creaminess”, for instance a custard or cake flavour, it’s most likely going to have a high VG (70VG or higher). 

The downside is that high-VG e-liquids tend to clog your device and burn through coils faster. Also, because vegetable glycerin is a thick liquid, it takes longer to soak into your vape coil. Vegetable glycerin’s sweet taste can potentially ‘crowd out’ subtler flavours, but nowadays most high-quality manufacturers adjust their recipes to allow for this.

You can vape 100% VG e juice, but for new vapers we usually recommend a VG/PG blend.

What is PG?

PG, or Propylene Glycol (PG), is a food additive (E1520 - see It's typically used in processed foods like soft drinks and ice creams. It’s also used as a pharmaceutical ingredient in certain medicines and eye drops

Propylene Glycol (PG) carries most of the flavour and throat hit in an e liquid. If you’re trying to quit smoking and you’re new to vaping, then tobacco-flavoured e-liquids with a high PG ratio are a good starting point. You’ll get the throat hit you’ve come to expect from a cigarette and there’s no sweetness to it, so you’ll get a much sharper tobacco flavour (…if that’s what you're after).

As a rule, the ‘sharp’ flavoured e-liquids (flavours like cider and tobacco) will have a high PG content. Propylene Glycol has no taste, and it’s a thinner liquid, so high PG e-liquids can hold flavour better than high VG liquids. the downside is that it produces less vapour, which can impact flavour transmission. 

Some people are sensitive to propylene glycol (source: If you find that vaping a high PG e liquid is uncomfortable for you, our recommendation is to switch to a 100% VG alternative

All e liquids contain a VG/PG base and flavourings, but e liquids can also contain a fourth ingredient: nicotine.  Nicotine is highly addictive (vegetable glycerine and propylene glycol are not addictive). We explain the addictive properties of nicotine in this article.  

    What does VG PG Ratio Mean?

    The VG/PG ratio just refers to the amount of VG, relative to the amount of PG, in any given e-liquid. 

    A wide range of VG/PG ratios are for sale, but the most common ones are probably 50:50 (50% vegetable glycerin and 50% propylene glycol), 70:30 (70% VG, 30% PG), and 100VG (100% vegetable glycerin). 

    If you’re a new vaper, you don’t need to watch the VG/PG ratios too closely - you really only need to know if you prefer ‘high PG’ or ‘high VG’. While there is a noticeable difference between 70VG and 80VG juices, for instance, it’s very small compared to the nuance and complexity that an e-liquid manufacturer can achieve with different flavourings. The e-liquid label will always show you the VG/PG ratio, so try a few ratios and make a note of what you like. 

    Do I have to pick a nicotine booster with the same PG:VG as my shortfill?

    When our customers add 3mg /6mg nicotine boosters to their standard e-liquid order, we personally pair their shortfill juice with the most appropriate nicotine shot available. Sometimes the nicotine booster has an identical VG/PG, and sometimes it’s a high VG solution with a slightly different ratio. You can learn more about how nicotine boosters interact with shortfill in our recent shortfill guide

    Handy VG / PG Picking Guide

    If you’re a newcomer to vaping, there’s an easy way to figure out your likely VG/PG preference without spending a fortune. Just read this list and see which of the following statements you agree with! It will give you a feel for what VG/PG ratio is probably right for you. 

    This table will point you in the right direction, but it will take time to find the perfect balance for you:

    FLAVOUR VG %age PG %age
    I like a more intense flavour 30+
    I like sharp, dry flavours (tobacco, ciders) 50+
    I like rounded, creamy flavours (cakes, custards, desserts) 70+
    VAPOUR VG %age PG %age
    I like a strong throat hit * 50+
    I like lots of vapour 70+
    I don’t want lots of vapour 50+
    I’m weaning myself off nicotine 60+
    I use a Sub Ohm device ** 70+
    I’m using a starter kit or pod device 50 50
    I want to replace my coils as infrequently as possible 50+
    I want a liquid that soaks the wick as quickly as possible 50+


    * A throat hit is very different from throat irritation. If vaping is making your throat itch, you could be PG sensitive, and you might need to switch to a 100VG e liquid. 

    ** If you use a sub ohm device you usually need a high VG e liquid. If in any doubt about what your machine can handle, take a look at the device packaging and instructions for guidance.

    In summary…

    That’s it! Hopefully we’ve given you a basic understanding of how vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol work. Remember to pick the ratio that’s best for your health first (if you’re sensitive to PG it’s 100VG all the way), your device second (sub ohm devices need high VG), and your personal taste next (don’t worry - there are hundreds of delicious premium e-liquids to choose from at every VG/PG level). 

    If you have any questions at all about how VG/PG ratios work, please please get in touch. 

    Stay safe and happy vaping!

    John Boughey


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