The Ultimate Guide to PG vs VG: Ratios and Mixes Explained

I know how you feel: you’ve just decided to transition from smoking to vaping—but to do so, you’re expected to study chemistry?! What in the world are PG and VG? I just want to vape! But don’t be deterred, as it’s a lot easier to grasp than you might think.

Including nicotine, PG and VG make up the holy trinity of vape juice ingredients. So before you set out on your vape journey, we believe it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with these key components. Doing so will put you in good stead to facilitate a vape that’s perfectly suited to your needs. 

This is why we’ve marshalled our 11 years of vaping experience to provide you with the ultimate guide to PG vs VG. MIST is confident that this guide will contain everything you could possibly need to know about PG, VG, ratios, and mixes. As well as bolster your courage to use an E-liquid Calculator to create your magnificent concoctions. So read on!

PG vs VG: Ratios and Mixes Explained

  1.  What is PG
  2.  What is VG
  3.  Are PG and VG safe for humans?
  4.  PG vs VG, which one should I use?
  5.  Benefits of PG
  6.  Cons of PG
  7.  Benefits of VG
  8.  Cons of VG
  9.  What tanks/pens can be used for VG?
  10.  What tanks/pens can be used for PG?
  11.  Conclusion

1. What is PG?

PG, or Propylene Glycol, is an odorless, colourless liquid that is slightly thicker than water. Before the development of vaping, it was used mainly as a food additive and is in the same chemical group as alcohol. The reason it’s used in e-liquid is to provide users with a “throat hit” similar to that of tobacco and carry the flavours effectively.

2. What is VG?

VG, or Vegetable Glycerine is a sugar alcohol made from plant oils. It has quite an interesting history, having been accidentally discovered over 200 years ago when lead monoxide was heated with olive oil.

However, it only became economically significant when, in the late 19th century, it was used to make dynamite! 

It is now mainly used (albeit less explosively) in the food, cosmetics, and pharmaceutical industries. Furthermore, as opposed to propylene glycol, VG is not produced in a lab, making it 100% natural. Regarding vaping, it is the ingredient responsible for providing a “smooth hit” and thicker vapour than PG, making high VG vape juice much better suited for sub ohming.

3. Are PG and VG safe for humans?

Don’t be misled by their complicated names. PG and VG are completely safe for human consumption. These ingredients are “recognised as generally safe” by the FDA.

PG is found in a whole spectrum of products: dressings, drink mixes, cake mix, popcorn, fast food—the list goes on! VG is found in everyday products like aftershave and food colouring. So, chances are, even before you started vaping, you’ve consumed them both already on countless different occasions!

4. PG vs VG, which one should I use?

Most e-liquids contain both PG and VG, so a more apt question would be: what PG/VG ratio suits my needs? Keep reading to find out the vaping pros and cons of each ingredient.

5. Benefits of PG

For most vapers, especially those of the MTL (mouth-to-lung) variety, propylene glycol is their bread and butter. It has no taste of its own and carries the flavours of vape juice efficiently.

When vaping was in its early stages, most e-liquids had a 70/30 PG ratio, which makes sense, as it comes closest to replicating the “hit” you get from tobacco. This means it’s well-suited to ex-smokers (especially those who had a heavy habit) who want to make a seamless transition to vaping. It is also much thinner than VG and produces a lot less vapour, making it perfect for stealth vaping.

6. Cons of PG

Despite their long-standing popularity, high PG ratio vape juice is not for everyone. Some may find the “throat hit” PG provides to be too harsh and, for some people, it can even be the cause of a sore or burning throat.

Also, due to the relatively small amount of vapour high PG ratio e-liquid produces, it is not suited to sub ohming. In fact, for those cloud-chasers among you, we strongly advise you don’t use high PG vape juice in your sub ohm kits, as it will produce a harsh and burnt flavour which would be unpleasant to say the least!

7. Benefits of VG

In recent years, Vegetable Glycerine has really come into its own in the vaping world. High VG or 50/50 ratios have become a lot more popular—with good reason! If you’re a bonafide vapour junky, high VG e-liquid is a necessity.

When vaped, these e-liquids produce thick plumes of vapour and provide a much gentler “hit” than PG. Also, the fact that VG is 100% natural may make it more attractive to health-conscious vapers who don’t react well to synthetic ingredients. Finally, high VG ratios can also be used in MTL tanks, so you don’t have to be a cloud-chaser to opt for a smoother hit if your throat has been taking a beating from high PG blends.

8. Cons of VG

We’ve already established how VG doesn’t pack as much of a punch as PG. If you’re a recent ex-smoker who couldn’t care less about puffing out the ultimate smoke ring, then high VG vape juice probably isn’t for you.

Additionally, although high-VG vape juice can be used in mouth-to-lung kits, because of VGs viscosity, it can clog your vape coils and potentially shorten their lifespan. If you use high VG e-liquid for your MTL e-cig, we advise cleaning your coils regularly.

9. Which tanks/pens can be used for VG?

Now we’ve had a thorough look at the pros and cons of PG and VG, let’s get down to brass tax! What kind of vape tanks or kits can be used for VG? Well, quite the wide array indeed.

Firstly, sub ohm kits, like the Aspire Pockex, the Voopoo Drag 3, or the Greekvape Aegis Mini, are specifically designed for high VG liquids. This is because sub ohm devices have vape tanks that require coils with a resistance below 1 ohm. Remember, nicotine delivery is not the chief goal of sub ohming; it’s to create large amounts of delicious, thick vapour—and high VG liquid is perfectly suited for this. If you’re interested in DTL vaping, check out our Top 8 Sub-Ohm Vape Tanks for a helping hand.  

It should be noted that it is possible to use high VG vape juice in classic vape kits like the Innokin Endura T22, but, as was previously mentioned, it has the potential to clog up your coils. Our recommendation is for MTL users who want a high VG ratio to go with a 50/50 mix. 

10. Which tanks/pens can be used for PG?

High PG ratio e-liquid is best suited for vape tanks that can use coils with a higher resistance.

Most classic vape pens and starter kits are well suited to high-PG ratios. However, as we previously mentioned, though you can use high VG ratio vape juice in MTL kits, it’s not a good idea to use a high PG e-liquid for DTL (direct-to-lung) vaping—unless you want the fires of hell to be unleashed on your throat!

Nowadays, thanks to recent innovations, vape kits have become so versatile that they can be used for both sub ohming and MTL vaping. The award-winning SMOK RPM40 (discontinued and replaced by SMOK RPM 4) and the Aspire Zelos 2.0 are great examples. So for those who like to chop and change between vaping styles, these kind of vape kits would be perfect for you.

If you’re looking for a bit more advice about what vape kits are suited to high PG e-liquids, check out our Top 10 MTL Kits.

Conclusion

Figuring out what PG/VG ratio is best suited to your needs is a journey of exploration. There might be a lot of trial and error, but we believe it’s totally worth it. After reading this guide, we have no doubt that you’ll be confident enough to fine-tune your custom blend using an E-liquid Calculator

So, whether you want to navigate the uncharted terrain of vape juice ratios or are satisfied with the classic 70/30 PG mix, we hope this ultimate guide to PG vs VG has helped. Our main aim at MIST is to make your vaping experience as hassle-free and pleasurable as possible and hopefully bring some smokers into the vaping fold. So, take the plunge and get mixing!

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