MIST's featured image for What are nic salts post, showing a person holding a nic salt bottle.

What Are Nic Salts?

Nicotine salts are designed to make vaping a comfortable, coughless vaping experience that feels similar to smoking cigarettes. They are also universally used in disposable vape kits, so you may already be familiar with how nicotine salt e-liquid feels. If you want to learn more about nicotine e-liquids, read on because MIST has prepared an easy guide for those asking, “What are nic salts?”

What Is a Nic Salt? 

“Nic salt” is short for nicotine salt. It is an e-liquid type that has, in many instances, replaced traditional freebase nicotine e-liquid.

A photo collage of a person holding different nic salts.

Initially developed in 2015 and released to widespread acclaim in conjunction with the JUUL vape kit by PAX Labs, nicotine salts dramatically increased the popularity of vaping. The unique chemistry of nic salts carries the same variety of nicotine found in tobacco leaves, which absorbs into the lung faster and delivers a smooth and comfortable vapour hit when they’re used to deliver nicotine.

What Is the Difference Between Freebase Vape Juice and Nic Salts?

photo showing a nic salt vs freebase eliquid

When it comes to nic salts vs freebase nicotine, the difference lies in a chemical used to produce nicotine salts, benzoic acid, which is used to lower the PH level of the e-liquid and deliver a smoother vape.

Regular e-liquids made using a traditional freebase nicotine solution have an overall PH of around 8, which puts it into high-alkaline territory. This isn’t a health hazard, but it does result in a harsh throat hit and slightly decreased flavour for your taste buds.

The addition of this acid levels the PH level to 7, the neutral zone between acid and alkaline compounds and results in the purest form of nicotine.

But are nic salt e-liquids better than freebase nicotine? Ultimately, the smoother vaping experience and clearer flavours nic salts offer led to a vast number of new people moving to quit smoking by way of vape kits that use disposable closed-pod systems and disposable vape devices.

Salt vs free-base nicotine formulations resulted in statistically significant higher ratings of appeal, sweetness, and smoothness, and lower ratings of bitterness and harshness.

(Leventhal et al., 2021)

Nic Salts vs Freebase Nicotine E-liquids Comparison Table

Nic SaltsFreebase Nicotine E-liquids
Price££
Vaping StyleCigarette replacement, gentleCigarette replacement, rough and rasping
SizeTPD-compliant 10ml onlyTPD-compliant 10ml only
Available Nic Strengths3mg, 6mg, 10mg, 11mg, 12mg, 18mg, 20mg3mg, 6mg, 12mg, 18mg
Nicotine AbsorptionFastSlow
FlavourClear and intenseMuted sweetness
Vapour ProductionTraceLow
Throat HitMinimalIntense 

What Is the Difference Between Nic Salts and Shortfills?

Photo showing the difference between nic salt vs shortfill

The main difference between nicotine salt e-liquids and shortfills is size and nicotine strength potential.

As we have covered, nicotine salts are nicotine-infused e-liquids that use benzoic acid for a smoother inhale and richer flavour. Shortfills, on the other hand, are e-liquids sold in larger bottles as a workaround for size restrictions imposed by the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD).

In the UK, It is illegal to sell e-liquid containing nicotine in bottles larger than 10ml in size. Shortfills are larger bottles of e-liquid that contain no nicotine at the point of sale. Shortfills will always have a small amount of free space inside the bottle. For example, a 60ml shortfill bottle will contain 50mls of e-liquid, a 120ml bottle will contain 100mls of e-liquid, and so on.

Photo showing how to add nic shots in shortfills
Photo showing how to add nic shots in shortfills

This free space is left so you can add 10ml bottles of flavourless freebase nicotine solution nic shot, as you are legally permitted to infuse your e-liquid with nicotine once you have purchased it.

Most shortfills are sold with nic shots included, though they are often freebase nicotine shots. Salt nicotine nic shots are available, however.

It should be noted that most shortfills are filled with high-VG e-liquids. These vape juices are distinct from nic salts in that they are vaped direct-to-lung rather than the mouth-to-lung style most nic salts require.

High-VG e-liquids will always produce large clouds and are usually low-strength as the bottles do not have room for more than one or two nicotine shots. 50/50 shortfills designed for MTL vaping are available, however.

Nic Salts vs Shortfills Comparison Table

Nic SaltsShortfills
Price£££
Vaping StyleCigarette replacement, gentleCloudy direct-lung vaping
SizeTPD-compliant 10ml only60ml – 200ml
Available Nic Strengths3mg, 6mg, 10mg, 11mg, 12mg, 18mg, 20mgDepends on the number of nic shots used
Nicotine AbsorptionFastSlow
FlavourClear and intenseDepends on the variety of nic shots used
Vapour ProductionTraceIntentionally excessive
Throat HitMinimalMinimal

Can You Use Nic Salts in Any Vape?

No, you can’t use nic salts in any vape. 10ml nic salts are always produced with a VG / PG ratio of 50/50 or with a higher PG content than VG.

This results in a thin e-liquid with minimal vapour production, similar to the amount of smoke produced by a cigarette. Vape kits designed for this e-liquid are known as MTL (mouth-to-lung), describing how you inhale the atomized vapour.

All the best MTL vape kits use coils with resistances of 0.8ohms or higher, which are optimal for absorbing and atomizing nic salts.

Can I Sub-Ohm Nic Salts?

For those asking how to use a nic salt e-liquid in a DTL kit, we’re afraid you usually can’t sub-ohm nic salts. This is because sub-ohm devices use low-resistance coils, usually with ohmages rated between 0.15ohms – 0.6ohms.

These coils are designed to absorb thicker e-liquid, and nic salts are likely to leak through the coil and out of the air inlets on your tank or vape pod when used in place of 100% VG e-liquids and other juices with high VG contents.

Nic salts are also usually produced at relatively high nicotine strengths, which can lead to inhaling too much nicotine when vaped in a DTL vaping style.

As previously mentioned, however, there are nic salt nic shots available for those who wish to use nicotine salts to produce low-strength, high-VG shortfills.

What Is the Best Wattage for Nic Salts?

The best wattage for nic salt e-liquid is between 9W and 15W. This is because the MTL coils (often used in pod kits and starter kits) required for nic salt vaping aren’t capable of handling more power than this without beginning to degrade prematurely.

If using a nic salt shot in a high VG shortfill, then you can go ahead and use the high wattage recommended by your sub-ohm coil, as the nic salts will only make up a small amount of the overall e-liquid volume and will quickly emulsify into the thicker VG vape juice.

What is the Best Coil for Nic Salts? 

The best coil resistance for nic salt e-liquid is 1.2ohms, as this sits firmly in the MTL range. However, any vape coil with a resistance between 0.8ohms and 1.8ohms will be ideally suited for nicotine salt vape liquids. Coils with resistances like these will be designed to absorb and trap thinner 50/50 and high-PG vape liquids, so you won’t have to worry about leaks. These resistances are also aimed at low-wattage outputs, delivering a moderate nic salt vapour you won’t find overwhelming.

What is the Best Nic Salt Juice? 

There’s a vast amount of great-tasting nic salts to choose between. Luckily for you, we’ve sampled most of them and can offer you a selection of what we believe are the best nic salt e-liquids available.

The Best Nic Salts Are:

  1. Fugly But Sweet Caramel Blondie
  2. IVG Sour Raspberry Pomegranate
  3. Just Juice Brutal Mr Jack
 

Fugly But Sweet Caramel Blondie

Best Nic Salt E-liquid
9.3/10
Total
Flavour
9.6/10
Range
9.4/10
Strengths
9.3/10
Sweetness
9.2/10
Price
9/10
Price
£3.95
Shop now

Features We Love

Delirious Desserts

Unbelievably indulgent collection of flavours

Choco Blanco

Rare e-liquid appearance of delicious white chocolate

Strength Choice

Nic strengths as low as 5mg

Nic salts, like other e-liquids, allow you to partake in some truly indulgent flavours to satisfy your nicotine cravings without consuming a single calorie, and Fugly But Sweet Caramel Blondie by Dispergo is one of the most opulent flavours we’ve ever encountered.

Also, our top choice of the best dessert nic salt vape juice, Sweet Caramel’s taste profile is heavenly. When I tried it, its thick and heavy fudge with a generous smothering of hot and fiery caramel sauce taste quickly enveloped my tastebuds. On exhale, I got a delicious note of white chocolate nibs, which adds creaminess to the dark taste of fudge and caramel. 

You’re unlikely to find a nic salt quite as luxurious as this one, and if your ultimate goal is nicotine elimination then you can gradually reduce your nic strength from 20mg to 10mg and finally 5mg, making Caramel Blondie the best nic salt juice in the UK for anyone looking to lower their nicotine intake.

Pros

  • Incredibly sweet and luxurious flavour combo
  • White choc adds a creamy note to fiery dark sweetnesses
  • 5mg version great for those quitting nicotine

Cons

  • Can be overwhelming when chain-vaping
  • Fudge and caramel flavours are somewhat tough to tell apart
Price
£3.95
Shop now

IVG Sour Raspberry Pomegranate

Best for: Fruity
9.2/10
Total
Flavour
9.5/10
Range
9.4/10
Strengths
8.9/10
Sweetness
9.2/10
Price
8.8/10
Price
£3.99
Shop now

Features We Love

Pom Premier: Incredible pomegranate flavour profile 
Sweet & Sour: Sweet pom juice meets zesty sour raspberry 
Fine Line: Two strong flavours that are perfectly balanced 

Fruity vape juice allows for some of the most interesting flavour pairings in vaping, providing taste plateaus that cigarettes simply cannot match. The IVG Salt Bar Favourites range of nic salts has premiered some truly unique flavours, and Sour Raspberry Pomegranate is one of our team’s favourites.

The deep, rich, red sweetness of pomegranate doesn’t appear often in fruity vapes, but IVG’s effort carries a bold profile that never becomes cloying due to the wisely restrained addition of sour raspberry, which provides a tangy flavour note to cut through any lingering sugariness.
It’s great to finally be able to partake in pomegranate flavour all day with nic salt e-liquids, no longer having to chew through dozens of seeds or buy teeth-wrecking beverages!

Pros

  • Rare appearance of pomegranate vape flavours
  • Raspberry is restrained to let the pomegranate shine through
  • A juicy sweet taste profile with just a touch of sour at the end

Cons

  • Perhaps too sweet for some vapers
  • Pomegranate is a unique flavour that some may find unusual at first
Price
£3.99
Shop now

Just Juice Brutal Mr Jack

Best for: Botanical
9.2/10
Total
Flavour
9.4/10
Range
9.2/10
Strengths
9.3/10
Sweetness
9.1/10
Price
8.8/10
Price
£3.99
Shop now

Features We Love

Liquorice Kiss: Dark and botanical aniseed flavour 
Adult Sweets: Candy blend with a deep and mature taste 
Go Large: Also available as a high-VG shortfill 

In a world of juicy fruit flavours, botanical vape liquid delivers unique taste profiles that often suit a more mature palate that finds excessive sweeteners offputting.

While gummy sweets are all well and good, you may prefer the dark and seductive aroma of liquorice and aniseed provided by Mr. Jack, part of the Just Juice Brutal line. With a rich and enveloping taste structure, we can confidently say that Mr. Jack conveys the flavour of classic black jack sweets in all their sophistication and with only a hint of sweetener for a pleasing afternote.

While the majority of vapers tend to stick with more sugary options, Just Juice Brutal’s Mr. Jack is the best 50/50 nic salt for anyone with a more grown-up set of taste buds.

Pros

  • Perfectly conveys classic liquorice candy flavour
  • A deep and dark profile that aniseed fans will adore
  • Never too sweet for session vaping

Cons

  • Very intense liquorice flavour too much for some
  • Could use a touch more sweetener
Price
£3.99
Shop now

Need More Help

Thank you for reading this brief answer to the question, “What are nic salts?” If nic salt sounds right for your vape, visit the MIST online vape shop for great deals on nic salts, other tasty e-juices, and the best vapes for nic salts.

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