If you know anything about vape juices, you must have heard about PG and VG. But do you know what do PG and VG stand for? Do you know who they are or what they do in their free time? Are they whos or whats, maybe?
More importantly, do you know what their purpose is in vape juice? Probably not. That is why you should keep on reading and join us in this epic battle called PG vs VG in vape juice. Let’s go!
What Are The Main Ingredients Of A Vape Juice?
In its most basic form, vape juice consists of three ingredients: propylene glycol (PG), vegetable glycerin (VG), and aroma. PG and VG form what is called base liquid.
Depending on what kind of vaping experience they want, people add substances such as nicotine, CBD, THC, etc., to the above mixture.
But let’s just concentrate on PG and VG this time!
What Is Propylene Glycol (PG)?
Propylene glycol is a viscous, hygroscopic, colorless, odorless, and almost tasteless liquid.
Propylene glycol is industrially synthesized by isolating relatively pure acetol from glycerol with a copper-chromate catalyst and then hydrogenating that acetol into propylene glycol using a similar catalyst.
PG is used in a lot of industrial sectors thanks to its various physicochemical properties. For example, tobacco and cosmetics industries utilized it in order to hinder premature drying out of their products.
In the agricultural industry, it is used in small doses as an emulsifier (E1520) or substratum substance for some flavors or dyes.
It is also used in the pharmaceutical and aeronautical industries, but most people are probably only familiar with its use in the entertainment industry as an aerosol for creating artificial smoke or fog.
We should note that even though PG is commonly found in antifreeze, it is not the same as ethylene glycol (EG). PG and EG have many differences, the most important of which is the level of toxicity: EG is toxic for humans, while PG is not.
What is Vegetable Glycerin (VG)?
When used in e-liquids, vegetable glycerin consists of 99.5% glycerol, which is why it can be said that vegetable glycerin and glycerol are identical.
However, if you wanted to be as precise as possible, you could say that glycerol is the main molecule of vegetable glycerin.
Glycerol, a sugar alcohol with the molecular formula C3H8O3, is the simplest triol present in natural fats and oils in the form of esters and is an important mediator in the metabolism of living organisms. It is a hygroscopic, viscous, colorless liquid with a somewhat sweet taste and no odor.
Natural glycerol is produced as a byproduct of alkaline hydrolysis of triacylglycerol (saponification) or acid hydrolysis of fats and oils, while synthetic glycerol is obtained from propylene.
This compound has over two thousand applications, which is why you can find it in lots of popular products such as soaps, detergents, prescription drugs, beauty products, food, drinks, paints, and paper.
Since listing all the uses of glycerin would take too much space, we will only list the industries in which it is widely used: chemical, tobacco, paper, plastic, textile, paint, automotive, and aeronautical.
PG Vs. Vg In Vape Juice
The vast majority of vapers have certain expectations from e-juices, i.e., they expect them to have certain qualities. Some of these qualities are throat hit, vapor cloud production, and flavor.
1. Throat Hit
Throat hitting is illegal in boxing and MMA. In vaping, though, not only is it not illegal, it is highly desirable, and PG and VG play important roles in punching your throat. To be precise, PG plays an important role.
Inhalation of a vaporized e-juice that contains PG and VG will result in experiencing a feeling of something hitting your throat. While both PG and VG contribute to this phenomenon, PG has a much rougher and stronger throat hit than VG. VG’s hit is smoother and weaker.
So, if you plan to stop smoking tobacco cigarettes but would still like to get the same or similar sensation, we recommend you try vape juices with high PG. Or if you just like to feel that punch.
Before we say goodbye to this section, it is important to clarify something. PG definitely has a stronger throat hit than VG, but it is not the only thing responsible for it in vapes and e-cigarettes. Let’s not forget that the liquids in these devices almost always contain nicotine.
Since PG condenses into droplets in its gaseous state, it traps nicotine molecules. These small droplets or liquid particles, as they are also called, penetrate deep into the respiratory tract, thus ensuring almost optimal delivery and absorption of the nicotine contained in them.
This process, of course, boosts nicotines already great throat-hitting abilities.
2. Vapor Cloud Production
We have PG and VG in the leading roles once again, but their roles are reversed this time.
When inhaled, both of these compounds will produce clouds. But since VG has a thicker consistency than PG, which is another difference between the two, it takes more time and power to vaporize, resulting in dense and large clouds.
PG, being thinner, will give out small and shy clouds.
So, if you are keen on blowing big, fluffy clouds and cloud chasing, look for vape pens with high VG e-liquid. Max PG, on the other hand, will enable you to go into stealth vaping mode, aka staying under the radar due to low cloud production.
3. Dry Hit
Although PG is almost three times less viscous than VG at room temperature (70°F), its low viscosity is actually useful in the e-cigarette and vape world.
When the e-liquid evaporates, the cotton wool inside the heater core can dry out. If the heater does not rehydrate quickly enough, overheating can occur, causing an unpleasant smell and taste sensation known as a “dry hit”.
With low viscosity (and therefore good capillarity), PG limits the local drying of cotton wool and reduces the risk of dry hit, which is why we recommend you not to go max VG in your vape juice.
For many, the flavor is the most important part of the vaping experience. If you have even a little knowledge about this topic, you know that there are a million different aromas with which you can make your vaping experience great.
The flavor is actually one of the many advantages that vaping has over traditional tobacco cigarettes. While these cigarettes are quite limited in terms of flavor variety, vape pens, and e-cigarettes can taste whatever you want, literally.
PG plays the biggest role in this area since it is an excellent solvent (and a preservative) in which a large number of substances can be easily dissolved. Such substances are flavor/aroma enhancers, and they are usually added to vape juices. In fact, many of these enhancers use PG as their base liquid.
Because of all this, PG is the one that carries and boosts the flavor of vape juices.
On the other hand, VG’s contribution to the flavor of the aroma is its somewhat sweet taste, which is why it goes best with e-liquids that have sweet flavor profiles.
The last thing we will talk about in this battle between PG and VG is their safety in regard to our health. These organic compounds are non-toxic and safe for human consumption, and we have already outlined their use in the food industry.
Although both of them, especially PG, are known to cause allergies, there is no need to panic. They are widely used in the food industry, which is why you would have probably encountered some problems with them by now.
Besides that, sensitivity to vaping e-liquids containing PG and VG might cause minor issues whose symptoms are sore throat, dry mouth, and increased thirst.
Which PG/VG Ratio Should You Aim For?
If you already do not have a preferred PG/VG ratio or are just starting to vape, all this talk about what each of these compounds do might have confused you.
Like, what kind of blend should you look for when buying a vape pen or e-cigarette? Both of them kind of look important, right?
That is because they are important and the reason why e-juices with max (100%) PG or VG are rare.
Some 2500 years ago, Buddha was preaching about practicing the Middle Path, aka not indulging in any extremes, and we would recommend the same when it comes to vaping and vaping juices.
Starting out with a 50/50 VG/PG ratio is the best way to go. After that, lean towards PG (60,70,80%) if you care more about a strong throat hit or more flavorful juice. On the other hand, go with more of VG if living in the clouds and sweet taste are your things.
All good things must come to an end which is why we must say goodbye to you here. If, however, you still would like to hear from us, shoot us a question in the comment section, and we will gladly get back to you!