One of the common questions I’m asked by new vapers is ‘What strength eliquid do I need?’, and although the answer probably SHOULD be quite simple, it’s really not.
Different brands will often offer different types and styles of eliquid, as well as different strengths too, and what might be strong in one brand won’t necessarily pack the same punch from another. For example, with the Vapouriz brand of eliquid, I usually opt for a 18mg or 1.8% strength and that does me just fine. However, if I buy the same strength and flavour of eliquid from a different brand, say Halo elqiuid, and I find that I need to go with a higher nicotine level to get the same ‘hit’.
It SHOULD be universal across the board but it’s not. Some might say the TPD will change all that. I guess we’ll need to just watch this space.
Hoping for universal strengths in the future doesn’t help you when you want to start vaping now, so if you’re having a hard time picking your eliquid strength and getting it right, here’s a few tips I’ve learned across the six or so years I’ve been vaping …
Buy a decent brand.
There are some really crappy e-liquids out there. I know because I’ve tried them. I once picked up a £1 bottle of 18mg eliquid from my local Poundstore and it tasted like I was vaping with acid. In the vaping world, you get what you pay for and cheap eliquid will often mean cheap ingredients. If the ingredients are bad, you won’t get a good or smooth vape out of it, and you won’t enjoy it.
Check out my eliquid reviews for my opinions on the liquids I’ve tried and tested. Feel free to add your own views too.
Don’t go too high.
If you opt for a nicotine strength eliquid that’s far too high for you, the vaping experience will actually make you ill. Whenever I’ve vaped with really strong e-liquid (for example, 45mg or 4.5% from OK Cigs), it’s made me feel nauseous. A couple of times, I’ve actually physically been sick. Plus headaches, coughing, a sore throat …
You might think that going higher is better but in the case of eliquid strength, that’s not always the case. If you go too low, you won’t be satisfied by your vaporiser or the liquid you’ve using, but if you go too high, the experience might actually make you ill. This is why I think the next tip is a GREAT tip …
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
By that I mean don’t just buy one bottle of eliquid to go with your vaporiser and hope for the best. Buy a 24mg (2.4%) bottle (because you read somewhere that 24mg is about the same as 20 cigarettes per day), but buy a 18mg or 1.8% bottle too.
What happens if the 24mg turns up and it’s too strong for you? It’ll make you cough, you won’t enjoy vaping with it, and if you’re like most people I know, you’ll give up on the idea of vaping altogether because you didn’t have success with it. If you’d have bought the 18mg bottle too, you at least have another option to try before you give up. The 24mg might be too strong, but the 18mg might be just perfect. I often find myself alternating between the two.
Learn the difference between VG and PG.
I discuss this in more detail in A Guide to E-Liquid: What’s The Difference Between PG and VG E-Liquid?
In short, the higher the PG ratio, the more throat hit you’re going to get from the eliquid when you vape it. The higher the VG ratio, the more vapour you’ll get, or ‘clouds’. To start with, I’d go for somewhere in the middle – a 50/50 split, or 60/40.
When you know what ingredients are in your eliquid, and you understand which ingredient does what, you’ll have a better understanding of how it’ll vape. More PG equals more throat hit, a harsher hit, and more VG equals bigger clouds.
Dilute your eliquid.
No, don’t mix it with water. That’s the WRONG thing to do. However, you can buy lesser strength eliquid and mix two together to make it weaker and easier for you to vape. Let me explain …
If you bought the 24mg eliquid and it was too strong for you, don’t give it away or throw it away. Buy a 0mg or 3mg bottle of the same flavour (and brand preferably) and mix one with the other. I once bought a 36mg strength (3.6%) eliquid from OK Cigs and found it was definitely too strong for me. I’d bought it by accident but instead of throwing it away or never using it again, I bought a 0mg (0%) bottle of the same flavour the next time I ordered, and mixed the two together. I had twice as much eliquid as I had before, and it wasn’t as strong. No waste. I told you it was a great idea.
I’ve recently discovered that Vype offers a ‘neutral’ eliquid flavour which basically means no flavour at all. I bought a 0mg bottle of the neutral bottle and whenever I find a different eliquid is too strong or a little too much for me, I simply dilute it. I have mixed the Vype neutral eliquid with other Vype flavours and strengths, and other brands too. I think it’s a brilliant idea.
At the same time, you could also go the other way. If your eliquid isn’t strong enough, or you’re finding that you’re not getting enough of a hit with it, rather than throw it away just mix it with a stronger eliquid of the same flavour.
Finally, don’t stick with the same flavour at all. Mixing and matching different eliquid flavours together has become somewhat of a pastime of mine, especially when I’m sub-ohming.
Try your friend’s eliquid.
Do you have friends who vape? Ask them if you can try whatever they’re vaping. If you like it, ask them what they’re using. If you don’t, ask them anyway. At least then you’ll know what to avoid next time you place your order. I’ve come across some of of my favourite liquids from using whatever my friends are using. You never know what delights you might come across!
Don’t give up.
Honestly, don’t give up. Just because you haven’t found something you like yet, doesn’t mean you won’t ever. I still come across eliquids I really don’t like. I order them because I’m feeling adventurous before realising I can’t stand the way they taste and give them to Dan, or another of my vaping circle. They love getting my cast-offs! And I also quite like getting the ones they don’t like too.
If you ever have any questions about eliquid, or anything surrounding vaping, feel free to get in touch! I’ll always try to help if I can, and if I don’t know the answer, I’ll find out for you. You can give me a shout out on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or even in the comments below. And if you don’t fancy asking privately, use the contact me page to send me a message. I’d love to hear from you! 🙂