Thursday , 2 April 2020

Understanding E-Liquid: Why PG & VG Matters

Why PG & VG Matters 3

Getting the right mixture of VG and PG in your eliquid is just as important as finding the right box mod, the right tank, or the right all-in-one device (also known as AIO). I once met a new vaper who was trying to use MTL (mouth-to-lung) e-liquid in a sub ohm device (the Aspire Plato) with a sub ohm coil. Obviously, I knew this wouldn’t work for him. Being a new vaper, he didn’t know what the right kind of eliquid was, and he was about to give up and start smoking again until I came onto the scene and told him where he was going wrong.


  • MTL – mouth to lung vaping, as you would smoke a cigarette. You suck on the cigarette and then inhale into the lungs. It’s a two-step process.
  • Sub ohm – DL – direct to lung vaping, as you would vape a shisha pipe. You inhale right down to the lungs, all in one step.

New vapers generally aren’t looking for vast amounts of vapour, instead preferring a throat hit similar to smoking. That’s what helped me to quit anyway, and the same can be said for a number of other ex-smoker-turned-vapers I know. During the beginning stages of being a ‘vaper’, I used MTL (mouth-to-lung) liquid. This is a liquid that usually contains equal amounts of VG and PG or a higher concentration of PG.


  • The PG, or propylene glycol, is what gives you the throat hit and flavour.
  • The VG, or vegetable glycol, is what gives you vast clouds.

In order to get a more smoking-like throat hit, and less of those massive plumes of vapour exhaled with sub ohm devices, you’ll need less VG and more PG, or an equal amount of the two.

I tend to enjoy 60/40 or 50/50 eliquid when I’m mouth-to-lung vaping. May I suggest a couple of these:


MTL e-liquid is thinner than sub-ohm liquid. The latter has a higher ratio of VG. You’ll need different coils too. Sub ohm coils, designed for sub ohm devices and sub ohm liquids, often have a lower ohm, and they also allow thicker liquid to pass through them. This is the high VG stuff.

Black Note MTL liquid (50:50 VG:PG) & Steepd DTL/sub ohm liquid (80:20 VG:PG)

My current sub ohm device (Innokin Scion tank) has a 0.5-ohm coil in it, runs between 70-110 watts.

My current mouth-to-lung device (Kanger Geni Aero tank / Jac Vapour Series-E) has a 1.5-ohm coil in it, runs at 5 watts.

On the other hand, MTL coils have a much higher ohm and DO NOT allow the thicker liquid to pass through. The equal quantities / higher PG liquids are thinner. Trying to use high VG liquid in a MTL (high ohm) coil will result in not very much. In my experience, the coil and tank will gurgle a bit, you’ll get a tiny bit of the taste, but then it’ll just taste burnt. The material or wicks in the coil are unable to absorb the thicker liquid properly. The result? One ruined coil and a tankful of e-liquid wasted.

Understanding E-Liquid: Why PG & VG Matters


100% PG

Believe it or not, 100% PG liquid was actually well-used and rather popular at one point, offering plenty of throat hit but absolutely no clouds. The upside to using high PG liquid is that you get more flavour with it. The higher the VG content, the higher the clouds, the lower the throat hit, and you’ll also get reduced flavour. High PG liquid is best for high flavour.

20% VG & 80% PG

I don’t think I’ve ever seen this stuff anywhere. You’d get the tiniest bit of vapour, lots of throat hit, and a little bit less of the flavour that you’d get in 100% PG e-liquid.

30% VG & 70% PG 

I didn’t even realise I owned this MTL e-liquid until I took the photos for this blog post! I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’ve been vaping with this Jac Vapour beauty for some time now, and I think I just assumed it was a 50/50 or 60/40 split, rather than the 30% VG and 70% PG it is. Silly me! Clearly, I like this ratio, as you’ll see from the review. This is one of my favourite MTL tobacco vape liquids!

Further reading: Jac Vapour Real Tobacco Silver UK Made Eliquid Review (PG)

Why PG & VG Matters 1

50% VG & 50% PG / 60% PG & 40% VG

This is the one I recommend starting with in a MTL device. You’ll get the same kind of vapour as you’d get smoke from a cigarette, perhaps a bit more. You’ll also get a good flavour mix and decent throat hit, but not too much. I tend to use 50/50 and 60/40, and I quite like them both.

Why PG & VG Matters 4

70% VG & 30% PG / 80% VG & 20% PG

This, along with 80% VG & 20% PG are the most common sub ohm liquid ratios, and I like them both. Obviously, the 80% VG is meant to give you more clouds than the 70% VG liquids, but in my experience, they both offer pretty much the same. If you take a peek at some of my eliquid videos, you’ll hear me commenting that certain 70/30’s seem to produce more vapour than some of the 80/20’s I’ve tried.

I know I shouldn’t say this, but I probably wouldn’t be able to tell you the difference between 70/30 and 80/20 if you didn’t let me see the bottle.

Further viewing: Steepd Eliquid Review *Video*

Why PG & VG Matters 5

100% VG

This is the thickest liquid of the lot. I’ve never tried 100% VG liquid. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen it anywhere. This is great for those who have an allergy to PG, making all other liquid combinations unsuitable, but would give you almost zero throat hit. 100% VG e-liquid also gives you the most vapour and will have barely any flavour.


If You Are …

New Vaper:

If you are a NEW VAPER who just wants something that will mimic smoking to help you quit, I’d suggest looking for mouth-to-lung (MTL) e-liquids and devices to start with. These do not give you large clouds but will give you enough throat hit to satisfy those cigarette cravings (in my experience).

Why PG & VG Matters 6

I’d suggest 50% VG & 50% PG to start with, or 60% PG & 40% VG. (So many numbers, right? I found it hard to keep up at first too.) These e-liquids are great for mouth-to-lung vaping.

New Sub Ohm Vaper:

Life gets really confusing when you look at sub ohm vaping. Or, at least, it does when you try to understand EVERYTHING at once. I don’t do that, although I did try to at first. I just try to understand little snippets at a time.

To start with, you’ll need a different coil when you’re sub ohm vaping because you’ll be using a much thicker liquid. *SOME* devices are compatible with both MTL and sub ohm vaping, easily switching between the two with the change of a coil and the increase/decrease of watts.

Why PG & VG Matters 2

Left: 1.5 0hm MTL Kangertech coil. Right: 0.5-ohm Innokin Scion DL/sub ohm coil. 

My Kangertech Nano Topbox is compatible both ways. With a 0.5 ohm coil in it, I can sub ohm vape with higher-VG liquid at higher watts. With a 1.5 ohm coil in it, I can MTL vape with higher-PG liquid at lower watts. My Vapour2 Trinity Kit is the same. Not all kits work this way though. I’m pretty sure I can’t put a 0.5-ohm coil in my Kanger Geni Aero MTL tank (Jac Vapour Series-E) to make it a sub ohm device. Although, saying that, I don’t think I’ve ever tried. I might do that now. Remember I said earlier that the chap with the wrong liquid was using the Aspire Plato – that’s another device that’s compatible both ways. Throw the 0.4-ohm coil in and you’ve got yourself a sub ohm tank, to be used with high-VG liquid. Throw in the 1.8-ohm coil (that also comes in the kit) with high-PG or equal quantities VG & PG, and you have yourself a mouth to lung vape.

Anyway, when you’ve got the right setup you’ll need high-VG liquid to get those vast clouds that come with sub ohm vaping. This means looking at the 80/20 or 70/30 e-liquids I suggested.

There seems to be more and more stuff to learn and understand these days, as far as vaping is concerned, but don’t worry, I’m just as confused as you are! I hope this has helped you to understand what e-liquid you need for your device but, as always, give me a shout if you have any questions. Come and say hey on social media 🙂

For the record, I’ve mentioned my favourite MTL (and tobacco) e-liquids above, so I feel it’s only fair that I share some of my favourite sub ohm (high VG) liquids too:


Honesty policy: There are affiliate links & banners on this page. This allows me to earn a small amount of commission if you purchase using them, or my discount codes. Thank you so much for reading, and for your continued support! 

One comment

  1. I’ve been vaping for almost two years now but I still don’t fully understand those things. I guess I was lucky when I was doing the switch from smoking to vaping that I came across vapour2 and their pre-filled cartridges so I didn’t have to take care of that many things… It might be lazy or stupid but it’s more convenient and some things around vaping seem just too hard to understand.

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