E-Liquid Tank Ratios- Yes, They Do Matter!
At one time crafting e-juice from scratch was a hobby I enjoyed that taught me a lot about what goes into the juices we vape. From the flavorings to the nicotine to the PG/VG ratio, composing a good juice was about understanding the role these substances played and balancing them according to personal preference and purpose. Whether it's clouds or flavor, pen or sub ohm tank, the ratio of propylene glycol (PG) and vegetable glycerin (VG) form, the basis of the effectiveness juice can have on the user's experience. With this knowledge I would like to help you understand the difference in PG and VG and how the ratio of the two can affect flavor and clouds depending on what type of device is being used.
Propylene glycol is a man-made chemical developed for use in everything from soaps and deodorant to inhalers and nebulizers. Very few people suffer a mild allergy to the substance and for this reason look to juices that have more vg. However, the FDA has labeled the substance to be "generally recognized as safe" for use in food, having anti-fungal and antimicrobial properties that help to balance the organic nature of vegetable glycerin. Its solubility makes it the ideal base for the flavorings used in e-juices, and nearly all the most popular flavorings that companies use come pre-mixed into a solution of PG.
For this reason, PG is known as the
flavor carrying agent in e-juices, as it has a smaller molecular structure that
allows the molecules in the flavoring itself to be more easily integrated. The
amount of PG you want in your juice depends on what type of tank used and the
desired experience. Flavor chasers will look for a juice that contains an equal
balance of the two. In tanks that produce less vapor such as the smaller,
skinnier vape pen tanks, a thinner more flavor-heavy juice is needed to offset
the lack of cloud production and wicking capability. Propylene glycol itself
doesn’t adversely affect Pyrex or plastic tanks, but it should be noted that
acidic juices with higher amounts of PG will contain a stronger concentration
of flavor and could potentially crack the tank. The thinness of it allows these
tanks to properly wick the juice.
Vegetable glycerin is naturally derived from plants and is the substance that works to produce clouds. While it does have flavor carrying capabilities, it is less effective to this end. For those of us who chase clouds, less of the flavoring agent is required as the amount of vapor big sub-ohm tanks produce have the volume necessary for flavorful hits. On setups designed for cloud production, a mix with too much PG will be so thin that spit back may occur as the wick becomes over-saturated too quickly. Those looking for cloud production go for a juice with the highest amount of vg possible. MODs equipped with bigger tanks have the power and wicking ability to handle juices heavy with vg, and these larger tanks provide enough room for the thicker liquid to disperse. Most large tanks are made with Pyrex or glass, neither of which will be adversely affected by VG. However, some of these are being coated with cheap paint that can chip off, so avoid using these altogether. Beware of juices claiming to be “MAX VG” as the flavorings themselves are based in PG, so achieving a pure vg mix is nearly impossible. But depending on the amount of flavoring used some juices can have as much as 90 percent vegetable glycerin in their mix.
Understanding these properties should help you to more accurately choose the ratio of PG/VG you need depending on the type of tank and your preference of cloud vs. flavor production. Remember that not all juices and tanks are the same, so your personal satisfaction relies on properly balancing the two to achieve the desired experience.