You often see this whenever you buy your favorite e-liquid.PG VG 50/50 , 40/60 , 70/30 etc, but what does these numbers mean? Simply put it is the ratio of PG vs VG contained in the e-liquid.
Different brands of e-liquids use a particular ratio which is indicated on their label based on their recipe and intended use.
A typical e-liquid is composed of a mixture of 4 ingredients.
- PG (Propylene glycol)
- VG (Vegetable glycerin) ,
- Flavor concentrate (Either PG or VG based)
- Nicotine (Either PG or VG based)
While some e-liquid contains either pure PG or pure VG mainly because some people are allergic to one or the other, most brands go for a combination of both in a certain ratio depending on their recipe and desired effect. It is not so much to say that it is quite a balancing act.
What is PG or Propylene glycol?
PG or Propylene glycol is a tasteless and odorless liquid used in different applications and products. Its low toxicity allows it to be used in food products, cosmetics and medicine. Most flavor concentrates are PG based mainly because it carries the flavor more efficiently due to its lower viscosity than VG. PG also gives you that throat hit effect.
What is VG or Vegetable glycerin?
VG or Vegetable glycerin is derived from organic materials such as coconuts, palm and soy. It is a clear syrup with a slightly sweet taste. Since it is a thicker liquid a higher ratio of VG in a juice produces more dense clouds, but it will also result in more gunk in your coils.
So how do manufacturers balance the PG and VG ratio?
PG is intended as the flavor carrier, the more PG the more you get that flavor and throat hit. VG is added for its sweetness and the clouds that it gives.
With the combination of the 4 main ingredients PG, VG, Flavoring, Nicotine (3 if we talk about zero nic e-liquids) manufacturers achieve that ratio we all see in their labels.
Sometimes if the flavor concentrate is weak, they tend to go for a higher PG ratio to give the flavor a more profound presence. If they intend to give more clouds a higher VG ratio is used.
Sometimes manufacturers tend to craft their e-liquid on for its intended use. Some e-liquids are intended for MTL (Mouth to lung vaping) some for drippers others for Tanks.
The results will vary depending on the ratio of PG vs VG in an e-liquid. For MTL vapers a more PG to VG ratio may be optimal due to its more profound flavor effect even at lower wattages and builds. See our sub ohm guide to understand more about properly building your coil for your desired effect here.
Tank users may benefit from a higher VG to PG ratio because of a lower chance of leakage. While drippers may benefit from a 50/50 mix for maximum flavor and cloud production.
PG vs VG Health effects.
Some people are allergic to PG while some are allergic to VG. That is why some manufacturers and DIY vapers are making either only pure PG or Pure VG.
Although PG and VG or a combination of both have many applications in food, cosmetics and medicine, we are yet to see a long-term study regarding its effect upon inhalation.
It all boils down to this.
If you have sensitivity to PG go for a pure VG e-liquid.
If you have sensitivity to VG go for a pure PG e-liquid
Otherwise start out with a 50/50 ratio. If you are not satisfied with the flavor and throat hit try and go for a higher PG to VG ratio e-liquid. If you want pillows of clouds go for a higher VG to PG ratio.