VG vs PG. Ratio and Side Effects

24 min

e-juice bottle and light effect

PG vs. VG: What’s the Difference

During the discussion of the best vape juice, the notions of PG and VG often spring up. They can confuse a beginner vaper. However, it is better to learn the terms, because it can improve your vaping experience a lot. In this post, you can find a comprehensive guide on the basics you need to know about PG, VG, and differentiating between them.

Definitions of PG and VG

Simply put, PG (Propylene Glycol) and VG (vegetable glycerin) are the constituent liquids of e-juices. They have no odor and are combined with nicotine and flavor to create e-juices. Even though PG and VG are not intoxicating, they both belong to the alcohol chemical class. E-liquids are sometimes called oils due to their consistency, but it is a false name for the e-liquids, as they are not in fact oils and do not cause any of the medical issues real oils cause when you inhale them.

The consistency of PG differs from the one of VG, and so does the taste. Both liquids have distinct sensations in the mouth and the throat when vaped. In contemporary e-liquids, both PG and VG are used in combination, but the ratio differs dramatically depending on the manufacturer and the type of the e-liquid. You have to be careful about choosing the right PG/VG ratio so that it matches your vaping equipment (some vaporizer settings can work only with a precise level of PG or VG.

girl dropping ejuice to a vape boxAs you could already understand, distinguishing between PG and VG is it is critical to get the best vaping experience. Below, you will find a detailed examination of PG and VG respectively. The information will be useful not only for vapers, because PG and VG and their combinations are found in a range of products we use daily, like mouthwash, cake mix, ice cream, toothpaste, caramel topping, aspirin for children, granola bars, water flavor enhancers and a wide range of other products.

Both substances are generally recognized as safe when it comes to food additives and food products and are entirely safe in skin products. You might be worried if you discover that antifreeze also contains PG. If it makes you worried that it could be a sign that the substance is toxic, we have good news for you: it’s quite the opposite. The antifreeze manufacturers started using the non-toxic propylene glycol instead of the poisonous ethylene glycol to make it safe for children and pets.

What is PG (Propylene Glycol)?

When reading the ingredients of their e-liquid, some users see the mysterious letters PG. What is Propylene Glycol? Propylene Glycol is a by-product of petroleum production. It is an odorless colorless liquid that has a lower viscosity compared to VG. Propylene Glycol vaping provides a throat hit when used for vaping, and some users say that the experience is similar to smoking real tobacco cigarettes. PG carries flavor much more efficiently than VG. For this reason, PG is the most widely used suspension fluid for nicotine and flavor concentrates.

guy showing a bottle of vape juiceHow is PG Used?

PG (Propylene Glycol) is a constituent in a wide range of household items, including toothpaste, beauty products, oral hygiene products, makeup, shampoo, baby wipes, pet food and nicotine inhalers.

Where to Buy Propylene Glycol?

If you need to purchase Propylene Glycol for your e-liquid, you merely need to go to any shop that sells e-liquids, whether it is online or offline. It’s an extremely popular product you can get anywhere.

Is Propylene Glycol Bad for You?

It has been proven by research that PG is safe when orally ingested. Currently, it is qualified as “generally recognized as safe” when used as a food additive by the FDA. Still, it is worth pointing out that most of the studies researched the safety of PG when ingested. There are only limited studies of the influence of this substance when inhaled in the aerosol form.

The last long-term research that determined that PG was entirely safe for inhaling was held back in 1947. Another study was held in 2010, and it researched a mix of propylene glycol and glycol ethers. It revealed that the mix increased the risk of immune and respiratory diseases in children (including but not limited to asthma, eczema and hay fever).

putting vape juice into the vapeThe researchers suggested that the adverse health effects were caused by glycol ethers rather than by PG. Even though there is evidence that PG is safe to inhale, more comprehensive research needs to be made to confirm that there are no adverse propylene glycol side effects.

Media sometimes pictures PG as a dangerous substance, assuming that it is toxic because one can find it in antifreeze. What the media does not mention is that there are two types of antifreeze, toxic and non-toxic safe for humans, it might not be so good for your pets. In toxic antifreeze, they use ethylene glycol, a dangerous chemical that is never used for vaping liquids.

Speaking of PG-based antifreeze, you should know that it is always used in food-processing machinery where toxic antifreeze can cause problems. It is also sold in retail, and people can get it to make sure their pets and children will be safe.

Even though PG is safe for humans, it is not so good for pets in some cases. First of all, even though it is considered to be a safe food additive for dogs, it is linked to Heinz body anemia in cats. If there is PG in your e-liquid, you should not vape around cats. In general, it is not a good idea to smoke around cats or other pets, because their respiratory system is rather sensitive to smells and strong smells can harm it irreversibly.

Things to Know About Your PG Vape

For some vapers, higher than average levels would cause throat irritation. There have been reports about PG-related allergies, but those are very rare. However, if you experience a rash or other adverse reactions after using the e-liquids that contain PG. In any case, if you are sensitive to PG, you should switch to high-VG juice as an alternative. There are plenty of its options available on the market.

vape juice bottlesThe most common side-effects of PG-liquids vapers report are increased thirst, dry mouth, and sore throat. Usually, the symptoms last from several days to a week. During this time, the vaper’s body gets used to PG and stops reacting to it unpleasantly. We recommend you to stay hydrated over the first weeks of vaping PG-based liquids.

If you are quitting smoking and turn to vaping for a change, note that some of the adverse symptoms you might experience could be connected to quitting smoking and could have nothing to do with PG-vaping.

What is Vegetable Glycerin (VG)?

Vegetable glycerin is a natural chemical that is divided from vegetable oil. Therefore, it is safe to use for vegetarians. VG vape juice is generally thicker than PG juice. Thus, they give you a thicker sensation when vaping. The taste of VG juice is sweeter compared to PG, and it is also smoother.

Sub-ohm vapers may find VG-vaping more pleasant compared to PG. In PG, flavorings and nicotine are commonly suspended, but there are many vendors who offer 100% VG mixes.

Where Can I Buy Vegetable Glycerin?

If you need to purchase liquid glycerin of vegetable origin, you merely need to go to any shop that sells e-liquids, whether it is online or offline. It’s an extremely popular product you can get anywhere. 100 VG juice is considered to be the best on the market.

two vape mods and two bottles of vape juiceVegetable Glycerin Uses

Vegetable glycerin is widely used in a range of spheres, including medicine, food, and products for personal care. VG is used as a sweetener that replaces sugar. It is often found in beauty products like deodorant, aftershave, bubble bath foams, mousse, makeup. VG is found in personal care products like hand cream, toothpaste, and soap. It is also widely used as a pet food additive. Moreover, it is often used for medicinal creams, jellies, and capsule pills.

How Safe is VG?

VG falls into the category of products that are “generally recognized as safe”. Being one of the most benign products known to people, VG is extremely widespread. Its SIDS assessment profile confirms that it has a very low potential to irritate skin or eyes. Also, it has little toxicity.

Even though it is considered to be safe for humans, studies of inhaling effect are limited, and we should remember that inhalation and ingestion are different processes. Therefore, VG vape could still potentially have some adverse effects that have not been revealed yet.

vape box mod and five bottle of e-juiceBack in 2008, a study revealed that inhaling aerosolized glycerol has minimal health risks. It is assumed that there are no serious adverse effects of VG for vapers. However, we would be happy to see the results of more detailed studies both for both substances.

The risk of developing an allergy to VG is minimal, which makes it suitable for people who have issues vaping PG. Still, if you are allergic to coconut oil or palm oil, VG could also cause allergy. However, those VG-related reactions are fairly rare. People with diabetes could have problems when digesting VG, but this should not potentially be a problem when vaping.

Things to Pay Attention to When Using VG

VG is thicker to PG, so when vaping it can potentially reduce the life of atomizers faster than PG liquids. VG liquids clog up the vape coils more often, and they might not work with specific oil vape tanks. Usually, older models of vaporizers can have difficulties with VG. Among them are the Nautilus range, eGo tanks, and Innokin iclears.

As already mentioned before, if you go for VG-juice, you might experience dry mouth and sore throat in the beginning. You might also feel more thirsty than usual. All you need to do is stay hydrated, and the symptoms will go away. In case they bother you a lot, you should take a break from vaping to let your body adjust.

bottle of e-juice in the hand of a vaperHow to Choose A Correct PG/VG Ratio?

When searching for the right PG/VG ratio, you should know that there is no option that would fit for all. The right choice is very individual, and it depends a lot on the kind of vaping experience you prefer. Different levels of PG serve different purposes, namely:
Stealth vaping (PG is a better choice for stealth vaping in public, as less vapor is produced and less flavor will be distributed around you. However, it is considered unethical to vape in public spaces like on transport and waiting rooms, so you should also apply common sense when vaping in a new location);
– Smoothness (vegetable glycerin vapes provide a smoother throat feeling than PG vapes. The vape also feels thicker in VG vapes.);
– Throat hit (PG vapes deliver a stronger throat hit at the back of the throat. It is exactly the feeling that many ex-smokers miss and crave for. PG also delivers better flavor compared to VG.);
Cloud chasing (high VG vape juice produces denser vapor, and so you can get a bigger cloud with it compared to PG vape).

Choosing the Right Settings

The choice of the right settings doesn’t simply boil down to a choice between PG and VG. What matters most is the equipment you choose. The information below intends to help you choose the best settings for the ultimate vaping experience.
– The choice of a clearomizer. A clearomizer is the most commonly used style of vape tanks; it is included in the Kanger Protank series, as well as in the Aspire Nautilus series. Such coils in the range of 1.2-2.5 ohms are not usually fit for high VG fluids because the coils cannot cope with the thick fluids well. Sometimes they can lead to dry hits caused by burning vape cotton. You should use such clearomizers for high PG fluid or for 50/50 ratio of PG/VG.
– RDAs. Here everything depends on personal preferences you have. Sub-ohm coils are more suitable for high VG, whereas higher ohms coils work better for high PG. An average norm is 30/70 PG/VG mix.
– Sub-Ohm Tanks are the tanks that include Kanger Subtank and the Aspire Atlantis, as well as some others. They are more powerful than average clearomizers and work smoothly with high VG juices. However, if you opt for the high-battery settings, you should deal with the fact that your e-juice will be used faster.

wick soacked with vape juiceVG vs. PG: Basic Tips

In case you are struggling to find the best PG/VG ratio while creating your own e-juice mixture, we have some basic tips that could be useful for you. All of them are quite comprehensive and affordable. Pay attention to the following things:
– Flavor and nicotine. Most of the flavored and nicotine concentrates are suspended in PG. This basically means that the more nicotine and flavor you want, the lower level of VG there should be.
– If you need to make the thick juice thinner, you should add water to it. Also, this will make the cotton absorb the liquid more efficiently and quickly.
Steeping e juice takes longer in high-VG e-juices. It is especially true for complex multi-flavor recipes.


It is extremely easy to understand the basics of VG and PG vaping. Both PG and VG have their advantages and disadvantages when it comes to vaping. We recommend you to start with a 50-50 PG to VG ratio, and then to begin changing it a bit to find what works best for you. The ideal settings will depend on the device you use, the flavor you like and the amount and density of vapor you are looking for. There are no rules of what is right, so feel free to experiment![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Cassy Williams
Vape enthusiast with 3 years of experience. Knows almost everything about vaping. Wants to share her expertise with Vape Habitat visitors. Vape collection - SMOK Stick Prince, Vandy Vape Pulse, SX Mini G Class Favorite flavors - VaporFi Joosylicious, Space Jam Astro, Wild Watermelon Lemonade