When you buy Vape Juice online, one of the first things you’re going to notice is that e-liquid comes in a huge range of nicotine strengths. On one hand, you’ve got freebase nicotine vape juice, which is typically sold in strengths of 3 and 6 mg along with nicotine free. On the other hand, you’ve got nicotine salt e-liquid, which usually comes in strengths of 25 and 50 mg. On top of those two choices, there’s now something completely new – synthetic nicotine vape juice – that’s certain to confuse new vapers even more.
No matter how inexperienced you may be in the world of vaping, one thing is probably already abundantly clear to you. When one type of e-liquid has more than 16 times as much nicotine as the other, you’re liable to have a very bad vaping experience if the nicotine strength that you buy isn’t the right one for your needs.
Using the wrong nicotine strength can lead to throat irritation and an unpleasant overall vaping experience.
Let’s make sure that doesn’t happen. The range of vape juice nicotine strengths might be incredibly wide, but we’re going to show you how to make your decision an unbelievably simple one. Ultimately, the type of vaping device that you use will determine the range of nicotine strengths that’s right for you. Within that range, you’ll have just two choices – a higher strength and a lower one. That doesn’t sound so difficult, does it?
In this article, we’ll explain exactly how to choose the right nicotine strength when you buy vape juice. Before we do that, though, let’s learn a little about what the strength of an e-liquid actually is.
What Does the Nicotine Strength of Vape Juice Actually Mean?
The nicotine strength of vape juice is measured in terms of the milligrams of nicotine in each milliliter of e-liquid. A bottle of vape juice with a nicotine strength of 3 mg, for instance, has 3 mg of nicotine per ml. If it’s a 60 ml bottle, then the entire bottle has 180 mg of nicotine. Nicotine salt e-liquid, on the other hand, tends to come in smaller bottles. A 30 ml bottle of nicotine salt vape juice with a strength of 50 mg has 1,500 mg of nicotine.
If you’re coming from the world of pre-filled vaping devices, you’ve probably noticed that some of those products state their nicotine content in terms of percentages, with 5 percent being the most common strength available in supermarkets and convenience stores. If a product states its nicotine strength as a percentage rather than in milligrams, you can get a rough idea of the milligram strength by adding a zero to the end of the number. A vape pod with a stated nicotine content of 5 percent, for example, has a nicotine strength of approximately 50 mg or slightly higher.
How to Choose Your Nicotine Strength the Easy Way
At the beginning of this article, we promised to provide a strategy that’ll make choosing the right vape juice nicotine strength incredibly easy. We’re going to narrow down the entire pool of candidates to just two different nicotine strengths, in fact, and we’re going to do that by looking at the type of vaping hardware you’re using.
Your vaping device is designed for one of two inhaling styles. If you use a small device like a pod system, your device is designed for the mouth-to-lung inhaling style. You’ll know that because the device will have a small mouthpiece and because you’ll feel a good amount of air resistance when you inhale through it.
If you have a large vape mod, on the other hand, your device probably has a large glass tank with a wide mouthpiece that’s much larger than the filter of a cigarette. When you inhale through the tank, you’ll feel almost no air resistance. Your device is designed for the direct-to-lung inhaling style.
With those things in mind, here’s how to choose your nicotine strength.
- If you have a mouth-to-lung vaping device, you should generally use nicotine salt e-liquid. With most vape juice brands, that means you’ll be choosing between nicotine strengths of 25 and 50 mg. If you’re currently a smoker and are completely new to vaping, we recommend the 50 mg nicotine strength. If you’re already a vaper and are currently using a pre-filled vaping device, we recommend the 25 mg nicotine strength because you’ll probably find that your first refillable vaping device produces bigger clouds than the pre-filled device you’re using now.
- If you have a direct-to-lung vaping device, you should generally use freebase nicotine e-liquid. That almost always means you’ll be choosing between nicotine strengths of 3 and 6 mg. In this case, we recommend the 3 mg nicotine strength. That’s because today’s vape mods produce such enormous vapor clouds that the higher 6 mg nicotine strength is overkill for most people.
How to Know if Your Nicotine Strength Is Too High or Too Low
Small vaping devices require e-liquids with higher nicotine strengths.
So far, we’ve only covered one of the reasons that might have brought you to this article: You want to know how to choose the right nicotine strength if you’re buying e-liquid for the first time. Next, we’ll cover a second – but equally important – topic. Let’s suppose that you’ve already purchased your first vaping device and bottle of e-liquid. You’re tried using your device, and you’re not happy with the experience. Is it possible that you’re using the wrong nicotine strength? Here’s how to tell if your nicotine strength is too high or too low.
- If your nicotine strength is far too high – you’re using nicotine salt e-liquid with a direct-to-lung vaping device, for instance – vaping will probably make you feel ill. In this case, you should stop vaping immediately, empty your device’s tank and switch to an e-liquid with a significantly lower nicotine strength. As we mentioned above, we recommend a nicotine strength of 3 mg for direct-to-lung vaping devices.
- If your nicotine strength is slightly too high, you may find that you get an overwhelming sensation of throat hit or throat irritation when vaping. You may feel jittery. You’ve probably felt a similar sensation as a smoker. At one point or another, you might have lit up a new cigarette immediately after putting the previous one out, but you were compelled to put out the second cigarette before finishing it because the experience was no longer pleasurable. Vaping feels like that if your nicotine strength is too high. In this case, you should step down from the 50 mg strength to the 25 mg strength or from the 6 mg strength to the 3 mg strength.
- If your nicotine strength is too low, you’ll find that vaping never quite leaves you feeling satisfied even if it seems like you never actually put your device down. If you’re using the 3 mg nicotine strength with a direct-to-lung vaping device, you should consider stepping up to the 6 mg strength. If you’re already using the 6 mg strength, you should consider buying a mouth-to-lung device and switching to nicotine salt e-liquid.
What’s the Ideal Vaping Setup and Nicotine Strength for a New Vaper?
Above, we described the differences between mouth-to-lung and direct-to-lung vaping devices, and we explained the proper nicotine strengths to use with those two types of devices. How can you tell which type of vaping device you should use, though, if you’ve never actually tried vaping before?
We’ll answer this question in the simplest manner possible. If you’re new to vaping, we recommend starting out with a small refillable pod system. You can buy one for around $20, which is absolutely perfect if you have no vaping experience and are afraid to make a large investment in something that you might not actually like.
The main reason why pod systems are so great for new vapers, though, isn’t the fact that they’re affordable. Pod systems are designed specifically to take maximum advantage of nicotine salt e-liquid and to provide a vaping experience that captures the feeling of smoking a cigarette as closely as possible. You definitely want a mouth-to-lung device if you’re new to vaping because that’s the best way to experience the satisfying throat hit that you’ll want as a new vaper.
As we mentioned above, we suggest buying the highest available nicotine salt strength – usually 50 mg – for your first vaping device because that strength will come close to matching the nicotine delivery of a tobacco cigarette. If you’re an infrequent smoker, though – you only smoke cigarettes when you’re out with friends during the weekend, for instance – you should consider starting with the 25 mg strength instead.
What Do Freebase Nicotine, Nicotine Salt and Synthetic Nicotine Have to Do with Nicotine Strength?
If you’re new to vaping, the fact that vape juice comes with different types of nicotine might cause a bit of confusion. The good news, though, is that you can largely ignore the nicotine type when you buy vape juice and simply focus on the nicotine strength instead. With that having been said, here is a short primer on what the different nicotine types mean.
- Freebase nicotine is the most common type of nicotine in the e-liquid world, and it’s used mainly for lower-strength e-liquids in the 3-6 mg range.
- Nicotine salt has a more neutral pH than freebase nicotine, and that allows it to reach higher nicotine strengths without causing throat irritation. Nicotine salt is used for higher-strength e-liquids in the 25-50 mg range.
- Synthetic nicotine is synthesized in a laboratory rather than being extracted from tobacco leaves. It’s available in all nicotine strengths. Many vape juice manufacturers converted to tobacco-free nicotine in 2021, and it’s possible that virtually all vaping products will use synthetic nicotine by 2022.