If you’re new to vaping, you have a long and eventful journey ahead of you – and it all begins with choosing the right vape juice for your needs. You might think that buying e-liquid is as simple as looking at a list of the best vape juice flavors and choosing one that appeals to you, but flavor isn’t the only thing that can make an e-liquid right or wrong for you. If your e-liquid doesn’t have the right nicotine strength, you are going to have a downright horrible experience. Let’s make sure that doesn’t happen!
One of the things that makes buying e-liquid so difficult for first-time vapers is the fact that there’s such an enormous variance between the lowest-strength and highest-strength e-liquids. You can buy a vape juice with a nicotine strength as low as 3 mg/ml or as high as 50 mg/ml. Since one strength has more than 16 times as much nicotine as the other, you could end up consuming far too much nicotine than you should. Alternatively, you could end up having an experience that’s completely unsatisfying.
So, how do you choose the right vape juice nicotine strength for your needs? We’re going to walk you through the process – and it all begins with knowing what’s best for your vaping equipment and your inhaling style.
Choosing the Right Vape Juice Nicotine Strength Begins with Knowing Your Inhaling Style
The first thing you need to understand about choosing the right nicotine strength is that all vaping devices fall loosely into two categories. The type of device that you buy will influence the inhaling style that you should use and what nicotine strength will give you the best possible experience with that device.
If you haven’t selected a vaping device yet, remember that choosing between a small vaping device and a large one is essentially a question of whether you prioritize flavor or throat hit. With a small device, you’ll get the same assertive throat hit that you’d get from smoking a cigarette. With a larger device, you won’t really experience the sensation of throat hit but will enjoy much bolder flavors.
Small Vaping Devices Are for Mouth-to-Lung Vaping and Work Best with High Nicotine Strengths
On one side, you have small vaping devices such as pod systems and small vape pens. These are the vaping devices that we usually suggest for beginners for two reasons. The first reason is that they’re the smallest and simplest vaping devices on the market, and the second reason is because they’re designed for mouth-to-lung inhaling and will give you the vaping experience that feels most like smoking.
Choosing the right nicotine strength for your needs should always begin with examining the vapor production of your hardware. If you use a small device, you need to use a stronger e-liquid to compensate for the fact that your hardware produces smaller vapor clouds. Nicotine salt e-liquid is usually the best choice for smaller vaping devices.
Large Vaping Devices Are for Direct-to-Lung Vaping and Work Best with Low Nicotine Strengths
On the other side of the spectrum are the more powerful vaping devices such as vape mods and larger vape pens. These are sub-ohm vaping devices, and they’re designed to produce much larger vapor clouds. That’s why they’re the types of devices that experienced vapers often use. As you gain vaping experience, it’s likely that you’re eventually going to want to upgrade from your first vaping device to one that produces larger clouds – and when you’re ready to experience the best performance that the world of vaping has to offer, you’ll probably buy a vape mod.
The biggest difference between larger devices like vape mods and smaller devices such as pod systems is the fact that the most powerful vaping devices are always designed for direct-to-lung inhaling. Because the clouds that you’ll get with a vape mod will be dramatically larger than the clouds that you’ll get with a smaller device, you’ll need to use an e-liquid with a much lower nicotine strength. Freebase nicotine e-liquid is usually the right choice for a smaller vaping device.
How to Choose the Right Vape Juice Nicotine Strength for Your Device
It’s time to start talking about specific numbers. Now that you understand the differences between the two main categories of vaping devices, let’s discuss the nicotine strength that you should use with each type.
Choosing the Nicotine Strength for a Small Vaping Device
As we mentioned above, nicotine salt e-liquid is usually the best choice if you’re using a smaller vaping device. Most of the brands that manufacture nicotine salt vape juice have two different nicotine strengths available. The lower strength will have a nicotine content in the range of 20-25 mg/ml, and the nicotine content of the higher-strength e-liquid will be 40-50 mg/ml. Here’s how to choose between the two.
- Start with the higher strength if you’re new to vaping. With a smaller vaping device, you need to use the highest available nicotine strength because that will allow you to get about the same nicotine per puff as you’d get from smoking a cigarette. When you vape, try taking just a few puffs at a time to mimic the pattern of smoking. After puffing a few times, put the device down until your cravings return.
- Start with the lower strength if you’re already a full-time vaper and are buying nicotine salt e-liquid for the first time because you want to know what it’s like to use a pod system. If you’re a full-time vaper, the lower nicotine strength should be appropriate for you because your nicotine needs are not as high as those of a smoker. The lower nicotine strength may also be appropriate for you if you’re new to vaping but are an extremely infrequent smoker.
Choosing the Nicotine Strength for a Large Vaping Device
Unless you purchased your device with the intention of pairing it with a small mouth-to-lung tank, freebase nicotine e-liquid is almost always the right e-liquid to use with a larger vape mod. That’s because your device produces very large vapor clouds, so you can have a completely satisfying vaping experience even if your e-liquid has a very low strength. Most freebase nicotine e-liquids are available in strengths of 3 mg/ml and 6 mg/ml. Here’s how to choose between them.
- Start with the 3 mg/ml nicotine strength. In the past, when the vaping industry was still transitioning from small vape pens to the first sub-ohm vaping devices, the 6 mg/ml strength was much more necessary and relevant than it is today. Current vape mods are so powerful that the 6 mg/ml strength is almost always far too high.
- Step up to the 6 mg/ml nicotine strength if you’ve already tried the 3 mg/ml strength and didn’t enjoy your vaping experience because you found that the nicotine delivery of your device wasn’t enough to curb your cravings. If you have a smaller sub-ohm vape tank designed for a “restricted direct lung hit,” that’s another situation in which the 6 mg/ml nicotine strength may be appropriate.
How to Know If You’re Using the Wrong Nicotine Strength for Your Needs
What should you do if you’ve followed the advice in this article and aren’t enjoying your vaping experience? Could it be that the nicotine strength you’re using isn’t right for your needs? Use these simple rules to answer that question.
- If your nicotine strength is too low, you won’t feel satisfied regardless of how much you vape. You might feel almost as though you’re chain vaping and never putting your device down – and even though you’re draining and refilling your tank several times a day, you’re still craving cigarettes. If that’s the experience you’re having, you should step up to a higher nicotine strength.
- If your nicotine strength is too high, you’ll have trouble vaping at all because you’ll experience intolerable throat irritation and may even feel a bit nauseous from overconsumption of nicotine. Vaping should never give you a sore throat – and if you feel like you’re getting significantly more nicotine than you require, it’s a sure sign that you need to step down to a lower nicotine strength.
What Should I Do if I Want to Try Synthetic Nicotine Vape Juice?
If you’ve been browsing the selection here at VapeJuice.com, you may have noticed that we have an entirely new section of the site devoted to synthetic nicotine vape juice. We are strong supporters of tobacco-free nicotine, and we feel that the future of the entire vaping industry lies in synthetic nicotine. Many of the country’s vape juice makers feel the same way and are in the process of transitioning all of their products to tobacco-free nicotine. If you’d like to give synthetic nicotine e-liquid a try, you don’t have to worry about choosing between freebase nicotine and nicotine salt because synthetic nicotine vape juice is available with both types of nicotine. Simply buy your e-liquid according to the nicotine strength recommendations we’ve provided in this article.
Want to learn more? Read about the best synthetic nicotine vape juice brands of 2021.