TL:DR - If you have just bought a vape pen and wondered what vape liquid to stick in it. The short answer to this common 'any e liquid in any vape pen' question, is no. It does generally matter, although it's not world ending if you use the wrong liquid.
What types of vape liquids are there?
If you're asking "are all e liquids compatible?" then there's a good chance this next section will help you out. Let's talk about what types of vape liquids there are. Once you understand that, then the rest becomes pretty simple to learn.
- High VG Vape Liquid - This is thicker and known for making big clouds, it requires higher power to vaporise which narrows down the kits needed. These types of liquids are often referred to as Shortfills, Shake and Vape, Longfills and often come in 50ml, 100mls and then some.
- High PG Vape Liquid - These liquids are runnier and are generally associated with starter vape kits or those that want stronger nicotine levels. This includes 50/50 vape juice, nic salts and brands such as Hangsen vape.
NB: Not every big bottle of vape liquid is high vg, though generally speaking they tend to be.
What do Vape liquids contain?
Before we go into the compatibility of vape liquids, I am going to break down very quickly what goes into them:
- Vegetable Glycerin (VG) - A thick gloopy substance which it is suggested has cough syrup style properties, but is added to liquids due to it's ability to slowly vaporise and while doing so, creates thick clouds. Big cloud style liquids tend to have more VG.
- Propylene Glycol (PG) - This is a runnier solution, that most nicotine and flavourings are 'suspended' in, so every liquid in some form or another is going to have PG. Because it's runnier than 'VG', it vaporises quickly, requiring less power and works well with simple vape pens.
- Flavouring - Unless you're an absolute psychopath, your vape liquid will contain flavouring. If it doesn't you are in a small and unique group of people who I would rather not leave alone with the office hamster.
- Nicotine - Not a necessity, in fact there is a great deal of no nicotine vape liquid fans, but it's a common find in juices.
: You can read our full guide on VG and PG by hitting that link.
Why can't any vape juice go in any vape?
So having looked the range of vape liquids out there, we can see they aren't all the same. Some are thick and used for clouds, others are runny and are there to help give someone a higher nicotine hit.
This means - different liquids do different things and different things, require sometimes different kits.
Thicker liquids require more power, and therefore larger vape coils, with a bigger surface area to make absorbing the thick liquid that bit easier.
Q: So if a high powered vape kit can handle thick liquid, why can't I use it for High PG juice?
A: Understandable question, high pg liquid is runny - so surely it would work fine right? For the most part - wrong. This is why.
The bigger vape pen coils with their large 'cotton windows' to better absorb the vg juice, gets saturated and often flooded very easily by the runnier stuff. This means you will see it find it's way out of the air-holes, and even into the mouth tube. In short, it tends to lead to leaking.
There is a second reason why you may want to avoid higher nicotine strength liquids in a powerful device, and this is due to: 'higher nicotine'.
Why nicotine liquids are better with certain vape pens
High power and more advanced kits produce more vapor per vape 'hit'. This means if you are using a higher nicotine level it creates a denser nicotine blast each use.
A simpler system produces a less dense blast and therefore makes the inhale more manageable.
Nicotine is an irritant, so that 'throat hit' you experience is nicotine on the back of the throat. Getting a massive vape inhale on a 12mg liquid for example would feel like double the strength.
Where to buy the right vape pens for my e-liquid?
If you are looking for a simple kit that can vape with the 10ml style juices, then our guide to the best options for this, is worth a look:
If you are after the big flavours and the cumulonimbus effect, then you will need the right device for that too. We have a guide that can help you on this:
Vape Liquid Compatibility Wrap Up
Editor: I hope I have covered the question well enough for you. In short, there are different types of liquids for different vapes. If it's simpler, thinner, and often in a smaller bottle, then it has a different vape need than those big liquids. If you want some inspiration on where to go next - how about this: