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VG vs. PG Explained

When you’re looking at the list of ingredients in e-juice, you’re likely to come across a couple of common abbreviations. So what is e-liquid VG? Is PG different to VG? Why do some e-liquids contain more VG than PG, or vice-versa? Although in vaping circles they’re usually referred to only by their nebulous acronyms, both propylene glycol e-liquid and vegetable glycerin e-juice (PG and VG) are common formulas that you’ll probably ingest every single day.

Here’s a quick primer on VG and PG in e-liquid to help you understand the meaning hiding behind the acronyms:

What is E-Liquid VG?

Vegetable glycerin (VG) is otherwise known as glycerol, a viscous, colorless chemical that’s slightly sweet to the taste and present in many consumer products. It’s used in cosmetics, cleaning products, adhesives, food, pharmaceutical products, tobacco and many other consumer products, often because it helps them retain moisture. E-liquid VG is the same chemical (derived from vegetables), and high-VG e-liquids are thicker and smoother on the throat than low-VG e-liquids. They also produce notably more vapor and offer a slight additional sweetness.

What is E-Liquid PG?

Propylene glycol (PG) is another very common chemical, and is used in a wide variety of consumer products, much like VG. Theatrical smoke machines use PG, but you’ll also find it in alcoholic drinks, frosting, seasonings and a wide variety of foods, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, detergents and tobacco products, among many other products. For vapers, PG in e-liquid is used to provide a “throat-hit” that mimics the sensation of smoking, and it also carries flavor without imparting its own flavor in the same way e-liquid VG does.

E-Liquid VG to PG Ratio

An e-liquid’s VG to PG ratio tells you the relative amounts of each chemical in your juice, with most e-liquids having an even (50/50) mix. However, some vapers prefer a mixture heavy in one of the two ingredients, and different e-liquid mixers offer varying ratios to account for vapers’ diverse preferences. For example, in the early days of the industry, a PG to VG ratio of 80/20 was common, but in the modern day, many vapers opt for higher-VG mixes. An even mix strikes a balance that keeps most vapers happy, but there are a few considerations to see what mix will be right for your preferences.

Benefits of PG and VG in E-Liquid  

High PG e-liquids are less common today, but the reason it was originally common is still worth considering. For one, PG-based e-liquids have a thinner consistency, meaning they soak up into wicks more efficiently than VG-based e-liquids, and they also offer a substantial throat hit. However, e-liquid VG has been gaining popularity because it both makes vaping a lot smoother on the throat and produces thicker fogs of vapor. The main downside to VG in e-liquid is that – especially in very high-VG mixes – it can potentially clog up your wick due to its viscosity, and for subtle flavors, the inherent sweetness of VG can also compete with the intended taste. The differing benefits of PG and VG are why most mixers choose to strike a relatively even balance without tipping the mix too far in one direction, and it’s why here at Black Note we offer a 50/50 mix as standard.

Conclusion – Finding Your E-Liquid VG and PG Ratio

So PG and VG in e-liquid aren’t really anything to be concerned about, and they certainly aren’t confusing – they’re both common chemicals that have merely found a new use. The main thing to try to determine is how much of each you want in your e-juice. As with many vaping-related decisions, choosing your e-liquid VG to PG ratio is very much down to personal preference, so new vapers are advised to try out a variety of ratios to see which works best for their needs. However, there’s a pretty good chance that – like most vapers – you’ll settle on a 50/50 mix or something close to it.


  1. Propylene Glycol vs. Vegetable Glycerin E-Liquid – What’s the Difference?
  2. DOW: Glycols: Propylene Glycol
  3. PubChem: Glycerol
  4. What is the Right PG to VG Ratio for E-Liquid?
Michael Grey
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Michael Grey

With a passion to educate through my writings and a passion to help others, I found my place here at Black Note. Being that I am a former smoker who quit smoking because of vaping, I knew I could help others do the same. Working for Black Note is a true blessing. Not only do I help educate vapers on a daily basis through my writings, but I am also enjoying the benefits of working with an amazing team and sharing an authentic tobacco solution with the vaping community.
Michael Grey
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WARNING: Black Note products are not smoking cessation products and have not been tested as such. Black Note products are intended for use by adults of legal smoking age (21 or older in California), and not by children or women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Black Note products contain nicotine, a chemical known to the State of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm. Ingestion of the non-vaporized concentrated ingredients can be poisonous. Keep out of reach of children and pets. For immediate advice, contact poison control center: (800) 222-1222