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Vaping terminology can be a bit confusing at first, so in this article we are going to try and explain the differences between the two most widely used e-liquid bases: propylene glycol (PG) and vegetable glycerin (VG).
That means propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin—PG and VG—which are usually indicated in labels of most commercially available eliquids. Knowing what they are and what's in your eliquid can impact how you experience them whenever you vape.
PG is less viscous than vegetable glycerin. Due to the fact that propylene glycol has a runny consistency, PG e-liquid is thinner than the VG variety, and is easily absorbed by the polyfill and cotton fabric inside cartomizers and wick tanks
PG won't gunk up your coils or the inside of the tank as much as VG.
PG is also tasteless on its own, making it a perfect base for flavors of your choice. However, it can also deliver throat hit like tobacco, so it's a good starting point for those who are coming into vaping from smoking.
There's even word on PG having anti-microbial properties, although that has yet to be scientifically confirmed in the context of vaping. However, PG has been known to absorb moisture in the throat, so you may feel dehydrated once you've been vaping PG eliquid for a while without drinking more water.
Take note that some people may be allergic to PG. If you're one of those people, then you'll have to go with VG in your eliquids instead.
VG is more viscous, making it thicker but also creates a lot more vapor. However, it does taste a bit sweet on its own, so you have to keep that in mind when choosing flavors.
The viscosity makes for a tougher time with cleaning coils and tanks, so you'll have to use a cleaning solvent like alcohol to effectively get that gunk out. Wicking with it is also more difficult since you have to wait a while for the cotton to soak it in, unlike the more runny PG. Some vapers have also complained of greater phlegm buildup in their throat while using pure VG eliquids due to this as well.
While a rare number of people may have some allergic reaction to VG, it's mostly regarded as easier than PG for most people. It also causes less dehydration, so your throat won't feel as dry while vaping a VG eliquid, as opposed to a PG eliquid.
A lot of vapers go for VG eliquids mostly for great vapor production, but it does sacrifice the throat hit that many look for in vaping.
Most eliquids these days tend to employ a mix of PG and VG for balance, combining advantages of both bases. A lot of times, you'll find either 70/30 or 60/40 VG to PG ratio eliquids in the market today. Either of them make for a balance in flavor and vapor production.
Both these liquids are food grade, and they're in widespread use for a variety of food products. Both PG and VG are deemed safe for human consumption by the FDA, making them perfect for making eliquids.
It must be said that both PG and VG have very low allergy risk, but everybody is different. It's incredibly rare to be allergic to both, so mixed PG/VG eliquids should certainly be just fine for a vast majority of people.
There's no definite answer to this question. The only good conclusion to this is it really depends on personal preference. Some like VG-only eliquids, some like PG-only eliquids, but most prefer a combination of the PG/VG. Knowing what you want from vaping helps determine what kind of eliquid you want. It's not just about what flavor fits your fancy, but also what kind of liquid base you prefer.