Vaping Basics – Inside an E-Liquid – EDGE Vaping - Trade

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Vaping Basics – Inside an E-Liquid

e-liquids on a table

Vaping is no longer a new craze, having gone from breakout sensation to household name in just a few short years. As a result, the sheer number of vaping products available to consumers can make these ultimately simple products seem a lot more complicated than they need to be. E-liquids are a prime example of this – the vast majority of vapers, novice and experienced alike, happily purchase and consume e-liquids without truly understanding the ingredients that go into them. 

If you’re going to vape it’s well worth understanding what exactly is in the bottle you just purchased. Knowing what makes a rigorously tested, premium product like EDGE can help you work out whether you are making the right decision at the checkout as well as ensure you are only ever buying e-liquid of the very finest quality. There are a variety of different e-liquid types for you to choose from, and while they all perform slightly differently, they all share the same common ingredients – it’s how they are mixed that makes the difference.

What Goes Into EDGE?

At EDGE we pride ourselves on producing only the very finest E-Liquid; our products are fully tested for compliance and safety and are made using only the highest quality ingredients. Read on to learn what these ingredients are and how they contribute to a delicious bottle of the UK’s No1 e-liquid*.

*Nielsen (April 2021) – Total UK Unit Sales

All e-liquids typically contain 4 primary ingredients: PG, VG, nicotine & flavouring.

Propylene Glycol (PG)

  • PG is a clear, tasteless and colourless base material used in many common products including inhalers.
  • PG is used in e-liquids as it is a very effective carrier for flavourings and also nicotine, allowing them to be blended and ultimately vaped more effectively.
  • PG is thinner in consistency than VG and produces far less vapour.
  • 50-50 style vape liquids are made using a higher volume of PG, this allows them to accommodate higher nicotine strengths and function more effectively in standard device types with a coil rating higher than 1 ohm like our EDGE PRO.

Vegetable Glycerol (VG)

  • VG is a clear, slightly sweet and colourless base material that is used in a massive range of products from food to hand sanitiser.
  • VG is perfect for e-liquids as it helps to create the clouds people know and love, or love to hate. This increased volume of vapour also allows for more flavouring to be inhaled for a bigger, bolder vaping experience.
  • VG is very thick in its consistency and produces massive vape clouds.
  • In order for an e-liquid to function effectively a balance of VG and PG must be used as VG is not an effective carrier like PG. 80-20 or HVG juices however utilise a much higher volume of VG, ideal for use in sub-ohm devices with a coil rating of less than 1. Due to their lower PG content however, these juices are typically lower in nicotine strength, like EDGE MAX which is only available in 3 and 6mg.

Freebase Nicotine

  • The nicotine found in traditional e-liquids is called “freebase” – this is because concentrated nicotine is diluted into Propylene Glycol (PG) and is “freely” suspended in the “base” PG to create a mixture we can then accurately blend as part of our e-liquid recipes.
  • Our Nicotine is suspended in PG at 7.2%, this allows us to easily blend it into our e-liquids to create the various strengths we offer.
  • Nicotine has a naturally very alkali pH level, which is why at high strengths like 18mg, freebase/standard e-liquids typically deliver a harsher throat hit when vaped.

Nic Salts

  • Freebase Nicotine was the only option for vapers until fairly recently, however the harsher throat hit at higher strengths created a consumer desire for a nicotine alternative with less alkalinity and a smooth taste even at high strengths, this led to the development of Nic Salt e-liquids.
  • Nic Salt e-liquids use a modified form of nicotine that is designed to deliver a more satisfying and longer-lasting hit to help manage even the strongest cravings but without a harsh throat hit. Some Nic Salts occur naturally within the tobacco leaf but can also be created by adding a weak acid to a nicotine base, in science these combined elements are described as a “salt”, hence the vaping nomenclature “Nic Salt”. A good example would be Nicotine Salicylate, which is made by adding salicylic acid to freebase nicotine.
  • The “organic acid” added when making a Nic Salt neutralises the alkali pH of the base nicotine, greatly reducing throat hit, allowing you to vape as much as 20mg while enjoying a smooth taste experience normally reserved for vapers of 6mg juices and below. Not only that, but their modified structure also means that Nic Salts can actually permeate your blood/brain barrier with more ease than freebase. This results in a faster, more intense hit and leaves you feeling satisfied for far longer.
  • EDGE nic salts utilise Nicotine Salicylate, which our trials found to deliver unmatched satisfaction, flavour and overall user experience. Some other common nic salt varieties include: Nicotine Benzoate, Nicotine Ditartrate & Nicotine Levulinate.


  • Flavourings are what truly bring an e-liquid to life and they come in near limitless varieties. These can then be blended together again to create even more rich and diverse flavour profiles for you to enjoy.
  • E-liquid flavourings are usually suspended in a base consisting primarily of PG due to it’s properties as a carrier. The PG allows the flavourings to be properly blended alongside VG to create the finished product.
  • EDGE flavourings are all rigorously tested for safety and compliance, coming from only reputable suppliers whom we regularly audit to ensure they meet our standards and those of our customers. All our flavours are food-grade and have been specifically designed for use in e-liquids for your total satisfaction.

These key ingredients form the backbone of all our products here at EDGE, blended to perfection, following our tried and tested recipes. We never add anything else: no water, artificial colours, or additives like caffein will ever appear in our products.

What are the main varieties of E-Liquid?

These simple ingredients can be blended together in differing amounts to create the different types of e-liquid available to consumers.

  • The most commonly used e-liquids including the original EDGE 10ml range, are typically called “50/50”. This refers to the fact that in most cases these e-liquids will contain an even ratio of PG to VG, which results in a stable mixture capable of supporting nicotine strengths of up to 20mg due to the higher volume of PG, which is the most effective carrier of the two base compounds. This volume of PG does make 50/50’s slightly thinner, which makes them better suited to smaller vaping devices that are designed to support mouth-to-lung (MTL) style vaping, which is also recommended due to the higher nicotine strengths these e-liquids can go up to. This is also why may pre-filled pod devices utilise 50-50 recipes like the EDGE GO collection.
  • Nicotine Salt e-liquids follow the same principals as 50-50’s and are blended in the exact same way. The primary difference is that they utilise Salt rather than freebase nicotine. This offers the benefits we have described above – smooth taste and deep satisfaction even when vaped at higher strengths. Due to their rising popularity, there are some manufacturers producing vaping devices that are described as specifically designed for Nic Salt e-liquids – this does not however mean that you actually need specialised hardware. Nic Salts are compatible with most Mouth-To-Lung (MTL) style devices like the EDGE Pro, with a coil rating of 1.0ohm and above.
  • High Vegetable Glycerol, most commonly referred to as HVG e-liquids are, along with 50-50s, one of the longest standing liquid varieties available to consumers. They utilise a much higher ratio of VG in their recipe – for EDGE this is 80%VG to 20%PG as found in our short-fill EDGE BASE collection, but the other most common ratio for HVG is 70/30. Due to the lower volume of PG, a more effective carrier agent, HVG e-liquids are typically unavailable in strengths beyond 3 or 6mg. Aside from the lack of PG, higher strengths are less preferable for HVG juices due to the much higher volume of vapour they produce. VG is responsible for the clouds often associated with vaping, and inhaling such a large amount of vapour at higher nicotine strengths would be quite unpleasant for the user.
  • Conversely these clouds are what make HVGs so popular with vapers, particularly hobbyists – there are even competitions held officially where vapers compete for the most impressive vape tricks! HVG e-liquids are only compatible with sub-ohm vaping devices, with a coil rating of less than 1.0ohm – hence the nomenclature “sub” ohm. These devices are instantly recognisable in most cases due to their large size, and often outlandish designs and detailed user interface – typically reserved for use by experienced vapers rather than those looking for a casual daily product.

For more information about vaping devices and the different forms they can take, discover all you need to know in our blog Vaping Basics: Vaping Devices. Or shop the full EDGE range now to experience our quality for yourself.