Are you new to vaping or new to nicotine salts and having trouble deciding what kind of e-liquid is right for you? We understand – choosing an e-juice that you’ll enjoy and find satisfying can get complicated. We’re here to help make the process a little clearer and a little simpler.

What kind of vape liquid should I get?

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for deciding what type of e-juice is right for you. Personal preferences have a huge impact on what kind of setup is going to help most as you transition from traditional tobacco products to e-cigarettes.

First, consider what kind of vaping setup you’ll be most comfortable with

If you’re thinking about a very small, highly portable vape device, closer in size to a cigarette or cigar, starting out with nicotine salt eliquids could be a good choice for you. You can use standard eliquids with these small vape kits too – they are very versatile.


If you feel like you’d prefer a bigger device designed for huge clouds of vapor, getting standard e-juices in nicotine strengths lower than 10mg or 1% is the best route for you. Nicotine salt eliquids, with their higher nicotine levels, should never be used in large sub-ohm vape setups.


Your lifestyle, including how often you use tobacco products and what kind of vape device you’re interested in, will be the deciding factor in what type of e-liquid product will work best for you. In this post, we’ll explore all of the information you need to make the right choice for yourself.

What nicotine strength is right for me?

That’s another very important, but very personal question. The amount of nicotine you get per puff depends on several factors:

  • The nicotine strength of your e-liquid
  • The length of time you draw on your device
  • The type of device and power settings you’re using

Remember that the more power (higher wattage) you’re using in your vape kit, the more nicotine you’ll get with each puff, so if you like a high-power vape and big clouds of vapor, stick to low nicotine e-liquids.

If you want to get a satisfying amount of nicotine in a small puff, you can try a higher nicotine e-liquid paired with a low power device.

Here’s a short overview of the most common nicotine strengths:

0mg or 0% e-liquid contains no nicotine. If you’ve never used a nicotine or tobacco product, you should continue to not use nicotine and tobacco products.

3mg or 0.3% is considered a low strength of nicotine. If you are an infrequent user of nicotine and tobacco products but want a small amount of nicotine in your vape, you can use 3mg e-liquids in almost any vape device. In a higher-powered device (over 30W) 3mg can be a satisfying nicotine amount even for regular tobacco users transitioning to vaping. Most long term users of high powered devices (30w and above) find themselves settling at a 3mg strength for the smooth hit and flavor since there is less nicotine.

6mg or 0.6% is a low to medium nicotine strength, depending on how you’re using it. In a low-powered portable device, an e-liquid in 6mg nicotine strength would be a low amount, suitable for infrequent users of traditional tobacco products. In a high-wattage or full-sized device, or at wattage settings higher than about 30W, 6mg would be a medium to high amount of nicotine per puff, recommended only for regular tobacco users.

12mg or 1.2% is a medium to high amount of nicotine depending on the device and wattage settings used. Brand new vapers may find a 12mg e-liquid is suitable for starting out the transition from traditional tobacco products, along with a medium wattage (15W – 30W) vape kit.

18mg or 1.8% is the highest nicotine content of most traditional (non-salt) e-liquids available now. It’s a high amount of nicotine and should be used only with a low or medium (10W – 30W) vape kit, and many e-liquids in this nicotine strength will provide a robust throat hit.

The strengths listed above are all common options for standard e-liquids, made with freebase (pure) nicotine. You can find delicious e-liquids in up to 18mg nicotine strength at Giant Vapes under juices.


There are higher nicotine levels available, though. Most e-liquids in higher nicotine strength are made using nicotine salts, rather than freebase nicotine.

25mg or 2.5% is a high nicotine strength e-liquid, commonly found in nicotine salt e-liquids (nicotine salts). E-liquid at this nicotine level should only be used in devices at power settings under 20W. These products, and products made in higher nicotine strengths, are developed to be as close to using a traditional combustible tobacco product in terms of the amount of nicotine per puff when used with an appropriate low-power device.

50mg or 5% is one of the highest nicotine concentrations available today, and is a strength many nicotine salt eliquids are available in. E-liquid at this nicotine level should only be used in devices with very low power outputs, and is recommended for regular or heavy tobacco users looking to start vaping.

What is nicotine salt?

Nicotine salt is a chemical compound consisting of nicotine and an acid, which when combined, make a salt. Nicotine salt is naturally found in tobacco leaves, but the nicotine salts you’ll find in e-liquids are created in a laboratory.

To make the nicotine salts that are used in e-liquids, pure (freebase) nicotine is combined with a weak acid to change it into a nicotine salt compound. Many nicotine salts are made with benzoic acid, but some may be made with levulinic acid or pyruvic acid.

What is freebase nicotine?

When nicotine is extracted from tobacco leaves to be used in other applications, it undergoes chemical changes, resulting in pure, freebase nicotine.

Many e-liquid manufacturers use this pure form of nicotine when they make e-liquids and have for many years.

What is buffered nicotine?

That’s easy: buffered nicotine is just another name for nicotine salt, or pure nicotine that has been prepared for consumption by adding acid to make it into a nicotine salt compound. Buffered, or buffering, is just a scientific term to describe the chemical changes that the nicotine has undergone to change its pH.

What’s the difference between e-liquids made with nicotine salts and e-liquids made with freebase nicotine?

The simple answer is that e-liquids made with freebase nicotine (regular e-liquids) are typically lower in nicotine content than e-liquids made with nicotine salts.

Freebase nicotine e-liquids can to be very harsh to vape at strengths higher than 18mg/ml (or 1.8% nicotine by volume) so you’ll find these e-liquids made in nicotine strengths between 0mg (no nicotine at all) and 12mg or 18mg.

Nicotine salt formulations are specifically designed to be high in nicotine content, and you’ll find them starting out at strengths like 25mg (2.5%) and as high as 50mg (5% nicotine by volume) or more. The change in pH makes nicotine salt e-liquids much smoother at high nicotine levels. This makes them ideal for use in small, low-powered devices that are similar in size to traditional tobacco products, and it means that you’ll be able to get nicotine more effectively with fewer puffs.

How do I use nicotine salts?

There are a few simple rules to remember when you’re handling and using any e-liquid. Nicotine is a toxic and addictive substance that can be poisonous if consumed inappropriately. These nicotine safety tips are something everyone who vapes should know!

Always keep control of your eliquids. Your eliquids and other vape products should always be in a location that can not be accessed by minors, pets, or anyone who should not be handling or consuming nicotine products.

Make sure the lid of your e-liquid container is securely fastened when not in use. This will prevent accidental leaking and spillage as well as keep your eliquid free of dust and debris. It will also keep your ejuice tasting fresher longer; a sealed bottle can last for a long time, but constant exposure to air will cause the flavor of your liquid to change

Store your e-liquid in a place that is cool and dry. Do not leave e-liquid or vape items in your vehicle, or in direct sunlight. Excessive heat and light can cause your e-liquid to change in flavor, and can also damage your vape device.

Clean your skin immediately if you get any e-liquid, but especially nicotine salt e-liquid, on your hands or other parts of your body. Nicotine can be absorbed through your skin and large quantities of nicotine absorbed through the skin can be toxic.

Nicotine salt e-liquids should be used only in low-power devices. If your e-liquid is higher than 10mg (1% nicotine) you should use high-resistance coils in low-powered devices. This means in general with wattage settings of 20W or lower, and coils that have 1.0 ohm or higher resistance

Use e-liquid only in your vape kit. You should never try to consume e-liquid orally, transdermally, or in any way other than in a vape kit made for use with e-liquids.

These devices work great with nicotine salt e-liquids:

Aspire Minican

Aspire AVP Kit

Lost Vape PRANA

SMOK Nfix

SMOK Novo 2 Kit

UWELL Zumwalt

Vaporesso XTRA

Vaporesso OSMALL

If you feel sick, lightheaded, or otherwise unwell, stop vaping immediately. Contact Poison Control right away if you suspect nicotine poisoning. You can get help from Poison Control online or by phone at 1-800-222-1222.

So – are nicotine salt e-liquids right for me?

Now that you know the differences between standard e-juices and nicotine salts, you can make an informed decision about which type of e-liquid you want to start out with. Which vape kit, e-liquid flavor, and what nicotine strength is going to work best for you is something only you know for sure.

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