If you’re a smoker who has decided to make the switch to vaping, you’re about to embark on an adventure that you’ll likely find to be a completely life-changing experience. As soon as you step into a vape shop for the first time, though, you’re probably going to feel pretty overwhelmed. A good vape shop has shelf after shelf of vape juice, and if the one that you choose isn’t appropriate for your personal needs and your vaping device, you might have a negative experience.

The good news is that if you have a general idea of what you need, the process of buying vape juice doesn’t need to be that difficult. In this article, we’re going to help you through your first e-liquid purchase by explaining the things that you should know before you begin.

These are the most important pointers about vape juice for beginners. Knowing these things before you begin gives you the best possible chance of making sure that your first experience with e-liquid is a great one.

E-Cigarettes With Pre-Filled Pods Remove the Guesswork

The first thing you need to know about vape juice is that, if you buy a system that uses pre-filled Vype pods, you don’t need to worry about whether your juice will work with your vaping hardware. One of the greatest benefits of using a “closed-system” vaping device is that you definitely know the e-liquid will work with the hardware and will deliver an appropriate amount of nicotine.

There are, however, two significant drawbacks to using a closed vaping system.

  • Pre-filled e-liquid pods and cartridges are much more expensive per milliliter than bottled e-liquids.
  • In the United States, pre-filled vaping products aren’t legally available in flavors other than tobacco and menthol. If you want variety, you need to use a refillable vaping device.

Most Vapers Don’t Prefer Tobacco E-Liquids

If you’re currently a smoker, you may not feel overly concerned initially about the fact that pre-filled vaping products aren’t available in flavors other than tobacco and menthol. After all, you’re only looking for a replacement for your cigarettes.

The truth, though, is that most people are a bit disappointed when they try tobacco vape juice for the first time. A tobacco e-liquid can recreate some aspects of the flavor of real tobacco, but it can only go so far since it doesn’t contain tobacco and doesn’t produce smoke.

E-liquids that mimic food flavors, on the other hand, can recreate those flavors much more convincingly because e-liquid makers use the same food-grade flavoring agents that food and beverage makers use. You can find e-liquids that taste just like your favorite candies, sodas and other snacks, and those are overwhelmingly the flavors that long-term vapers prefer. In fact, a major survey of more than 20,000 vapers produced results suggesting that smokers are more likely to switch to vaping successfully if they don’t use tobacco-flavored e-liquids.

Nicotine Strength Can Drastically Affect Your Vaping Experience

In the United States, the lowest nicotine strength available from most e-liquid makers – aside from nicotine free – is 3 mg/ml. The highest nicotine strength is usually 50 mg/ml, although a few e-liquids are available in even higher strengths.

As you can probably imagine, if one bottle of e-liquid has more than 16 times as much nicotine as the other, those two bottles are going to give you drastically different vaping experiences. If you choose the wrong nicotine strength for the vaping hardware you’re using, you’re either going to be completely unsatisfied, or you’re going to make yourself sick.

Thankfully, choosing the right nicotine strength isn’t that difficult if you remember that the vapor production of your vaping device is largely what determines the nicotine strength that you should use. If you use a powerful device that creates huge clouds, you need a lower-strength e-liquid because you’ll be inhaling a lot of e-liquid when you vape. If you use a small and extremely portable system with refillable plastic pods, on the other hand, you should choose a nicotine strength on the higher end of the spectrum.

Are you still unsure? The big bottles on one side of your local vape shop are best for the bigger vaping devices, and the little bottles on the other side are best for the smaller vaping devices. If you tell an attendant at the shop what type of vaping device you have, he or she will help you find the best e-liquid for your needs.

Nicotine Salt Makes Higher-Strength E-Liquids Possible

When you browse the selection at any online or offline vape shop, you’re going to see many e-liquids that say “nicotine salt” on their labels. Those e-liquids are intended for people who use very small vaping devices such as refillable pod systems. Here’s what they’re all about.

Until recently, all e-liquids used a form of nicotine called freebase nicotine. Freebase nicotine is created in a chemical reaction that occurs during the process of extracting the nicotine from tobacco leaves using a solvent – ammonia – that raises the nicotine’s pH.

Freebase nicotine absorbs quickly into the bloodstream and is perfect for most vapers except for one shortcoming: It becomes harsh and difficult to inhale at very high nicotine strengths. Research suggests that, with lower-power vaping devices, the ideal e-liquid nicotine strength to attain cigarette-like satisfaction is around 50 mg/ml. At nicotine strengths above approximately 18 mg/ml, though, many people find that freebase nicotine e-liquid is no longer pleasant to inhale.

Nicotine salt vape juice contains an acid that lowers the e-liquid’s pH, making it less alkaline. Reducing the alkalinity makes the e-liquid smoother and easier to inhale. It’s therefore possible for e-liquid makers to manufacture vape juice in much higher nicotine strengths if they use nicotine salt instead of freebase nicotine.

Most e-liquids with nicotine strengths of 25 mg and higher are nicotine salt e-liquids. Whether you should actually buy a nicotine salt e-liquid, though, depends on the type of vaping device that you use. Most nicotine salt e-liquids contain very high levels of nicotine and are therefore only appropriate for very low-power vaping devices.

Are you still unsure? If your vaping device stores its e-liquid in a plastic pod that’s removable and disposable, it’s likely that nicotine salt e-liquid is right for you. If your vaping device stores its e-liquid in a glass tank with a replaceable atomizer coil, it’s likely that a low-strength freebase nicotine e-liquid is right for you.