50/50 Shortfills: A Vaper’s Guide

If you’re looking to reduce the cost of vaping while still having access to great flavours AND using your current favourite device, you might want to consider 50/50 shortfills.

These larger bottles of nicotine-free e-liquid cost less per ml than regular, premixed e-liquid, and can be used with different types of nicotine so you can customise your vape to your liking.

Due to their cost savings, they could also be a lifesaver when punitive vape juice taxes increase the cost of vaping in 2026.

You might be put off by the need to mix shortfills with nicotine shots but, as we’ll explain here, the process is quick, easy and is well worth doing for vapers who prefer low-nicotine e-liquids.

Let’s take a look in more detail.

What are 50/50 shortfills?
Shortfills are larger bottles of nicotine-free e-liquid. They come with space at the top to add nicotine. The 50/50 refers to the VG:PG 50:50 ratio - i.e. a mix of 50% vegetable glycerine and 50% propylene glycol.

It’s worth noting that shortfills are nothing new. However, they typically come with a VG:PG ratio of 70:30, making them suitable for higher-powered vape mods and pod mods that use lower-resistance coils. However, these high VG e-liquids are NOT suitable for use in starter kits and lower-powered pod devices.

By changing the VG:PG ratio to 50:50, manufacturers have now made shortfills accessible for use in a wide range of kits, including popular favourites such as the Vaporesso Xros 3 Mini.

How do you add nicotine to a 50/50 shortfill?

1.Remove the cap and stopper from the shortfill bottle.
2.Add in your nic shot/s . You can usually add one 10ml nicotine shot to a 50ml shortfill, or two to a 100ml shortfill.
3.Replace the stopper and cap, and shake the bottle to mix the e-liquid.
4.Allow the e-liquid to settle, and then proceed to use as usual.
5.Optionally, allow the e-liquid to steep, which can improve the flavour.

What is a nic shot, and what options are available?
A nicotine shot is a (usually) flavourless bottle of e-liquid which contains nicotine. Nic shots come with different VG:PG ratios - we recommend using a nic shot with a VG:PG ratio of 50:50 for use with 50/50 shortfills.

You can choose regular (freebase) nic shots for a moderate throat hit or salt nic shots for a smoother inhale. You can also choose to add nic shots with a cooling, menthol or fizzy effect to your e-liquid, allowing you to tweak the flavour to your preference.

What are the advantages of 50/50 shortfills?
50/50 shortfills offer several advantages, including reduced plastic waste, reduced cost and compatibility with a wider variety of devices:

More economical: Shortfills usually come in either 50ml or 100ml sizes, although Podfill Max come in a 60ml bottle with 40ml of e-liquid. It’s cheaper to produce a single 50ml or 100ml e-liquid than it is to make 5 or 10 bottles of 10ml e-liquid, which allows retailers to pass cost savings on to customers. They will also become (comparatively) cheaper when the vape juice tax comes into place in 2026.

Reduced waste: It takes less plastic to make a larger bottle than to make the equivalent number of smaller bottles.

Use with a wide range of devices: In contrast to 70/30 shortfills, 50/50 shortfills can be used with a larger range of popular vape kits, including vape pens and most pod kits.

Longer lasting: Due to their larger size, shortfills last a lot longer than 10ml bottles, and require less frequent shopping.

Customisable nicotine strength: By increasing or decreasing the number and amount of shots you can add to your shortfill, you can precisely tailor the amount of nicotine in your e-liquid. However, as we will see below, shortfill e-liquid will always be weaker than a 10ml bottle of high-strength e-liquid.

What are the disadvantages of 50/50 shortfills?
Lack of convenience: Shortfills are nicotine free. If you prefer nicotine in your vape, you need to add a nicotine shot. This is less convenient than using a premixed e-liquid, although it’s worth noting that adding the nicotine only takes a couple of minutes.

Steeper learning curve: Because 50/50 shortfills require mixing, they require a little more knowledge to use than regular e-liquids. If you’re new to vaping, you may wish to start with 10ml vape juice.

Low nicotine strength: Because the maximum nicotine strength you can add to a shortfill is 20mg, the overall nicotine strength you get will always be lower than that in a premixed bottle. What’s more, the space in the shortfill usually limits you to adding 1 nic shot to a 50ml bottle, or 2 nic shots to a 100ml bottle.

The table below shows the strength you would get if you mixed 2 nic shots with 100ml of zero-nicotine e-liquid, or 1 nic shot with 50ml of zero-nicotine e-liquid:

Again, an exception is Seriously Pod Fill Max, which comes with space to add 2 nicotine shots to 40ml of e-liquid. This allows you to get up to 6mg/ml (0.6% nicotine), or 6.7mg/gml (0.67% nicotine) if using 20mg nic shots.

If you prefer low-nicotine e-liquid, that’s not a problem, but if you are still getting nicotine cravings, you may be best off sticking with 10ml e-liquids for now.
It’s also worth remembering that most vapers self-titrate - i.e. when they switch to a lower-strength nicotine, they vape more. In fact, one study found that switching to a lower-strength e-liquid leads to vapers using twice as much e-liquid. (Dawkins et al, 2016.)

I personally tend to vape the highest nicotine strength I can - and I find I vape about a third as much as colleagues who use a much lower strength e-liquid.

How do 50/50 shortfills compare to 70/30 shortfills?

Wrapping up
Just a year ago, industry analysts were predicting a rise in the use of disposable vapes. Even before the recent announcement of a disposable ban, disposable sales had dropped significantly - a move matched by an increase in e-liquid sales.

Will 50/50 shortfills take off? It’s hard to know yet, but they do offer a cost-effective alternative to pre-mixed bottles - and the cost savings could become even more important when prices increase in 2026.