Did you recently splurge on a new e-liquid flavor only to be disappointed when it had a putrid smell and horrible taste? Or maybe you were shocked to find the new coils inside your tank were covered in junk after just one vaping session and had to be replaced? If you answered yes to any of the previous questions, it may be because the e-liquid you bought was low quality.
Many people assume that the e-liquid brands for sale online or displayed on the shelves of your local smoke shop all have the same quality, but unfortunately, there is no guarantee. As a result, it can be really hard to distinguish premium e-liquid from the rest before making a purchase since you don't know what to look for. This is especially true if you are new to the vaping community. After all, an experienced person who vapes all the time may be able to tell if they are vaping inferior e-liquid after just a couple of hits, but that may not be the case with someone who started vaping.
We know firsthand how e-liquid with sub-par ingredients can affect your vaping experience. That's why we created this guide to give you some helpful tips and other insight that will make it easier for you to spot the differences between premium e-liquid and the rest before you make another purchase. Ready to get started? Great! Read on to learn more about how to identify quality e-liquid.
Before we dive into discussing the difference between premium and low-quality e-liquid, it's important for you to understand what is inside the product and how it is made. E-liquid, which also goes by vaping juice or e-juice, has a variety of ingredients including Propylene Glycol and Vegetable Glycerin, an assortment of flavor extracts and nicotine.
Propylene Glycol and Vegetable Glycerin
Have you ever wondered why the words PG and VG keep popping up when you are shopping for e-liquid? Maybe you saw it on the packaging for your e-juice and was curious to know what it meant? PG and VG is short for Propylene Glycol and Vegetable Glycerin. Both chemicals are base liquids and make up the majority of the e-liquid's total composition.
Propylene Glycol is a colorless liquid that does not have an odor. Originally derived from Propylene Oxide, the liquid can also be found in many common household products. Meanwhile, Vegetable Glycerin is much thicker than Propylene Glycol and has a sweeter taste. Vegetable Glycerin can come from a range of vegetables including coconuts and soybeans. Vapors usually prefer e-liquid with higher levels of Vegetable Glycerin since it can produce more vapor and create a better vaping experience.
Want to know why your e-liquid tastes great? Flavor extracts! While some e-liquid brands buy flavor extracts from their suppliers, others make their own from scratch so they can produce a truly unique flavor. The types of flavor extracts can vary widely, from sweet and fruity to a strong tobacco taste. Some brands add artificial sweeteners to their e-juice as well.
Another common ingredient in e-liquid is nicotine. It's up to you to select how much nicotine you'd like in the blend. E-liquid that contains nicotine comes in a variety of strengths and can go all the way up to 24 mg/mL or 2.4% levels and higher. Usually, people who want to stop smoking buy e-liquid with high levels of nicotine and eventually decrease it or try non-tobacco flavors after they get comfortable switching over from cigarettes to vaping.
HOW E-LIQUID IS MANUFACTURED
Now that you know what's inside e-liquid, we'd love to share more about how it is made. E-liquid is typically manufactured in a modern production facility using state-of-the-art equipment. The products are made in a highly controlled environment such as a lab or cleanroom with an International Organization for Standardization rating (or ISO) based on its cleanliness. The company may also produce their products according to Good Manufacturing Practices. When e-liquid is made in a sterile environment with strict processes in place, that means the company is more likely to consistently create a large volume of products that are also high quality.
THE INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR STANDARDIZATION
Have you ever wondered why some e-juice brands mention how their products are made in a lab with an ISO 7 or ISO 8 rating? Basically, e-liquid companies can only get certification from the International Organization for Standardization when their products are developed inside a cleanroom or facility that meets a certain standard of cleanliness and other stringent requirements.
Premium e-liquid is usually made in a clean room that is designed to maintain extremely low levels of particulates like dust and vaporized particles. Companies in various industries, ranging from pharmaceuticals to manufacturing, use cleanrooms every day to decrease the chances of biocontamination.
The International Organization for Standardization classification system has separate classes for cleanrooms based on the size and quantity of the particles in the room per volume in the air. The classes are divided into the following categories: ISO 1, ISO 2, ISO 3, ISO 4, ISO 5, ISO 6, ISO 7, ISO 8 and ISO 9. Labs who received an ISO 1 rating means it has the highest level of cleanliness possible, while a lab with an ISO 9 rating is considered the least clean (although the facility is still very clean compared to an average room). The vast majority of labs have an ISO 7 or ISO 8 category level.
GOOD MANUFACTURING PRACTICES
E-liquid may also be manufactured in a facility that follows Good Manufacturing Practices (or GMP), which is heavily regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. The guidelines put in place by the Good Manufacturing Practices can help e-liquid companies create a process that will allow them to consistently manufacture and assemble quality vape juice products.
TIPS ON HOW TO TELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PREMIUM AND LOW-QUALITY E-LIQUID
Now, what you've been waiting for! Here are some helpful tips that will make it easier for you to tell the difference between premium and low-quality e-juice. Please take this into consideration the next time you want to buy a new brand of e-juice.
LOW-QUALITY E-LIQUID MAY INCLUDE POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS INGREDIENTS
Low-quality e-juice may be more likely to have potentially dangerous ingredients like Diacetyl and Acetyl Propionyl. Diacetyl is a chemical that's used as an additive to make buttered popcorn. Unfortunately, too much exposure to Diacetyl can cause you to develop bronchiolitis or "popcorn lung", a serious and incurable lung disease.
Scientists believe the chemical Acetyl Propionyl may also be a lung irritant like Diacetyl. Some e-liquid manufacturers use Diacetyl to create a buttery or creamy flavor in their vape products. Since it's not required by law, it's possible that some vape liquid has higher levels of Diacetyl and Acetyl Propionyl than the recommended safety limits established by OSHA. Both of these chemicals may cause serious future health issues if you consistently inhale it directly into your lungs.
Avoid e-liquid products that have these ingredients listed. Usually, premium e-liquid brands will mention on their website or somewhere on their packaging that their products do not contain these two chemicals.
PREMIUM E-LIQUID HAS PURE NICOTINE
Have you ever vaped and had a harsh aftertaste that reminded you of burnt pepper? If so, you probably vaped e-liquid with poor quality nicotine. Premium e-liquid uses nicotine that is very pure. Some high-quality e-juice brands also use various tests like the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (NMR) or High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) to ensure its quality.
PREMIUM E-LIQUID IS USUALLY STEEPED BEFOREHAND
Premium e-liquid brands usually steep their products for some time before they ship it out to their customers so that it has a very smooth taste. Steeping can bring out the unique flavors inside the e-liquid and improve your overall vaping experience since the Vegetable Glycerin and Propylene Glycol base, flavorings, and nicotine have more time to oxidize. Low-quality e-liquid, which may not steep their products for as long (or at all) before sending it to customers, may have a harsher taste.
PREMIUM E-LIQUID IS MADE IN A PROFESSIONAL FACILITY
You can also tell a little bit about the quality of your e-liquid by closely examining the company's website and products. Do they mention where their products are made? Does their lab have an International Organization for Standardization rating or follow Good Manufacturing Practices? Proceed with caution if you can't find any disclosed information.
5 WARNING SIGNS YOU MAY HAVE LOW-QUALITY E-LIQUID
Are you still not sure how to tell premium e-liquid from the rest? Below you can find several warning signs you may have low-quality vape juice.
WARNING SIGN #1. YOUR VAPING DEVICE WAS DAMAGED BY THE E-LIQUID
Low-quality e-liquid can damage the coils inside your tank and cause other issues with your e-cigarette. That's because it may use sweeteners like sucralose in its ingredients, which can cause it to eventually harden over the coils. Low-quality e-juice may also corrode and crack your tank. Premium vape juice is less likely to harm or damage your e-cigarette device.
WARNING SIGN #2. YOUR E-LIQUID HAS A FOUL TASTE
Low-quality e-liquid may also taste worse since the brand is less likely to use better ingredients and flavors that you'd find in premium e-liquid. It may also not be steeped or contain low quality nicotine.
WARNING SIGN #3. YOUR E-LIQUID DOES NOT HAVE A UNIQUE TASTE
Another warning sign is the e-liquid doesn't have a unique taste. Instead of creating their own blends, the brand may just import flavors from foreign countries that are mass produced.
WARNING SIGN #4. YOU CAN SEE PARTICLES FLOATING INSIDE THE E-LIQUID
Have you ever noticed tiny particles floating inside your e-liquid? Well, that's not a good sign. This can be caused by nicotine that's not pure or poor quality control during the manufacturing process.
WARNING SIGN #5. YOUR E-LIQUID MAY HAVE A BAD ODOR
If you have a sensitive nose you should probably stay away from low-quality e-liquid. Some may give off a bad odor or scent like it's going bad, which is not a good sign since e-juice usually taste just like it smells! Low-quality nicotine and Vegetable Glycerine or Propylene Glycol may be to blame. On the other hand, premium vape juice usually has an enticing aroma that makes you want to start vaping right away.
In conclusion, there is a clear difference between premium and low-quality e-juice. Regardless if you prefer to buy e-liquid online or in a local store, it's easy to get confused when you're trying to figure out which product is considered premium or not if you don't know the signs.
Low-quality e-liquid can gunk up your coils and damage the tank inside your e-cigarette. It may also have a bad taste and smell due to not using the best ingredients.
When in doubt, try to do as much research as you can on the e-liquid brand the next time you want to get a new flavor. Learn more about how they make their products and examine their ingredients before you make a purchase. Remember, avoid buying e-juice that has Diacetyl and Acetyl Propionyl listed in its ingredients whenever possible.
Another helpful tip is to buy e-liquid from vendors that have a solid reputation and customer reviews.