We covered the science of nicotine salt ejuices much more thoroughly last year in our deep dive: What is Salt Nic? But as interesting as the science and marketing may be, the fundamental question about nic salts is how they impact the vaping experience. Whether you are a smoker looking to switch to vaping or a veteran vaper, this is the only question that matters.
Nic salt ejuices are not much different than regular ejuices but have a greater nicotine potency and are meant for use in devices with high resistance coils. They are used in a style of vaping essentially identical to the earliest ecigs. Nic salt vaping involves small amounts of vapor, high nic strength and a compact devices.
The difference between nic salts and regular ejuice is the type of nicotine that is used. This is why so many ejuice companies have recreated their classic ejuices in nic salt form. Apart from the different type of nicotine used, nic salts generally have higher propylene glycol percent. Check out our blog on understanding PG/VG ratios
Nic salts are not meant to be used in powerful mods. Their nicotine level is too high, in many cases greater than ten times more potent typical high-VG ejuice used in a subohm tank. But ten times more potent also means ten times less is required for most vapers to enjoy a satisfying experience. This is their core appeal. You can discretely vape nic salts with the tell-tale odor, noise or vapor of a larger device.
Nic salts pushed smaller devices into the national consciousness. The Juul and Vuse Alto are the two most prominent examples of prefilled vape pod kits that took full advantage of the nic strength of nic salts.
Despite a name that suggests granularity, nic salts are visually indistinguishable from regular ejuices. And the formulations are not much different either. The typical nic salt uses the same vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol solutions that are found in every ejuice. Typically, nic salts have a 50/50 ratio. This means they don’t generate as much Vapor as a high VG ejuice, the type used in powerful box mods.
Classic ejuices use “freebase” nicotine and nic salts use, well they use nicotine salts. The development of nic salts is an interesting story but for the purpose of simplicity, the only real metric that matters is pH levels. Check out our feature, the Truth and Technology Behind Juul and Nic Salts Revealed, for a detailed look.
Nicotine salts have a lower pH level. This means you can add way more of them to an ejuice without ramping up the level of “throat hit” beyond the level which a typical person can tolerate.
In theory, you could make a lower nicotine ejuice with nic salts but freebase nicotine is just fine for that purpose. Instead, you find nic salts used in higher concentrations: disposables vapes, prefilled vape pods and in potent nic salt ejuices that are designed for smaller ecigs, ranging from refillable vape pods to the Vapor Zeus.
Most bottled nic salts are generally available sold in two strengths, 2.5 and 5.0 percent strength. Some companies offer a 3.5 percent strength as well. For reference, the typical high-VG ejuice is sold nic free, 0.3, 0.6 and occasionally 1.2 percent strength. High PG ejuices range from nic free to 3.6 percent.
There is not a huge amount of overlap between high-VG ejuices and nic salts. They are generally enjoyed in totally different styles of devices. Although most vape pod kits have at least one coil or pod option for the thicker 70 percent VG formulas, these work better in a mod with a subohm tank and the flipside of the coin is that you should not vape nic salts in a subohm tank.
High PG ejuices on the other hand are vaped in a manner that is comparable to nic salts. They are generally enjoyed in ecigs that are designed for mouth to lung vaping, check out this blog for an explanation of this rather amorphous classification, and come in more potent nic strengths.
Our Wow and Premium ejuices are available in seven nic strengths that range up to 3.6 percent strength. This is somewhat less than the 5 percent found in more potent nic salts but significantly higher than the more popular 2.5 percent nic salt strength.
The advantage that Wow and Premium ejuices have over nic salts is their authenticity. The throat kick is much closer to that of an actual cigarette. The much lower VG removes much of the intrinsic sweetness of vegetable glycerin and results in clearer flavor profiles.
The elephant in the room when discussing nic salts is the constant threat of flavor bans. For more information, check out our guide: State Vape Ban Laws.
No matter how wonderful and bright the wide range of fruit ejuice flavors may be, or the fact that these are the flavor profiles preferred by the vast majority of adult vapers, anti-vaping lobbyists have seemingly made it their life’s work to ban these flavors at all costs. Despite the fact that strict e-cig laws punish marginalized groups and a CDC survey into why kids vape found that flavors were not the primary reason.
There are certainly some excellent tobacco nic salts on the market but the vast majority of tobacco ejuices are traditional high-PG formulations. This actually makes sense, as the throat hit of conventional nicotine much more closely resembles the experience of smoking an actual combustible cigarette and the sweetness of vegetable glycerin needs to be minimized to create a realistic tobacco flavor.