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What Nicotine Strength Should You Vape?

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This guide is designed to help you understand the different nicotine levels available in E-Liquids, and how to choose the right one for you.

Guide: What Nicotine Strength Should You Vape

Welcome to the world of vaping - before you can begin enjoying those delicious, fluffy vapor clouds, there are a few decisions you’ll need to make.

More than likely, you’ve started to think about how to find the best vape device for you. And you might have considered which e-juice flavors you want to try first. But here’s another all-important question: what nicotine level should I vape?

Vape nicotine levels vary considerably and choosing the right one is key to creating your ideal vape experience. However, suppose you’re anything like most new vapers, you probably feel a little intimidated when deciphering nicotine content. So, we’ve created a handy guide to set you up with all the information you need to choose the perfect nicotine level for your needs.

Strengths of Nicotine Available in E-Liquids

What do the different nicotine levels mean for vaping? And how do you figure out where to start? You’re not the first vaper to ask these questions, and you certainly won’t be the last.

A certain amount of trial and error is involved in finding the right nicotine level for you. But at the very least, you can use general recommendations to find your footing. Here are our suggestions for nicotine strengths based on your preferred vape experience.

Sub-ohm vaping

Sub-ohm vaping demands the use of e-liquids with low nicotine strengths. Because sub-ohm vaping is a direct-to-lung (DTL) inhalation method with a relatively strong throat hit, lower nicotine levels are your best bet.

For sub-ohm vaping, nicotine levels between 0 mg/mL and 6 mg/mL are a good option.

Mouth-to-lung: Low strength (freebase nicotine)

For casual tobacco users looking to make the switch, this vape style and nicotine strength range are likely to satisfy. You’ll enjoy a smoother throat hit due to the airflow characteristics of these devices being more restricted. For new vapers, low nicotine levels along with a mouth-to-lung vaping style is usually a comfortable and approachable combination.

We suggest choosing vape juice that falls in the 3 mg/mL to 8 mg/mL range for this vape style.

Mouth-to-lung: Medium to high strength (freebase nicotine)

For moderate users of tobacco interested in making the switch, medium and high-nicotine content along with an MTL vaping style can be a great fit. You’ll notice a stronger throat hit, especially at the higher end of the nicotine range. Generally, these levels are primarily preferred by frequent users that prefer traditional e-juice formulations over those containing nicotine salts.

For a highly-concentrated freebase nicotine experience, you can aim for an e-juice that contains between 8 mg/mL and 18 mg/mL.

Medium to high strength (nic salts)

Looking for a more intense nicotine experience without the harsh throat hit? Nic salts might be a solid solution. Nicotine salts allow your body to intake the nicotine at a faster pace for a satisfying vape.

If you’re looking at nic salts, 50 mg/mL (5%) has become an extremely common concentration, though some manufacturers may offer lower strength nicotine salt formulations.

Converting Percentages to Mg/ML

Some e-juices are labeled with their nicotine content in mg/mL, but others express it as a percentage.

Nicotine strengths in mg/mL

When nicotine content is labeled as mg/mL, it contains X mg of nicotine for every X mL of liquid. So, a 10 mg/mL e-juice has 10 milligrams of nicotine for every 1 milliliter of liquid. If you need to calculate how much nicotine is in your vape tank, multiply the strength (mg/mL) by your tank’s capacity.

Nicotine strengths in percentages (nicotine by volume)

Nicotine percentage is the amount of nicotine in any given amount of that e-liquid. So, a full tank of a 1.2% nicotine e-juice will consist of 1.2% nicotine and 98.8% VG, PG, and flavoring. It doesn’t matter how much e-liquid you use; it will always be 1.2% nicotine.

Learning how to convert nicotine percentages to mg/mL is pretty simple and a handy skill to have on hand.

  • 1. Convert nicotine in mg/mL to nicotine percentage: Divide the amount in mg/mL by 10.
    Example: A 6 mg/mL e-liquid is 0.6% nicotine. You divide 6 by 10 to get 0.6.
  • 2. Convert nicotine percentage to nicotine in mg/mL: Multiply the percentage amount by 10.
    Example: A 2.5% nicotine e-juice converts to 25 mg/mL. You multiply 2.5 by 10 to get 25.

Which Nicotine Strength is Right for Me?

There are many factors that play a part in finding your ideal nicotine strength. Your vape device and previous nicotine use habits (if applicable) should be a fundamental part of the decision-making process.

The good news is that, because there is such a wide range of nicotine levels, you can easily find one to match your preferences.

Here are some basic guidelines to help you answer: how much nicotine should I vape?

  • If you are a new vaper that has not previously used nicotine-containing products: 0mg/mL
  • If you want to reduce your nicotine intake or are a casual user of nicotine-containing products: 3 to 6 mg/mL
  • If you are a moderate user of nicotine-containing products: 8 - 12 mg/mL
  • If you are a heavy user of nicotine-containing products: 18 mg/mL or above.

Still not quite sure? Luckily, plenty of disposable - and affordable - vapes are available in a wide variety of different nicotine levels, so you can experiment until you find the perfect fit.

Freebase Nicotine vs. Nic Salts vs. Synthetic Nicotine

Just when you think you’ve mastered the many levels of nicotine, we’re about to throw a curveball your way.

Generally, e-liquids with nicotine fall into one of three categories: regular, or “traditional” (freebase) nicotine e-juices, synthetic nicotine e-juices, or nic salts. Each e-liquid type offers plenty of satisfaction but differ in some subtle ways.

Let’s break down the differences:

Regular nicotine e-juices

The nicotine traditionally used in e-liquids is regular, or freebase, nicotine. These are also often referred to as “traditional” formulations.

Characteristics of freebase nicotine e-juices include:

  • Produces a noticeably strong throat hit
  • Ideal for individuals that enjoy the cigarette-like sensation of a harsher throat hit
  • Lower nicotine levels mean these juices are a good fit for vapers that like to puff frequently throughout the day
  • It contains lower levels of propylene glycol (PG) than vegetable glycerin (VG), which results in more vapor production

Nicotine salts

Nicotine salts, or nic salt juices, contain the highest nicotine concentrations available across all vape juices. But because they are specially formulated to offer smooth and comfortable inhale sensations, they have a far more balanced pH level - which significantly changes the vape experience.

Nic salts are described as:

      • Creating a smoother and less harsh throat hit
      • Ideal for vapers that enjoy high nicotine levels but may prefer fewer puffs per vape session or the ability to find satisfaction with less frequent use

Synthetic nicotine

Synthetic nicotine e-juices are made with lab-produced nicotine (versus tobacco-extracted nicotine) and are known for:

      • Producing a smoother vape compared to freebase nicotine
      • Boasts a far less intense throat hit even at high nicotine levels
      • Flavors that are more accurate and crisp

Do Devices Matter for Nicotine Levels in E-Liquids?

Yes! The vape device you choose dramatically affects how you experience various nicotine levels.

For example, the high wattages used in sub-ohm vape devices boost vapor production that results in denser vapor. So, you’ll intake more nicotine with a high-wattage device vs. a lower powered mouth-to-lung style vape system.

Low vapor production devices

Low vapor production vapes are devices that produce a relatively low level of vapor, that includes mouth-to-lung (MTL) tanks with tight airflow and many vape pod systems. The lower vapor production means you can opt for a higher nicotine concentration to achieve a satisfying experience.

Generally, we recommend trying your low-vapor vape with:

      • 12-24 mg/mL in regular/freebase nicotine
      • 30-60 mg/mL in nicotine salts


Medium vapor production devices

These are the middle-of-the-road vapes, this category includes the vast majority of systems created by vape hardware manufacturers. If you’re using pod systems with sub-ohm coils (including sub-ohm tanks with an extremely restricted draw) or smoother draw MTL tanks, this is likely where you’ll be.

You can start by pairing your medium-vapor device with:

      • 6-12 mg/mL in regular/freebase nicotine

High vapor production devices

When it comes to devices that produce larger-than-life clouds, it’s usually best to stick to lower nicotine levels. Because so much vapor is created, it’s easy to overdo it on the nicotine quickly. This category of devices features rebuildable atomizers and high-powered sub-ohm tanks, specifically those with large airflow channels.

We would suggest using high-vapor devices with:

      • 1.5-6 mg/mL of regular/freebase nicotine

Nicotine salts are not intended for use with high vapor production devices.

Shop a Huge Selection of Nicotine Vape Juice from DIRECTVAPOR

Now, you’re ready to stock up on high-quality e-liquids with just the right amount of nicotine to suit your vape style. But before you click “add to cart,” remember that selecting a reputable retailer is a must - you don’t want to waste your hard-earned cash on subpar vape juice.

DIRECTVAPOR is an industry-respected online vape store that offers a wide variety of e-liquids, providing you with all the options you want and more. In addition, we have top-rated vapes, accessories, and anything else you need to complete your vape set-up. With convenient options like auto-delivery, rotating discounts, and others, DIRECTVAPOR is the first choice for in-the-know vapers.

Browse our full selection of vape juice to find your newest favorite flavors, brands, and nicotine levels now!

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