E-Liquid Guide – Freebase vs Nicotine Salts

E-Liquids (also known as vape juice, eJuices, nicotine liquids) typically only contain these four ingredients: vegetable glycerin (VG), propylene glycol (PG), flavoring, and nicotine.

The type of nicotine found in eJuice plays a big part in what type of device to use. The type of device chosen can also affect how well the nicotine is delivered to the body.

Pictured Here: Nicotine Salts are mainly for smaller, low-power devices while Freebase are meant for bigger Box Mod Kits

What is Freebase E-Liquid?

Most freebase nicotine is extracted directly from the tobacco plant, deriving pure nicotine from the plant, excluding any other impurity or by-product. This free-form of nicotine leads to unbalanced alkalinity, imparting a stronger throat hit as nicotine concentrations are increased. This can be felt at higher levels of freebase nicotine, with 3mg leaving a smooth yet tolerable throat hit, while becoming harsher at 6mg, and even more so at 12mg. E-Liquid manufacturers tend to stay within the range of 0mg to 6mg, rarely going to 12mg or 18mg due to the extreme harshness of freebase eJuice and smaller demographics vaping at this level. E-Liquid with 0mg does not contain any trace of nicotine with pure VG/PG and flavoring.

What is Nicotine Salts?

Nicotine Salts, or Nic Salts, is a slight alteration to freebase nicotine, with the addition of benzoic acid to help balance the alkalinity levels of freebase nicotine. Typically, this leads to the harshness levels considerably reduced, allowing for a smoother experience despite the higher nicotine concentrations. Nicotine Salts tend to start at 20mg and can reach as high as 59mg, with reduced discomfort in throat hits when vaping on an appropriate lower power vape device such as pod system, thanks to the composition of nic salts and benzoic acid.

Now that you know what each type of nicotine is and it’s characteristics and qualities, we can help find a suitable device for each. 

What is Sub-Ohm Salts, or Sub-Ohm Nicotine Salts?

Nicotine Salts are typically known to be used with lower power, smaller devices but there are some exception. Some E-Liquid manufacturers does replicate the nicotine salts formulation for Sub-Ohm use, referring to these E-Liquids as “Sub-Ohm Salts“. You can feel reassure that using Box Mod Kits or higher power devices with these “Sub-Ohm Nicotine Salts” will be okay as they are typically denote in 3mg and 6mg in nicotine strength. The reason for the utilization of Nicotine Salts in this form is to reduce the harsh throat hit of regular free-based forumation, creating a different and usually smoother throat hit than a typical 3mg or 6mg.

Free-Based E-Liquid and Sub-Ohm Device

Freebase E-Liquids are great for sub-ohm devices, or box mod paired bigger atomizers such tanks and RDAs. As freebase nicotine has a lower degree of nicotine concentration, they are best used with Sub-Ohm Devices. The larger coil, higher power, and lower resistances of sub-ohm devices allow for freebase nicotine to be vaporized within the juice, delivering a small dose within a large cloud of vapor. These are best for those that prefer performance, outputting substantial clouds. Although plenty of vapor is created, the nicotine concentration remains fairly low. Freebase eJuice can be loaded into a pod system for more discretion, but many pod systems are not optimized for freebase eJuice, as the lower strength of freebase nicotine cannot be fully vaporized to the same capacity sub-ohm devices are capable of.

Pictured Here: Box Mod Kits shown are generally great devices for Free-Based E-Liquid (usually 0mg, 3mg, 6mg in strength)

Nicotine Salts and Pod System

Nicotine salts on the other hand is great for pod systems, utilizing the lower power output, smaller coil, and higher resistance to create discreet clouds of vapor that deliver nicotine salt with much better results. The inclusion of benzoic acid aids in the smoother delivery of nicotine salts, balancing the alkalinity for less of a throat feel. High nicotine strength Nic Salts should never be loaded into a sub-ohm device, as the stronger vapor output will deliver more nicotine to be absorbed by the body, leading to great degree of discomfort.

Some pod systems such as Pod Mods available are geared for both nicotine salts and freebase eJuice, depending on the type of coil or pod installed. One simple rule of thumb to follow is nicotine salts belong with higher resistances clocking in at or over 1.0ohm. This allows for a safe and efficient dosing of higher nicotine, allowing nicotine salts to work to their full potential. Anything below 1.0ohm is considered sub-ohm, hence the name, and should be used with freebase nicotine eJuice.  This ensures safer vaporization and delivery of lower nicotine concentrations within a larger vapor output.

Pictured Here: Pod Systems shown are optimized for Nicotine Salt E-Liquid (starting at 20mg and up to 50mg)

Final Remarks

Hopefully this guide has demystified the types of nicotine found in E-Liquids. Check out our guide on the Types of Pod Systems to help find one suitable for you. Due to the wide variety of vaping products, be sure to make an educated purchase after narrowing down your preferences in terms of design and functionality. Feel free to read product reviews available on our online vape website or ask fellow vapers in this vibrant community, such as Reddit.

All E-Liquid on ElementVape.com is made in the USA, UK, and Canada, ensuring high standards in production and manufacturing. In addition, we are firmly committed to Youth Prevention with an industry-leading Age Verification System. Your team at Element Vape is focused on providing quality customer service and quick processing times to ensure high customer satisfaction. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

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