E juice school for dummies: Freebase vs. nic salts

E juice school for dummies: Freebase vs. nic salts

ALEX ZEIG6 comments


If you’re new to vaping, or just looking for a more in depth understanding of the process, a great place to start is understanding the difference in e juices for mouth to lung devices and direct to lung devices.

What are e liquids? E liquids is just a short way of saying electronic liquids which are liquids made for e cigarettes. E liquids are usually made up of 3 basic components: nicotine, propylene glycol (Pg) and vegetable glycerin (Vg).


For quick reference, mouth to lung vaping has a smaller volume of smoke, whereas direct to lung creates a much larger volume on your initial hit. The biggest difference in these two methods is the way in which the smoke is inhaled. With a mouth to lung vape, your best bet is to clear the smoke like you would a cigarette, where you would inhale into your mouth and continue by taking a second inhale to the lungs. Direct to lung would be inhaled, as described, directly to the lungs in one hit.

Because of the difference in volume of smoke and the way the smoke will be inhaled, the e juices for these 2 types of devices should also be adjusted accordingly, to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience.

Nicotine Salts:

Nicotine salts, by standard, have the same amount of nicotine found in an actual tobacco leaf. Nicotine salts use benzoic acid, which then lowers the pH. This reduces the alkalinity, allowing vaping at lower temperatures. Salts tend to be 50/50 when it comes to the ratio of vegetable glycerin (Vg) and propylene glycol (Pg). This makes the consistency of the e juice less syrupy which creates a cleaner hit for mouth to lung vaping. Salts also come in a few different nicotine levels which tend to be 50 mg and anywhere from 25-35 mg. 

MTL devices and e liquid:

Let’s start by diving into mouth to lung devices. Again, mouth to lung devices have a smaller volume of smoke. The best type of vape juice for these devices are nicotine salts. Nicotine salts are have more nicotine in them, allowing them  more closely compare to a cigarette. Because MTL devices have a less intense hit, these higher concentrated e juices are perfect and won't be too harsh. Despite this, there is nothing to say you cannot use salt nics in any device, just be prepared for a harsh experience.

Advantages of nicotine salts:

Some advantages of salts are said to include: satisfaction, smoother hits, richer flavor, and tend to be less expensive. For some though, salts may be too strong and also come in fewer flavor options. They also lack the ability to create massive smoke clouds, making freebase e juices your first choice when it comes to fun.

Freebase e liquid:

Freebase is the more traditional form of e juice, with nicotine that is closer to its purest form, thus having a higher pH. Freebase e juices have a different proportion of Vg to Pg because of this, so instead of 50/50 like salts, they are 70/30. Seventy percent Vg and 30 percent Pg. This allows the smoke, when going directly to the lungs, to be completely enjoyable, even in large amounts. The nicotine levels for freebase e juices come at 0mg, 3mg, 6mg, and 12 mg.

DTL devices and e liquid:

On the other hand, direct to lung vaping tends to create thicker clouds, and a higher volume of smoke. If one were to use nicotine salts with a direct to lung vaping device, they’d find that the vaping experience would be much less enjoyable and way harsher than necessary. Thus, the best type of e juices for direct to lung vaping are called freebase e juices. Direct to lung devices make a lot more vapor. Freebase e juice will be completely enjoyable, even in large amounts. The nicotine levels for freebase e juices come at 0mg, 3mg, 6mg, and 12 mg. Freebase liquids are not best for POD devices because of its thickness due to it’s ratio of Vg to Pg.

Advantages of freebase e juice:

These vape juices are flavorful and great for large amounts of a vapor with a smooth hit.

Choosing what e liquid is best for you:

When deciding which e liquids are right for you, keeping the following in mind:

  1. What kind of device do you have?
  2. How much nicotine is right for you?
  3. What flavors interest you most?

Keeping these 3 key factors in mind will lead in you in the right direction when purchasing e liquids!


If you’re new to vaping and trying to understand what type of e juice your new vape should be locked and loaded with, take a moment to consider what type of device you have. If you have a mouth to lung device, your best bet is to go with nicotine salts and if you have a direct to lung device, it would be freebase juices. These 2 types of e liquids are made specifically to cater to your device model, so be aware when choosing your device and its companion e juices to ensure the most positive experience.



By: Brittany Hale

Brittany Hale was born and raised in Torrance, CA and has a bachelor’s in Journalism from Hawai’i Pacific University. She has been vaping since 2016 and has loved the vape culture since it has benefitted her in many ways. Her enjoyment inspired her to continue to learn about the ins and outs of the industry. She then pursued her passion for writing by combining it with her enthusiasm for vaping by joining VaporDNA’s content team

Comments (6)

John doe

Got a smok 3 it’s the best vape I’ve had eliquid is better for me and lower nicotine levels. Pretty much maintenance free just change pods once a week. Way better draw and taste than any store bought vape.


Quit smoking with Caliburn G series was 12mg but now down to 6mg since May this year. I want a bigger refill tank set up and have no desire to change coils etc. Just want a decent set up little fuss. Any suggestions? I seem to drag hard on my Caliburn and get sore throat so trying to avoid that


Hi, can you help me pick what device I should get? My concern mainly is the strength of the flavor. I’ve been smoking disposable vapes – lychee specifically. I’m inretested in sourin or something similar. Thank you

Melissa Curry

I’m reading this and a little confused as all of the original ejuice comes in 50/50 blend and original nic salts I’ve ever found are the 70/30. You can get the sub-ohm nic salts and those are regular ejuice blend 50/50 but use a nic salt instead of free base. But overall nic salts designed for use with low wattage pod systems are 70/30 blend and come on average in 30ml size bottles and ejuice with freebase nicotine is in a 50/50 blend and geared for higher wattage/sub-ohm systems. so either the system manufacturers and vapers are doing it backwards or articles have it wrong, this isn’t the first article I’ve b read that has this info inside out.


Juul for 4 months now getting mouth ulsers. Can you suggest salt free juice. Thanks.

Robinson Siraguza

Excellent article for us just starting to vape and join the culture of vaping! Nice!!!!

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