Should Your Vape Shop Stock More Max VG E-Liquids?

Wondering if your Vape shop should carry more Max VG E liquids? We go through the Pro's and Con's to help you make more sales.

If your vape shop sells a lot of e-liquid, it's likely that you've had more than a few customers ask you for "max VG" e-liquids over the past several months. Since there's a supplier for just about everything in the vaping industry, it's also likely that your suppliers offer more than a few max VG e-liquids. Are they actually products that you should stock, though? Are max VG e-liquids something that only a minority of hobbyist e-cigarette users prefer? Are they just another passing fad?

You don't have unlimited funds to invest into stock. You can't carry everything on the market, and it's likely that only a portion of your customer base will specifically request max VG e-liquids. The number of people who look for high-VG e-liquids is growing, though, and you may have an opportunity to capitalize on an emerging trend.

Let's look at max VG e-liquid a little more closely.

VG vs. PG

VG vs. PG Comparison chart of Popularity, Viscosity, Gunk Build Up, Allergy Risk, Flavor Intensity, Throat Hit, Vapor Density, Vapor Temperature, and Wick Material Absorption Time

To understand why someone might want high-VG e-liquid, you need to understand the difference between VG and PG. Every e-liquid needs a carrier. The carrier makes it possible to dilute the nicotine and flavors to the proper concentration. The carrier also forms the majority of the vapor that you inhale.

The two most popular carriers are vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol. Both carriers are common in food, cosmetics and other products that people use every day. Here's how they compare.

The Benefits of PG

Compared to VG, PG vaporizes at a slightly lower temperature. It carries flavors very well, and some e-cigarette users feel that a PG-based e-liquid produces more throat hit than a VG-based e-liquid.

PG is relatively thin. PG was the ideal carrier for the earliest e-cigarettes because a low-power e-cigarette coil can vaporize it quickly and because the thin liquid moves easily through the wick openings in small coils. With a thicker e-liquid, a coil with small wick openings can run dry during frequent use.

The Benefits of VG

VG vaporizes at a higher temperature than PG, so getting the most out of a VG-based e-liquid usually requires a sub-ohm vaping setup. VG is also a thick liquid, which means that it doesn't feed easily through small wick openings. The thickness of VG creates a fuller mouth feel and larger visible vapor clouds compared to PG.

VG has a mild, sweet flavor of its own, so some people believe that it can mute the flavor of an e-liquid a bit. Companies that make high-VG e-liquids often compensate by using additional flavorings. The sweetness of VG can work well in an e-liquid with a sweet flavor profile. An e-liquid maker can often limit the use of sucralose and other sweeteners in max VG e-liquids.

What Are Max VG E-Liquids?

Most of the e-liquids produced today contain blends of PG and VG. A 50/50 mix of PG and VG is common because it maximizes the benefits of both carrier liquids. Some e-liquid producers increase the VG percentage to about 70 percent. The actual definition of max VG varies between manufacturers, though. Depending on the manufacturer's mixing technique, max VG may mean:

  • The maker used as much VG as possible while ensuring that the e-liquid would still meet the maker's standards
  • The maker used more than 70 percent VG
  • The maker didn't add PG to the e-liquid, but the flavor compounds may still contain PG
  • The maker used only VG as a carrier in the e-liquid but used water to thin the final mix

Since max VG has no standardized definition, it's wise to ask e-liquid makers about their mixing processes. Some of your customers are going to ask you what max VG means. If you've taken the time to ask the companies that make the e-liquids, you can answer your customers' questions with confidence.

Why Do People Buy Max VG E-Liquids?

People buy max VG e-liquids because they like the mouth feel and large vapor clouds. If you've ever used an e-liquid that you thought had an especially creamy mouth feel, it's likely that you were using a max VG e-liquid.

At cloud chasing competitions, the contestants often use plain VG with no added nicotine or flavor. A max VG e-liquid gives you something close to that experience -- large, showy clouds that linger in the air for a while before dissipating. People who prefer very large clouds because they compete, perform vapor tricks or simply believe that big clouds allow them to get more out of the vaping experience tend to prefer max VG e-liquids.

Should My Vape Shop Stock More Max VG E-Liquids?

To determine whether your vape shop should carry more max VG e-liquids, answer these four questions:

Do You Cater to Cloud Chasers?

One easy way to find out whether carrying high-VG e-liquids is the right decision for you is to look at your sales totals. When you sell vaping hardware and accessories, what do your customers usually buy?

If your shop sells many of these items, then your customer base includes cloud chasers:

  • Mechanical mods
  • Box mods
  • Sub-ohm tanks with wide coils
  • Rebuildable dripping atomizers
  • Rebuildable tank atomizers

Customers who buy the above items are likely to return to your vape shop and either ask specifically for max VG e-liquids or ask what they can do to improve vapor production. If you can give those customers exactly what they want, you'll earn repeat business.

Do You Cater to Experienced E-Cigarette Users?

Often, the people who enter a vape shop for the first time aren't actually new to vaping. They purchased a Vuse, Blu or other mainstream e-cigarette from a convenience store and enjoyed it enough to continue using it -- but now they want to find out what else vaping has to offer. For many people, throat hit becomes less important after a successful transition from smoking to vaping. After a person has vaped long enough, he or she may stop craving tobacco -- and the feeling associated with using it -- entirely.

For experienced e-cigarette users, vaping often isn't about getting a great throat or lung hit anymore. Instead, it's about pleasure and flavor -- and it's hard to enjoy a flavor when your throat and lungs are burning. Experienced e-cigarette users often begin using max VG e-liquids because switching to VG lessens the throat hit associated with vaping.

Do People Complain That Some E-Liquids Are Too Harsh?

Many people feel that PG has a more pronounced throat hit than VG. The stronger throat hit -- coupled with the mouth-to-lung inhaling style that most people use when they first switch to vaping -- produces a sensation that many people find similar to that of smoking. Many people take up vaping because they want to discontinue tobacco use. For those people, a stronger throat hit is often appealing.

You may find, though, that some of your customers actually don't find the strong throat hit of PG appealing. If you sell an e-liquid to a customer who later comes back and complains that the e-liquid is harsh or makes him or her cough, that person would probably prefer an e-liquid that produces less of a throat hit. Switching to a max VG e-liquid -- and potentially using a lower nicotine concentration -- will result in an experience that's more to the customer's liking.

Do People Complain About Dry Hits or Flooded Atomizers?

Although high-VG e-liquids have become very popular among e-cigarette users, PG-based e-liquids still have their place. PG is thin and runny. Cotton soaks it up quickly, and it has no difficulty flowing through small openings. PG is ideal for the smallest vaping devices.

Suppose, though, that you've just sold a box mod and an RTA to a customer. The customer comes back the next day and wants to return the items. When you ask why, he says that the RTA leaks. Alternatively, maybe he tells you that he's constantly burning the cotton and getting dry hits.

Recommending a max VG e-liquid can potentially help you save the sale and retain the customer because he is probably using your equipment with the same PG-based e-liquid that he previously used in a small vape pen. Because PG is so thin, it easily seeps through gaskets and air holes. An RDA or RTA with PG-based e-liquid will most likely leak.

PG-based e-liquid is also a poor match for powerful vaping equipment because it vaporizes quickly. Many of the people who use RDAs and RTAs take very long puffs to generate the biggest clouds possible. With PG-based e-liquid, a rebuildable atomizer will quickly vaporize all of the e-liquid near the coil -- and when a cotton wick is dry, it burns. Powerful vaping equipment works best with max VG e-liquids.

Should I Recommend Max VG E-Liquids to People With PG Sensitivities?

Some of your customers may be allergic or sensitive to PG. Some online sources claim that as many as 10 percent of people may have PG sensitivities, which can manifest themselves with symptoms such as:

  • Dryness or irritation in the mouth or throat
  • Dry, itchy skin
  • Rashes or sores in or around the mouth
  • Ringing in the ears

An allergy is a potentially life-threatening condition. If one of your customers is allergic to PG, it's likely that he or she already knows it because PG is common in products such as cosmetics and food flavorings. PG sensitivities, however, haven't received much attention outside the vaping community. If a customer complains to you about any of the above symptoms, he or she may be sensitive to PG.

You should avoid recommending a max VG e-liquid to a customer sensitive to PG unless you have knowledge of the manufacturer's mixing technique for two reasons:

  • The e-cigarette industry has no standardized definition of what max VG means
  • Many food flavorings include PG

Since there is often no way to guarantee that a max VG e-liquid contains no PG, it's usually better to recommend e-liquids labeled "100 Percent VG" to customers who may have PG sensitivities. An e-liquid labeled "100 Percent VG" should use alcohol-based flavors rather than PG-based flavors.

Who Shouldn't Use Max VG E-Liquids?

When customers ask you for max VG e-liquids, it's not a bad idea to ask them about the equipment they use. Some VG-based e-liquids are so thick that they almost resemble syrup -- and some e-cigarette tanks use coils with wick openings that are barely as large as pinpricks.

Tanks such as the original Aspire Nautilus -- and small all-in-one devices such as the ELeaf iCare -- will not work well with most max VG e-liquids. The thick e-liquid will have difficulty getting through the holes in the coil to keep the wick saturated, and the user will experience dry hits and singed wicks as a result. A max VG e-liquid works best with a rebuildable atomizer or a wide pre-built coil head with large wick openings.

Conclusion: Max VG Is a Must for Most Vape Shops

Running a successful vape shop is often a matter of finding a balance of products that pleases the most customers possible without killing your budget or allowing items to languish on the shelves for too long. For most vape shops, stocking a selection of max VG e-liquids is the right choice. If your customers aren't already asking for max VG e-liquids, they'll probably be asking you soon if they:

  • Want to increase their vapor production
  • Want to compete or perform vapor tricks
  • Gain experience and want to enjoy vaping for the flavor rather than the throat hit
  • Upgrade their equipment and find their old PG-based e-liquids cause leaks or dry hits
  • Are sensitive to PG-based e-liquids
  • Find the throat hit of PG-based e-liquids harsh or overpowering

As popular as max VG e-liquids have become, they aren't for everyone. It's unwise to give up your present selection of e-liquids with 50/50 or 70/30 VG/PG ratios because some of your customers are still using vape pens, small all-in-one devices or eGo batteries with clearomizers. People with smaller, less powerful devices need e-liquids that contain PG because max VG e-liquids won't work correctly with their vaping setups.