Freebase Nicotine & Nicotine Salts
The vape liquids or eJuice used in vape pens and other similar devices usually contain just propylene glycol (PG), vegetable glycerin (VG), flavoring, and nicotine. There are different types and qualities of the first three ingredients, and it’s important to shop with a high-quality, trustworthy vendor to be certain you’re getting safe, high-quality ingredients.
However, when it comes to the fourth ingredient, nicotine, there are two types–freebase nicotine and nicotine salt.
What is the Difference Between Freebase Nicotine & Nicotine Salt?
The most important difference between these two types of nicotine, for the purposes of vaping, is that they are used in different types of devices. Nicotine salts are best used with smaller, lower-powered devices such as a pod system; whereas freebase nicotine works best in the larger, more powerful box mods.
Nicotine salts are produced by slightly altering freebase nicotine. In most cases, this alteration results in a smoother, less harsh vaping experience. This is due to the fact that it is used in less powerful devices that produce less heat, but it is also because nicotine salt is simply milder. This is somewhat counterintuitive since nicotine salts have more nicotine, but it is true nonetheless. Nicotine salts begin at around 20mg and go as high as 59mg nicotine content.
What is Freebase Nicotine?
Freebase nicotine is produced directly from the tobacco plant. It is purer and contains fewer additives than nicotine salt. In most cases, there is an alkaline imbalance with this type of nicotine which results in a harsher hit to the throat. For this reason, many users of the stronger box mod kits will tend to go with a lighter eJuice with around 0mg to 3mg of nicotine content. This results in a milder, yet noticeable throat hit which many users enjoy. The hit becomes harsher around 6mg and higher. Most e-liquid manufacturers, including Juice Head eLiquids, tend to only produce freebase liquids with nicotine strengths of 0mg, 3mg, and 6mg in order to offer a more pleasant experience to a wider audience.
Freebase eLiquids and Sub-Ohm Devices:
Freebase nicotine is generally the e-liquid of choice for the larger mod-paired atomizers and sub-ohm devices. Because these devices put out more power and have larger coils, pairing them with freebase nicotine is generally the preferred choice. Users who enjoy large clouds with lower nicotine content will tend to go for this type of combination with an optimal vg to pg ratio. Freebase eJuice can be used with a pod system for smaller clouds to vape more discretely. Most pod systems are not intended for use with freebase eJuice since lower nicotine concentrations will not be fully atomized. These devices can be optimized for this type of use, but the user should know what he is looking for and request it- or be able to modify the device himself if he hopes to obtain the desired result.
Nicotine Salt and Vape Pod Systems:
Nicotine salts are perfect for vape pod systems. With lower power output, higher resistance, and a smaller coil, this combination puts out smaller clouds with a higher concentration of atomized nicotine. This is ideal for the vaping enthusiast who favors discretion but who also craves real nicotine hits rather than just producing an amusing visual effect. It is not generally advisable to use an eJuice with a high concentration of nicotine with a pod system. This will cause an excessive level of nicotine absorption which will tend to cause unpleasant effects.
Some pod systems are well suited for use with both nicotine salts and freebase eJuice. The type of coil or pod that is installed will be the determining factor. A rule of thumb you may follow is that nicotine salts are best used with devices that have higher resistances, clocking at 1.0ohm or higher. This will allow for the safe and efficient use of higher nicotine concentrations, making it possible for the optimal utilization of nicotine salts. Outputs lower than 1.0ohm are considered sub-ohm, which is where we get the name. Sun-ohm devices should only be used with freebase nicotine vape juice. This will help ensure safer, smoother vaporization and more efficient delivery of the lesser nicotine concentrations in a larger vapor cloud for those who enjoy big clouds and low nicotine. Before purchase, the user is encouraged to inquire about whether or not the device is good for use with one type of nicotine, the other, or both.
Wrapping It Up
Next time you're buying a bottle of e-liquid, make sure to remember these quick tips:
Freebase nicotine e-liquids are generally liquids with 0mg-12mg nicotine strength
Nicotine Salt e-liquids are generally e-liquids with 20mg to 59mg nicotine strength
Freebase e-liquids are great for blowing big clouds and those who want to consume lower levels of nicotine
Nicotine Salt e-liquids offer a smoother, more flavorful, and discreet experience and will satisfy those seeking higher levels of nicotine
Higher power devices, such as box mods, are generally utilized for freebase nicotine e-liquids
Lower power devices, such as pod systems, are generally utilized for nicotine salt e-liquids.
Credit: Aaron Cadena, Juice Head