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E-liquid guide: what are nic salts?

If you’re new to e-liquids, you might think that all vape juices are created equal, but that’s not the case. There are so many different crazy vape flavours, and unusual vape liquids out there for you to try, which is half of the fun of vaping!

Still, there are some crucial categories that it helps to get your head around: 10ml, nic salts, 50/50 and shortfill e-liquids (especially since that’s how we divide up the e-liquids on our website!). In this article we’re going to cover off nic salts, and explain why they’re often seen as the veteran’s vapour juice of choice. 

What are e-liquids?

For a quick recap, in case you’re a bit confused about what an e-liquid actually is, let’s break it down. Essentially an e-liquid, otherwise known as a vape juice, vapour liquid, e-cigarette, or e-juice, is an alternative to smoking. Instead of the thousands of chemicals found in tobacco, you simply inhale nicotine vapour, usually blended with a vape flavour of your choice. 

They’re typically simple formulations to ensure as clean a vaping process as possible, which means they really only contain nicotine, water, flavourings, and two liquids known as PG/VG which dictate the cloud size and vape flavour intensity when you’re vaping. So how does a nic salt differ?

Six Licks | Nic salt | UK e-liquid

What are nic salts?

Nic salts might sound like something you’d put on your dinner, but they’re actually very similar in appearance to other e-liquids. That’s because their name doesn’t derive from the consistency, but instead from a specific form of nicotine found in tobacco leaves, known as nicotine salts (if you hadn’t figured out what “nic” stood for).

The nicotine usually found in e-liquids is known as freebase nicotine! This is the form of nicotine you’ll have encountered in cigarettes since the 1960s. Here, freebase just means the nicotine has been processed into its purest form, having been adjusted to have a higher pH level, and a quicker absorption rate. 

Nicotine salt, on the other hand, is made by simply extracting natural nicotine from tobacco in its purest form: a crystalline salt. This is blended with benzoic acid so it can be vaped at a lower temperature, and voila! Nice and natural, though it’s this blend with benzoic acid that’s the key.

Nicotine salt vs. freebase nicotine

So, if freebase nicotine normally has a faster absorption rate to key nicotine receptors, why would you want to vape an e-liquid with a nicotine salt? First of all, the benzoic acid used means that the nicotine’s absorption rate is pretty close to freebase nicotine. Plus, due to its lower pH level, and it’s lower vaporisation temperature, it provides a much cleaner vaping experience.

This means there’s a smoother throat hit, making it easier to vape higher nicotine levels in your liquid vapour. For people who struggle with the harsh nicotine inhale at higher concentrations, this is an absolute godsend. It also means that your e-liquids should last longer, since each hit can pack way more nicotine in, and because nicotine is more stable in its salt state, resulting in a longer shelf life for you e-juice. 

There are some drawbacks though, of course. Even as it lasts longer, the cost of your vape liquid is generally higher, meaning there’s an obvious tradeoff there. On top of that, some people prefer the sensation provided by freebase nicotine liquid vapour. In this instance, it’s really a matter of preference, but it’s well worth experimenting with different e-cigarettes liquid!

Uwell Caliburn | Vape kit | Vape device

What vape device should I use?

Since nic salts work so well at lower temperatures, you’ll typically see nic salts being used in mouth-to-lung devices. This is another appeal to people who want to buy an e-liquid, and run with it straight away, since these are typically simple pod devices that are pick-up and go. 

Fortunately, at we offer one of the best vape devices on the market, the Uwell Caliburn. You can be sure that whatever nic salts you have to try out, they’ll be right at home in this mouth-to-lung open-pod vape device.

Buying nic salts

There we go! You’ve decided you want to give a nic salt e-liquid a go, but where do you go to buy nic salts? For all the best nic salts around, you can check out our dedicated e-liquids shop page. We’ve got one for the best shortfill e-liquids, 10ml and 50/50 vape juices too!

As for our favourite nic salt e-liquid? Well, that’s a very tricky question! Our current go-to is probably the Six Licks Bluemonia. The frozen sensation goes so well with the smooth throat hit, making this a berry vape flavour e-juice you’ll find it difficult to put down.

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