As you may have seen, nicotine salt e-liquid has recently been popular as a growing number of vapers transition from conventional e-liquid.
But what’s the true difference?
We will cover the essentials in this article, and by the end, you will understand where the key distinctions are and what the fuss is all about with salt nics.
Before we begin, it is critical to remember that none is superior to the other. Both juices provide distinct vaping experiences, and it all comes down to personal choice, which is determined by where you are in your vaping journey, the sort of devices you like, and, of course, the appropriate nicotine level.
Understanding the differences between nicotine salts and conventional vape juice requires some science, but we will attempt to put it in as simple a way as possible without boring you with superfluous jargon.
However, in order to properly comprehend what nicotine salt is, it may be good to first investigate a kind of nicotine known as freebase nicotine.
So, without further ado…
What is Freebase Nicotine?
The purest and most widely utilized form of nicotine in consumer products today is freebase nicotine, which is what you’ll find in the majority of e-liquids as well as in regular tobacco cigarettes.
Freebase nicotine removes extra compounds and protons from the naturally existing nicotine in the tobacco plant to provide a stronger nicotine effect without having to raise the dose. Freebase nicotine, as opposed to nicotine in its natural form, which was the usual prior to the discovery of freebase nicotine, was discovered to provide a considerably stronger, more potent nicotine rush.
Since then, e-cigarettes as well as nicotine replacement therapies like cigarettes use freebase nicotine as their primary nicotine source. In larger doses, its very alkaline nature might result in a powerful throat impact. This is a major appeal for some vapers, but if the hit is too powerful, it can turn them off. In this case, nicotine salts can be an excellent substitute.
What exactly are Nicotine Salts?
We’ll start by emphasizing that it is NOT based on conventional sodium chloride, commonly referred to as table salt. Therefore, it won’t raise your sodium consumption or give your vape juice a salty flavour.
The word “salt” is derived from chemistry, where salt is a product of a process involving both positive (acid) and negative (base) charges.
Nicotine salts, sometimes referred to as nic salts, are a particular kind of e-liquid having a slightly different composition from your standard e-liquids (which are known as freebase e-liquids). Most beginning vaping kits and pre-filled pod kits come with freebase nicotine e-liquid, but other varieties of e-liquid, including nicotine salts, can be excellent for both novice and expert vapers.
When compared to conventional freebase vape juice, nicotine salts are a type of e-liquid that may swiftly deliver nicotine to the body. One reason nicotine salts are popular with new vapers or ex-smokers who are used to smoking heavily is that they give you the impression of a stronger nicotine hit without actually having any more nicotine in the e-liquid formula. This results in a much stronger, quicker, and more intense nicotine rush than with freebase nicotine e-liquids.
Nicotine salts provide a solution for people who need a stronger e-liquid because e-liquids with more than 2 per cent strength cannot be marketed in the UK according to vape product regulations. The ordinary vaper can often easily vape higher-nicotine e-liquids in salt form rather than in freebase form because they provide a considerably smoother “throat hit” sensation than freebase nicotine e-liquids.
However, if you’re looking for a strong, intense nicotine rush that satisfies all of your cravings, nicotine salts are a fantastic option. Of course, for some vapers, a strong, intense throat hit is an essential component of their vaping experience, so freebase liquids would be the better choice for these users.
The big difference
The majority of vapers have the same objective: they want their vaping experience to be as similar as possible to smoking a cigarette. As a result, for the nicotine administration to be most effective, it must closely resemble that of a traditional cigarette.
Until recently, vapers could only choose freebase nicotine, which is more on the alkaline end of the pH scale and can be unpleasant at higher dosages due to its higher pH value.
Depending on the user’s prior vaping and smoking habits, a high concentration of freebase nicotine may provide a throat hit that is too strong to enjoy. As a result, younger vapers frequently cut the amount of nicotine in their liquid to make it easier on their throats.
However, in other situations, this might be quite harmful because there’s a significant chance they’ll be enticed to relapse back onto cigarettes if their early, severe cravings aren’t met.
The option is to inhale more vapour from their vape to satisfy their desires, but this uses up more e-liquid and reduces the cost savings that were first promised, which may be demoralizing.
Is Freebase Vape Juice or Nic Salts Better?
The appropriate e-liquid strength is crucial for beginner vapers, especially if they want to not only enjoy vaping but also quit smoking in the long term.
When you first start vaping, it’s important to choose the correct nicotine level for your e-liquid since it might be the difference between a joyful and enjoyable vaping experience and one that is unsustainable and doesn’t satisfy your nicotine needs enough to keep you away from cigarettes.
The beauty of vaping is that every person’s body reacts differently to freebase nicotine and nicotine salts, so what works for one person might not work for another.
We have developed a list of pros and cons for each to help you decide which to choose:
Freebase Nicotine Benefits
- Less costly than nicotine salts
- Bigger clouds are produced, making it suitable for sub-Ohm vaping
- Able to vape for an extended amount of time at a slower rate
- Being able to change between MTL and DTL
- Able to tolerate a diverse flavour profile
- Lower nicotine concentrations are beneficial for people who are farther along in their nicotine cessation journey.
- Ideal for novice vapers who recently gave up their “social smoking” habits
Nic Salt Benefits
- Quicker bloodstream uptake
- A lower level of cloud creation than Freebase
- Even with more nicotine, a more comfortable hit
- Softer on the throat compared to Freebase
- Appropriate for mouth-to-lung vaping
- Perfect for partnering with a vaping device that requires no setup or technical expertise
- Heavy smokers who want a constant surge of nicotine are drawn to high strength.
- Slower oxidation results in a longer expiry date than freebase.
- You don’t require as much juice when vaping.
Which is Safer?
Contrary to popular belief, nicotine salts combine when the freebase nicotine, which is extremely alkaline, reacts with an acid. You don’t need to worry about your sodium consumption because these e-liquids are named nicotine salts, they don’t really include any salt. Instead, the word refers to the chemical makeup of nicotine in nic salt compositions.
Most often, benzoic acid is employed. As both naturally occur in our bodies and are even found in fruits, citric acid or a mixture of the two is also rather widespread. The body can safely absorb nicotine salts far more quickly than freebase nicotine, providing you that powerful nicotine rush, but also reducing the throat hit feeling through this chemical reaction, which makes nicotine less alkaline.
Users may vape nicotine salts at relatively low temperatures, and those who use smaller, less powerful devices can still comfortably use these e-liquids since the lower pH of nic salts implies that the temperature needed to vape is considerably lower than it would be without acid treatment. Although both freebase and nic salt are generally safe to vape, there is no concrete evidence to suggest one is safer than the other.
Even though freebase nicotine has been used far more often for millennia, it is interesting that nicotine salts are the type of nicotine that naturally exists in the tobacco plant. Since they have undergone the least amount of modification, they are ideal for usage in potent, powerful vapes.
Which Should You Pick?
Which of the two do you choose if you’re shipwrecked on an island and have to choose between nicotine salts and freebase? In the end, it all comes down to your own preference for configuration. Traditional freebase should still be your first choice if you like a throat hit that is a little bit harsher and want to vape big clouds of vapour.
But in more recent times, nic salts have been a preferred option for vapers. Nic salts could be right for you if you wish to stop smoking, use a low-powered device, vape with little cloud, and still obtain the appropriate throat hit and enough nicotine at a greater intensity.
Freebase eLiquids and Sub-Ohm Devices
The preferred eJuice for sub-ohm and bigger mod-paired atomizers is often freebase nicotine. It is typically preferable to utilize freebase nicotine with these devices since they have bigger coils and better power output. Users who like thick clouds with less nicotine tend to choose this sort of blend with the best vg to pg ratio.
For smaller clouds that may be vaped more covertly, freebase vape juice can be utilized with a pod system. Since freebase eJuice has a lower nicotine content, most pod systems are not designed to utilize it since it won’t be properly atomized. You should know what you want and request it, or be able to adjust the gadget yourself, if you want to get the intended outcome. These devices can be customized for this sort of use.
Nicotine Salt and Vape Pod Systems
Vape pod systems are ideal for nicotine salts. Smaller clouds with a higher concentration of atomized nicotine are produced by this combination of lower power output, higher resistance, and a smaller coil.
This is perfect for vape enthusiasts who value confidentiality yet want genuine nicotine impacts as opposed to merely creating a cute aesthetic appearance. Generally speaking, using a pod system with an e-liquid with a high nicotine content is not advisable. This will result in increased absorption of nicotine, which usually has negative consequences.
Some pod systems work well with both freebase eJuice and nicotine salts. The coil or pod type that is fitted will make a difference. As a general rule, devices with greater resistances, clocking at 1.0 ohm or more, are ideal for using nicotine salts. This will make it feasible to employ larger nicotine doses safely and effectively, enabling the best potential usage of nicotine salts.
The Bottom Line
There is no one type of nicotine or e-liquid that is better or worse than the other, which is true of a lot of things in the vaping industry. It all comes down to personal choice and the aspects of vaping that is significant to you. Both freebase nicotine and nic salt e-liquids have advantages and disadvantages, and the ideal one for you can be entirely different from the ideal one for someone else.