Not only is taste subjective, taste is just one criterion involved in picking the best brands of e liquid. Readers with limitless financial resources can vape the most expensive juices all day long, but craft juices are more frequently out of stock and outside of regular people’s price range.
In order to be fair, this list contains affordable and gourmet liquids, but they are all made in the United States.
My top five 5 e juice brands are VaporFi, Halo Purity, NicQuid, Five Pawns, and The Standard.
Internet reference tools for vapers include some pages dedicated to reviewing e juice. They make interesting reading. Just a glance shows a vast number of brands, several points vapers consider when choosing a favorite juice, and the array of flavors. Exploring individual juice companies shows the differing priorities of vendors, blenders, and consumers too.
Pick Your Priorities
You might think the most important aspect of any juice profile is flavor. You don’t care if liquids were blended in a back room, basement kitchen, or a lab. As far as you’re concerned, the FDA can take a hike and stop placing hurdles in the way of small companies making great-tasting e liquid.
Then again, a background in pharmacy, chemistry, or food service might leave you with expectations the average person doesn’t think about. You possess an unsettling, stomach churning awareness of what happens when hygiene isn’t taken into proper consideration.
For instance, a lab should be FDA-approved. Sterile work surfaces, a HEPA filtration system, and USP-grade ingredients put your mind at rest.
Environmental awareness and a healthy lifestyle lead you to believe that only organic, natural products are good enough. You vape with juices made with organic and natural flavorings and only vegetable glycerin, not propylene glycol. You won’t vape juice made with any ingredients shipped from overseas: that would increase your carbon footprint.
The price of e liquids might be more important than anything. You would rather buy a huge bottle of e liquid for a discount than purchase freshly-made flavors in 15-ml bottles. To you, the price per/ml makes it worth sacrificing freshness.
Rating E Liquid
You could judge juices in a blind taste test and simply consider their properties. Vaping experts rate liquids according to flavor. They judge complexity, forward flavor and undertones, plus after taste. They look for density and cloud production. Throat hit is also important. Sometimes a low-price option is surprisingly good value in all categories while expensive e liquid fails to perform under blind testing conditions.
Buying Vape Juice from Online Vendors
Several online vendors make juice to order. VaporFi will create flavors according to customer requests without charging any more money for the privilege. Their products are fresh, satisfy the safety-conscious vaper, and are also inexpensive.
Mount Baker Vapor will do the same thing and their juice is even cheaper. Mount Baker Vapor’s website is not as clear about safety standards, but they’ve got a good reputation. You wouldn’t call either of these “gourmet” juice lines, however.
Such praise is reserved for products by the Vapor Chef, Five Pawns, BluePrint, and King’s Crown. Their blends are pre-made and created with culinary intuition which has paid off. For instance, Black Flag Fallen by Five Pawns combines black truffle cream with espresso and Fifth Rank contains a mixture of champagne, cream, vanilla, and almond. BluePrint’s CREAM tastes of cream, peanut butter, and chocolate while Page Six reminds vapers of raspberry green tea.
It isn’t essential for a firm to sell blended flavors. Lots of them just offer basics like fruit, or chocolate; styles of tobacco, menthol, mint, or nuts. Consumers take these and do their own blending or vape the basics straight-up. Many NicQuid juices are simple.
Shop in Person
Small firms can’t market juice online. They only sell directly to vape lounges in their local area. Few people hear about them unless they live in the vicinity and frequent those shops. Several mixologists supplying online distributors are still so small they can only work with one or two vendors over the internet.
Shop by Flavor
A site like AlltheJuices is extremely useful to new vapers. Many products listed here have been rated by customers and given points out of 11. Ratings are based on criteria mentioned above. Points for performance are just one useful element of the site, however; filters provide a short-cut to identifying juices customers might like.
Use their filters to find juice by flavor or brand. For instance, you might have heard of a label, but before buying any you want to see what people are saying about it. There are articles about companies and expert reviews of some juice blending businesses plus general topics regarding to the industry. Choose a central flavor and find out how many possibilities there are. While you thought a search for “apple” would be simple, you will soon discover there are apple vapes featuring tobacco, menthol, and other fruits; apple pie, apple plus cinnamon, and more.
When you have read websites, checked reviews, and considered flavors for a while, the time comes to just pick something. If that still seems like an impossible prospect, here is another way to buy juice: subscribe to a monthly e juice delivery program. Craft Vapory, Zamplebox, and several companies will box up a certain number of bottles each month and ship them. You do not order a specific label: the company chooses for you.
All you have to do is limit their selection process. Let the business know what nicotine value you want. Tell them the types of juice you like or absolutely hate. Create boundaries that are not too tight or too loose and every month your box will contain juice that fits into these parameters. You won’t know what to expect when you open the box: a brand new label you have never heard of or a popular style other vapers have recommended.
Even experienced vapers sometimes shake up their vaping experience and find new all-day-vapes by taking a chance. A number of vapes will wind up in your cupboard indefinitely. You could trade unwanted blends for more appealing ones if your friends are doing the same thing. Subscriptions can be cheaper overall, but their purpose is to get the hesitant customer going. Virtually all of these programs send out gourmet juice made in the United States.
Juice For Big Clouds And Sub Ohm
Sub Ohm vaping is a style which leads to the creation of enormous clouds. Enthusiasts take part in competitions and there are awards for the thickest and largest clouds.
Events are held at vape stores around the country, but you do not have to be competitive with others to enjoy the challenge of building bigger, better clouds and tasting warming, more flavorful vapor for your own sake.
How to Build Thick Clouds
Part of the process of building a vapor trail is to operate equipment designed for the purpose. Run a variable watt mod and select one with the capacity for at least 40W. It should accept atomizer resistance below 0.5 ohms.
The second part of the process is buying e-juice of a satisfactory blend for sub-ohm builds. It will have to contain a lot of vegetable glycerin; perhaps max-VG. Vegetable glycerin is the thicker juice; the one which imparts the most sweetness and creates clouds. PG (propylene glycol) produces throat hit and is thinner. Vapers and mixologists find it is most suited to tobacco flavors emulating the real smoking experience (pipe, cigarette, or cigar).
VG Juice Flavor Profiles
For this reason, your major sub-ohm e liquids are dessert flavors. Custards are popular. So are fruits, candies, and pastries. Sweets in general will lead you to the clouds.
Several vendors produce two lines: one for clouds, the other for regular coils. Some gourmet juice companies focus on high-VG blends in particular, either because they prefer this more natural substance over PG or to support the cloud-chasing community. Once you are sub-ohm vaping, there is very little room for tobacco flavor.
High-VG Vapor Vendors
Kind and Velvet Vapors are both VG-juice producers, but health is their biggest concern, not sub-ohms.
Firebrand creates a dripping juice.
A VG-only series at Johnson Creek has received solid reviews. Charlie Noble e liquids are predominantly VG products.
Vista Select and Driptonix are cloud-chasing e liquids. VaporFi has added an Artisan, high-VG series to their menu.
Cloud Science is another one. You notice that they are usually in glass bottles with dripping caps.
Namber, Str8Six, and Alloy are just a few more.
Don’t restrict yourself to US juices; there are several very good ones from the UK. Expect to pay at least $12 per 15-ml bottle (about 80 cents per ml) unless you order a subscription and receive discounts. Customers don’t know what juices they will receive but can specify their preferred PG/VG ratio.
Customize your E Liquid
Several companies such as Vista Vapors and Mount Baker Vapor allow vapers to select their preferred ratio of propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin. They can opt to vape mostly PG, a 50/50 blend, or max-VG. This way they focus on what matters to them: balance of throat hit and vapor production, more throat hit, or lots of clouds.
The FDA is currently looking into regulating the e cig industry, particularly companies that make e juice. They are interested in regulation for many reasons, and one of them has to do with quality.
In the early days particularly, red flags were raised where companies, in their ignorance, used unsafe flavorings and colorants to make juice. They mixed e juice using food safe methods or no standardized procedures of any kind, but these were not adequate for bottling e juice and using nicotine.
No one is suggesting these businesses were willfully trying to cause harm, but that’s the trouble: without regulation, how does anyone know what is harmful, what’s not, and why? Other issues arose to cause the furor that now exists, but something good has come out of the controversy: awareness.
Customers now know that it’s best practice to ask pointed questions about the juice they are thinking of buying.
If companies cannot satisfy their concerns, it is probably best to consider shopping somewhere else.
While it sounds great to order e liquid from a culinary artist running a small business and mixing juice fresh, gourmet for every customer, there are good and bad aspects to that approach. The best e liquid brands combine style with the high standards that protect their patrons.
While the FDA has not approved e juice or e cigs, they have approved some laboratories for use as mixing facilities. VaporFi’s establishment is FDA-approved according to their website. Halo makes the same claim as does Volcano and Dream E Vapor.
Mister E-Liquid invites customers to learn more about their lab facilities online. Vapin Plus also uses an FDA-approved lab. You can be sure their equipment, air purity, and other measures contribute to a safe end-product.
Food-Grade and USP-Grade Ingredients
A lot of companies can only say that their ingredients meet certain standards. They use just food-grade flavoring you could buy yourself from a grocery, confectionery, or baker’s supply store. USP stands for United States Pharmacy.
USP-grade ingredients in e juices are vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol (or not, depending on a company’s standards). The same companies as I’ve already listed above use USP- and food-grade ingredients as do many other businesses in this industry.
It is unusual for e juice makers to use organic, all-natural ingredients. These are more expensive and most people aren’t clamoring for them. If you feel strongly about inhaling only organic, natural e juices, take a close look at the ingredients in your food. You could be surprised at what you’re eating or you could surprise others with the total absence of artificial paraphernalia in your diet.
Where does your nicotine come from? If you buy e juice from Mount Baker Vapor, Virgin Vaper, or Velvet Cloud, it’s sourced from somewhere in the United States. This might mean your e liquid contains a tobacco product: nicotine is frequently extracted from tobacco leaves. Then again, it’s an all-natural process, and you can at least be certain of US standards for growing tobacco.
All e liquid ingredients can be purchased from US companies but they might come from foreign countries. VaporFi’s glycerin, for example, is made from Malaysian Palm, but that’s great for people with nut allergies. Malaysian Palm Glycerin is considered one of the best.
At least buy US-made e juice. It’s easier to determine how it was made and what went into juice made here than determining foreign standards.
What Is PG And VG In Vaping Liquids?
E-juice is made from a base liquid, flavoring, and possibly nicotine. That base liquid is comprised of PG and/or VG, usually a blending of both. PG stands for propylene glycol. VG is the abbreviation for vegetable glycerin.
This is the thinner of the two liquids and responsible for throat hit. If an e liquid is supposed to mimic cigarette tobacco, then it should contain a substantial amount of propylene glycol: at least 50%, but possibly more.
Being thinner than VG, PG is more suitable for coils found in beginners’ products like cartomizers and some clearomizers. Thicker juice clogs coils. Propylene glycol is considered a food-safe ingredient by the FDA and is found in numerous processed foods. It is also used to produce fake smoke at parties and haunted houses and is found in pharmaceutical products such as nebulizers.
This thick plant liquid is what gives e juice its sweetness and thickness. If you don’t need much throat hit or you are concentrating on cloud production, your e juice should contain plenty of it. In fact, many e-juice companies make lines especially dedicated to the preferences of cloud-chasers operating high-watt box mods. They are partial to dessert flavors like custard, cinnamon buns, and fruit candies.
Vegetable glycerin is also a food-safe ingredient approved by the FDA. There are various forms of vegetable glycerin. The safest for people with allergies to peanuts is Malaysian palm glycerin. You will also find VG in household and personal cleaners like shampoo and dish soap.
USP, Kosher, Organic
Your base liquid should at least be USP-grade: US Pharmaceutical-grade. This means it is an approved product. Organic base liquids are harder to come by, but will generally add a premium to your product. Most USP bases are also kosher. You can buy your own PG and VG as well as nicotine and flavoring to make e juice at home.
You will also notice a surge in production of juices designed for RDAs. Known as “dripping liquids,” they contain more vegetable glycerin than propylene glycol to make them thicker. Cloud chasers love it.
Are you more interested in flavor complexity than all of that background detail? Perhaps you think it is overkill to be so particular about lab conditions and are willing to trust that a real e juice artist will be careful.
In this case, the following firms might or might not satisfy all requirements, but the main thing they offer is great tasting products. If they create grape or banana flavored e liquid, it’s never as simple as that. Culinary flair causes their versions to stand out from the rest.
Suicide Bunny has been lauded as one of the best e liquid brands available for a few years. Pip’s line of juices is small but high-quality, including her Mother’s Milk. In the eyes of some vapers, this is the standard against which all strawberry-cream styles are judged.
Five Pawns constructs juice of such complexity it sounds like sophisticated cocktails you should drink, not vaporize.
CRFT only makes a few e liquids which is typical of gourmet lines. One of them is the amazing Trail Mix which not only tastes like nuts and fruits but is so authentic that some consumers can almost feel the density of seeds on their tongues.
Cosmic Fog, known by the smiling cloud wearing sunglasses, makes half a dozen flavors which have become synonymous with quality and fun. Gummy Cola will put vapers in mind of real candies flavored like cola, right down to the “chew.”
Vanilla Custard by Vaper Caper possesses layers of flavor: vanilla in real egg custard plus hints of sweetness and spice. Numerous versions of custard or cream e juices exist, some egg-y, others milky; many with vanilla, others featuring fruit or spice.
Locomotive Joe takes the humble cup of “Joe” and turns it into something amazing. A lot of cheap coffee vapes taste artificial, like instant coffee: not this one.
Cucumber-mint has become a vaping trend. This cool, refreshing all-day vape is available from the Vapor Chef. Their Coolcumber Melon also contains honeydew melon, an elegant complement.
Plenty of these companies are too small for online sales so they sell to distributors of fine juices like Giant Vapes. Some are big enough for direct sales. Subscription companies buy enough bottles from these firms to sell them cheaply in monthly sample packs to their customers.