By Tracey Jackson
The key to using an e-cigarette successfully is getting the best e-liquid brand available, meaning great-tasting flavours and high-quality ingredients. Here we provide a guide with information on the best UK e-liquid brands, made using the purest ingredients. Whether you want to fill your own e-cigarette device or use a pre-filled cartomizer
An introduction to e liquid
The UK e-liquid market has evolved to provide not only traditional tobacco and menthol flavours, but a whole new and exciting range of flavours such as coffee, fruit and options such as bubble gum. You can now vape CBD oil too.
There is a huge choice of premium e-liquid flavours on the market. This guide will take you through the basics, and you can then explore the various short fill and other e-flavours available.
We suggest you keep to tobacco flavoured e-liquid when first starting the transition from smoking to vaping.
When we looked at the criteria for establishing the best e-juice we consider a number of important aspects. These included:
- Pure ingredients with no unnecessary chemicals
- Full disclosure of all ingredients
- Batch testing. ie. total transparency of ingredients
- All e liquids selected must be 100% UK TPD compliant
- Tobacco e liquids must feel authentic when vaped with no chemical aftertaste so that you can more easily transition away from smoking.
BBC Horizon did an in-depth and interesting programme on vaping and health effects titled “E-Cigarettes: Miracle or Menace?” – this is definitely worth watching.
Quick review – the best VG and PG e liquids
The full review details can be found in the Best E-Liquid Flavours section here. Our summary of the best clean, tested e-liquids is below.
#1. The best PG e-liquid mix
V2 Platinum E-Liquid range
- Pharmaceutical grade ingredients
- Reasonably priced
- Wide range of tobacco and shisha flavours
- Great for beginners and experienced vapers alike
- No chemical aftertaste
- Authentic tobacco taste
- Great vapour production
#2. The best VG e-liquid
The Vsavi range by e-juice specialists Pure E-Liquids
Vsavi was previously known as Eco Vape.
- 100% VG e-liquid, ideal for those who have an adverse reaction to PG or like making huge vapour clouds
- Maximum vapour production
- No chemical aftertaste
- Excellent range flavours including tobaccos, mint and menthol, fruits and e-shisha
- Offer a sampler pack of flavours you can buy to decide your favourite before you buy
- Specially formulated not to clog up tanks like other VG liquids which may be too thick
Check out their new range of premium short fill vape juice too.
See the full VG review for a more detailed guide to the best VG e liquid
VG e liquid and vape settings
You will need to ensure you optimise your wattage and temperature to hit the e juice “sweet spot” as it may be different to other vape juices and is generally at a lower temperature.
Should I use pre-filled e liquid cartomizers or e liquid?
We suggest new users start out with cartomizers to keep things simple. Once established, experiment with the tank systems and raw e-liquids and vape juice if you wish to try something new. See further information on DIY e liquid
Finding the best flavour & right taste and strength of nicotine to use
This is a little more difficult to answer as it is purely a personal choice. It’s best to find an e-cigarette brand that gives an option of a cartomiser multi-pack that contains various flavours of vape juice – generally go for 12 mg or 18 mg nicotine strength if you were used to standard strength cigarettes then reduce or increase the strength depending on your particular nicotine needs. It may take a little patience to establish the right strength and flavour but if you use an established e-cig company they will have done extensive testing to get tobacco e-liquid taste options right – this can take a lot of hard work out of the equation. See our e-liquid taste comparison review that looks at matching your cigarette flavour with e-liquid flavours.
What is a PG e-Juice allergy?
A minority of vapers may have a bad reaction to e-liquid whilst vaping. Generally this is an allergic reaction to propylene glycol contained in the e-liquid. Symptoms range from nausea or swelling to having an irritable or itchy throat. If you have a bad reaction to PG based e-liquid you should use 100% pure VG e-liquid – see Best VG e liquid section above for recommended pure & tested vegetable glycerine e-liquids.
What is the safest e-liquid?
See summary table below. There is also some good info on the blog re: e-liquid testing and e-liquid health and safety.
Is there a zero nicotine liquid option for e-shisha pens?
There are many cheap shisha pens on the market which may include poor quality “free e-liquid”. Make sure you buy your vape juice from a reputable source. Zero nicotine e liquid can be used by both vapers and shisha users. See our shisha section or check out safe e-liquid flavours.
In depth – the best UK tobacco taste e-Liquids
When looking for e liquid with a tobacco taste ensure you buy from a reputable manufacturer. There are few e-liquid manufacturers who are both clear and transparent about ingredients and use a controlled pharmaceutical environment to make their product. The vast majority of e-liquids do not have fully listed ingredients that are pure, clean and shown fit for human consumption.
With the huge range of e-liquids available what sets the best e-liquids apart from the rest – how do you choose your e-liquid?
Brands such as ECOpure , V2 Platinum and Pure e-Liquids Vsavi are e-liquid brands that make their own e-liquids in a laboratory environment. They do not import generic e-liquids to simply re-label or rebrand them.
Whether you are looking for the best tobacco e-liquid flavour to replace smoking or simply shisha pen e-liquids to enjoy vaping the various flavours you will find a safe clean e-juice from these manufacturers.
#1 VG e liquid. VSAVI e-liquid review
VSAVI ECO-vape not only offers a range of pure VG shisha flavours but it is also organic.
This particular VG vape juice is formulated to be less viscous than the majority of VG liquids so is great for use in “cloud chasing” sub-ohm devices – most use a PG/VG mix in order to “thin down” the liquid so it is practical and usable in box mods and vaporizers. Mixing VG and PG reduces vapour production as the VG element give maximum vapour while the PG is used to thin down the e-juice. VSAVI is 100% organic VG e-juice so no compromises but the same maximum vapour..
VSAVI e-liquid is made in EU/UK laboratories and fully tested. Vsavi e-liquid brand is 100% VG e-liquid and most suitable for those wanting extreme vapour production or who have a reaction to PG e-liquid. VSAVI is the best VG e-juice UK brand.
Vsavi Pure Virginia:
Regular Tobacco VG e-Liquid: Nicotine strengths 0%, 0.6%, 1.2%, 1.8%: fuller, more rounded tobacco taste for a truly satisfying ‘smoking’ experience.
Vsavi Classic Virginia:
Rich Tobacco: Nicotine strengths 00%, 0.6%, 1.2%, 1.8%: classic distinctive tobacco flavour.
Vsavi M Tobacco:
Nicotine strengths 0%, 0.6%, 1.2%, 1.8%: a softer milder tobacco flavour.
ECOvape Vsavi Arctic Menthol VG e-liquid:
Nicotine strengths 0%, 0.6%, 1.2%, 1.8%: distinctive refreshing flavour. It is clean and pure with a cool minty taste.
Vsavi also offer 100% pure VG e-liquid in a range of flavours including Apple, Elder, Cherry, Strawberry Cream, Coffee Cream and a range of other gourmet mouth-watering vape tastes!
Your best option if you need pure clean 100% VG e-Liquid is to try their Vsavi ECO-vape sampler pack of flavours to find your favourite e-liquid taste and then fine tune the strength to your liking. VG has less of a throat hit but produces more vapour than PG e-liquid. also it is slightly sweeter than a normal tobacco taste. Strengths of PG and VG are not directly comparable as they are absorbed at a different rate into the body so it is not necessarily the case that 1.8% VG feels stronger than 1.2% PG e-liquid. You should also check out their premium shortfill vape juice range.
#1 PG/VG mix. V2 Platinum e-liquid review
A wide range of fully tested clean simple e-juices
Vapour2 (V2 in the USA) e-liquid is made in laboratories and then goes one step further – all ingredients are listed, not hidden by terms such as ‘flavourings’ or ‘food additives’. Using only pharmaceutical and FDA ingredients you can actually obtain an online batch test of your specific e-liquid. This provides total transparency that is not offered by any other manufacturer or e-liquid re-seller.
Best Vapour2 tobacco taste e-Liquids
Red Virginia Tobacco Blend
Red is the V2 classic American tobacco blend of e-liquid. Hearty Virginia tobacco taste, sharper with a hint of sweetness. This bolder flavour is a top seller and is a must have if you are used to rolling your own cigarettes. Cartridges and e-liquids are available in four strengths: 1.8% nicotine, 1.2% nicotine, 0.6% nicotine and 0% nicotine. (Lambert & Butler Silver).
Congress Smooth Refined Tobacco Blend E-Liquid
Congress flavour has a smooth refined tobacco taste similar to Silk Cut or Embassy cigarettes. Flavour notes start with light American tobacco and end with a smooth finish. Available in four strengths: 1.8% nicotine, 1.2% nicotine, 0.6% nicotine and 0% nicotine. (John Player Blue and Mayfair King Size).
Sahara Turkish Tobacco Blend
Sahara is a rich Middle Eastern tobacco blended e-liquid. Take a puff of Sahara and experience the rich tobacco overtones, sure to please even the most discerning vapers – a Camel smokers’ delight. Sahara cartridges and e-liquids are available in four strengths: 1.8% nicotine, 1.2% nicotine, 0.6% nicotine and 0% nicotine. (Roll your own tobacco – rollies &, Marlboro Gold)
Best Vapour2 menthol and mint taste e-Liquids
Best Menthol E-Liquid – Cool and Crisp Minty Flavour E-Liquid
Cool and refreshing, menthol is one of the most most popular flavours. Even non-menthol smokers love the crisp refreshing flavour formula. Menthol cartridges and e-liquids are sold in four strengths: 1.8% nicotine, 1.2% nicotine, 0.6% nicotine and 0% nicotine with a spring green colour.
Best Peppermint – Sweeter Mint
Peppermint flavour e-liquid cartridges feature peppermint and sugar swirled together with a touch of spearmint; this flavour has a strong following. Peppermint cartridges and e-liquids are available in four strengths: 1.8% nicotine 1.8% nicotine, 1.2% nicotine, 0.6% nicotine and 0% nicotine.
Best Green Tea E Liquid – Refreshing Menthol!
Green Tea Menthol is bursting with refreshing mint combined with the smooth, soothing & mellow properties of green tea. A favourite of many menthol smokers. Get yours in four strengths:1.8% nicotine,1.2% nicotine, 0.6% nicotine and 0% nicotine.
Speciality e-Shisha liquid flavours
If you love your shisha pen experience then there is whole range of vibrant tasting shisha e-liquids to tempt you:
The very Best Coffee e-Liquid Blend
A great wake up call! A very rich Colombian coffee blend, with a hint of smooth cream undertones. If you love a good cup of coffee, you will definitely enjoy our best coffee flavour. Coffee cartridges and e-liquids are available in four strengths: 1.8% nicotine, 1.2% nicotine, 0.6% nicotine, and shisha 0% nicotine.
Best Grape E-Juice – Very Juicy
Grape is one of the most popular flavours – not sure why but V2 sells a lot of this e-liquid. It’s sweet and juicy, a perfect summer flavour blended for a great vape experience. Four nicotine strengths: 1.8% nicotine, 1.2% nicotine, 0.6% nicotine and shisha 0% nicotine.
Best Chocolate liquid – mmm! Creamy and Milky
Chocolate lovers swear by the V2 Chocolate cartridges. A rich, creamy taste that will satisfy your sweet tooth. The vapour produced is like liquid chocolate that simply melts away. Available in four strengths: 1.8% nicotine, 1.2% nicotine, 0.6% nicotine and shisha 0% nicotine.
Best Cherry E-Liquid – Farm Fresh
Bursting with ripe, juicy cherry goodness. Cherry cartridges and e-liquids are available in four strengths: 1.8% nicotine, 1.2% nicotine, 0.6% nicotine and Shisha 0% nicotine
Best Cola E-Liquid of all things!
Cola sparkles just like your favourite fizzy drinks! Crisp and sweet, it’s sure to pep you up. E-liquids are available in four strengths: 1.8% nicotine, 1.2% nicotine, 0.6% nicotine and shisha 0% nicotine.
The Best Vanilla E-Liquid- Rich, Smooth and Sweet, Lovely!
The most popular speciality flavour e-liquid, there is no better way to describe V2 Vanilla than very smooth. Silky brown sugar undertones melt in your mouth.
An e-cigarette requires a liquid in order to produce vapour so that nicotine can enter the body. This may be in the form of a prefilled cartomizer or alternatively what is known as a tank system which you fill yourself from a bottle of e-liquid. Generally for those starting to vape the prefilled cartridge e-juice option is more straightforward and should make it easier to transition from smoking to vaping.
The cartridge or cartomizer usually contains the e-liquid or e-juice already so that you simply connect it to your e-cigarette and you are good to go. The tank system consists of an empty container or tank that you need to fill with e-liquid yourself prior to connecting to your e-cig battery. Many people prefer the simplicity of prefilled cartridges as there is no issue with leaks and spillage associated with filling your own.
Both prefilled and DIY liquid refills from the same e-juice brand can give similar results regarding taste and vaping experience if you use the same e-liquid. Our research shows the V2 Congress e-juice is the best on the market as it uses the highest quality tobacco flavour available. The prefilled cartridges generally feel a little smoother whilst the tank systems give a little sharper taste.
For those wanting to fill their own, use lab tested e-liquid where full details of ingredients are disclosed.
Older Tank e-cigarettes – Time changes everything
E-liquid tank systems used to be associated with considerably larger e-cigarettes called “egos” or “mods” whilst cartomizers were used with what are known as cig-like e-cigarettes. Much has changed recently with the advent of the mini-tank e-cigarette – sometimes referred to as a vape pen or shisha pens. These are now available from some e-cig manufacturers and are similar in size to cig-like e-cigarettes but allow the user to fill the mini-tank with their own e-liquid (see V2 mini shish tank system).
Pre-filled carts generally work out slightly more expensive, however as both options are significantly cheaper than traditional cigarettes your choice should focus on your preferred taste and whether you want to use bottled e-liquid containing nicotine.
Many tank systems rely on variable voltage batteries so that you can vary the voltage in order to get the optimum voltage for the e-liquid you are using.
Cartomizers and batteries bought together are already optimised for the e-liquid contained within the cart – this means less hassle. Modern cartomizer technology now used by a few e-cigarette manufacturers can mean you get as much vapour from a prefilled cartridge as you can get from a tank – this was not generally the case in the past, with tank systems producing more vapour in many cases. Some may like the paraphernalia associated with complex devices but most would prefer something straightforward – simple vaping.
E-liquid for tank systems is produced and sold by both e-cigarette companies (who can also supply pre-filled cartomizers with the same e-liquid) and also by independent e-liquid sellers. Make sure you buy from a recognised source that provides up to date lab test reports.
Is your e-Liquid safe?
In theory an e-liquid, e-juice or vape juice is a relatively simple fluid that contains three ingredients: nicotine, propylene glycol (PG) [or alternatively vegetable glycerine (VG)], and flavourings.
The nicotine is the addictive substance found in cigarettes which is combined with either VG or PG or a combination of the two.
The VG or PG is what gives the vapour content and this acts as a “carrier” for the nicotine to enter the body. It also gives the “throat hit” associated with vaping.
The flavourings are added to the e-liquid to give the taste – nicotine has no real taste.
There is little or no legislation that covers all the ingredients or the purity of what goes into your e-liquid so it can be hard to know you are buying high quality liquids from a safe and reliable source.
It is vital that you buy vape juice from a company that provides as much specific and up to date information as possible, and uses liquids that have been laboratory tested to ensure ingredient purity and safety. The Tobacco Product Directive now goes some way to ensuring what ingredients can go into e-liquid and restricts certain substances.
What is gourmet e-Liquid?
There are a number of specific manufacturers like V2 Cigs, VSAVI and CN Creative ECOpure who focus on e-liquid purity ie. e-liquid health and safety by using pharmaceutical grade nicotine and/or offering e-liquid testing.
These gourmet e-liquids are the best e-liquid UK brands offering only premium e-liquids. Both Vpure and Vsavi are 100% pure VG e-liquid. This may taste a little sweeter to some but for those who react to PG liquid it is essential and a first rate e-juice. For cloud chasers VSAVI VG e-liquid is second to none and contains no PG.
However the vast majority of e-liquid providers do not tend to give the same level of transparency. V2 is the only company we found that gives full independent laboratory analysis on their e-cig liquid and refill content. Vype electronic cigarettes used to make it very clear that they did use pharmaceutical grade nicotine in their Vpure e-juice – but with the new range it is not so clear.
Drilling down into the Vype site you will find that they state their base ingredients are pharma grade but this doesn’t tell you the whole story – what about the Vype e-liquid content that are not “base ingredients”. The other factor with Vype is that some of their e-liquid strength is limited to 12mg which will generally only suit the lightest of smokers.
Companies like Totally Wicked who supply e-liquid state they use “only the highest grade UK source products” or import from China under strict guidelines but do not offer independent testing on all their e-liquids. Note that TW started to do tests on their own products and hope that they do the same with other makes of e-liquid that they sell. With the Tobacco Product Directive more e-liquid and e-cig suppliers will need to conform or be pushed out by those that do.
Best e-Juice and cartomizer review summary table:
Premium UK e-liquid brands
Value for money and the manufacturers own description of their e-liquid ingredients and content.
|E Cig Brand||Vype eStick||Green Smoke||E-Lites/Logic||V2 Cigs|
|Refill Weight Full (g)||2.5||5.1||5.9||5.1|
|Refill Weight Used (g)||2.1||4.2||4.9||4.1|
|E-Liquid content per refill Used (g)||0.4||0.9||1.0||1.0|
|Number of Puffs||75||126||138||147|
|Cigarettes per refill:|
|Price per refill||£1.50||£2.08||£3.60||£1.80|
|E-Liquid Quality||"Classic variant... contains only 3 ingredients: pharmaceutical-grade nicotine, glycerol and purified water."||"Primarily purified water, nicotine, propylene glycol and flavour" MSDS test shows 16 chemicals.||"The base liquid in e-cigarette cartridges is a mixture of liquid nicotine, tobacco extract flavourings and propylene glycol"||"Cartridges contain 3 primary ingredients, nicotine, food grade flavorings (FDA approved) and propylene glycol." Full on-line lab. report on all e-liquids and refills.|
|Cost per 20 cigarettes:|
|Batch testing on Site||No||No||No||YES|
|Mini-Tank & E-Liquid||No||No||No||YES|
The running cost of the Vype e-stick (who only have 2 tobacco flavours and only 1 strength) is £996 per year whereas V2 (3 tobacco flavours at 5 strengths) is around £650 per year – the Vype running cost is 50% more costly. These are important facts to consider when making your choices.
See our e-liquid taste comparison review that looks at matching your cigarette flavour with e-liquid flavours
Where can I buy the best e-Liquids?
There are not many e-liquid stockists who produce quality exclusive safe gourmet e-juice. The VIP E cig brand state their e-liquid is tested BUT it can only be used in their own cartomizers. The majority of e-liquid sellers import or resell diluted, generic flavoured low grade e-liquids – many stores, online shops and market traders simply resell e-liquids with no batch testing. What are you inhaling?
Popular e-Cig brands and their e-Juice ingredients
- E-lites reviews (now LogicVapes) show that Logic Vapes focused on e-cigs with no e-juice option ie cartomizer option only.
- The Vapourlites reviews FAQ section only contains brief details of ingredients “The liquid in all Vapourlites products are made up of flavouring, liquid-nicotine (when ordered), vegetable and propylene glycol and manufactured here in the UK”.
- Whilst reviewing blu ecigs, they have this to say in their UK “Certification” section: “blu carries out quarterly batch testing with several companies. Every quarter, we take a selection of our products to undergo full testing. That way, they meet our high standards”. So only a selection of their product undergoes testing. They have no detailed explanation of ingredients in their e liquids.
- See the VIP review for details on their e-liquids.
Keeping your E-Liquid Safe
If you’re thinking about storing away some of your liquids, follow our advice to make sure they last as long as possible without losing any of the fantastic flavour.
Propylene Glycol (PG) or Vegetable Glycerine (VG)?
PG based liquids will last a lot longer than VG liquids. PG acts as a natural antibacterial substance, meaning that any bacteria that comes into contact with it, should be destroyed. On the other hand, VG is more likely to be affected by bacteria, and if you don’t store it properly, you will notice a change in the flavour after some time.
What can affect your vape juice if they aren’t stored properly?
Heat, light and air not only change the way your e-liquids look, but they can also alter the taste
If your e-liquids are exposed to light and/or air, the nicotine within them can become oxidised. This may change not only the colour and taste of the liquid but sometimes even the nicotine strength.
Flavoured e-liquids are affected more than standard e-liquids, particularly flavours with a dark colouring such as coffee or chocolate. The colour is usually affected rather than the flavour itself so this isn’t something that you should worry too much about.
Should you store your e-liquids in plastic or glass containers?
Choosing whether to use plastic or glass containers to store your e-liquids should depend on how long you’re planning on storing them for.
If you’re thinking about keeping them stored for 1 or 2 months at most, then plastic bottles will be fine. However keeping your e-liquids in plastic bottles for any longer than that can change their flavour as the plastic begins to react with them (and that’s probably not very healthy either).
For more long-term storage keep your e-liquids in a glass bottle or container, preferably darker glass such as green or brown. Glass containers will remove the likelihood of air getting to your e-liquids, and the glass won’t react with it either unlike plastic
Can you refrigerate or freeze your e-liquids?
While a cool, dark, dry cupboard is perfect for short-term storage, you may want to consider putting your e-liquids in the fridge or freezer if you’re planning on keeping them for longer.
Your e-liquid’s use-by date will be maximised in the fridge or freezer and can be kept for as long as 2 years.
A few things to consider before storing
Always make sure that the lid or cap of the storage container is firmly screwed on before storing away, to make sure as little air as possible can come into contact with your e-liquids.
Caps and lids are not completely pet or childproof so if you have any children or pets in your household, be sure to store your e-liquids in a hard to reach place, or in a secured container.
E-liquids can often thicken when cooled so if you choose to refrigerate or freeze your e-liquids, make sure you give them time to reach room temperature again before adding them to your e-cigarette.
Notes on the vape juice review:
The puff test is based on the same person, not a mechanical device, testing each e-cigarette for a full day. A cigarette lasts 7 puffs for this individual – it does not seem a lot but test it yourself. The liquid refill prices for each e-cigarette manufacturer are based on best price for a one-pack of refills.
Prices at: 5/23/2018
Vapour production on Green Smoke and V2 Cigs e-cigarette is significantly greater than the others tested. E-Lites gave almost no throat hit i.e. the feeling one gets when smoking.
All have different costs and can tick certain boxes – see the review comparison chart table of some of the more important aspects of some well marketed or better known e-cigarettes.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this and other articles on the site are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the results of other smokers. Examples, weights, measurements and other analysis performed within this article are only examples of our results. They should not be utilised in real-world as they are based only on very limited testing of a small selection of products from each brand. Assumptions made within the review analysis are not necessarily reflective of all the brands listed and we suggest you conduct your own analysis and compare the results with our findings. Not everyone inhales the same amount when vaping.
Vapers from Norway view the best e-cig links below.