Your Ultimate Guide to Nic Salts

Whether you are a vaper or not yet, you have probably heard of the nic salt craze. And as you experiment with e-liquids, you are sure to come across plenty of tempting nic salt juices. So what makes them different from other e-liquids? What are their pros and cons? And what has made nic salts so popular?

Find the answers to these and many other questions in this guide.

What are Nic Salts? (plus a bit of history)

Since the early 60s, tobacco companies have been using one and the same method of nicotine extraction — this is what we now know as free-base nicotine. Until quite recently, freebase nicotine was the only “type” of nicotine that was used in e-liquids.

This was the case until 2015. In 2015, a company by the name of Pax Labs introduced the world to nic salts. The company released a vaping device called JUU, which featured replaceable JUUL pods. JUUL pods contained the new nic salt e-liquid that we’re able to deliver a high concentration of nicotine — up to 50mg. The goal was to give vapers the sensation that was as close to smoking as possible while avoiding the harsh throat hit that usually comes when vaping freebase e-juices that are high in nicotine. The company has also been able to make 50 mg nicotine palatable and more bioavailable than ever before on the vaping market. How was that possible? As in many great recipes, there is a secret ingredient involved.

Nic salts take nicotine in its natural state that is found in tobacco leaves and add benzoic acid. The chemical helps nic salts vaporize at lower temperatures and lowers the pH levels in the e-liquid, which results in the aforementioned smoother throat hit.

Thus, if you are an ex-smoker who used to smoke a pack or more a day, nic salt e-liquids promise to mimic that experience closely and deliver more nicotine into your system.

Nicotine Salts + Low Wattage Devices

It is recommended that you use nic salts only with low wattage devices. Nicotine salts should not be used with high-powered sub-ohm devices because of their high nicotine levels.

As noted above, nicotine salt e-liquids come in high nicotine strengths such as 50mg/ml. Low wattage devices are a great fit for nicotine salts because you won’t be inhaling that much vapor — and, thus, not getting excessive amounts of nicotine into your system. Nic salts also do not require high temperatures to be vaporized and can be used efficiently with lower-powered gadgets.

There are two kinds of low wattage devices that are available on the market: open systems and closed systems. Open systems are manually refillable with nicotine salt e-liquids in various nicotine strengths. Closed systems, on the other hand, are refilled by replacing nic salt cartridges or pods, which are usually sold in packs of four and are available in various nicotine levels

Using low wattage devices comes with its own set of benefits that would appeal to ex-smokers. They tend to be smaller, sleeker, more discreet, easier to use and most of them are draw-activated.

Would Nic Salts be a Good Fit for You?

Nic salts are recommended for:
Ex heavy smokers
New vapers
Those having trouble quitting cigarettes
Those who don’t like complex vaping gear

Nic salts are typically recommended forex heavy smokers as they allow for high nicotine concentrations. However, there may be lots of other reasons that would make nic salts a good fit for a vaper.

If you want to quit smoking and are not sure where to start, nic salts may prove to be a workable solution as they can closely mimic the sensation you used to get from smoking.

If you think that big box mods are too complicated and don’t want to spend time on technical maintenance, you may also appreciate the simplicity of low wattage pod mods. Nicotine salt devices are very user-friendly and will let you get started with vaping right away instead of spending time on figuring out how things work.

Another selling point of low wattage devices is that they tend to be very compact and discreet and can help you keep a low profile as you vape.

Pros of Vaping Nic Salts

Vaping nic salts comes with a number of benefits — and to a large number of vapers, these are important advantages.

High nicotine strengths

As we’ve mentioned several times throughout this guide, nic salts carry higher nicotine concentrations and this comes with a whole set of benefits both for new vapers and those who used to smoke heavily. If you have trouble quitting cigarettes with standard e-liquid, nic salts may be helpful in making a once and for all transition to vaping.

Smoother throat hit

Despite the high nicotine strength, nic salt makes for a smoother throat hit. If you vape standard e- liquids that are high in nicotine, the harsh throat hit is unavoidable. Nic salt e-liquid help tackle this issue (if this is something you don’t enjoy) and let you vape high nicotine concentrations without the side effects.

Low maintenance

Nic salts are used primarily in low-wattage devices — and these are much easier to use than complex box mods. This means that they make for better entry-level gear compared to larger vaping gadgets. With pod mods, you won’t have to bother refilling the e-liquid, changing coils or wicks and all you will need to do is take out the old mod and replace it with a new one.


Low wattage devices tend to be compact, simple and really portable. This means that you can simply put your vape gadget in your pocket and go about your day; you won’t need to carry e-liquid bottles or any extra accessories. And if you want to vape without calling too much attention to yourself, you will be able to do that easily.

Lower e-liquid consumption

If you vape nic salt e-liquids that are high in nicotine, the chances are that you will vape less.

Plus, since there is less vapor production with low-wattage devices, this also means that there will be less dehydration and you may avoid conditions such as vaper’s tongue.

Longer shelf life

Nic salt e-liquids tend to have a longer shelf life and are less prone to oxidation. Thus, you will be able to keep your pods for longer and even stock up on them without worrying too much about the e-liquid going bad.

Cons of Vaping Nic Salts

Naturally, nic salts are not without cons as well — and a lot of the disadvantages of vaping nic salts are related to the limitations of low wattage vaping devices.

Limited range of flavors and nicotine strengths (closed systems)

If you go with a closed pod system, you may find the range of flavors and nicotine strengths available quite limited. Most pod mods will require you to use the pods from the same manufacturer and this means you will have less choice when it comes to flavors and nicotine levels.

More expensive than vaping free base (closed systems)

If you use a closed pod system, buying new nic salt cartridges may prove to be more expensive than using traditional bottle e-liquid. Depending on how often you vape and how much you vape, you may be using from 2 to 4 pods per week or even more. The price of a 4 pack of pods varies from $5 to $15 — and if you vape a lot, things may get a bit costly.

Only low wattage devices

Nic salts should only be used with low-wattage devices and this means you will be limited in your choice of vape gear. And, should you ever want to upgrade to more complex vaping gadgetry, you will need to switch to freebase e-liquid.

Not for cloud chasers

Once again, because you are limited to the use of low-wattage devices, you will not be able to blow huge clouds that you might see on YouTube or Instagram. In order to exhale a lot of vapor you will need a sub-ohm device and, once again, this will mean going free base.

Limited battery life

As low wattage devices are more compact, they also tend to carry smaller batteries. Typically, most pod mods will come with batteries of about 300mAh. Naturally, this is very little compared to large box months, which often come with several batteries and let you enjoy several hours of non-stop vaping.

Have you tried vaping nic salts? How do they compare to freebase e-liquids?


I haven’t tried nic salts yet, I get along fine with freebase nic, I’m not sure I trust the salts tbh


I disagree with this but would be interested in hearing why you think this is so.


Saw this right before called it a night but am interested in the debate so gotta subscribe.


Just to note this is a vendor, Vape IQ


Have to agree with Wolfenstein here. I’ve found salts to be a 1-to-1 swap out for freebase in any application I’ve tried. And now that I’m closing in on 2 years of salt use, I can personally say there’ve been no issues with the transition. I’ve pushed higher watt builds and my typical mid-20w build, and aside from the lack of throat hit I’ve seen no difference between the two.


OK, not 2 years, more like 18 months, but still.


I’ve had to do some experiments with my wife’s POD (Zumix like) she’s one those rare cases allergic to the freebase nicotine itself., blisters on the top of the tongue, sore palate, harsh throat you name it.
So I did one of the first things that a decent mixer does, changed the PG/VG ratio, full VG, high PG, Saline the lot… low saline, high saline, the lot…
After nearly a year, I couldn’t understand why this happened, then my little brain went, why not try salts, at the end is what PODs were made for… but, we have TPD, I’ll have to do with 20mg…
Working with PODs is not easy, simple recipes and even with low power they’re not really satisfying.
When I tried to mix with Salts, noticed the total lack of throat hit, but I let my wife judge.
With TPD we have the 20mg costraint but a 20mg salt it’s more or less the equivalent of a 10mg freebase (roughly) I went for a simple Virginia/Hazelnut/Saline:

Strangely i had to lower it for her to 8mg (4) percentage wise, now it’s good and quite strangely (she smokes two packs a day( I would have thought that I’ll have to go a lot higher.
Testing it everything improved no more blisters, just a bit sore in the back of the palate (tongue’s sides, but could be a reaction to not smoking)
But still there’s a total lack of throat hit or “hump” what I did, is to add 2mg of freebase to compensate the missing throat hit (FA Flash didn’t work) now it’s perfect and I’ve found it’s a good solution with POD devices for people that might be allergic to freebase.

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