What are nic salts and are they for me?

Thursday 26th March 2020

There’s a lot of talk about vape nic salts in the electronic cigarette industry as of recent, although it’s not as widely recognised as standard freebase nicotine e-liquid. To compare, take a look at how the trend data for standard product names are slowly dropping as people are becoming more aware of nic salt.

While not exactly a recent innovation, this consumption method was adopted first (not invented) in 2017 by Juul (US) and is different to the freebase nicotine found in everyday cigarettes.

You’ll also find freebase in patches, chewing gum and the original standard vape juice / nic shots – however, it’s said that nic salt juice could be considered a more effective way to use an e-cig as an aid to quitting smoking.

But before we look at salts, let’s learn about why and how we even get freebase nicotine products.

What is Freebase nicotine and how is it made?

Freebase nic is made by converting nicotine into its purest form using A specialized process to strip protons, and so increasing the pH level (alkalinity). 

This method was created in the 60’s, simply as a way of making a stronger potency in the same sized dose. 


What are nic salts?

Microscopic salts are found on the plant and are the natural form of nicotine, however as vapers, what we know as ‘nic salts’ still refers to a liquid base, after putting the plants natural salt through a specific conversion process.

The idea behind nic salts is to achieve an almost instant nicotine rush, with a smooth, more satisfying hit that’s not harsh on the throat. 

What’s the better option?

There’s no right or wrong answer, but here’s a little run down of the pro’s of freebase vs salts!


Some benefits of Freebase nicotine may include:

  • Larger cloud production 
  • Contains no additives
  • A more complex range of flavours can be achieved
  • Suits both MTL and DTL
  • Cheaper by volume
  • Ideal for those with lower addiction levels

Why would you choose salts over freebase?

  • Absorbed faster by our bodies
  • Heightened instant nicotine rush
  • More closely mimics the action of smoking (MTL)
  • Suitable with high nicotine strengths
  • Suits those with stronger addiction levels
  • Suits a lower power device
  • Uses less juice to get a hit
  • Delivers higher concentration of nicotine faster


As you can see the benefits vary, but really it’s down to you the individual to decide which aspects apply to you. For example, if you’re someone who’s trying to quit smoking then maybe you’d opt for the choice that satisfies cravings the fastest, or maybe it mimics the inhalation methods more familiarly. The graph below shows best how you might expect to feel the effect of nicotine products – which again, is an aspect individual to your own habit. 

Let’s say you are a smoker with low addiction levels, it might be best to stick to freebase. Compared to salts, you’re less exposed to the possibility of raising your tolerance to nicotine, which should be a concern if you’re trying to detach yourself from cravings. 


The freebase nicotine builds up gradually with every puff, and as we’ve established is slower releasing than salts. While the response to the salt e-liquid is more similar to traditional cigarettes, (and this is one common aspect that helps many new starters ditch smoking) you may find that the freebase satisfies you for a longer, more sustained period. 


What device do I need to vape nic salt?

Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to pairing your e-cig salts with your choice of device – and likewise, no device can just accept any type of juice. But with nic-salts we recommend to only use low-wattage devices and pods. With e-liquid salt having PH levels much more similar to our own body’s, there’s a much higher level of nicotine in salts, so choosing a low wattage device tends to balance things out and avoids any throat or lung irritation from the harsh vapour.


Just starting out? We recommend something like the Aspire tigon pod system, This is a relatively new device and in our opinion it ticks all the boxes when it comes to getting you up and running.


This is a great quality, reliable device and the replacement coils/pods are readily available. This is a one button operation system.

Typically these type of devices push out around 10-20 watts which is a nice window when using salts or just starting out on your vaping journey.


Thinking of vaping salts with a sub-ohm device? Not a great idea unless you know what you’re doing. In short, salts with low nicotine concentration can still be used in sub-ohm devices safely. And in fact, there’s a lot of sub-ohm juice sellers that have fully converted to salt only stock as many users report overall a more satisfying hit and less irritation. As we mentioned earlier, there’s no one-size-fits-all, so unless you are prepared to do the research, your best option is to come into one of our stores for some sub-ohm schooling.


Come and visit one of our stores!

Vape Sales UK is dedicated to offering some of the nations most competitive prices, affordable e-cig devices, vape juices and all the relevant blows and whistles. Not just that, but we’re passionate about delivering a transparent service with professional advice and necessary safety guidance. 


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