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Salted Nicotine vs. Freebase Nicotine

Posted on 02 April 2019

NYX ECIGS | Salted Nicotine vs. Freebase Nicotine - Vape Shop Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Markham, Whitby, North York, Whitby, Oshawa, Scarborough, Online

Salt nicotine vs. Freebase nicotine

One of the most frequently asked questions we get from customers is, “what is the difference?”

From humble beginnings to the most veteran of vapers, it’s important to know what salt and freebased nicotine are to understand why you would use either in the first place. By knowing the differences you will be able to make better-informed decisions on what you will need to make your vaping journey a successful one, especially if you’re trying to quit cigarettes!!!


There’s a lot of information to learn and so where should we start? Let me simplify it for you: the biggest difference is nicotine dosage!


What is Freebased Nicotine?

The first thing to understand is what freebased nicotine juices are. In laymen’s terms, without getting in too deep with the “science-y” stuff, freebased nicotine is essentially the purest form of nicotine that you can vape! By being in a free state, it has a higher pH level, leading to higher alkalinity. This means that, by being in its purest form, it is very potent, offering a stronger throat hit without a higher dosage of nicotine (we’re talking quite low, around 3-6mg/mL of nicotine and you will feel it!). Also, because of its purity (free state), your body absorbs the nicotine easily, leading to quicker satisfaction. Among the biggest reasons freebase juices are so popular among vapers is how you can vape them at high temperatures, leading to gigantic plumes of vapor, resulting in high entertainment points!

If Freebased nicotine is the purest form, then what is Salt nicotine?
Here is where we need to get into a bit of detail because it’s a little more complicated. Salt is an “unrefined” and natural version of nicotine, carrying a significantly higher dosage when compared to freebase.

You might be thinking, “So it’s just a higher dosage then?”

Not quite.

You see, if you were to vape a freebased version of nicotine at the typical dosage of salt (usually 20mg/mL) then you would absolutely obliterate your throat! It’s nearly unpalatable to vape freebased as high because it’s so potent.
“So then how do you vape it?!”

The reason you’re able to vape salt at such a high dosage compared to vaping freebased at the same amount is an added component Benzoic Acid!

By having Benzoic Acid added to salt nicotine it has lower alkalinity due to the changes in its pH, allowing you to vape at substantially higher dosage without decimating your throat (as you would with freebase), and acts similarly to freebased in that your body can easily absorb the nicotine efficiently. It also vaporizes at a much lower temperature making it a smooth hit.

The differences between the two

Now that we know what they are, let’s recap the differences clearly so we can understand their uses. 

Freebased Nicotine:
  • The purest form of Nicotine
  • Higher pH levels which lead to higher alkalinity resulting in stronger potency
  • Stronger throat hit at small dosages
  • Easily absorbed into the body
Salt Nicotine:
  • Has an added component of Benzoic Acid
  • Lower alkalinity due to Benzoic Acid
  • Smoother and palatable hit due to lower pH levels and it vaporizing at a lower temperature
  • More easily absorbed into the body
Now that we know all these differences that constitute each of them, what makes these differences so important?

Why would I use either?

Your goals and what you want to get out of vaping and how much nicotine you need will dictate whether or not you will be using freebased or salt (which also inadvertently determines what device you will use). 

For example, a very rough average of nicotine found in cigarettes, around the 12mg mark, is 240mg of nicotine for a 20 pack. Now there are freebased juices that contain 12mg/mL at 60mL a bottle, but it isn’t financially feasible or possible for most people to buy a bottle a day let alone vape 60mL in one sitting (can you imagine your throat day in and day out vaping a whole bottle freebase 12mg knowing what you know now?). Likewise, 3mg/mL at 60mL a bottle isn’t quite enough to make a dent in your craving, assuming you’re not vaping the whole bottle in a single day.
“Ah! So this is where-"

Yes! This is where salt nicotine comes in! Freebase is a bit too low in nicotine to satisfy the cravings and if you get a high dosage, it will be far too difficult to vape comfortably. Being able to vape a higher range (typically 20-35-50mg/mL) of nicotine feasibly will help you kill the craving by a substantial amount.
Now, let’s say you’re a relatively light smoker, around half a pack or less a day. There’s not really much of a motivation to be vaping at 50mg/mL, is there? You’ll get by just fine with a freebase of varying dosages. However, the benefit of vaping freebase comes with the experience itself! As we eluded to earlier, freebase juices typically vaporize at high temperatures which offer significantly larger plumes of vapor.

One of joys of trying to quit cigarettes is how fun vaping can be. It’s not just trying to satisfy a nicotine craving, or an attempt to be healthier. Being able to enjoy the process, from “chucking huge plumes”, to trying out different juices, to sharing the experience with friends will make the journey SUBSTANTIALLY easier. Pair this with the proper knowledge of what you need will be all the difference.

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