A Basic guide to adding Nicotine to your e-liquids

A Basic guide to adding Nicotine to your e-liquids

Let’s face it, as vapers there is one thing that most of us have in common.
We are quitting the cigarettes.

To do so, Nicotine really is a necessity, it helps us kick the cravings, and helps to prevent us from murdering our friends and families in their sleep. (thats of course a joke, by the way)

There are a few different situations where you might find yourself wanting to add some nicotine to your eliquids yourself.

For most, you’re possibly vaping at a nicotine level that is not readily available and need to top up from a lower amount.
For others you’re probably looking at adding nicotine to a zero nicotine mix, or you mix your own flavours (DIY) and need to add nicotine to your creations.

Whichever the reason, I’ll show you how you can do so safely and easily, but let’s do a little background and ‘bro-science’ first.

What is liquid Nicotine, and how is it measured?

Nicotine for us vapers, is normally sold in a liquid solution. Typically you’ll purchase a nicotine and PG (Propylene Glycol) mix, but you can also purchase it in other variations, even mixed with VG (Vegetable Glycerin).
Now, this is a pretty important thing to know, as before you place an order, you should consider exactly which circumstance you will need to use it.

Another thing to consider, is that Nicotine is measured by how many milligrams of nicotine are in a millilitre of liquid. Otherwise referred to abbreviated like so (mg/ml).
Just to make things even more confusing, the strength can also be expressed as a percentage of nicotine by mass, like so (1.2% nicotine). This second measurement is not often used, but it is typically calculated down by shifting a decimal point or increasing by a tenth.

1.2% nicotine in 1000mg of liquid = 12mg/ml.
5% nicotine in 1000mg of liquid = 50mg/ml.
10% nicotine in 1000mg of liquid = 100mg/ml.

Ok you’re probably really confused now, but let me reassure you a little.

Most nicotine liquid vendors will have the levels clearly marked on their websites for sale using the mg/ml indicator.

This means that no matter which sized bottle you purchase, it will contain how ever many milligrams of nicotine per millilitre of liquid. Percentage based nicotine listings are not difficult to work out, but just be wary and make sure you do your sums correctly.

Nicotine liquid bases and which one should I buy?

Nicotine liquid can come in a variety of bases. When I say bases, I mean the base liquid that the nicotine is in.
We all know that our eliquids will mostly contain Propylene Glycol and Vegetable Glycerin right?
Well, you can get different percentages of these mixtures when purchasing your Nicotine. You might consider a different mix depending on what you are using it for.

  • Nicotine (PG Base) (Most common)
    This is the most common mix that vapers will purchase. Usually in higher nicotine volumes such as 100mg/ml. Purchasing it in this base, allows you to not only use smaller amounts therefore minimising tainting the flavour of your eliiquid, but it also stores better. PG will not freeze, and you want to keep your nicotine as cool as possible to avoid it going off by being exposed to heat and oxygen.
  • Best for the DIYer
  • Best for long life
  • Most flexible but more complicated option when mixing
  • Best value for money
  • Nicotine (VG Base)
    You won’t find many ordering this type of base. In fact the only thing I can imagine this being useful for, is if you want to keep your final mix at a maximum VG (Vegetable Glycerine) level for cloud chasing. The more VG and less PG, the denser the exhaled vapour.
  • No good for DIY
  • Shelf life may be less than the PG Base option.
  • May be useful for mixing with a Doubler.
  • Typically used when a high VG content is required.
  • Value for money is equal to PG Base
  • Nicotine (PG/VG Base) (Great for Aussie doublers)
    On a global scale, this base is also not so common. However, you’ll find that in countries such as Australia, it is quite a popular option due to nicotine laws and not being able to purchase premixed liquids.
  • Not so flexible for DIY
  • Perfect for mixing with doublers
  • Really simple to add to existing mixes.

Safety first when handling nicotine

Please remember that nicotine can be dangerous to handle when in higher concentrations, as it can absorb into the skin. So the following safety measures are advised.

  • Use nitrile gloves
  • Wear glasses
  • Avoid breathing fumes
  • Keep away from pets and children

So now that I’ve explained things a little lets get into some example mixtures.

Adding Nicotine to a zero nicotine ready to vape liquid

Often you’ll find that bottles supplied by eliquid vendors will have the tiniest amount of air at the top of the bottle. It’s the difference between the bottle’s possible volume to the amount of liquid carefully measured out by the vendor. As an example, a 30ml bottle may in fact be able to contain 32ml of liquid, whereas the vendor will put the exact amount of 30ml into it. Yep there’s a few millilitres spare.

The amount of spare space you have to play with will vary on bottle size and of course between vendors as they don’t all use the same bottles, you may even need to empty a little out to make room for your nicotine.

Ok, ok, we get it, we top up the bottle with our nicotine juice. So how much do we put in?

If you are topping up, then you would generally be using a PG base with a high level of nicotine such as 100mg/ml.

We can work out how much to put in from my little diagram below.

Adding Nicotine in order to top up a Doubler

“Doublers” are something that are very common in Australia. Due to the restriction of sale laws for nicotine, eliquids can not be sold within Australia with nicotine in them.

And so the “Doubler” was invented. What it is, is double the concentrated flavourings in half of the liquid volume.

So, you’re usual 30ml bottle would be filled to the neck right?
A “doubler” will have your 30ml bottle filled only half way, allowing you to fill the remainder with the nicotine mix of your choosing.

Let’s say you normally vape at 3mg/ml. In order to top up your doubler (15mls in a 30ml bottle), you will need to add 15mls of 6mg/ml flavourless nicotine eliquid.

The final bottle will contain 30ml of 3mg/ml flavoured eliquid.

So there we have it, your basic guide to adding nicotine to your eliquids. Hopefully you’ve found this useful.


If you’re looking to do some more advanced mixing, or just want to make life a little easier when mixing, a calculator can be invaluable. Heres a few really great calculators you can use.

Where to buy?

If you’re still shopping around for some unflavoured nicotine to add to your mixes, please take a look at the list below. I’ve found most of them to be very good quality, and at a reasonable price.

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Shane Presser
Shane Presser has been vaping since 2013, and has extensive experience with advanced equipment, coil builds and DIY mixing. He is the man behind VapersGarage, and also more recently the Vape Database (www.thevapedb.com), a resource to help vapers find hardware and equipment based on their individual needs.