What follows is a ‘totally subjective and open to contradiction’ view of three considerations when buying your next bottle of e-Liquid:
Cheap vs. Expensive
“It’s only juice” some people will say.
If you think that paying more than a couple of quid for a bottle of liquid is a fools errand then skip to the next section, there’s nothing anyone can say to convince you otherwise.
The thing is, if you were offered a car free and had to pick between a Ford Ka or a Ferrari (ignoring on-going insurance, fuel and other considerations) people are going to look at you funny pootling around in your tiny tin can. Clearly no offense is intended towards Ka owners; maybe this was a bad example.
Meals. Yes, this will work. Everyone loves fish and chips, well, everyone except ichthyophobes and people on a diet. But given the choice between lobbing ketchup all over a slice of cod or a dead lobster? Fair enough, this sea-fare analogy holds no water either.
Making juice can be an incredibly straightforward process. Many companies exist to sell you mixing kits and flavouring concentrates. So easy is the process that a whole host of people have sprung up around the country and want you to buy what they’ve made.
Even though I can place 20% of concentrate into a PG/VG/Nic mix it is a pretty predictable and sorry affair – which is why I’ve stopped.
Juice specialists have spent months making batch after batch, investing time and money into development, with the intention of perfecting a blend of flavours.
Clearly, some people just want a standard strawberry but from Plumeblu to The Vaping King, from Kraken through Vaper Caper to there is such depth and breadth to be explored at a reasonable price it seems rude not to.
In fact, if you consider the price of a premium liquid when compared to the cost of smoking the cost all but vanishes.
As someone who likes to splash out on a new premium juice treat to try once a month I’m calling this in favour of the Masters of Mixing, the Giants of Juice.
UK vs. Foreign
The largest producer of e-Liquid in the world is China, just scroll through the page and you can see the huge volume of companies offering to sell you their juice or even re-brand it so that you can sell it as your own.
All of these manufacturers appear to offer various certifications from ISO9000 standards to Cycling Proficiency (probably). The mighty Apple ensured all of their subcontractors in China had the correct procedures and paperwork but have been unable to stem a tide of problems over the years. Samsung has had problems too and recently began working with a company found to be using child labour.
Some people swear by their Chinese juice, for them it works, while others remain concerned there is no guarantee of safety when historically there have been big problems with Chinese companies cutting corners.
On the other hand, juice from the Philippines and America is highly though of, the former flavoursome clouds and the latter for high quality blends.
The one thing vendors in the UK are very aware of is the and how the British government plans on implementing the directives. To this end British juice manufacturers are working very hard to demonstrate openness and responsibility.
ECITA is the trade body representing juice manufacturers and vendors. A quick glance at the website illustrates how they are trying to remain ahead of the curve with regards safety and best practice.
A final point worth noting is that a number of juice makers will use flavours from reputable sources in the States, from companies who share the concern for the health of vapers. Combining this with them using documented pharma-grade nicotine, VG and PG then it’s a close run contest.
Too close, but seeing as I could try a different juice every week and still not sample all of the UK E Liquid brands it’s going to be: ‘Buy British’.
Small business vs. Big brands
Big companies, especially the Western ones, have their finger on the pulse of quality assured production and, Vapour Labs for instance, lay claim to having “Senior Pharmaceutical chemists” in their UK production facilities.
The big company operations are geared towards providing juice to the mass market, they aim to profit from selling in volume to multiple outlets.
Compare the bottles and boxes to the thought that has gone into the branding of Snake Oil. While taste is entirely subjective, what tastes great to you may resemble a mouth full of kale to someone else, there is no getting away from the fact that packaging makes us feel good about a purchase.
Just take a look at the 100ml bottles being sold by Mrs Lord at Vapefest this month, how wonderful would they look among your collection?
For those who adore more complexity in their vaping experience, the smaller business is geared towards flavour fun. Whereas large companies will spill out standard ranges all using similar bases, the likes of House of Liquid and Black Note are honing truly unique vaping experiences with their in-house steeped tobacco leaves and organic extracts.
In addition, these are vaping enthusiasts like the rest of us. These are people who have discovered that they can apply their talents to the vaping world and our enjoyment is all the better for it.
Like shopping from your local farmers market, these artisan liquids hold an extra special dimension because you can interact with the people who make them. Have an idea for a different flavour? Like your juice tinkered to your personal specification?
Why not contact your favourite juicemeister – if experience is anything to go by they’ll happily try to help…and that’s what can sometimes make the difference over the large-scale companies.
It is a personal choice, there are many brands such as Jacvapour and their UK made e-liquid (which I personally found to be excellent on the whole).
Then, of course, we have crafted, unique e-liquids and the people who make them that ultimately steal the day, the likes of Mrs Lord, Manabush, Colonel Boom, Generals Juices and Van Dykes Vapes are fantastic. But it does create a big problem – too many flavours, too little time.
Take a look at our guide to find out what some of the best UK e Juice brands are to buy