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Freebase Nicotine Vs. Salt Nicotine

Posted by Ryan G. on December 24, 2019

Freebase Nicotine Vs. Salt Nicotine

One of the greatest things about vaping is that we have so many options. We can decide our ideal nicotine strength in order to satisfy our cravings, we can choose from a massive array of devices, and we can select the tastiest e-liquid flavor profiles on the market. Vapers can truly customize every aspect of their experience thanks to the way nicotine delivery technology has evolved over recent years.

Now, the biggest choice vapers have to make is whether they wish to vape nicotine salt e-liquids or freebase nicotine e-liquids. As most of us have realized by now, these two types of nicotine derivatives produce totally different effects and are used with completely different hardware components. So, a user must choose wisely which one is right for them.

Today, we’ll be comparing the two as they’ve never been compared before. We’ll be going into thorough detail regarding the many ways in which these two types of nicotine differ from each other. Then, we’ll try to determine the winner.

Freebase Nicotine

Before there was nicotine salt, there was freebase nicotine. This type of nicotine was invented by Phillip Morris decades ago, as a way to satisfy nicotine cravings more thanks to its high potency. Essentially, freebase nicotine is a chemically modified nicotine compound that’s taken from the tobacco leaf and given a higher nicotine concentration. It’s still used in many tobacco cigarettes.

Up until a couple of years ago, it was the only kind of nicotine found in e juice. Many vapers enjoy this kind of nicotine, but the problem is that it can feel really harsh when it’s vaped in high strengths, or at high wattage levels. This is because freebase nicotine is not a stable molecule, and the power behind a vaping device can cause it to break down and feel unpleasant when inhaled. Because of this, most vapers enjoy their freebase nic in low concentrations at high wattage levels.

How It’s Packaged and Sold

Freebase nic e-liquids come in large bottles because sub ohm systems burn through the liquid pretty quickly.

How It’s Used

Freebase nic e-liquids are used in all kinds of devices, including e-cigarette devices, vape pens, and sub-ohm vaping systems. Freebase nic vaping is associated with direct lung vaping, which is a style of vaping in which a lot of vapor is inhaled directly into the lungs at one time.

Popular Strengths

Freebase nicotine comes in a wide range of strengths, most often found in 0mg to 24mg.


  • Can be enjoyed in a wide variety of vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol ratios
  • Comes in a wide range of nicotine levels
  • Can produce massive clouds
  • Can be used with a wide range of vaping devices


  • Can feel harsh when vaped in high concentrations
  • Can feel harsh when vaped at high wattage levels
  • Requires larger, more complicated devices
  • Can feel weak to heavy nicotine users

Nicotine Salt

Nicotine salt, also known as nic salt, is a relatively new invention. It takes leaf tobacco and extracts the nicotine from its chemical composition before blending it with benzoic acid. This produces a more stable nicotine molecule. Because nicotine salt is more stable, it can be enjoyed in very high concentrations with very little harshness. Essentially, the chemical reaction that comes from combining these two ingredients allows users to enjoy a far more potent nicotine experience at lower wattage levels.

Because nicotine is an addictive substance, many former smokers prefer higher nicotine formulations in their vape juices. For this reason, salt nic e juices are becoming very popular. Salt nicotine juice contains more pure nicotine, which satisfied nicotine cravings more efficiently while providing a sensation that’s a lot closer to smoking a cigarette. It’s also believed that salt nicotine bonds with the pleasure centers in the brain more efficiently. Basically, if you’re used to smoking cigarettes, nicotine salt will likely be more satisfying and will serve as a healthier alternative.

How It’s Packaged and Sold

Salt nic vape juice is sold either in bottles or pre-filled in pod cartridges.

How It’s Used

Salt nic vape juices can’t be used with vape pens or large vaping systems, as freebase juices can. They must be used with pod mod systems, which are low wattage vaping systems designed specifically for this type of nicotine. They look a lot like e-cigarettes. You cannot use nicotine salt e juice with a sub-ohm system as sub-ohm systems will burn the liquid.

Popular Strengths

Nicotine salt e juice most often comes in 50mg concentrations, although some companies produce a wider range of strengths. Most find that 50mg is perfect for nicotine salt vape juice.


  • More like smoking tobacco cigarettes thanks to the buzz it provides
  • Provides a stronger throat hit
  • Provides a higher strength nicotine
  • Most often cheaper
  • Used with smaller, more user-friendly devices


  • Can’t experiment too much with propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin ratios
  • Does not vary much in terms of nicotine content
  • Limiting in terms of the devices with which it can be used
  • Less vapor output

Which One is the Winner?

Here’s the thing – we can’t really say that one type of nicotine is truly better than the other, in the objective sense. Both nic salt and freebase nic e-liquids provide the body with a potentially satisfying nicotine level, except that each one is delivered to the organic membranes in a unique way. So, we suggest trying out both before settling on the one that best suits your vaping preferences. We recommend going to your local vape shop and giving each one a shot. Just remember that each type of nicotine must be used with a specific type of vape device. 

If you’re wondering how to decide between the two, allow us to make it simple for you. Nicotine salt is best suited for those who are used to intaking a lot of nicotine each day. It’s great for former smokers, for example. Salt nicotine is a stronger nicotine solution, as this type of liquid nicotine is more potent.

Meanwhile, freebase nicotine liquid is great for those who want to blow big clouds and use high-power devices. While nic salt can’t be used with high-power devices, freebase nic vape juice can. The nicotine liquid used in freebase nic vape juice is not as potent, but it’s great for cloud chasers.

What we can tell you is that more and more vapers are turning to nic salt juice. This juice’s nicotine content is more suited for former smokers, which most vapers are. Salt ejuice seems to be more effective when it comes to smoking cessation because nic salt feels a lot more like cigarette tobacco. Nic salt juice nicotine also gives a stronger throat hit, which is what a lot of former smokers crave. So, if you want to give nicotine salt a try, check out our favorite nic salt vape juices. But, remember that nic salt isn’t necessarily for everyone, so don’t be disappointed if nic salt doesn’t work with your unique vaping needs.

The Choice is Yours!

Whether you want to go with nicotine salt or freebase nicotine is completely up to you, as vaping is all about catering your setup to your personal preferences. Whichever type of e juice you choose, make sure that you purchase from quality juice manufacturers, and find juice flavors that most appeal to your taste buds. Use the guide above to figure out which type of nicotine most appeals to your individual vape-related needs.

If you are interested in receiving new vape juices each month, consider a vape subscription. Opt for a monthly assortment of salt nic or freebase nic e-juices at a fraction of retail price.

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Ryan G.
Ryan G.
Ryan is a writer at Vapebox. He fully converted to vaping in 2014 and has been educating new vapers ever since.
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