Salt Nicotine: A Complete Beginner’s Guide [2024]

What is Salt NicotinePin

Here’s literally everything you need to know about Salt Nicotine, including what it is, how it is made, and how it is different from regular juice…

Quick Key Takeaways: Understanding Salt Nicotine 🌬️

  • What Is It?: Salt nicotine is a smoother, natural form of nicotine in tobacco.
  • Smoothness: Easier to inhale, less throat hit.
  • Quick Absorption: Faster nicotine hit than freebase nicotine.
  • Strengths: Ranges from low (3-5mg/ml) to high (up to 50mg/ml).
  • Chemical Make-Up: Nicotine + acids like benzoic acid.
  • Nicotine vs Salt Nicotine: Salt nicotine offers a faster, smoother hit.

Here’s the best nicotine salt brands on the market right now.

Salt nicotine, also known as nicotine salt, is a type of nicotine used in e-liquids for vaping devices. It’s a newer form of nicotine that’s gaining popularity among vapers due to its unique properties.

Understanding Salt Nicotine

Salt Nicotine: A Complete Beginner's Guide [2024]Pin

Nicotine salt is a specific form of nicotine that is naturally found in tobacco leaves. It’s different from the traditional ‘freebase’ nicotine found in most e-liquids and cigarettes. Here’s why:

  • Smoothness: Nicotine salts are smoother to inhale than freebase nicotine. This means you can vape higher nicotine levels without experiencing an unpleasantly harsh throat hit.
  • Absorption: Nicotine salts are absorbed into your body more quickly than freebase nicotine. This gives you a faster nicotine hit, similar to smoking a traditional cigarette.

Nicotine Salt Strength

Nicotine salt e-liquids come in various strengths to cater to the different needs and preferences of vapers. The strength of nicotine in an e-liquid is usually measured in milligrams (mg) per milliliter (ml).

Here are the most common nicotine salt strengths:

  • Low Strength: This typically ranges from 3mg to 5mg per ml. It’s ideal for vapers who want a minimal nicotine hit or are trying to gradually reduce their nicotine intake.
  • Medium Strength: This usually falls between 10mg to 20mg per ml. It’s a popular choice for moderate smokers transitioning to vaping.
  • High Strength: This includes nicotine salt concentrations of 30mg, 35mg, 40mg, and even up to 50mg per ml. These high strengths are suitable for heavy smokers who are new to vaping and need a higher nicotine level to curb their cravings.

Salt Nicotine vs Regular Nicotine

The main difference between salt nicotine and regular nicotine (freebase nicotine) lies in their chemical composition and how they affect your vaping experience:

  • Chemical Composition: Freebase nicotine is pure nicotine, while nicotine salts combine nicotine with a type of acid (like benzoic acid). This changes the pH level of the nicotine and makes it less harsh to vape.
  • Vaping Experience: Freebase nicotine provides a slower, more gradual nicotine hit. Nicotine salts, on the other hand, give you a quicker, more intense nicotine hit.

Types of Nicotine: Understanding the Different Forms

Salt Nicotine: A Complete Beginner's Guide [2024]Pin

When it comes to the world of vaping, the term “nicotine” often gets thrown around quite a bit. However, what many people don’t realize is that not all nicotine is created equal. In fact, there are several different types of nicotine, each with its own set of characteristics, benefits, and drawbacks. In this section, we’ll delve deep into the various types of nicotine, focusing primarily on freebase nicotine, nicotine salts, and other emerging forms.

Freebase Nicotine: The Traditional Choice

What is Freebase Nicotine?

Freebase nicotine is the most common form of nicotine found in traditional cigarettes and e-liquids. It’s a pure form of nicotine that has been chemically modified to become more potent and readily absorbed by the body.


  • Potency: High
  • Absorption Rate: Slow
  • Throat Hit: Harsh at higher concentrations

Pros and Cons

  • Pros: Widely available, compatible with most vaping devices, offers a variety of strengths.
  • Cons: Can be harsh on the throat, slower absorption rate compared to other forms.

Nicotine Salts: The New Kid on the Block

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What are Nicotine Salts?

Nicotine salts are a relatively new form of nicotine that have gained popularity for their smoother throat hit and faster absorption rate. They are created by adding certain acids to freebase nicotine, resulting in a more stable compound.


  • Potency: Varies
  • Absorption Rate: Fast
  • Throat Hit: Smooth

Pros and Cons

  • Pros: Smooth throat hit, fast absorption, ideal for pod systems and low-wattage devices.
  • Cons: Limited compatibility with devices, may not be suitable for heavy smokers.

Other Emerging Forms of Nicotine

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Synthetic Nicotine

Synthetic nicotine is a lab-created form of nicotine that is not derived from tobacco plants. It offers a similar experience to freebase nicotine but without the impurities found in natural extracts.

Nicotine Hydrate

Nicotine hydrate is a water-soluble form of nicotine that is still in the experimental stage. It promises a smoother experience and quicker absorption but is not yet widely available.

Tobacco-Free Nicotine (TFN)

TFN is derived from non-tobacco sources like eggplants and tomatoes. It’s a cleaner form of nicotine but is relatively expensive to produce.

What is Salt Nicotine Made Of?

Nicotine salts are a fascinating innovation in the vaping industry, offering a different experience compared to traditional freebase nicotine. But how exactly are they made?

The process involves taking freebase nicotine and adding specific types of acids to it. This chemical reaction is known as acidification.

Types of Acids Used

  • Benzoic Acid: The most commonly used acid in the production of nicotine salts. It helps to lower the pH level of the nicotine solution, making it easier to inhale.
  • Citric Acid: Less commonly used but still effective, citric acid also lowers the pH level and can add a slight citrusy flavor.
  • Lactic Acid: Rarely used but still an option, lactic acid can offer a smoother vaping experience but may alter the flavor profile.

The Acidification Process

  1. Combining Ingredients: Freebase nicotine is mixed with a specific type of acid in a controlled environment.
  2. pH Level Adjustment: The acid helps to lower the pH level of the freebase nicotine.
  3. Stabilization: The resulting compound is more stable, making it less reactive when heated in a vaping device.
  4. Quality Control: The mixture undergoes rigorous testing to ensure it meets quality and safety standards.

Benefits of Nicotine Salts

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The arrival of salt nicotine, largely popularized by JUUL inside its JUULpods, effectively created an entire industry within an existing market. I’m talking, of course, about pod vapes and, shortly thereafter, modern disposable vapes which are now immensely popular with new and existing users. 

None of these things would have happened without salt nicotine, so its invention and arrival on the scene, historically speaking, was a pivotal moment in the history of vaping. Billions of dollars in revenue have been generated off of the back of salt nicotine and the products it runs inside. 

But to the average user, what exactly are the benefits of using salt nicotine over, say, more traditional forms of nicotine found inside freebase vape juices and e-liquids? Here’s a selection of just a few of the benefits salt nicotine has over freebase nicotine:

  • Faster Absorption: Due to their chemical structure, nicotine salts are absorbed into the bloodstream more quickly than freebase nicotine.
  • Smoother Throat Hit: The lowered pH level results in a smoother sensation when inhaled, making it easier for users, especially beginners, to consume higher nicotine levels.
  • Longer Shelf Life: The stable compound is less susceptible to degradation, giving it a longer shelf life compared to freebase nicotine.
  • Flavor Preservation: Nicotine salts tend to interfere less with e-liquid flavors, allowing for a purer taste experience.


  • Device Compatibility: Nicotine salts are best used with low-wattage devices and pod systems.
  • Not for Cloud Chasing: Due to the high nicotine content, nicotine salts are not ideal for those who enjoy producing large vapor clouds.
  • Cost: Nicotine salts can be more expensive than freebase nicotine due to the additional processing required.

Who Should Use Nicotine Salts?

  • Beginners: Those new to vaping may find nicotine salts to be a more comfortable entry point due to the smoother throat hit.
  • Heavy Smokers: Individuals looking to quit smoking may benefit from the faster nicotine absorption rates.
  • Flavor Enthusiasts: If you’re all about the flavor, nicotine salts might offer a more authentic and unaltered taste experience.

Device Compatibility: Choosing the Right Vaping Device for Salt Nicotine

When it comes to vaping, not all devices are created equal—especially when you’re dealing with different types of nicotine. Salt nicotine, with its unique properties and requirements, calls for specific types of vaping devices to ensure an optimal experience. Let’s now explore the various devices that are best suited for vaping salt nicotine.

Understanding Salt Nicotine’s Unique Requirements

Before diving into device compatibility, it’s crucial to understand what sets salt nicotine apart from its freebase counterpart:

  • Fast Absorption: Salt nicotine is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, providing a rapid nicotine hit.
  • Smooth Throat Hit: The acidification process used in creating salt nicotine results in a smoother throat hit, even at higher nicotine concentrations.
  • Flavor Preservation: Salt nicotine tends to offer a more authentic flavor profile, less affected by the harshness that high levels of freebase nicotine can bring.

Types of Vaping Devices Compatible with Salt Nicotine

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Pod Systems: The Go-To Choice

  • Ease of Use: Pod systems are incredibly user-friendly, making them ideal for beginners.
  • Low Wattage: These devices operate at lower wattages, which is perfect for the fast-absorbing nature of salt nicotine.
  • Portability: Their compact size makes them easy to carry around.

Popular Brands: shop the best pod vapes right now

MTL (Mouth-to-Lung) Tanks

  • Controlled Vapor Production: MTL tanks produce less vapor, aligning well with the quick hit that salt nicotine provides.
  • Adjustable Airflow: Many MTL tanks come with adjustable airflow settings, allowing you to customize your vaping experience.
  • Versatility: Suitable for both freebase and salt nicotine, depending on the coil resistance.

Popular Brands: shop the best MTL vape tanks

AIO (All-In-One) Devices

  • Simplicity: AIO devices combine the tank and battery into a single unit, simplifying the vaping process.
  • Variable Wattage: Some AIO devices allow you to adjust the wattage, offering a more tailored vaping experience.
  • Multi-Purpose: These devices can often be used with both salt nicotine and freebase nicotine.

Popular Brands: shop the best AIO vapes

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Device for Salt Nicotine

Open Pod Vapes vs Closed Pod VapesPin

There are plenty of excellent nic salt mods available on the market right now, and most of them are brilliant. With pods, there’s a bunch of stuff you need to keep in mind – things like battery life, size, and coil and/or pod longevity. Ideally, you want one that ticks all of your boxes. 

We test LOADS of pod vapes, MTL tanks, and AIO vapes throughout any given 12 month period, so we know what’s hot and what isn’t. I’ve added links to the  best of the best for each product category below, so check them out if you’re looking for a quality, reliable vape device. 

  • Coil Resistance: Opt for devices that support higher resistance coils, as salt nicotine doesn’t require high temperatures for vaporization.
  • Battery Life: Given that salt nicotine is best vaped at lower wattages, a device with good battery life is essential.
  • E-Liquid Capacity: Salt nicotine is often consumed in smaller quantities, so a massive tank isn’t necessary.

Cost Comparison: Salt Nicotine vs Regular Nicotine — Which is More Economical?

When it comes to vaping, one of the most critical factors that often gets overlooked is the cost. While the initial investment in a vaping device can be substantial, the ongoing expenses of e-liquids can add up over time.

In this section, we’ll break down the cost comparison between salt nicotine and regular (freebase) nicotine so you know what you’re getting yourself into.

Initial Investment: Devices and Accessories

When embarking on your vaping journey, the first step usually involves investing in the right device and accessories. This initial investment can vary significantly depending on whether you choose to vape salt nicotine or freebase nicotine.

While both options offer a unique vaping experience, they come with different price tags and features.

In this section, we’ll delve into the cost implications of the initial investment for both salt nicotine and regular nicotine devices, helping you make an informed choice that aligns with your budget and vaping preferences.

  • Salt Nicotine Devices: Generally, devices compatible with salt nicotine, such as pod systems and MTL tanks, are less expensive. Prices can range from $20 to $50.
  • Regular Nicotine Devices: Sub-ohm tanks and box mods suitable for freebase nicotine are generally more expensive, with prices ranging from $40 to $100.

E-Liquid Costs: The Real Expense

  • Salt Nicotine E-Liquids: These are often more expensive per milliliter compared to freebase nicotine e-liquids. Prices can range from $15 to $25 for a 30ml bottle.
  • Freebase Nicotine E-Liquids: Generally cheaper, with prices ranging from $10 to $20 for a 30ml bottle.

Consumption Rates: How Fast Do You Go Through E-Liquid?

One of the most overlooked yet crucial aspects of the vaping experience is the rate at which you consume e-liquid. This rate not only impacts your daily vaping sessions but also has a significant effect on your overall vaping budget.

Whether you opt for salt nicotine or freebase nicotine, understanding how quickly you go through e-liquid can provide valuable insights into your long-term costs.

Let’s break down the consumption rates for both types of nicotine to give you a clearer picture.

  • Salt Nicotine: Due to its higher concentration and faster absorption, you’ll likely use less e-liquid, potentially offsetting the higher cost per milliliter.
  • Freebase Nicotine: Lower concentrations mean you might go through e-liquid more quickly, especially if you’re a cloud chaser.

Long-Term Costs: Monthly and Yearly Expenditure

  • Salt Nicotine: Assuming you go through a 30ml bottle every two weeks, your monthly cost would be around $30 to $50.
  • Freebase Nicotine: If you go through a 30ml bottle every week, your monthly cost would be around $40 to $80.

Additional Factors Affecting Cost

  • Coil Replacements: Salt nicotine is generally easier on coils, which means fewer replacements and lower ongoing costs.
  • Battery Life: Devices for salt nicotine often have longer battery life, reducing the frequency of replacements or upgrades.

Final Thoughts: Weighing the Costs

When it comes to cost, both salt nicotine and freebase nicotine have their pros and cons. Salt nicotine may have a higher upfront cost for e-liquids, but its slower consumption rate and lower device costs could make it more economical in the long run.

On the other hand, freebase nicotine offers cheaper e-liquids but may result in higher long-term expenses due to faster consumption and more frequent coil replacements.

Nicotine vs Salt Nicotine: The Difference

To sum up, the main differences between nicotine and salt nicotine are:

  • Nicotine: This is the pure form of nicotine, also known as freebase nicotine. It’s more alkaline and can be harsh to inhale at higher concentrations.
  • Salt Nicotine: This is nicotine combined with certain acids to create a more stable, less harsh compound. It’s absorbed more quickly by the body and provides a faster, more intense nicotine hit.

In conclusion, whether you choose to vape freebase nicotine or nicotine salts will depend on your personal preferences and vaping habits. If you’re looking for a smoother throat hit and a faster nicotine hit, nicotine salts may be the right choice for you.

And here’s a guide to the best nicotine salt e-liquids you can buy right now.

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