Nicotine Salts vs Freebase

Nicotine Salt vs Freebas; Which One Is Right For You?

At Record Vapes we sell e-juice made from Freebase Nicotine and Salt Nicotine.  What are the differences?  Which one is best for you?  Let’s explore …

The Science

Freebase Nicotine that we use today has been around since the 1960’s when Phillip Morris discovered that by manipulating the pH levels in nicotine. When heated it would produce more “kick” than previous freebase nicotine. They used ammonia to remove the positive charge of the base making absorption easier for the human body

Salt Nics use Benzoic acid. Benzoic acid serves two key purposes in salt nicotine. It helps nicotine salt vaporize at lower temperatures as well as lowering the pH levels in the salt nicotine which results in a smoother throat hit. A chemical reaction occurs that makes the nicotine more absorbable (still up for debate).

Pro’s & Cons

Freebase Nicotine – One noticeable difference is the harshness induced by higher nicotine levels. Freebase nicotine has a higher pH level which affects the alkalinity. What this does is it makes freebase e-liquid taste harsher as you climb the nicotine ladder.  The higher the amount, the less flavorings in the e-juice you will taste.  This can be a pro and a con.  Often, a throat hit is desirable when replacing combustible cigarettes.  At Record Vapes, almost 70% of what we sell in freebase e-juices is 3 mg/ml.

Freebase Nicotine based e-juices have been in use much longer so there is much more diverse gear for consuming them. The most popular is in a sub-ohm tank, such as a Smok Baby Beast which is powered by a multitude of mods. 

Advanced users can use a multitude of devices to chase flavors, chase clouds or a combination of both.  RBA’s ( re-buildable atomizers) such as RDA’s (re-buildable dripping atomizers) and RTA’s ( re-buildable tank atomizers) allow the user to customize their vape experience by installing their own coil and cotton to their preferences.

Freebase Nicotine e-juices can be used in both DL and MTL.  DL stands for direct lung, where the consumer vapes the e-juice directly into their lungs.  MTL means mouth to lung where, like a combustible cigarette, you vape into your mouth then inhale into your lungs.  There are plenty of MTL RBAs on the market.

Salt Nics in general, are more likely to produce a vaping experience closer to combustible cigarettes.  On the pro side, they do tend to be less expensive to get started and to use depending on the style you choose. 

A closed pod system means the e-juice comes pre-filled in the pod.  When you have vaped that e-juice, you replace the pod.  Myself, I find it curious why anyone price conscious would opt for this.  I have found I require 8ml of 12mg nic salt e-juice and locally, that means $60 a day in pods … ouch.

An open pod system, means you just add e-juice when you run out.  The coil will need replacing roughly every 2-4 weeks at a cost around $5.  A 60ml of 12mg/ml salt nic currently retails for $22 at Record Vapes so a daily average becomes significantly cheaper.  This is just a sample; individual results may vary.

Salt Nic devices in general provide a MTL experience only.  Some do offer a DL but you are really just adding air to the existing vapor and reducing the flavor since the power (watts) and coil (resistance) remain constant.   Overall, Pod systems produce significantly less vapor and flavor than a freebase device.

What salt nics do offer is an MTL experience at a higher level of nicotine without the harshness of freebase nicotine.  This means more nicotine in a shorter period of time.  Apart from the typically smaller size and less fuss these POD systems that use nic salts can satisfy your craving for nicotine in a much quicker fashion because you can vape 50mg salt nics without the harshness of freebase nicotine.




One thing to keep in mind is that salt nics operate in lower wattage devices (Pods). It is strongly recommended to avoid using high powered devices to vape salt nicotine. Using sub-ohms to vape salt nicotine at 50 mg nic levels will give you excessive amounts of nicotine and would be unpleasant and very dangerous.

I would be remiss not to share my thoughts on underage vaping.  The FDA calls it an epidemic.  There is an attraction to salt nics typically from underaged vapors because of the smaller pod size and lower vaper production.  They are much easier to use.  As a manufacturer and distributor of e-juice, I hear comments about the “buzz from nicotine.  I hear stories of school kids in bathrooms using salt nics to get a buzz.  This is a dangerous behaviour to both the user and the vapor community. 


Vaping saved my life! It is proven to be up to 98% less unhealthy than combustible cigarettes and should be used as an alternative to smoking.

Side note: You can also consider getting lower nicotine levels like 3 mg and 6 mg in nicotine salt form for your sub-ohm device. Use the custom order form HERE.   What you may notice is a smoother throat hit than what freebase nicotine e-juice offers.