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Nic Salt vs Freebase Nicotine: Which is Better?

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When transitioning from smoking to vaping, it can be very confusing to determine which device and E-Liquid to use. The sheer volume can be intimidating, which is why we’ve created this guide to help you understand the difference between freebase and nicsalts.

When deciding between the two, people often ask:

  • Are nic salts better than freebase?
  • Is vaping nic salts bad for you?
  • How much nicotine is in freebase E-Liquids?
  • How do you convert nic salts to freebase?

These are only some of the questions we will be investigating in this article. If you would like more vaping advice, you can contact a member of our team who will be happy to help.

Here at RED Box Vape, we are experts in all things vaping-related; you can find vaping devices and vape juice, such as nic salts in the UK, here on our online store.


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What are Nic Salts?

Nic salts, also known as nicotine salts, is the same form of nicotine found in tobacco. Nic salts are made up of the natural state of nicotine once it has been blended with a liquid, creating an E-Liquid.

Compared to distilled nicotine in typical E-Liquids, the nicotine within the nic salts is easily absorbed into the bloodstream. They are the most efficient way to deliver nicotine to your body.

Nic Salts are easier to inhale due to their biocompatibility. Users have often said that the throat hits are much smoother, and they can use more powerful liquids, which means they can vape stronger nicotine more comfortably.

Is Vaping Nic Salts Bad For You?

Understandably, some people are cautious toward new products in the vaping market, especially when there are so many new innovative releases on a regular basis.

Aside from the addictive properties, nicotine salts are as safe as freebase nicotine. If you’re inclined to use lower doses of nicotine, there should be no concern about choosing nic salts over freebase.

While nic salts are safe, it’s best to be aware of their addictive properties. Vape juices containing nic salts can be more addictive due to the higher nicotine concentrations. When trying nic salts, it’s best to start with the lower strengths.

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What are Freebase E-Liquids?

Conventional nicotine is known as freebase nicotine; it is the original nicotine found in E-Liquid. It provides a more substantial throat hit; for some users, this can be a bit too strong with higher nicotine strengths.

Nicotine Freebase will feel harsher on the throat, especially at higher strengths; it generally suits vapers who enjoy the feeling or like to puff little and often.

Freebasing involves converting nicotine from its naturally occurring ‘salt’ state into a much ‘purer’ form. This conversion increases the potency without affecting the dose, which is why it is popular among vapers as it is a more cost-effective solution.

How Much Nicotine is In Freebase?

Nicotine strengths in the UK range from 0mg to 20mg; anything higher is now classed as illegal.

Freebase nicotine strengths include:

  • 0mg
  • 3mg
  • 6mg
  • 12mg
  • 18mg

How do you Convert Nic Salts to Freebase E-Liquid

For all intents and purposes, nic salts and freebase are interchangeable, 1:1. If you’re using 3mg nic salts, you will use a 3mg freebase; the nicotine strength is the same. However, there are some other factors to consider: 

  • The power of your vape – The less power, the less vapour.
  • Throat hit – Freebase are notorious for packing a harsher throat hit when compared to nic salts.
  • Rate of absorption - Because nic salts are absorbed much more quickly than freebase E-Liquids it can feel more intense, e.g a 20mg of nic salt will feel stronger than a 20mg freebase.

 When converting from nic salts to freebase, you’ll need to bear the throat hit in mind. It’s often best to start low with nicotine strength and work your way up.

A man by a road vaping

Are Nic Salts Better than Freebase?

During a study, both non and ex-smokers found nic salt products to be more appealing than freebase. A study conducted by PAX Labs has also suggested that nic salts are much more efficient in delivering nicotine.

The Benefits of Nic Salts

  • Faster, more efficient nicotine hit – Nic salts can deliver a nicotine fix in 6-7 second, a similar speed to cigarettes.
  • Technically cheaper – Although nic salts are initially pricier, they are much more efficient at delivering nicotine, which can translate to less vaping.
  • Better shelf life – Nic salts are more chemically stable than conventional E-Liquids, they store better, last longer, and the quality of nicotine doesn’t fade.
  • Smoother throat hit – The addition of food-grade benzoic acid allows the nicotine to be absorbed much more efficiently for a smoother hit and instant nicotine rush. 

The Benefits of Freebase

  • Handles complex flavour profiles well.
  • Throat hit – Some ex-smokers prefer the added effect of the throat hit.
  • Formulas are more versatile – Freebase E-Liquids can be used for mouth-to-lung and direct-to-lung vaping.
  • Direct-to-lung and sub-ohm vaping produce thick fluffy clouds.
  • Cheap price tag.

Overview: Freebase Vs Nic Salts

Freebase vs Nic Salts infographic

Ultimately, the E-Liquid that is better comes down to personal preference.

If you consider yourself more of a cloud chaser, then having a particularly strong need for nicotine, then the best option would be freebase E-Liquid. If you prefer a wider variety of flavours, then again, your best bet would be freebase.

However, if you have a higher need for stronger doses of nicotine without the expense of a harsh throat hit, then you’d be better suited to nic salts.

For more information about E-Liquids, you can browse through our blog or ask a member of our team. We supply a broad range of vape devices and E-Liquids, so whether you need expert advice or general vape products, you can find it here at RED Box Vape. 

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