Our ultimate guide to shortfills explains everything you need to know about vaping shortfill E-Liquids, from how to add nicotine shots to which vape kits they work best with. Get started on your sub-ohm journey with our extensive shortfill E-Liquid guide!
If you’ve ever been to a vape shop and wondered why some juices come in 10ml E-Liquid bottles while others come in bottles five to ten times that size, you’re in luck.
Our guide to shortfill vape juice delves into these versatile E-Liquids, including how to use them, who they’re for, and how to mix in your own nicotine.
What are Shortfills?
Shortfills are large bottles of E-Liquid which come “short filled” with nicotine-free E-Liquid. Available in a variety of sizes ranging from 50ml up to 200ml, shortfill E-Liquids are the go-to vape juice for sub-ohm and DTL vapers using high-powered devices like advanced vape kits, mods, and sub-ohm tanks.
These E-Liquids are not compatible with most starter kits, simple pod devices, or low-powered vape pens due to the thickness of the E-Liquid unless you get a 50/50 shortfill.
“Short fill” E-Liquids come in larger shortfill bottles with extra space inside for you to add a 10ml nicotine shot or two, depending on the bottle size. The most common size is a 50ml shortfill, which comes in a 60ml bottle—leaving just enough space inside the bottle for a 10ml nicotine shot to be added. A 100ml shortfill comes in a 120ml bottle, leaving space for two nic shots.
If you’re curious to learn more about how shortfill E-Liquid compares to other types of vape juice, check out our E-Liquid guide for an in-depth comparison.
Why do Shortfills Have No Nicotine?
Shortfills have no nicotine because of TPD regulations. Shortfill E-Liquid became necessary after the EU’s Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) reduced the legal bottle sizes of nicotine-containing E-Liquids to 10ml.
These new regulations were unwelcome for sub-ohm vapers who use high-wattage devices that consume more E-Liquid. For someone using one of these kits, a 10ml bottle of liquid might only last them a day.
To get around these restrictions, the vaping industry turned to large bottles of nicotine-free E-Liquid with remaining space inside the bottle so vapers could add their own nicotine.
What Sizes do Shortfills Come In?
Short fill E-Liquids can come in any size since there’s no TPD regulations limiting bottle size when there’s no nicotine content.
You’ll find that 50ml shortfill E-Liquids and 100ml shortfill E-Liquids are the most common, though you can also get 200ml (and any size in between).
Should New Vapers Use Short Fill E-Liquids?
If you’re new to vaping, you might want to hold off on buying short fill E-Liquid. You can read more about which type of E-Liquid is right for you in our beginner’s guide to vaping.
Shortfill E-Liquids are designed for more experienced vapers using advanced kits, which have tons more settings and options and require more maintenance than a starter vape kit.
What are Nicotine Shots?
Nicotine shots are 10ml bottles of nicotine E-Liquid. They’re usually unflavoured, though you can get ones that add a cooling sensation. You should mix this juice into your shortfill bottle if you want to use nicotine.
What Types of Nicotine Shot Are Available?
There are a few different types of nicotine shots: standard freebase nic shots, nic salt shots, nic cool shots, and 100% VG nic shots.
Freebase Nic Shots
Standard freebase nic shots usually come with a 70% VG ratio. These nic shots are the go-to choice for most shortfill vapers, as they have the same VG/PG ratio as most standard shortfill E-Liquids and therefore won’t disturb the content or thickness of the E-Liquid.
100% VG Nic Shots
100% VG nic shots are ideal for use in 100% VG E-Liquids for vapers with a PG allergy or intolerance who need to vape PG-Free.
These nic shots, when added to a PG-Free shortfill, ensure there’s no propylene glycol in the end product.
Nic Salt Shots
Nic salt shots contain nicotine salts, which is a type of nicotine with many benefits, offering a smoother throat hit and a quicker nicotine delivery than freebase nicotine can.
Nic Salt Shots usually have a 50VG/50PG ratio, so if you add nicotine salts to a high VG shortfill E-Liquid, this will alter the thickness of your E-Liquid. You can learn more about nic salts in our nic salt guide.
Nic Cool Shots
Nic cool shots are like other nic shots, except they contain a cool dash of menthol or ice flavouring to give the shortfill flavour an icy edge. They’re made with freebase nicotine, and the only difference is the added menthol flavour.
They’re available in various ratios, though most have a high-VG ratio of 70% VG.
Can You Vape a Nic Shot?
In theory, yes, you can vape a nic shot. Nic shots are (mostly) flavourless liquid. They are safe to use, but there’s something grim, joyless, and eerily Orwellian about vaping an unflavoured e-juice.
It’s much better to use a nicotine shot as it was intended: added to a flavoured short fill bottle.
Nic Shot Mixing Calculator
How much nicotine do you want to vape? DTL vapers should only use a maximum nicotine strength of 6mg in their E-Liquid due to the wattage used in a high-powered vape kit. Higher doses would lead to a truly unpleasant throat hit.
Most vapers settle for a 3mg nicotine strength, since a 6mg strength would require you to pour out some of the flavoured E-Liquid to add an extra nicotine shot.
Shortfills come nicotine-free in larger E-Liquid bottles with either 10ml or 20ml of space for you to add a nic shot or two. Nicotine shots always come in 10ml bottles, though you can find different strengths available to achieve 1.5mg, 3mg, or 3.3mg nicotine strengths.
If you want a 6mg nicotine strength and you have a 50ml shortfill, you’ll need to pour out 10ml of the nicotine-free eLiquid and add a second 10ml nic shot.
Check out our handy E-Liquid calculator below to figure out what nic shots you’ll need depending on how much nicotine you want to vape.
|E-Liquid Volume||Nic Shot Strength||Nic Shots Needed||Final E-Liquid Strength|
|50ml||9mg||1 x 10ml||1.5mg (0.15%)|
|50ml||18mg||1 x 10ml||3mg (0.3%)|
|50ml||20mg||1 x 10ml||3.3mg (0.33%)|
|100ml||9mg||2 x 10ml||1.5mg (0.15%)|
|100ml||18mg||2 x 10ml||3mg (0.3%)|
|100ml||20mg||2 x 10ml||3.3mg (0.33%)|
How do You Add a Nic Shot to Your Shortfill?
Once you’ve figured out the perfect shot for your desired amount of nicotine you need using our nic shot mixing calculator, it’s time to mix in your own nic shots!
Step 1: Remove the Nozzles
Carefully remove the nozzle from the shortfill bottle. You can do this with a pair of pliers, a butter knife, your keys, or a handy shortfill bottle opener tool.
You’ll also need to remove the nozzle (or, nib) on the bottle of the nic shot, though you can also mix your nic shot in without removing this nib (though it’ll take some force to get all the liquid out).
These nozzles snap on and off, so no need to unscrew. Simply remove the nozzle cap and you’re golden.
Step 2: Add the Nic Shot(s)
Pour your nic shot into the shortfill bottle. For a 50ml shortfill, a single nic shot should bring the level up to the very top. For a 100ml shortfill, you’ll need two nic shots to fill the bottle.
Step 3: Replace the Nozzle
Push the nozzle back onto your shortfill bottle and make sure it clicks back into place.
Screw the cap tight and give it a good shake for at least 30 seconds to a minute. You want to make sure all the nicotine you’re putting into your E-Liquid is well-mixed.
Step 4 (Optional): Let it Sit
For an even better result, leave your liquid to steep (or, settle) for a minimum of 5 minutes, though leaving them for an hour or two is better. The steeping of your nicotine can have an effect on the overall flavour of your E-Liquid.
What VG/PG Ratio Do I Need?
The VG/PG ratio you need will be determined by your device. Short fill E-Liquids come in a variety of VG/PG ratios, though most are considered “high-VG,” meaning they have a higher ratio of VG to PG.
Vegetable glycerine (VG) is thicker than propylene glycol (PG), so an E-Liquid that’s higher in VG is thicker overall than a juice with a higher PG content.
High-VG shortfill E-Liquids are for use in advanced subohm kits, while 50/50 shortfill eLiquids are designed for use in low-powered devices such as pod kits, pens, and starter kits.
High-VG Shortfill E-Liquid
A shortfill E-Liquid with 70%VG or higher is considered a high-VG E-Liquid. This is the standard type of short fill used by most subohm vapers.
The higher VG ratio means the E-Liquid is thicker, making it ideal for use in low-resistance vapes. It also means greater flavour and cloud production.
50/50 Shortfill E-Liquid
There’s been a recent influx of larger short fill bottles created with a 50/50 VG/PG ratio for use in low-powered devices. Brands like Drifter have debuted 50/50 short fill E-Liquid ranges in larger bottles designed for beginner vapes.
This is a popular alternative to 10ml juice bottles for vapers looking to save some money and who also don’t mind adding their own nicotine shots. They’re also the only kind of shortfill E-Liquid that can be used in low-powered MTL kits.
The only downside is that to achieve higher concentrations of nicotine, you’ll need to pour out some of the E-Liquid, as they only allow for a 3mg nicotine strength. Still, this is great for vapers looking to save money and enjoy a low-nicotine e-juice, and it’s the best value you can get in an E-Liquid for an MTL device.
100% VG Shortfill E-Liquid
PG-Free and 100% VG E-Liquids are a niche product designed specifically for vapers with an intolerance or allergy to propylene glycol. They work just like other short fill E-Liquids do and most often come in a 50ml shortfill size.
If you have an allergy or intolerance to propylene glycol, you can get a PG-free juice and a 100% VG nic shot to use, but ensure you know the best vape kits for 100% VG E-Liquids before you make a purchase, since PG-Free E-Liquid is only compatible with devices meeting specific criteria.
Best Devices for Shortfill E-Liquids
High VG shortfill E-Liquids should only be used in high-powered devices with low-resistance (sub-ohm) coils. These kits will have coils with a resistance below 1 ohm (Ω).
If you’re unsure whether your device is compatible with shortfill E-Liquid, check the product description of the user manual. It will clearly state which type of juice should be used in the device.
What’s the Best Flavour Shortfill?
As is the case with much of the vaping industry, the best flavour will be a matter of personal preference. Mixed berries, lemon lime, blueberry, cream, red berries, coffee, pastry… The list goes on!
Ttry a few different E-Liquid flavours, and soon enough, you’ll find your favourite flavour.
To recap, short fill E-Liquids are bottles of nicotine-free e-juice with space left in the bottle for you to mix in one or two nic shots.
They’re great for sub-ohm vapers who wants 3mg or 6 mg liquids in 50ml sizes (or more). Additionally, they can save you a few pounds, and you can enjoy tens of thousands of e-juice flavours ranging from mixed berries to tobacco to desserts.
If you have questions and need more help, feel free to contact us for assistance. Our expert team of vapers is here to answer any and all questions you may have via phone, live chat, or email.
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