What is a Shortfill E-liquid?

What are Shortfill E-liquids?

Shortfills are bottles of E liquid that are intentionally left partially unfilled so you can add nicotine to the liquid yourself (or base mix if you don’t use nicotine). Shortfills are essentially nicotine free E liquid which allow you to add nicotine shots separately, if required.

50ml or 100ml Shortfills?

Most shortfills typically come in 50ml or 100ml sizes however, after adding either Nicotine shots or base mix these are actually 60ml (50ml with 1x 10ml shot) and 120ml (100ml with 2x 10ml shots) respectively. This results in a mix with a standard 3mg nicotine strength, a higher strength can be achieved but this will require you to empty extra E liquid out of the bottle to make space for an extra Nic shot (make sure to use the extra liquid, don’t pour it away and waste it). This will increase the nicotine strength however, the flavour intensity will be considerably diluted, as most shortfills are intended to be mixed to 3mg maximum.

How to Steep Shortfills

Steeping your liquid after adding nicotine to the mixture can also improve the flavour. This essentially means simply leaving the E liquid in a cool, dry place to mix and settle after adding the Nic shot, the longer left the better, most people that steep will leave their liquids for around two week before use. Many vapers report a smoother, more flavourful liquid after a couple of weeks steeping.

Who are Shortfills for?

Shortfills are best suited to people that vape large amounts of liquid using a sub ohm vape kit. Sub Ohm vapes are high powered, larger devices designed for lower nicotine and high VG content liquids. This type of device and liquid produce a much larger cloud of vapour and pack more flavour compared to a MTL vape.  Unfortunately, shortfills are unsuitable for most smaller pod type vape kits and mouth to lung tanks due to their high VG content, this is due to high VG liquids being much thicker than 50/50 liquids. Typically MTL tanks and pod kits use very small coils which are unable to absorb the high VG liquid quick enough, ultimately this causes the coils to burn out very quickly. Sub ohm tanks on the other hand, typically have much larger coils which allow them to wick the thick liquids much more efficiently. 

Shortfill Ratios Explained

All E-liquids contain a ratio of VG (Vegetable Glycerine) and PG (Propylene Glycol). This ratio can vary depending on the liquid and the type of device its intended for, these will typically be 50VG / 50PG for MTL (Mouth To Lung) vape liquids and 70VG / 30PG for DTL (Direct to Lung). MTL vaping means to hold the vapour in the mouth before inhalation, mimicking the feel and effects of smoking. With DTL vaping though, you draw the vapour straight into your lungs, allowing for larger intake as your lung capacity is far larger than that of your mouth.

PG is an odourless and colour less liquid roughly the same consistency as water. An equal or larger quantity of PG causes the liquid to emulate the throat hit off a cigarette. 

VG is a far thicker liquid that produces more vapour and is smoother on the throat when it is inhaled. The larger the ratio of VG, the larger and more dense the clouds. High VG content liquids are not recommended to be used in Pod kits due to the thickness, which can cause them too clog and burn out the typically higher resistance coils a lot faster. 

Both VG and PG are completely safe and non-toxic substances used commonly in food, cosmetic and pharmaceutical products.

How much nicotine do i add to a Shortfill?

Finding the right nicotine strength for your shortfills can be a bit trial and error to begin with. Most people will aim for 3mg/ml with shortfills (manufacturers typically assume this is the required strength as well and design their bottles accordingly) so each 50ml bottle will require 1 regular Nic shot. This ratio can be maintained regardless of the size of the bottle, 100ml would need 2 shots for 3mg/ml, 200ml would need 4, etc. 

If you require a stronger nicotine level, you can remove some extra liquid from the shortfill before adding extra Nic shots (make sure to use and not to throw away the excess liquid though). However, you must also consider that doing so will dilute the flavour intensity of the mixture, as shortfills are typically only intended to be mixed to 3mg strength.

For a zero nicotine strength, you can simply add 0mg base mix to top up the bottle after adding your required nicotine amount.

How do you mix Shortfill E-liquid?

Mixing the nicotine shots to your shortfills is a very quick and simple process. Just remove the bottle cap and pop the top of the bottle out (some have tops designed to simply flip open instead of needing to be removed), then pour in the required amount of shots you need. Once filled, close the bottle back up, shake thoroughly for 2 to 3 minutes and then leave to settle for another 5 to 10 minutes. Once the bubbles are gone your good to go. Always remember to wear gloves and eye protection when handling nicotine products, and to wash your hands throughly when you’re done.

Shortfills vs Premixed E-liquid Explained

When comparing shortfills to premixed E liquids, there are several factors to consider. 

The main being the differences in nicotine strength. Most shortfills allow space to make a 3mg strength liquid whist premixed bottles come in 6mg, 10mg, 12mg and 20mg strengths. For this reason, someone swapping smoking for vaping will undoubtably want to start with premixed liquids whilst they experiment to find the nicotine strength they need, and the flavours they like. Once they have a better idea of flavours and strengths, moving onto shortfills becomes a very viable option.

The next main difference to consider is pricing between shortfills and premixed. A typical premix bottle from our store is £3.99 for 10ml whist a 50ml shortfill is £7.50, plus £1.00 for the Nic shot. So, premixed will cost £23.94 for the equivalent of £8.50 worth of shortfills, making shortfills far more cost effective. 

However, despite the price difference, convenience is another factor to consider. Shortfills obviously come in much larger sizes and so will last a lot longer than premixed, although this will vary depending on how much the user vapes. Shortfills also require preparation time, which some people simply find too much faff.

Pro’s of Shortfills

  • Larger bottle sizes
  • More cost effective
  • Smoother on the throat
  • Stronger flavour
  • More environmentally friendly due to less waste plastic

Con’s of Shortfills

  • Requires preparation before use
  • Limited to low nicotine content 
  • Higher VG content can burn out smaller coils faster
  • Less production regulations
  • Have to buy separate nicotine shots for every bottle
  • Not suitable for lower power devices / higher resistance coils

Why does Shortfill E-liquid Exist?

The production and sale of E liquid in the UK is still governed by EU rules and regulations and so the UK has to comply with the TPD (Tobacco Products Directive). This limits the maximum size to 10ml and nicotine strength to 20mg, for any E liquid sold premixed, as well as limiting the size of tanks to 2ml. As shortfills are produced and sold nicotine free, Vaping companies can sell them in larger unrestricted sizes, as the TPD regulations are only applicable to nicotine containing liquids.