Shortfill E-Liquids & How to Use Them

/ 7 min read

Shortfill E-Liquids & How to Use Them

Shortfill e-liquids have been around for a while now, but for those who are not familiar, this guide will explain everything you need to know about these chunky bottles of high-VG juice.

Shortfills are large volume bottles of high-VG e-liquid, only ever sold in 0mg – without nicotine. The idea is for the vaper to create a nicotine strength that suits them, using nic shots. While this may sound a little complicated to some, for many it is the best way to vape – check out the guide below and decide for yourself.

Before we get into how to use short fills, it’s worth ensuring you understand the ingredients that go into them, you can find out more in our guide, but we will cover the basics here.

What Ingredients are in a Shortfill?

E-liquid typically contains four primary ingredients: PG, VG, nicotine & flavouring.

Propylene Glycol (PG)

  • PG is a clear, tasteless, and colourless base material used in many common products including inhalers.
  • PG is used in e-liquids as it is a very effective carrier for flavourings and nicotine.
  • PG is thinner in consistency than VG and produces far less vapour.
  • 50/50 vape liquids are made using a higher volume of PG, allowing them to accommodate higher nicotine strengths.

Vegetable Glycerol (VG)

  • VG is a clear, slightly sweet, and colourless base material that is used in a massive range of products, from food to hand sanitiser.
  • VG is perfect for e-liquids as it helps to create bolder flavours.
  • VG is very thick in its consistency and can produce massive vape clouds.
  • Most e-liquids use a balanced combination of VG and PG, as VG is not an effective carrier agent.


  • Flavourings are what truly bring an e-liquid to life, they come in near limitless varieties.
  • They are usually suspended in a base consisting primarily of PG, which allows the flavourings to be properly blended alongside VG to create the finished product.
  • They are classed as “food-grade” and are very similar to those used in the catering industry. While similar, many vape flavours like those we use for EDGE products have been specially developed to perform better when vaped.

What are Shortfills?

Decon Heizen EDGE Base Shortfill E-Liquid

  • Short Fills like EDGE Base are a very popular kind of High VG e-liquid that allow the user to purchase much larger bottle sizes as opposed to the traditional 10ml.
  • Short Fills are always sold as nicotine-free, which allows them to bypass the regulations that limit the size of nicotine containing e-liquids to a maximum of 10ml.
  • To meet consumer needs, the larger bottles are often filled just short of their maximum volume, allowing the user to add separate Nic Shots to create a large volume of their favourite flavour with a customised nicotine strength.

Vapers using the higher-powered sub-ohm devices needed to make the most of high-VG e-liquid often find that they get through their juice very quickly when compared to smaller devices, often buring through many 10ml bottles in quick succession.

TPD regulations however meant producing a larger bottle of e-liquid to help people not carry so many small ones would be tricky, in that it would not be able to contain any nicotine. This is why legal shortfills will always be 0mg.

But how then does a vaper add nicotine to a shortfill? That is where nic shots come in!

Berry Mint EDGE Base Shortfill E-Liquid

What is a Nic Shot?

Nic shots only exist because of shortfills. They are never intended to be vaped on their own, and with no flavour and high nicotine content that is for good reason!

  • Nic shots typically contain a high concentration of nicotine, for example are 18mg. This is because when added to the larger volume of vape juice in a shortfill, the nicotine is diluted to a much lower strength overall.
  • Nic Shots are only ever 10ml in size.
  • You can use either freebase nic shots, or nic salt shots depending on your preference.
  • Most nic shots are high-VG like their shortfill partners – this is to avoid diluting the thickness of the juice when the two are mixed together.

You can learn more about nic salts, nic shots, shortfills and other e-liquids in our blog, How to Vape Properly

How To Mix Shortfill E-Liquid

Please note because of the differences between different shots, you should always note:

  • The strength of the Nic shot
  • The PG/VG ratio of your shortfill and nic shot (they should match ideally)
  • The size of the shortfill measured against the number of shots required to create your desired strength.

Shortfill Mixing Guide

Our EDGE BASE shortfills and nic shots have been designed to work perfectly together, the shortfills are filled to 50ml, in a 75ml bottle. They are both 80VG/20PG and are dosed to allow easy strength creation without complicated maths! See our guide below:

1 x 50ml HVG 0mg Base Shortfill + 1 x 10ml 18mg HVG nic shot = 60ml of 3mg HVG vape juice

1 x 50ml HVG 0mg Base Shortfill + 2 x 10ml 18mg HVG nic shot = 70ml of 6mg HVG vape juice

Even when adding 2 x nic shots, there will always be 5ml of headspace to allow for steeping after your shots are added.

To mix:

  • Open your shortfills tamper-proof cap
  • Place the cap sideways against the bottle, with the edge of the cap inserted into the small groove you can find beneath the nib.
  • Firmly press the cap into the groove, and rotate like a can opener.
  • With minimal effort the nib will pop up, allowing you to remove and add your nic shots.
  • Simply pop the nib back in and replace the cap.
  • Shake and allow to stand for up to 10 mins before adding to your vape tank/pod and enjoying!

Make Sure You Have the Right Device to Vape Shortfill

While there are many different brands and models you can choose from, the most important thing as a shortfill user is to ensure you use a sub-ohm vaping device. this means it will use a coil rated at below 1ohm (a unit of electrical resistance).

This low ohm rating means the coil has a higher resistance, and can take a lot more power through it – this generates more heat but also means you can vaporise thick high-VG juice like a shortfill.

There are a few different types of sub-ohm device available to try, but these are the main types to look out for if you don’t want to get into the hobbyist world or rebuildable coils:

Mod Vaping Device

  • Mods are larger, high-powered devices that can be combined with different tanks.
  • They can feature either internal or externally charged batteries and often come with the widest range of customisable features like variable wattage.
  • Some devices can be connected to a computer, allowing the user to fully customise their settings at a granular level to create the ultimate output for their preferences.
  • Mods are commonly favoured by experienced/hobbyist vapers over beginners, owing to the more involved and often complex user interface offered.
  • Mod devices are most commonly paired with tanks that use sub-ohm coils (rated 0.9ohms or less) and are designed to work best with thicker High-VG e-liquids, producing bigger clouds of vapour.

Pod Mod Vaping Device

  • Risen to great popularity, pod-mods offer a hybridisation of elements offered by pods and mods alike.
  • Often larger in size than traditional pod devices, and with increased power output, pod-mods still utilise a refillable pod with multiple coil varieties available.
  • To compliment this, they also feature the customisation options expected from a traditional mod device, allowing for a far greater level of user interaction and refinement than is offered by pods, in conjunction with the convenience and simplicity offered by a pod over a tank.
  • While they are quite versatile, Pod Mod devices are most often paired with thicker High-VG e-liquid and produce bigger clouds of vapour than smaller, more basic pod systems.

With this guide you should have everything you need to decide if shortfill e-liquids are for you, or answered your questions – if you want to learn more about vaping however, head over to our Vaping Hub where you can check out the latest guides and industry news!