How Does Shortfill E-Liquid Work?

Shortfill e-liquid is a vaping product that you’re going to see quite often if you shop for vape juice in Europe or in any nation that makes it difficult for vapers to buy e-liquid with nicotine. Many retailers don’t take the time to explain what shortfill e-liquid is, though, because they assume their customers have already seen it often enough that they know all about it. If you’re not familiar with shortfill e-liquid yet, though, this article is for you.

Keep reading if you:

  • Live in the United Kingdom or Europe and hate buying a million tiny bottles every time you stock up on e-liquid
  • Live in a nation such in which e-liquid with nicotine isn’t available through standard retailers (e.g. Australia and Japan)
  • Are interested in exploring European-made e-liquid flavors and aren’t sure what you’re looking at when you visit overseas vaping websites

What Is Shortfill E-Liquid?

Shortfill e-liquid is vape juice without nicotine, sold in large bottles that aren’t completely full. The idea is that you will buy the e-liquid and add your own nicotine to it.

Shortfill e-liquid is a product that was invented for sale in Europe and the United Kingdom, where a law called the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) limits the size of any bottle of e-liquid with nicotine to 10 ml. In this age of sub-ohm tanks and extremely large vapor clouds, a 10 ml bottle of e-liquid simply doesn’t last very long. For some people, 10 ml of e-liquid isn’t even enough to last a single day. So, before the advent of shortfill e-liquid, vapers who lived in the U.K. and Europe went through many, many 10 ml bottles of vape juice each week.

Because shortfill e-liquid contains no nicotine, it isn’t subject to the TPD limit on bottle sizes. Shortfill vape juice, therefore, can come in large bottles; the most common bottle sizes are 120 ml (with 100 ml of nicotine-free e-liquid) and 60 ml (with 50 ml of e-liquid). When you buy shortfill e-liquid, you’ll need to buy the nicotine – in 10 ml bottles, to comply with the TPD – separately.

In TPD-compliant nations, shortfill e-liquid is extremely popular.

Why Is Shortfill E-Liquid Popular in Australia and Japan?

So, if shortfill e-liquid is made for sale in the United Kingdom and Europe, why is it so popular in other nations such as Australia and Japan? It’s because the governments of those nations tightly control the distribution of nicotine, and it’s illegal for places like Australian vapor shop Ivanna Vape to sell e-liquid with nicotine. It is legal, however, for people to import nicotine privately from overseas sellers. Private importation of vape juice with nicotine requires a doctor’s prescription in Australia. The Australian government is considering banning e-liquid imports in 2021, but the practice remains legal for now.

Given the strange legal situation, some vapers in Australia, Japan and other nations have found that it is easiest to import large bottles of nicotine from overseas sellers and buy shortfill e-liquid at local vape shops because buying vape juice that way greatly reduces shipping fees.

How to Use Shortfill E-Liquid

To use shortfill e-liquid, you need a bottle of shortfill vape juice and a bottle of unflavored e-liquid with nicotine. If you live in a nation that doesn’t have a restriction on the maximum size of e-liquid bottles with nicotine, you can buy your nicotine e-liquid in bulk and use it to fill many shortfill bottles. If you live in the United Kingdom or Europe, you’ll buy your nicotine in 10 ml bottles called “nicotine shots.”

The most common nicotine strength for nicotine shots is 18 mg/ml. That’s because most people who use shortfill e-liquid prefer a nicotine strength of 3 mg/ml. If you fill the empty space in a shortfill bottle with an 18 mg/ml e-liquid, you’ll end up with a final nicotine strength of 3 mg/ml. If you have a 60 ml shortfill bottle, you’ll need to use one nicotine shot. If you have a 120 ml bottle, you’ll need two nic shots.

To add nicotine to a bottle of shortfill e-liquid, start by prying the nozzle off of the bottle. Some nozzles are easier to remove than others. In some cases, you can pry a bottle of e-liquid open with your fingernail. Sometimes, though, you may need to use a tool such as a butter knife. Add one or two full nicotine shots to the bottle. If you’re using bulk 18 mg/ml e-liquid, simply fill the bottle almost to the top. Replace the nozzle and close the bottle.

One of the major differences between shortfill e-liquid and vape juice that has the nicotine added by the original manufacturer is that an e-liquid manufacturer – like a store that mixes paints – uses a machine to shake the vape juice so thoroughly that it’s almost impossible for the ingredients to separate. When you finish mixing your shortfill e-liquid, you’ll need to shake it to combine the ingredients. You can’t shake the bottle quite as well as a machine can, though, so it’s a good idea to shake your shortfill e-liquid each time you fill your tank. Otherwise, the nicotine may separate out of the solution.

How to Have an Even Better Experience With Shortfill E-Liquid

The only drawback of shortfill e-liquid is that a nicotine shot has no flavor. A bottle of shortfill e-liquid may not have the same intensity of flavor, therefore, as a bottle of e-liquid that has the nicotine added by the manufacturer. Some manufacturers make up for that by increasing the flavor concentration of their shortfill e-liquids, but that isn’t a universal practice.

If you try a bottle of shortfill vape juice and find the flavor to be a bit muted, try this trick: instead of filling your shortfill bottles with unflavored nicotine shots, use flavored e-liquid with a nicotine strength of 18 mg/ml. If you can find e-liquid with the same flavor as the shortfill e-liquid, that’s ideal. If the manufacturer doesn’t make vape juice in that nicotine strength, though, you can use a compatible flavor instead.

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Martin B.

Martin B.

Ex-smoker, passionate vaper who loves to tell the world about the life-changing potential of vaping. Co-creator of Ecigclopedia with a background in Business & Finance. Prefers a dessert flavored vape and loves to innovate.
Martin B.

Latest posts by Martin B. (see all)

Martin B.

Martin B.

Ex-smoker, passionate vaper who loves to tell the world about the life-changing potential of vaping. Co-creator of Ecigclopedia with a background in Business & Finance. Prefers a dessert flavored vape and loves to innovate.

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