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Guide to Shortfills

In this guide we will be talking about what shortfill e-liquid is, the benefits of using it, and how to calculate your nicotine strength and mix it into your shortfill. You’ll also find some helpful information on the best shortfill vape juices to try.

Table of Contents

What are Shortfills?

What is a Nic Shot?

The Benefits of Shortfill E-Liquid

Adding Nicotine to Shortfill Vape Juices

Nicotine Calculator

Steeping Your Shortfill E-liquid

What are Shortfills

Shortfills are nicotine free e-liquid’s that comes in a large bottle which is not completely filled. The extra space in the bottle allows vapers to add their own nicotine, meaning you can control the strength and flavour.

In 2017 the TPD (Tobacco Products Directive) stated that e-liquids containing nicotine cannot be sold in bottles bigger than 10ml. Shortfill e-liquids are usually sold in 50ml or 100ml which last much longer than a pre-filled 10ml bottle would. There is also room inside the bottle to add nic shots to the liquid. Regular vapers find that using shortfill vape juice gives them more control over the quality of their vape and is more cost effective than buying several smaller bottles.

They also contain a high VG content making them perfect for sub ohm vapers as it creates larger clouds of vapour than 50/50 e-liquid and is great for vape tricks. It should only be used with low resistance coils that are designed for direct lung vaping. If MTL vapers try using shortfill e-liquid the flavour and throat hit won’t be as strong. Plus, the liquid will struggle to saturate the coil and result in it burning. Although a weak flavour may seem like a negative, when used with the correct device the large cloud of vapour produced will provide the perfect taste. Other e-liquid such as nic salt would cause an unpleasant taste and a harsh throat hit if used for cloud chasing.

What is a nic shot?

Nic shots are a flavourless liquid that contains a concentrated amount of nicotine. These are used to increase the nicotine strength of e-liquid. This makes them essential for those who are using shortfill but require nicotine in their vape juice. Although these are only designed to add nicotine and not flavour, there are also menthol nic shots available that add an icy touch to the short fill. It is important to note that these are not designed to be vaped on their own and should only be used as an ingredient to add to large quantities of zero nicotine e-liquid. No more than 10ml of nic shot should be added to a 50ml of liquid.

The benefits of shortfill e-liquids

Shortfill e-liquids give you a great choice and let you control exactly what you want in your vape. Here’s how:

  • Size options: Shortfill e-liquid bottles start at 60ml, with 50ml of e-liquid inside, and go up to a 120ml bottle with 100ml of e-liquid inside. You then mix in your nicotine to fill up the bottle and give you as much vape juice as you need.
  • Nicotine strength: one of the greatest benefits of shortfills is the control over the nicotine strength. Use our calculator further down to work out how much nicotine to add.
  • High VG content: ideal for direct lung vapers etc etc. Find out more in our guide to PG & VG
  • Larger quantities for sub ohm vapers: Sub ohm vaping goes through more e-liquid than other methods. Larger bottles mean sub ohm vapers wont have to buy e-liquid as often.
  • Cost-effective: although the initial cost may be more than a 10ml bottle, a shortfill e-liquid will last much longer

Adding nicotine to short fill vape juices

As e-liquid over 10ml cannot be sold containing nicotine, all shortfill e-liquid comes nicotine free. However, the bottles come with a removable top and extra room for nicotine to be added. You’ll need to purchase your nic shots first and then you can get started adding your nicotine. At The Electronic Cigarette Company we provide a free nic shot with every bottle of shortfill.

Adding Nicotine to your short fill vape juice

Nicotine Calculator

Being able to manage your nicotine strength is one of the best things about using shortfill e-liquids though getting the correct ratio can be tricky. To help we’ve put together a handy table to find out how much nicotine you need.

Shortfill Size

Nic Shot Strength

Number of Nic Shots


50ml 0.9%


60ml 0.15%
50ml 1.2%


60ml 0.2%
50ml 1.5%


60ml 0.25%
50ml 1.8%


60ml 0.3%
50ml 2.0%


60ml 0.33%
100ml 0.9%


120ml 1.5%
100ml 1.2%


120ml 0.2%
100ml 1.5%


120ml 0.25%
100ml 1.8%


120ml 0.3%
100ml 2.0%


120ml 0.33%

The end strengths may seem small, however it is important to remember that those who use shortfill juice go through more e-liquid than MTL vapers. So, the nicotine intake differs depending on the strength and the amount of e-liquid used.

For example, a DL vaper using a 0.3ohm shortfill e-liquid can still intake as much nicotine as an MTL vaper using a 1.2% strength e-liquid. This is because the mouth-to-lung vaper will only require one 10ml bottle for a full day of vaping whereas the direct-lung vaper will need much more.

Adding nicotine to shortfill e-liquid will dilute it, however the difference in flavour is minimal. Plus, steeping the liquid will help to enhance the flavour.

Steeping your shortfill e-liquid

Shortfill e-liquids come in a range of flavours. As the nicotine you add is flavourless, it can dilute the taste of the e-liquid. The flavour probably won't be affected if you’re only adding a small amount of nicotine. If you’re adding more you might want to steep the e-liquid to help keep the flavour. Steeping is a way of maturing the e-liquid to enhance the flavour. To do this, add a nic shot to the e-liquid and shake well. Then store it in a cool dark place until it has steeped. Some tastes take longer than others to mature. Fruity flavours will only need a couple of days, whereas sugary dessert flavours will need over a week. Of course, you can always use your short-fill e-liquid without nicotine too.

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