Short Fill Mixing Guide


Unless you have had your head in a bag for a year or so, you will have noticed that many e liquids are now available in short fill bottles. Also known as shortfills and shake ‘n’ vapes, these relatively new innovations make your life a little bit easier and could save some of your hard-earned cash into the bargain. It’s cheaper to produce one large bottle than several small ones and this fact is generally reflected in the price!

What are shortfills?

Shortfills are larger bottles containing e liquids which are nicotine-free. But there’s space in the bottle to add a nicotine shot. Typically containing 50ml or 100ml of juice but available in a variety of sizes, short fills enable you to purchase a larger amount of your favourite flavours and can be more convenient options than having to deal with several 10ml bottles.

Why is e liquid now sold in short fills?

The European Tobacco Directive (TBD) stipulates that e liquids containing nicotine must be sold in bottles containing a maximum of 10ml. This is a pointless regulation which has caused a significant about of grief to vapers and e liquid producers. Packs of three 10ml bottles were introduced to give vapers a more practical and cost-effective way to buy their juice. But short fills have proved to be a better idea altogether! As the e liquid in short fills is nicotine free, there is no restriction on the volume that can be sold in a single bottle. All you have to do is add a nicotine shot and you have the perfect vape juice for your needs and in a sensible quantity.

What is a nicotine shot?

Also known as nic shots and nicotine boosters, nicotine shots are 10ml bottles of base liquid containing a specified amount of nicotine. You can add the shot to your short fill bottle to create vape juice with your preferred nicotine strength. Simples! Or maybe not! To achieve the strength you are looking for, you need to do the maths!

How do you achieve the right nicotine strength?

The numbers involved can initially seem confusing but allow us to explain!

The strength of nicotine shots is expressed in mg per ml. This means that an 18mg nic shot features 18mg of nicotine per millilitre. A 10ml bottle therefore contains 180mg of nicotine.

Adding an 18mg nicotine shot to 50ml of nicotine-free e liquid in a 60ml bottle will result in juice with a strength of 3mg. In other words, you will be mixing 5 parts nicotine-free e liquid with 1 part nicotine shot. The finished juice will therefore be one sixth the strength of the nic shot – 18mg become 3mg.

If you want to achieve a strength of 3mg but have 100ml of e liquid in a 120ml bottle, you need to add two 18mg nic shots. Get it?

At Vapester, we offer 9mg, 15mg and 18mg nicotine shots. So, let’s test your maths! Adding a 9mg shot to 50ml of flavoured e liquid will result in the finished product having what nicotine strength?

If you said 1.5ml you would be correct!

The 15mg nicotine shots come in handy if you have purchased 80ml of e liquid in a 100ml short fill. Simply add two 10ml shots to create 100ml of juice with a nicotine strength of 3mg.

How do you add your nicotine shot to the short fill bottle?

You should find instructions on the bottle, possibly under a peel and reveal sticker. But here’s our handy guide to mixing your juice:

  1. Make sure that you are adding your nicotine to a nicotine-free e liquid.
  2. Calculate how many shots you need and what strength they should be for you to achieve the desired result.
  3. Remove the cap and nib from the base liquid. You might find that you need a small screwdriver or set of pliers to help you do this.
  4. Remove the cap and tamper seal from the nicotine shot or shots.
  5. Squeeze the contents of the nic shot into your e liquid. Always squeeze gently and take care not to spill the nicotine. In the event of a spillage, wash your hands immediately. Non-slip gloves are a useful investment!
  6. Replace the nib of the e liquid bottle and ensure that you achieve a solid seal.
  7. Replace the cap of the e liquid bottle and shake vigorously for 5-10 minutes to fully mix the two liquids.
  8. It is advisable to wait for a while and then shake your juice for a further 5 minutes. Leave it for 24 hours before topping up your tank.

Does the nicotine shot reduce the intensity of flavour?

It is worth noting that the short fill versions of some e liquids are formulated to feature higher concentrations of flavourings than their 10ml counterparts. This is to allow for the fact that the flavour-free nicotine shots will dilute the strength of the juice. However, many short fill e liquids are identical to the 10ml versions and so the nic shot will reduce the intensity of the flavour a little. The more shots you add to the juice, the greater the impact on flavour.

It can be difficult to see whether the flavour intensity of a short fill e liquid has been adjusted. If the packaging does not feature the information you need, try reading a few reviews as these may provide the answers you are looking for.