DIY vape vs original brands

An issue bothering me for 3 years now since I started vaping:

Why is almost every fabricated vape juice better than even the best ones here on ELR?

I started my vaping by a local seller recommending to me Nasty Silver, Nasty Gold, Pacha mama mint leaf. Later on I bought a few more juices, best among them Horny Mango.

In 3 years of vaping I’ve been slowly collecting my flavors and have approx. 200 now in my stash. I mixed the top 20-30 juices from ELR. Most of them were average, only few real good but there is not 1 DIY mix I could say is better from any of the fabricated juices I’ve tried.

The last one my wife, who does not know much about vaping bought me a present, Bloom’s Lemon Lavender. I was a bit angry cause she must’ve paid some 25 EUR for it… with that amount I could add 5-10 more flavors to my stash, I thought. But, even that lavender is a pretty damn good vape, surely better than any DIY I’ve made myself.

Now, I am using original flavors from recognised suppliers like Chef’s, Nic River etc. I followed strictly to the recepies and later tried to adopt them to my taste.

I am realy intrigued by the fact no DIY recipe can beat any of so many recognized and famous or even those not so popular.

Why is this so? Is it about PG/VG which I also tried from various reliable sources? Enhancers?

My constallation after 3 years is that the juice producers have the access to some extra flavorings that are not available in retail? Orelse how is it possible that millions of diy recepies published on ELR cannot compete to neither of some 15 fabricated brands I ve tried so far?

My best juice ever is Nasty Silver sweet vanilla tobacco. I bought some 50 flavors already trying to clone it and… I don’t even come close to it. I did succeed to mix several good juices but not one can compete to any of the fabricated.

It became so enoying and frustrating I 'd appreciate some if you experienced mixers explain it.

Many thanks.


Your NEVER going to be able to clone a liquid NEVER so get that out of your head …If there is a liquid that you absolutely love then that liquid is going to be that great in your opinion so something that isnt identical isnt going to be as good …Top Recipes on ELR are typically older recipes that back then were pretty good…Ive tried lots of Commercial Liquids and only 2 of them are what i consider great …There is also a lot of hype that surrounds recipes and flavors so learning how to develope something for your self should be your goal…You will also see the absence of Sweetener in many DIY liquids , some people love that Super Super sweet taste …

I cant explain because I disagree that Commercial liquid is superior…I dont doubt you have a favorite that you cant clone and you never will… That liquid will drive you crazy and you will remain disappointed until you find something that your happy with in the same profile …

They do sometimes have proprietary flavors or use obscure brands that most of us dont but more often than not they use the same flavors wr do …Take Jam Monster liquid for example, most people swore that they used RF jam toast line but NOPE it was Flavor Labs and very few people in DIY ever heard of them …Alsa if its a Tobacco it could be a N.E.T who knows


I know what you mean but I disagree with the conclusion that the commercial juices are better. In my opinion even the good commercial ones wear off quickly. Almot every one I tried was too sweet or had something I couldn’t live with after vaping it for a while.
The thing with the diy stuff is that we don’t have the knowledge and / or access to the chemical enhancers used in commercial juices so it’s unlikely we can make a 100% clone of anything.
Maybe I’m wrong here but that’s my opinion. But the main advantage with diy is that you know what’s in it. Of course we don’t know what’ exactly is in the flavors but there are warnings about the questionable incredients at least.
I have accepted I can’t get some recipes as I thought and spent quite a few quid on flavors that turned out totally diffferent from what I was expecting and pretty much useless for vaping (for me). However, there are a few great recipes. I’m lucky I can live with the same juice for a long time before I get bored of it so I’m not constantly searching for a new one.
The prices of the commercial juices are making it quite pointless for me anyway. I make a litre of 1.5mg juice for about 30 Euros. Last time i bought commercial juice I paid €12 for a shortfill plus the nicotine shot for another 3 or so. For that difference I can easily live with the fact that I’m not as good a mixer than the pros.


Many new mixers publish recipes because they are excited they got mix they can vape. Bet you like sweet mixes. Commercial mixes are full of sweeteners. It can’t be all. Many of those commercial mixes are published here.

If you are talking about recipes from 2016 yep they are over flavored. Today’s equipment is much improved from the equipment made just 5-6 years ago. As a mixer it’s your and my job to adjust percentage to make older recipes come alive with the equipment you vape with.

How long do you allow your commercial mixes to steep. The commercial mixes are mixed then stored waiting to ship. It could be a month and probably more before a reseller puts it on their shelf to sell and another month before they sell out.


Thanks guys for your quick and honest replies. I understand everyone’s taste is different but still there are majorities of vapers on ELR around several best recepies. In average I’d expect to find 1 in 10 recepies that would play for me. And I did. I did have some success mixing juices myself. The best diy is a completely forgotten sweet tobacco. I love it. But I still need to add one of commercial tobaccos to get what I realy love.

Flavor is all in vaping for me. I found a few devices I feel giving me best results flavorwise.

Still, Iprobably will need to accept the words of Fidalgo: “NEVER”. In this case I have 2 options: either to settle with some DIY of my own accepting that as best possible or - spend more money on commercial juices and stop this chasing for the holy grail.

What I cannot believe is you claim there are better DIY juices than the commercial ones? I am completely on the opposite side. I would need to save some money instead of buying those expensive juices. But, having spent over 500€ on my flavors with a poor result of maybe 5 diy recepies that I regularly use makes me think diy does not pay.

I mean at least for me cause I am not just vaping for a nic shot. The flavor is the big deal of vaping and - sorry I get it from any commercial juice I’ve tried so far and am pretty sure 80% of those I will be buying would be far better than anything I mix myself.

I would realy be happy to get to just 1 diy that I could say is better than any of my favourite commercial juices. But until now there has not been 1.

I suppose I will need to reconsider the point if mixing juices myself. I mean, it is fun and hobvy and everything. But it takes lots if time - for rather poor results. If I needed to invest so much time in smoking cigarettes I suppose I would’ve never even started in the first place.

Bottom line, thanks for your thoughts but they don’t give support to my further diy. The only imperative I can see in people diy-ing is - to save money. And I can understand that. But, would I be driving a Dacia if I had the money to buy a Toyota or even a Porsche?


Thanks rcleven. I know about steeping and do pay attention to it. It makes a difference with certain profiles but not that huge. Once a diy mixed my nose tells me 70-80% accurately would this become vapable for me or not.
Secodly, you nailed it. I like sweeter stuff. Which I understand is highly present in commercial juices. Ok. So, why can’t I get close to that even by applying high % of sweeteners in my recepies? For example, you well know Super sweet added above 1% ruins the flavor. So it can’t be just adding more sweetener.

But you at least agree with me there are way better commercial juices than any diy?


The best suggestion I can give you is find another mixer you enjoy their mixes then follow them. Look at the flavors they are using. Look at the percentage they use. How they combine their flavors. Only mix 15ml batches till you discover something you like vaping. Then go bigger.


Perhaps you could try mixing different sweeteners to get to the level you like? Have you tried the max percentage of super sweet plus another one, let’s say stevia?
Also I can imagine some enhancers like vape wizard could increase the perception of the sweetness but I have no experience myself.

The ratings of the recipes have always been a bit misleading in my opinion. Simply rating a recipe with 0-5 stars doesn’t reflect how it develops over time, how many people are still using it or if better versions of the recipe have surfaced. I had more luck in threads where people asked for favorite ADVs or the best recipe with whatever flavor.


Keep chasing the Holy Grail…Just get the Clone idea out of your head…Heres somethung im working on and im not a Tobacco Vapor but have found that Flavorah Tobaccos are tolerable and some are fun to play with …

There is no sweetener in this and I need to let it steep


This is not true…It kills your coils but 1 pct is almost in every commercial liquid and even more than that…


I just noticed your Name MTL …if you are mixing a recipe that is made for DL in a MTL device that aline is gonna mess up the experience of the recipe…Keep in mind a lot oclf commercial recipes are made so that there is a flavor precense in all devices …The recipe I just posted is gping to be good in an RDA or RTA DL but for a MTL it is going to be lacking a lot of notes


Problem #1.

Problem #2…your exaggeration is so over the top (because of your accumulated frustration) thanks largely to your lack of understanding, combined with your still being new to mixing, that you don’t even realize you’re practically alienating those you’re seeking help from.

What you’re saying above is:
“Why does everyone’s recipes here suck compared to the commercial stuff I’ve bought?”

Let me boil it down for you.

  1. The “top rated” recipes here don’t mean much, and haven’t since 2015-2016 (or thereabouts).
    They were developed on different hardware, using different flavors, and at a time when vaping itself was very different (from a mixing point of view). A few have stood the test of time, but many others have been eclipsed over time (because their short-comings have been revealed by better hardware, or because the flavorings themselves have changed over the years, or because expectations have changed, or…)

Bottom line, rather than any further history lesson on why you don’t understand why you’ve experienced dissatisfaction so far, (besides the fact that these recipes are NOT shared to impress you, they are shared to be helpful to anyone who is able to learn from them OR anyone who enjoys them)…

You are going to be far better off at this point, saying what you like (profile-wise: desserts, bakeries, drinks, fruits, etc), and perhaps list what brands you have access to, and what you vape on (high power, medium power, low power… MTL or DTL, do you prefer regular nic or salts, do you use replacement cartridges or make your own coils, etc).

Then, perhaps you could get some more appropriate and targeted feedback.


Very direct answer there… Don’t scare the poor guy off, he’s just going through the process :smiley:

Maybe it’s time to reset/replace the rating system. It seems to be more a source for frustration rather than a help to new users. Maybe flagging old or outdated recipes or whatever data base tricks there are to identify recipes by number and time of access or something like that. But i know this is easier said than done.

I personally have most of my recipes there just for historical reasons so I can look them up and see what I was thinking at the time and to see how things developed after that moment in time. But if you’d ask me how many I would keep if I had to delete the rest I’d probably end up with just a hand full.

Most of my recipes are set to private for this reason but many people have their complete evolution of every single recipe without any comment in the public recipe list and nobody will ever mix them again.


i agree that probably 99.9% of the public recipes are worthless. just boneheads making them public for whatever reason. i ignore those. the bad thing, the remaining .1% are probably pretty good.


@MTL_sLOVEnia you’ve already got a handful of comments to your post and I learned from them myself. It’s all good advice and suggestions. I relate to part of your story in that I have two old favorite juices I still vape. They were released in 2012 with a 50/50 blend but are now available in 30/70. Nevertheless, I still enjoy them in my Kayfuns. I’m happy they’re still around but even happier that I’ve been able to create other recipes I enjoy through the mentorship of ELR. For me, it took a couple of years to get to that point, I won’t lie. It wasn’t easy and still is a challenge but that’s the beauty of DIY. There’s no end in site and that’s what I like about it. I don’t care if I spend money on flavors, I’m feeding my hobby and that’s okay. If your prime reason for DIY is to clone your favorite juice I think you’re slighting yourself. There’s no greater joy than creating an original recipe that you think is yummy!

With all that said, I found out that one of my favorite juices was a simple 3 flavor recipe. The creators went out of business and dumped their recipes online. They weren’t “special” flavors. I was amazed and learned a valuable lesson from that. I owned and knew all those flavors but never thought to combine them in that way. After mixing it up for myself I realized I had the knowledge to make it even better or spin off the idea for another similar recipe. The juice in question was a popular coffee recipe. Now I have 18 of my own coffee recipes. I’m telling you this because with a slight adjustment in your point of view you may also find that you can create something for yourself that gives you the same pleasure as your commercial juices. If you think you need a NET there are links to vendors here. I hope you don’t give up and you can always try to see if your juices have already been cloned or dumped online. Beware though, many claim to have cloned something and it’s not even close.


what was the one ?


What is so hard to believe? That people have different tastes and likes than you?


Ok guys, I will first thank you all for your either kind or even critical responses. Later I will respond one by one to clear up some questions.

The fil rouge of this subject I don’t want to loose is what at least 2 of you admitted straight and fair: cloning never had a success. Now, let’s forget for a moment about which is better, DIY or commercial juices, let’s focus on the fact so many people mixing themselves, probably majority of us tried to clone smth at least several times, many of those published and even claimed to be a true clone but… once you try it you find right away is is nothing like the original.

That’s my first and top point: I need to accept obviously there’s no way smbdy could clone 100% a commercial juice? That seems unacceptable just by mathematical probability: if 100 diy-ers are striving to clone a juice there should be at least 1% of probability smbdy would nail it. Right?

But, as we discuss it here - it doesn’t happen. That’s my first strong point nobody can deny. Now, why is that so? Yeah, I cannot think of anything else but there are flavorings not accessible to the public. Or possibly to some extent some extra VG/PG.

For example, I found Elda’s VG/PG is best for my mixes. A Croatian company nobody knows. But they are huge exporters worldwide primarily supplying vape businesses and not so keen to supply in retail.

I suppose a similar thing could be going on with flavors. If I was the owner of Naked or Nasty or whatever big vape brand would I not demand from the flavor producers to keep certain flavorings just for me, not selling them to the public? Sure I’d pay millions for that just to keep my juices secret and unclonable because that makes my profit.

Once again, on this 1st point I obviously will need to accept things as they are: forget cloning. Rather invest into my own developping recepies.

The second thought of mine which - yeah, causes me a real frustration - is that whatever I mix myself following all the suggestions from more experienced people, never was better or even equal to majority of commercial juices I’ve tried.

Bottom line which I still stay with: yes, surely one can make a hobby by diy-ing and that’s fantastic. But, being just a guy who wants vaping in a practical way not loosing limited free time of mine I am coming to the coclusion which is frustrating: if you want to vape your favourite juices you will need to keep spending $$$ on them.

And, that’s what came as a surprise after 3 years of vaping. Because many of us started vaping to quit smoking at a first place but also found vaping less expensive, right? Well, in my country a pack of stinkies is 4€ now. Vape flavors I am ordering online are becoming more and more expensive but still mixing it yourself - even using more expensive ones like FLV or Hangsen - is much cheaper than smoking. But, once you end up buying commercial juices there’s practically no saving anymore.

It is not a decisive thing, don’t misunderstand. However expecting to save by mixing diy doesn’t work so far. Let’s be honest: if commercial juices were retail-priced at their production cost - who would by diy-iibg at all? Apart from few enthousiasts and hobbists? That’s my point finally: the majority of vapers (means not everyone but the majority) are striving with diy recepies just for the sake of their wallet (I know I’ll be critisised for that but it is fact) and vaping therefore less pleasing juices than they would’ve been vaping - if commercial juices were cheap.

Comparing that to food: I enjoy going restaurants eating nicely prepared food, wine etc but… at the end of the day I can always make my food much better and healthier at home. The time I spend in that makes sense - because ut is better food.

While in vaping my diy-ing doesn’t make sense if I exclude the pleasure of making a hobby out of it. But, excuse me, there are so many more pleasurable things to do in life than - mixing vape juices, right?

Which leads me to a conclusion: if I want to really enjoy vaping I need to go commercial juices and forget diy-ing. Do you think Leonardo di Caprio or Ben Affleck who quit smoking by vaping are mixing juices themselves?:grin::grin::grin::grin::grin::grin::grin::grin::grin::grin::grin::grin:

And, that’s the bottom line nobody can deny: mixing diy doesn’t pay. If you had the money for the stinkies - go ahead and just buy your best favourite juices out there and enjoy them. Why so much hipe about mixing? To save money? That’s it?
The only real trigger?

Would I be cooking at home if I found the restaurant food better and I had the money to pay for it? Well, yes from time to time just for the sake of friendship - like bbq in the garden. But, wouldn’t it be stupid to cook myself if restaurants were better and I had the money to afford them?

That’s my paradigma and frustration which I need to overcome. As it seems now - by quitting the DIY.


Just one simple final question to all who are reading this: how many of you have tried the Nasty commercial brand juices ? I am not making advertising here, not at all. But every their juice I’ve tried are soooo good. Starting from the 3 tobaccos (Gold, Silver, Bronze) to their grape-mango juice and that fuji apple.

How many of you tried the Nasty Silver ? Or the Black note by another producer ? They are so pleasing tobacco vapes that they were voted as best juices in UK years ago, I think back in 2016-2017. If you have not tried those you don’t know what a good vape is. And I am not exaggerating. I may not be as experienced in diy as many of you on this ELR forum but I’ve tried several things in the past 3 years.

I was surprised Wayne from DIYorDIE never tried the Nasty Silver. Well, how can you compare the real quality of your Ford or Toyota if you never tried to drive a Mercedes-Maybach or Ferrari ? You can’t. Period.

So, I would like to see a comment of smbdy who has experience with some top commercial juices but still claiming diy is better. Yes, you may love your old Ford because of your nostalgy but can you say it is better for pleasure driving than the high end brands ? The big majority of regular users who don’t care about nostalgy but just judge driving on the real experience will admit top high end brands are much better. It is another subject this majority can’t afford a Mercedes Maybach or a Ferrari.

Now, if I had the money to buy a Ferrari would I even ever think of Dacia, Opel, Ford ? I suppose not and that’s the only fair and honest response. Which some of you will oppone but - it is what it is, right ? Better admit to yourself you’re vaping worse juices for the sake of your wallet than lie to yourself diy is better. Cause it ain’t.

Now go ahead and kill me with your criticism because at the end - this is a DIY forum so the majority of users are diy-ers, right ? I just hope you really believe your own fictions. And, try to go sell the best of your diy-juices to Leonardo or Ben ? :rofl:


I’d go for that if the estimated diy vapers were not only some 30% estimated. I discuss the subject in general, not the individual preferences. I can accept there are few users who make 10 liters of their favourite diy liquid and they are happy with it. If one is looking for chasing clouds or just get high on 50mg nic thatlogically means they don’t care about the flavor. But, are they the majority?