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Mouth to Lung vs Direct to Lung Vaping

Vaping has become somewhat of a phenomenon in recent years, with it evolving from simply an alternative to help cigarette smokers to kick their habit to developing a subculture of its own. Spending just a few minutes on any vaping website will have you come across two terms; MTL (mouth-to-lung) and DTL (direct-to-lung). These two terms refer to the most prominent styles and techniques of vaping, including how you inhale but also the type of vaping device and hardware you need for each style. They sometimes go by other names, for example you can see mouth-to-lung vaping referred to as straight-to-lung vaping and direct-to-lung vaping referred to as direct-lung vaping or sub-ohm vaping.

It's important to point out that as vaping continuously evolves, the line between these two styles increasingly blurs. Vapers have growing more freedom and creativity with these styles to customise their vaping experience to suit their personal preferences thanks to vaping devices having better precise airflow adjustments, variable wattages (but more on all of this later). You may see the term RDL (restricted-direct-lung) vaping as you read on, and this style is relatively new, that is the blurred line between MTL and DTL.

Before you can call yourself a fully fledged vaper, you need to know the basics. So let's get started!


What is MTL vaping?

MTL vaping is a technique used to vape where you first take the vapour into your mouth before inhaling it into your lungs. It is very similar to that of smoking a cigarette, which is why many ex-smokers opt for mouth-to-lung style.

How to inhale for MTL vaping

To Mouth-to-lung vape, start by taking a shallow drag off your vape device, letting the vapour fill your mouth. Then, purse your lips and inhale the vapour gently into your lungs. Exhale the vapour and enjoy discreet clouds and great flavour.

What e-liquid is best for MTL vaping?

First of all, it's important to take a look at the different types of e-liquids on the market and what makes them better for certain styles. All e-liquids are made up of two main ingredients; VG (vegetable glycerin) and PG (propylene glycol). Depending on the ratio of these two ingredients, the given e-liquid will be better suited to a certain style. VG is thicker and PG is thinner, meaning that if an e-liquid is higher in VG the e-liquid will be more gloopy, and as such will require a stronger device to vaporise it. 

When it comes to e-liquids, there are three main types: shortfills, nic salts and 50/50 e-juices. Shortfills are typically higher in VG, which gives them a smoother, more voluminous vapour. Nic salts are higher in nicotine and 50/50 e-juices are a balance of VG and PG, which provides a more traditional smoking experience. Because MTL vape devices operate at lower wattages, you want to choose an e-liquid that has a high PG ratio. 50/50 e-liquids are a good choice as they provide a good throat hit that many ex-smokers might be seeking as well as producing good flavour and decent clouds.

Nic salts are a great option for vapers who prefer MTL as this type of vape juice has a high nicotine strength without a harsh throat hit. Because nic salts are only available in higher strengths of nicotine, they are not suitable for direct-lung vaping as the throat hit would be far too harsh due to the amount of juice that is being vaporised. 

What nicotine content is best for mouth-to-lung vaping?

MTL vapers typically use juices with higher nicotine levels than those who vape using the direct-lung inhale method. This is because MTL vaping simulates the act of smoking a cigarette, and smokers typically have a higher tolerance for nicotine than non-smokers.

The best nicotine strength for mouth-to-lung vaping will vary from person to person, but generally speaking, MTL vapers should start with a strength of 6mg or higher. If you find that you are not satisfied with the amount of nicotine you are getting from your e-liquid, you can always increase the strength until you find the perfect balance for you.

For heavy smokers who have just transitioned, you may find that 6mg or 10mg just isn't curbing those cravings. In which case, you can get vape juices that have higher nicotine levels such 20mg or 18mg which should help provide a more satisfying vape.

What coils are best for MTL?

There are a few different factors to consider when choosing the right coils for mouth-to-lung vaping, including coil resistance and ohms. Generally, high resistance coils are best for mouth-to-lung vaping, as they provide a tighter draw that simulates the feeling of smoking a traditional cigarette. Also referred to as plus-ohm coils, they will have a resistance of 1.0ohm or above.

However, it's important to point out that you may very well come across coils that have a resistance of below 1.0ohms that are called MTL coils. Now, I know you're probably reading this thinking "but Dr. Vapes, didn't you just say that MTL is for coils of 1.0ohm and above?" Yes, yes I did. However, do you remember that style of vaping that was mentioned earlier called RDL? You may come across 0.7, 0.8 or 0.9ohm coils listed as MTL or RDL meaning that whilst they are technically sub-ohm coils, they can still perform more like a MTL vape, especially when the airflow on your tank is adjusted.

What hardware is used for MTL vaping?

MTL vape kits tends to use pods rather than tanks. Some do still use tanks, however their design is still different to a sub-ohm tank. MTL tanks and replacement pods have a narrower mouthpiece to cater for a tighter airflow, as well as replicating the sensation of smoking a cigarette.


What is DTL vaping?

DTL vaping is a type of vaping that involves inhaling the vapours directly into the lungs. A DTL style of vaping is done with either a sub-ohm tank or an RDA, and usually requires a higher wattage than MTL vaping.

How to inhale for DTL? 

In order to sub-ohm vape, you will need to take a deep breath in and then inhale the vapour directly into your lungs. Then, exhale slowly. DL vaping is not recommended for beginners, as it can be harsh on the throat and lungs if you're not used to it. If you are a new vaper, we do recommend starting with mouth-to-lung vaping first.

What e-liquid is best for DTL vaping?

For direct-lung vaping, e-liquids with a higher VG (vegetable glycerin) content are generally better. Higher VG e-liquids are much thicker, as such require more power devices to vapourise them. This higher VG content is what produces the larger clouds, which is ideal for DTL vaping. Generally, you want to be looking at vape juices that have a VG/PG ratio of 70/30 or 80/20.

What nicotine content is best for DTL vaping?

Sub-ohm devices are a lot more powerful than MTL devices, and as such more e-liquid is vapourised. Because of this, lower strength nicotine is necessary for sub-ohm vaping otherwise you would simply be inhaling too much nicotine in one drag and the throat hit would be way too harsh if you were to use higher strength vape juices such as nic salts

We recommend starting with a lower nicotine content (3mg or less). Experienced vapers who prefer DL vaping often find that they enjoy higher nicotine strengths such as 6mg because they can take bigger puffs and get more nicotine per puff, however we wouldn't recommend any higher. 

What coils are best for DTL?

Direct-to-lung vaping requires low resistance coils. This will allow you to produce larger clouds of vapour and enjoy a more intense flavour experience. If you are using a sub-ohm tank, make sure that the wattage rating of the coil is compatible with your device. If you are using a rebuildable atomiser, you can experiment with different resistances to find what works best for you.

Some of the most popular direct-to-lung coils have resistances of 0.5 ohms or less. These coils can be used with both sub-ohm tanks and rebuildable atomisers. If you are using a sub-ohm tank, it is important to make sure that the wattage rating of the coil is compatible with your device. The material and build on the coil are also two important factors to take into consideration, as mesh coils made from high grade Kanthal are excellent for vapour production due to the larger surface area and ability to heat to higher temperatures.

What hardware is used for DTL vaping?

There are many different types of tanks available on the market, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. When it comes to sub-ohm vaping, however, there are a few key things to look for in a tank in order to get the best possible experience.

It is important to choose a tank that has adjustable airflow. This is because, when vaping at sub-ohm levels, you will need to increase the amount of air that is flowing through the tank in order to avoid dry hits. Secondly, it is also a good idea to choose a tank that has a large e-liquid capacity. This is because you will be using up more e-liquid when sub-ohm vaping, so a larger tank will mean that you don't have to constantly refill.

Tanks catered for direct-lung also have a much wider mouthpiece to cater for the looser airflow and large amounts of vapour that you will be inhaling.

So, which is best for you?

The answer to this question very much depends on why you have decided to start vaping. For those who have just made the transition from smoking, we recommend starting with MTL vaping as it will feel more familiar in terms of the vaping style but also provide a greater nicotine hit. The Uwell Caliburn A2 is a gorgeous, sleek and compact pod kit that provides great flavour with a smooth and satisfying inhale. Also from Uwell, the KOKO pod kit is a hugely popular choice for those who enjoy on-the-go vaping. If you're after a pen style kit, take a look at popular Aspire PockeX Kit.

MTL vaping is also a great choice for new vapers who have never smoked before but want to try it out. If this is the case, we recommend using low strength or even 0mg nicotine e-liquids as you can enjoy all of the flavour without the nicotine. 

For more advanced vapers or the cloud chaser out there, direct-to-lung vaping is the way to go. The Geekvape Aegis Legend 2 Kit is a high-powered with a range of excellent features such as a variable wattage mode, variable power curve mode and temperature control mode allowing vapers to customise their experience to their liking. If you're after a power sub-ohm device that isn't too clunky and complicated, check out the Vaporesso Swag PX80 Kit. Combining power with simplicity, this vape is a real winner. Explore our range of mods to find one that's right for you!

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