Mouth To Lung vs Direct To Lung Vaping

Over the years, the vaping scene has undergone some major changes in its purpose, appeal and culture. Its roots were dug deeply in it being largely for smokers as a way of helping them come off cigarettes, using e-cigarettes and vape pens as their replacement. Whilst this hasn't necessarily gone anywhere, vaping branched off to form new styles of vaping as well as a variety of different e-cigs that are now available.

Today, two styles of vaping dominate the scene, these being mouth to lung (MTL) and direct to lung (DTL) vaping. These two styles of vaping offer very different experiences, and knowing the differences can help you to achieve a more personal, and enjoyable vaping experience. Therefore, regardless of whether you're a new vaper or a more experienced one, it can be very beneficial to sink your teeth into the differences and learn what makes each vaping style unique.

What is mouth to lung vaping?

Mouth to lung vaping is the act of taking the vapour into your mouth first before inhaling it into your lungs and breathing it out. The feel of MTL vaping is more similar to that of a cigarette, and is therefore preferred by ex-smokers, largely due to its tighter draw and lower vapour production.

How do you vape mouth to lung?

Take a drag of the e-cigarette and hold the vapour in your mouth first. After doing so, take a deep breath in and inhale the vapour into your lungs. After holding the vapour in your lungs for a moment, exhale and enjoy the flavour of your vape juice.

What is direct to lung vaping?

Direct to lung vaping involves inhaling the vapour straight to your lung. In direct lung vaping, you do not hold any vapour in your mouth first. It is similar to taking a deep breath of air and then breathing it out. It is also known as sub-ohm vaping. This vaping style produces extremely large clouds and are preferred more by hobbyists and those who want to perform vape tricks.

How do you vape direct to lung?

For those who are only used to smoking cigarettes or even most e-cigs, direct to lung vaping will seem quite different at first, so would be forgiven for thinking that the inhalation works the same way! This is until you take a drag from a DTL vape. Due to the large amounts of vapour that these vapes produce, it is important to take smooth, steady and controlled inhales. The draw should last a few seconds, as opposed to the sharper puffs that you would normally take in a MTL style.

Restricted Direct-lung Vaping

Now, I know we said there's only two styles of vaping... So what's this? Well, restricted direct-lung vaping, otherwise known as RDL, is a newer style that is essentially the middle-ground between mouth-to-lung and direct lung vaping. It is closer to direct to lung vaping in that you inhale the same way, however, less vapour is produced as you do not require as much airflow.


Before we delve into which e-liquids are best for an MTL device and direct lung inhaling, it's worth clarifying a few things first. The terms VG and PG are sure to come up a lot when browsing e-juice, and there's an important distinction.

  • VG - Vegetable Glycerine
  • PG - Propylene Glycol

Depending on the ratio you have, it can completely change the experience you have when vaping and can be an immediate turn off for new vapers if not to their liking.

Which e-liquids are best for Mouth to lung vaping?

When it comes to MTL vaping, the best type of e-liquid to use is one with a higher-PG ratio. E-liquids with a higher ratio of PG also have a higher nicotine strength, which provides more of a throat hit that ex-smokers are used to. This is why MTL vaping is also preferred by those who are looking for alternatives to cigarettes, as an MTL vape not only allows for more nicotine but better replicates the experience of smoking a cigarette as a throat hit is an aspect of smoking that many people enjoy.

As well as this, vapes are also designed from a technical perspective to work better with certain types of e-liquid. The coils in MTL vape kits have a higher resistance, and so if you were to use an e-liquid with a higher VG content, it would mean it's much thicker and the coil will not be able to vaporise the juice effectively. This can result in burning the e-liquid.

What e-liquids are best for Direct to lung vaping?

Direct-lung vaping is all about blowing large, impressive clouds of vapour. To achieve this, DTL vapes are best used with higher VG e-liquids. This higher content of VG compared to PG is what allows for vapers to blow the impressive clouds of smoke whilst maintaining a smooth throat hit. Attempting to drag an e-liquid with a higher content of PG on a sub-ohm vape device will result in a much harsher throat hit with minimal vapour.

The ratio of VG to PG is very much a personal choice, but there are some great options out there to try and experiment with to see what you enjoy the most.

Browse our wide range of vape juices here and filter to find your preferred style and flavour.


Ok, so you know what type of e-liquid is more up your street. Easy right? Well, yes and no. Remember when we said finding your sweet spot is sometimes trial and error? Well, deciding on your preferred nicotine content will be one of those areas and it's very dependent on a few things.

  • 0 mg - This is the nicotine free choice, a great choice for the social smokers out there. If you're somebody who just enjoys a few puffs every now and then, or if you prioritise blowing big clouds over your nicotine intake, nicotine-free e-liquids are perfect for you.

  • 3mg - The lowest nicotine level available, this is generally best for ex-smokers who are on the last stage of their mission to quit. This is also a good option for very light smokers who still enjoy that hit of nicotine but don't smoke too often.

  • 6mg - Whilst this is still a lower option, this is best for those who smoke more than a few cigarettes a day. This amount will give you that light buzz of nicotine that you may be after, without being overly powerful.

  • 12mg - This option is best suited for more of the average smoker. If you smoke a pack a day or thereabouts, this is a good place for you to start as you transition to vaping.

  • 18mg - This is a much higher amount of nicotine, best for individuals who are getting through more than a pack of cigarettes a day. If you smoke this much but opt for a lower amount of nicotine, you will find yourself puffing away a lot more throughout the day as you will not get the amount of nicotine your body needs.

  • 20mg - This is the maximum amount of nicotine available. This is best for heavy smokers who have just made the transition to vaping and are heavy smokers. If possible, it is worth trying out both 18mg and 20mg to see which one is best for you.

Nicotine for MTL vaping

This is really quite a hard one to narrow down because it highly depends on the individual and their smoking or vaping preferences. As we've discussed, MTL vaping is more commonly favoured by those who are ex-smokers. Because of this, they are not looking for impressive clouds but more of that nicotine and throat hit that they both like and are used to.

MTL vaping involves using more nicotine, but the amount you use will depend on a few factors. These will include things such as how frequently you used to smoke, the strengths of the cigarette themselves and how recently you've quit smoking. Even your lung capacity can be an important factor. That's why we've said it can sometimes be a bit of a trial and error to figure out what nicotine level suits you best.

If you've recently quit smoking, you may want to try higher levels of nicotine such as 18mg or 20mg. This will better help you to satisfy your cravings.

A good option is to try nic salts as they often come in a range of delicious flavours and high nicotine strengths. They are produced more specifically for those who are interested in nicotine consumption, rather than cloud production. Nic salts are also absorbed into the bloodstream faster, which is ideal for those trying to quit smoking.

Check out our blog on the best nic salts to try to help you find the right one for you.

Nicotine for DTL vaping

When looking at the nicotine strength between MTL and DTL, they differ quite drastically. Direct-lung vaping is all about producing impressive clouds. To do this, it means using a high-powered device that allows vapers to inhale a lot more vapour than they would on a MTL vape device. Because you are inhaling a lot more vapour into your lungs in this style, it means that you're also inhaling more nicotine. Therefore, DTL vaping requires a lot less nicotine than MTL does.

Nicotine is also a big contributing factor to the throat hit. If you inhale large amounts of nicotine when DTL vaping, it will create a much harsher throat hit and can often be very unpleasant.

Most DTL vapers out there tend to either use nicotine-free e-liquids, or 3-6mg of nicotine for a satisfying and smooth DTL experience. Adding a nic shot to a shortfill is a great way for vapers to achieve this amount of nicotine.

MTL Vape Tanks

MTL tanks are designed to emulate the draw of a cigarette. To create this, they have a narrower airflow system than DTL tanks which allows for more resistance when you draw. This is what creates that cigarette-like draw. The mouthpieces of MTL tanks are also thinner to further replicate the feeling of smoking. E-cigs

The Innokin Zlide Tank is to create the optimum MTL experience for vapers. It comes with a 1.6 ohm coil that vapers can pair.

Check out our full range of MTL tanks.

DTL Vape Tanks

DTL vape tanks, better known as sub-ohm tanks, are designed differently to MTL tanks to allow for more vapour to be produced. DTL vape tanks have a wider airflow system which allows for more vapour to be inhaled when vaping. However, it's not always this straightforward (we're about to get a bit more complex again).

Some DTL tanks are not designed to be able to wick VG liquids of 80% and over. This is because when the VG content is that high, the e-liquid becomes very viscous and sticky. Many coils and wicks inside sub-ohm tanks are not able to handle the thicker, more viscous e-liquid.

Mouthpieces are also different on sub-ohm tanks. They are designed to be a lot wider, thus allowing users to inhale more vapour.

For a DTL vape tank that can create some serious clouds, The HorizonTech Falcon II Tank is a must have. It also comes with an adjustable airflow system, allowing for even further customisation to help you find that vaping sweet spot.

Click here to see the rest of our excellent range of sub-ohm tanks.


The coil plays a very important part inside of your vape. You will find the coil inside either the tank, pod, or cartridge depending on what vape device or vape pen that you are using. The coil works alongside the wick, which is typically made of cotton.

However, coils can come in a variety of different materials and these can also affect how you vape. This is where vaping can get increasingly more technical.

The wick soaks up the vape juice and is then heated up by the coil. This is what creates the vapour that you then inhale into your lungs.

MTL Coils

Typically, coils that are used for mouth to lung vaping are not designed to produce large clouds of vapour. Therefore, MTL vaping requires less power, but higher resistance coils. This means using an MTL coil - one that has resistance of 1.0 ohm or more. However many find that this rule of thumb is becoming increasingly outdated as the technology in vaping keeps on improving.

Some tanks will utilise low coil resistance but due to the materials used and adjustable power options on many vape devices, they will still be considered MTL. We know, it can get confusing, but thankfully the thanks that these coils are compatible with will be marketed as either MTL or DTL to ease of understanding.

Find the right MTL coil here.

DTL Coils

DTL vaping requires lower resistance coils which is what allows for larger vapour production. Also known as sub-ohm coils, these are coils that have resistance of less than 1.0 ohm. Direct-lung coils are used at a higher wattage compared to that of MTL coils. Coils that are made for a direct-lung style of vaping are made with thicker wires. This allows the wires to hold a greater wattage for longer without damaging your vape.

Shop our range of sub-ohm coils here.

Which is better, MTL or DTL vaping?

Neither style is better than the other - what it comes down to is personal preference and what you are trying to get out of vaping. For the new vapers, MTL vaping is a good choice, especially for ex-smokers. DTL can be a bit intense for new vapers and ex-smokers due to the difference in inhalation style and large amount of vapour. However, if you are someone who is more interested in cloud chasing, DTL is the way to go.

If flavour is the priority, then it may require a bit of experimentation to find what e-liquids and VG/PG ratio works best for you personally. In general, it is agreed that MTL provides better flavour. However, you can also get excellent bursts of flavour with DL vaping too as you are taking in larger amounts of vapour when you inhale.

Experiment with some of our vape kits and e-liquids today and enjoy the flavours that we have to offer!

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