What is Mouth to Lung Vaping? DTL VS MTL vaping

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Today we’ll be looking at the difference between MTL and DTL vaping. So what is MTL & DTL vaping?

MTL is short for Mouth To Lung and DTL – Direct To Lung. Today we’ll be looking into why they are called that, the hallmarks of MTL/DTL vapes and what the alternatives are.

Mouth To Lung VS Direct To Lung Vaping Explained:

  1. Why is it called Mouth to Lung Vaping?
  2. What constitutes an MTL Vape?
  3. What is Mouth to Lung Vaping Good For? Would I Like MTL Vapes?
  4. What are the Alternatives to MTL Vapes?
  5. What is Direct to Lung Vaping?
  6. What Makes a DTL Vape?
  7. What is Direct to Lung Vaping Good For? Would I Like DTL Vapes?
  8. What are the Alternatives to DTL Vapes?

What is mouth to lung (MTL) vaping?

“Mouth to lung,” also known as “MTL,” quite simply describes the inhalation process for certain electronic cigarettes which utilise mouth to lung vape tanks.

Much like the way you might draw smoke from a cigarette, or drink from a straw, MTL means using the expansion of your oral cavity to draw vapour in and then breathing it down with a sharp intake of fresh air.

It may seem an odd term, but mouth to lung/MTL has become a household term within vaping culture, an everyday description covering half the vaping world’s method of intake.

Walk into any vape shop and ask about their MTL vapes and the salesperson will quickly show you a range of specific vaping devices that all fall within certain parameters. So what exactly make up these parameters?

What constitutes an MTL Vape?

The three elements which determine whether or not a vaping device is MTL are coil resistance, wattage output and e-liquid composition.

As you probably know, every e-cig requires coils to fire; these are the columns of steel, cotton and wire which sit in your tank, absorb the e-liquid then vaporise it when the device is activated.

If you take a look at the coil you’ll doubtless see a number printed onto it next to an ‘omega’ symbol i.e: 1.5Ω.

This number determines the electrical resistance of the coil, and to avoid getting bogged down in technical jargon; the lower the number, the more vapour it produces.

MTL produces a moderate amount of vapour, and as such will rarely ever be lower than 0.8Ω and usually somewhere between 1.5Ω – 1.8Ω.

Your device’s wattage also determines its classification; higher-resistance MTL coils generally require a relatively low amount of wattage to fire, often between 8W – 15W.

Some devices such as the SMOK Nord 2 allow you to alter the wattage output but others such as the Innokin T-18II are fixed to a low output such as 13W, which is guaranteed to work within the device’s coils.

Lastly you need to consider the mixture of your chosen e-liquid. E-liquid is primarily made up of two harmless chemicals; vegetable glycerine (VG) and propylene glycol (PG), mixed with flavour concentrates and nicotine solutions.

The VG/PG ratio decides whether or not the e-liquid is meant for use in an MTL vape; e-liquids high in VG are generally too thick and gloopy for an MTL coil to soak effectively, and likely won’t vaporise at the lower wattages used by mouth to lung vape kits, which are better served by e-liquids with a higher PG or an equal VG/PG ratio, often referred to as ‘50/50 e-liquid.’

Popular M2L Kits

Aspire PockeX


You can get a vilter vape for under £50
Aspire Vilter


Uwell Caliburn


This information will always be clearly displayed on the e-liquid bottle and any experienced vape salesperson will be able to help you make an informed choice.

A mouth to lung kit is traditionally on the smaller size, often a simple vape pen or battery & vape tank setup or compact pod system like JUUL designed for ease of use, as most recent smokers/new vapers will likely opt for an M2L kit.

What is Mouth to Lung Vaping Good For? Would I Like MTL Vapes?

Mouth to lung vaping is generally the preferred avenue for recent smokers and people seeking to substitute tobacco smoke with a harmless alternative.

MTL vapes are usually simpler devices with less superfluous features or confusing digital menus, designed to replicate the experience of cigarette smoking as best as possible.

High-PG and 50/50 e-liquids will deliver a sharp ‘hit’ to the chest when inhaled, very similar to a satisfying drag from a cigarette.

The thin e-liquid will only produce a moderate amount of vapour, which dissipates instantly and doesn’t cling to fabrics and clothing the way noxious tobacco smoke will.

Mouth to lung vaping is not only more effective at helping people leave smoking behind, it’s also seen as the more considerate and socially acceptable vaping method; no one will bat an eye at someone using an Aspire Vilter outside a café but a huge plume of thick sub-ohm vapor from a bulky Voopoo DRAG 2 might be seen as somewhat antisocial in certain public settings.

If you’re reading this article because you’re concerned about the effects of smoking and wish to instead pursue a harmless method of nicotine satisfaction then MTL vaping is definitely for you.

There are a vast number of unique mouth to lung vape kits, any one of which could be the device which helps you finally step off the smoker’s path.

What Are The Alternatives to MTL Vapes?

Of course MTL only makes up half of vaping. There are many seeking not a replacement for cigarettes but instead a more novel, ‘shisha’ style experience.

Direct to lung vapes, also known as DTL, instead utilise different batteries, coils and e-liquids to instead produce vast amounts of low-nicotine vapor that create thick clouds and do not cause the same satisfying chest hit upon inhalation.

While many do derive nicotine relief from DTL “sub-ohm” vaping, it is seen as a more recreational path of vaping due to there being less focus on nicotine strength and more potential for visually impressive vapour tricks.

We will be doing a more in-depth study of DTL vaping soon, so be sure to check in for more digestible explanations of vaping fundamentals.

What is Direct to Lung Vaping?

DTL is a form of vaping that pursues taste and cloud over nicotine hits.

Direct to lung vaping attained its name due to the way in which you inhale certain kinds of e-cigarette vapour.

With a Direct to Lung, or DTL vape, the user activates the unit and then breathes straight into the lungs, as if you were using an inhaler. MTL stands for mouth to lung, as the vapour goes into the mouth and then into the lungs consequently.

Contrary to believe, DTL vapes, which produce vast clouds are actually often much easier to inhale from than smaller devices which produce lesser amounts of vape.

There are a number of factors determining the rasp and ‘throat hit’ of your vape as well as several aspects and elements that define what constitutes a DTL vaping device, not just the huge clouds of vapour.

What Makes a DTL Vape?

You can’t identify a DTL vape by sight anymore; let us help you navigate the world of DTL.

It used to be the case that DTL vapes were easily identified by sheer size; DTL vapes generally require larger battery capacities than other devices, and as such it was a category almost entirely made up of big, chunky battery units that took up a whole fist and barely fit in the pocket.

These are still available, but the industry has moved on to more streamlined and compact designs in order to appeal to a wider audience.

DTL vapes today are identified by several factors besides size. Every vape needs three things to function; coils, power output and e-liquid. By analysing these three aspects we can determine the vape’s category.

Coils are the metal elements that sit within your tank or pod, soaking up your e-liquid and vaporizing it. Coils always have their electrical resistance printed on the side, also known as their “ohmage.”

Coils with an ohmage of less than 1Ω are referred to as “sub-ohm” coils, meaning less than a single ohm (eg: 0.5Ω, 0.2Ω, 0.15Ω, etc). This lack of resistance is intentional; the power flowing into the coil from the battery unit will produce as much vapour as possible, nothing standing in the way of the power unleashing vast amounts of vapour.

Speaking of power, DTL vapes are likely to require relatively high wattage outputs, often ranging anywhere between 20W – 220W. This is why DTL vape units were traditionally much larger, though these days manufacturers have produced much smaller yet equally powerful battery units to power your vape.

Finally, there’s the e-liquid to consider. Sub-ohm coils that are used in a DTL vape will often be built with thicker, high-VG e-liquid in mind. VG, or vegetable glycerine, is one of the two main ingredients in all e-liquid. It’s a thick, sugary substance that creates larger clouds which are typical of a DTL vape.

While not a universal rule, generally coils designed to absorb the thicker VG e-liquids are unable to hold onto thinner e-liquids which often leads to spills and leaks. Concurrently, VG e-liquids are often too thick to efficiently absorb into MTL coils.

What is Direct to Lung Vaping Good For? Would I Like DTL Vapes?

DTL vaping is usually considered a somewhat more recreational route. Make no mistake; you’re still inhaling nicotine!

However, the nicotine strengths of DTL vape liquids are usually weaker as you’ll be inhaling much larger quantities, necessitating a weaker nicotine content you won’t be overwhelmed by.

As a result, DTL vapes are generally more popular with people who either quit smoking some time ago or have relatively low nicotine cravings and are more interested in exciting flavours and exhaling large, eye catching clouds.

Those looking to purchase high-VG e-liquids usually find themselves with more flavours to choose from than those simply looking to recreate the cigarette experience.

DTL vapes are quite flashy, with the large clouds they produce being quite attention grabbing.

For this reason some people are reluctant to use them in certain social situations; your Aisu Blue Rasberry e-liquid might taste exceptional as you inhale it from your Uwell Crown IV tank, however you might ruffle some feathers if you exhale in a cramped pub garden or in the middle of someone’s wedding photos, so be sure to be aware of your surroundings before you unleash a lungful of Charlie’s Mustache Milk next to a baby stroller.

DTL sub-ohm coils are also often – though not universally – somewhat more costly than MTL coils, and as such while DTL vaping is still cheaper than smoking by far you do stand to spend slightly more than some other vapers.

What Are The Alternatives to DTL Vapes?

DTL isn’t for everyone; there’s a vape for every situation and scenario.

DTL is one aspect of vaping, and a very noticeable one at that. Fact is however that a great number of vapers are instead utilising MTL kits; far less noticeable and more geared towards immediate nicotine satisfaction.

MTL, short for “mouth to lung,” describes the inhalation method for devices which utilise higher resistance coils, lower wattage outputs and thinner, 50/50 or PG-centric e-liquids. Much like a cigarette the vapour is drawn into the mouth and then taken down to the lung with a sharp intake of breath.

The vapour from a MTL kit, while wispier and quicker to dissipate, actually feels far more intense and gives a satisfying ‘hit’ to the chest and throat that DTL vapes lack.

We hope that this guide on some of the ins and outs of DTL vaping has made things a little clearer for you and assists you in your choice of which vape to buy. If you’re still unsure then don’t hesitate to subscribe to the MIST TV YouTube channel for frequently posted videos on vaping releases and terminology.

Or if you prefer that human element then come on down to one of our locations in Brighton & Hove. We’ll be happy to discuss your situation and requirements and should be able to help you make an informed choice for your vaping gear.

Be it MTL, DTL, pods, tanks or salts, we’ve definitely got the right device to help you start living without smoke. Thanks for reading!

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