If you’ve been shopping for new vaping gear, you’ve probably seen the terms MTL (mouth-to-lung) and DL (direct-lung) used to describe some tanks and coils. These terms refer to completely different styles of vaping, and the method you use will depend on your experience and preferences. Most beginners start with MTL vaping, since it most closely replicates the “mouth-to-lung” hit when using a traditional cigarette, while DL vaping is often reserved for more advanced users who want to maximize performance while using high-powered mods and sub-ohm tanks.
So what’s the difference between direct-lung and mouth-to-lung vaping, and why does it matter? Every vapor user needs to know the difference because it will have a huge impact on your product choices and your level of satisfaction.
Difference in Vaping Styles
DL and MTL vaping are two different “styles” of drawing in vapor on an electronic cigarette. Here is a general overview of both vaping methods:
- Mouth-To-Lung (MTL) Vaping – Just like it sounds, mouth-to-lung style vaping is the process of drawing vapor into your mouth and then pulling it into your lungs – before exhaling. This most closely replicates a traditional cigarette and requires a tank with a tight draw with restricted airflow.
- Direct-Lung (DL) Vaping – Direct-lung style vaping is accomplished by drawing vapor directly into your lungs, without pulling it into your mouth first. This can feel unnatural or uncomfortable at first, but it results in more vapor production and flavor. To achieve a good direct-lung hit, your tank needs plenty of airflow to accommodate the increased air requirements.
The method you use is a matter of personal preference. As I’ve already mentioned, beginners often start with MTL vaping and then switch to DL as they become more comfortable. Some go straight for DL-style, while others stick exclusively to mouth-to-lung vaping since it definitely feels the most natural.
Personally, I was a MTL’er for several years before I made the switch. At first direct-lung caused my throat to feel scratchy, and even made me cough. But eventually (after plenty of experimentation) it became much more appealing and I appreciated the improved flavor and vapor production.
How to Choose the Right Tank
Because each style of vaping has different requirements, it’s important to choose the right type of components to create a satisfying experience. This is especially true when it comes to tanks, since the design will determine if it’s better for DL or MTL vaping. In general, mouth-to-lung vaping requires a tighter draw, while direct-lung requires a more airy draw with increased levels of airflow.
Most tanks have adjustable airflow, which can certainly help you customize your experience, but some tanks do not provide enough customization to make them appropriate for both styles of vaping. Either they provide too much restriction for direct-lung vaping, or they don’t restrict enough for MTL-style.
In addition, the coils included with some tanks are designed specifically for MTL vaping, while others are better for direct-lung. MTL coils are often labeled as such and typically have an ohm-rating of 1 ohm or higher. Sub-ohm coils (less than 1 ohm) are almost always better for DL-style vaping, since they vaporize e-liquid faster and keep up with the increased airflow requirements.
The best sub-ohm tank systems offer coils for both DL and MTL vaping.
TOP PICK: Best MTL-Style Tank
I really liked the original Joyetech Cubis Tank, but I like the Cubis Pro Tank even better. It’s a super affordable option costing less than $20, plus it’s cup-shaped design is truly leak-free. It has a nice tight draw for mouth-to-lung style vaping, and the Cubis Pro has new LVC (liquid valve control) coils which solve the wicking and dry hit problems of the original. It comes with a few sub-ohm coils and isn’t bad for direct-lung vaping, but it’s limited airflow, small chimney and 1.5 ohm LVC Clapton Coil are ideal for mouth-to-lung.
TOP PICK: Best Direct-Lung Tank
For those who prefer to build their own coils, I’d definitely recommend the Geekvape Griffin Tank over the Eagle. They’re very similar tanks, but if you’re looking for simplicity and high quality pre-built coils, the Geekvape Eagle Tank is the way to go for DL-style vaping. Not only does it offer numerous Handbuilt Coil options, but it has amazing airflow to satisfy even the most vapor hungry enthusiast. It offers quad adjustable airflow on the base, along with an optional top airflow cap to generate massive lung hits. It also has 6.2ml of capacity, since you’ll be blowing through e-juice with this DL setup.
TOP PICK: Best Combination Tank
If you’re anything like me and enjoy switching between MTL and DL-style vaping, you’ll need a good combination tank the excels at both. The Aspire Triton 2 Tank does just that, providing outstanding airflow for direct-lung vaping, as well as enough restriction to offer a quality MTL-style vape. There are numerous sub-ohm coil options for this tank, but the 1.8 ohm coil is ideal for mouth-to-lung vaping, especially with the adjustable airflow control throttled all the way down. With this tank, you can start with MTL and then transition into a direct-lung configuration with a sub-ohm coil.
What’s been your experience with MTL vs. DL vaping? Which do you prefer, what tank do you use and how does it perform?