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MTL (Mouth-To-Lung) vs. DL (Direct Lung) Tank Systems

Jeremy Salter
by · October 20, 2016

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MTL (Mouth-To-Lung) vs. DL (Direct Lung) VapingIf you’ve been shopping for new vaping gear, you’ve probably noticed 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

Sub-Ohm DL & MTL TanksBecause 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.

Be Sure to Consider The Coils

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, but if you have a strong preference for a specific style, you might want to buy something specialized. Most sub-ohm tanks are designed for direct-lung vaping, and a number of tanks are now being produced specifically for MTL-style vaping.

What’s been your experience with MTL vs. DL vaping? Which do you prefer, what tank do you use and how does it perform?

2 Responses

  1. February 23, 2017

    […] often get asked “what’s the best MTL tank,” and although we haven’t tried it for ourselves yet, the 24mm Cthulhu MTL RTA […]

  2. September 18, 2017

    […] been a while since we’ve seen an RTA designed for mouth-to-lung (MTL) vaping, but if you’re looking for a quality rebuildable with a tighter draw and outstanding flavor […]

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