The Vape Store Blog

The difference between Mouth-to-Lung and Direct Lung vaping

When you first begin vaping, you’ll come across a couple of terms that may seem confusing at first. They are Mouth-to-Lung (or MTL) and Direct Lung (or DL). Basically, they’re the two ways of inhaling from your device. Let’s go into some detail about the differences between these two styles.

What is Mouth-to-Lung (MTL) vaping?

Cigarettes have a tight or restricted inhale, which is comparable in vaping to the Mouth-to-Lung (MTL) inhale. The term MTL indicates in which order the vapour travels through the body:

  • The user inhales from the device into their mouth.
  • The vapour settles there momentarily.
  • The user then inhales further into their lung.
  • The vapour is then exhaled.

MTL vaping results in a small cloud of vapour. This is similar to the amount of smoke created by a cigarette. This experience is close to the experience of smoking, which is why MTL vaping is usually recommended for new vapers.


What is Direct Lung (DL) vaping?

Direct Lung (DL) vaping is very different to MTL vaping. Again, the term indicates in which order the vapour travels through the body:

  • The user inhales deeply from the device directly into their lung.
  • The vapour is then exhaled.

This results in a large cloud of vapour, and it is precisely for this reason that it needs to be inhaled this way. The amount of vapour produced by DL devices is too uncomfortable to hold for any period of time in the mouth, and so it must be inhaled deeper.



This image shows the different styles of inhaling. On the left is an MTL inhale, and on the right is a DL inhale. Notice the difference in movement of the vapour.


Which style would I prefer?

This differs from one person to the next.

Most often, a new user who is looking to cut down or quit cigarettes would find MTL vaping better suited to their needs. Click To Tweet

While there are some exceptions to this rule, most people need to get used to the differences between smoking and vaping before they can inhale deeper.

Direct Lung vaping may be more natural for those who smoke from a pipe or enjoy using shisha, as they may naturally be used to a bigger inhale. Click To Tweet

Likewise, experienced vapers will get used to the smoothness of vapour and the increased size of vapour particles. Most people will be able to transition to a bigger inhale as their lung capacity increases.


So, do I just vape differently? Or is the style determined by the device?

Inhaling Mouth-to-Lung or Direct Lung is determined by the style of device you’re using. Some devices are capable of both styles of vaping just by using a different coil, but we’ll get into that another time.

Most beginner starter kit devices can be used for MTL vaping. They use higher-resistance coils which mean the device runs at a lower wattage (less power) and won’t burn as much liquid. These coils are often thinner, with less room for air to travel through them. This results in the restricted inhale necessary for MTL vaping.

Direct Lung devices are usually more expensive for many reasons. They have what’s called adjustable wattage, which allows you to change the amount of power going through the device. For this reason they require an LED screen so you can see your settings. They are usually more robust in their build quality, with more complex and costly components. The coils used in these tanks are bigger, with more cotton that holds more juice, more wire, and bigger holes for the air to travel through. This results in the open, deep inhale necessary for DL vaping.


What’s the best MTL device? How about DL?

The Vape Store sells a range of devices in each of these styles.

In terms of MTL, beginner starter kits are always best. The Innokin Endura T18 is one of the best on the market, as are the more recent Innokin Endura T20 and slightly less-restricted Innokin Endura T20-S. There’s also basic adjustable wattage on the Innokin T20-S EZ.WATT, and adjustable airflow on the Eleaf iStick Basic. Joyetech have slightly less restricted starter kits in the form of the Joyetech Penguin and Joyetech Dolphin kits, and Aspire similarly have the tiny Aspire Breeze kit.

In terms of DL, there are hundreds of combinations you could choose, so we will just list a few of the most popular ones here for you.

Moving on from the starter kits, the Eleaf iStick Pico 25, the Eleaf iStick Kiya, the Vaporesso Revenger Mini, the Vaporesso Swag, the Smok Q-BOX, and the Smok AL85 Alien Baby all house between 50 and 85 watts of power, so they’re going to provide a bigger inhale without being too overpowering for most. Some of these will require separate 18650 batteries, too (check the individual product descriptions).

If you still want more, then the Smok Alien, the Smok G-PRIV 2, the Smok Veneno, the Smok Majesty (in Carbon Fibre or Resin), the Smok GX 2/4, the Vaporesso Revenger X, the Vaporesso Revenger GO, the Wismec Reuleaux RX Gen3, and the Wismec Reuleaux RX2 are all excellent options. These will all require 18650 batteries (or 20700 batteries) and external battery chargers, too.


Hopefully we have been able to clear up some of the confusion surrounding the different styles of vaping. If you need any more assistance, feel free to contact us at our Holden Hill store.

Damien Heath

Damien Heath


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