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MTL and DTL: Explained - TABlites

MTL and DTL: Explained

Are you in the market for a new vape? Are you being bombarded with acronyms and terms you don’t understand?

When first making the switch over from smoking to vaping, you may often hear the terms MTL (Mouth to Lung) and DTL (Direct to Lung). But what does MTL and DTL actually mean?

In this post we will explain what these acronyms mean, in hope that it will make choosing your next vape kit as easy as possible.

MTL and DTL are the two terms used to describe the different vaping styles or inhaling techniques. Both styles provide a completely different texture of vapour, flavour, temperature, ‘throat hit’ and sensation.

What is MTL?

MTL or Mouth-to-Lung vaping is where the vapour from an electronic cigarette is inhaled into your mouth, then into your lungs. A two-step process that is usually more comfortable for new vapers.

Mouth to Lung (MTL) Vaping Diagram

MTL is a style of vaping that will provide an inhale (or throat hit) most similar to tobacco cigarette smoking, making it a popular choice for ex-smokers and new vapers.

MTL vaping is where most vapers start their journey as the inhaling technique feels more natural and comfortable for ex-smokers. Most remain using this inhaling technique, some advance to Direct to Lung (DTL) vaping.

MTL vaping works out cheaper compared to DTL vaping because less vapour is produced, less vape juice is being consumed.

Looking for a discrete way of vaping? Then MTL vaping is the one. Smaller vapour clouds are produced so you can subtly vape whilst out and about.

Vape kits designed for a MTL vaping experience will use coils with a resistance higher than 1 ohm. This means that the coil burns the e-liquid at a cooler temperature than a sub-ohm coil and therefore produces a cooler and thinner vapour. This also means that MTL vaping is more cost effective for you as less liquid is being used to make a smaller cloud of vapour. This makes the experience all the more favourable for those trying replicate the feel of smoking a cigarette whilst saving money.

If you still have questions about coils, you can check out our Ultimate Guide to Coils here. 

How do you vape MTL?

MTL vaping provides a sensation similar to smoking cigarettes, but in many ways is very different.

    • (1) Take a long and smooth inhale into the mouth
    • (2) Hold it in the mouth, then draw into your lungs
    • Exhale the vapour

      What are the advantages of MTL Vaping?

      • Real smoking sensation helps new vapers transition from smoking to vaping
      • Satisfying throat hit
      • Provides excellent flavour
      • Tighter draw
      • High nicotine strength e-liquids
      • Less vapour clouds for stealthy vaping
      • Uses less e-liquid, making MTL vaping more cost effective
      • Uses less battery life, making your battery last longer between charges
      • MTL kits are easy to use, and are most often cheaper compared to DTL kits
      • MTL kits are small, compact, lightweight and extremely portable
      • Compatible with high PG, 50/50 and Nic Salt e-liquids
      • Compatible with high resistance vape coils (atomiser coil with a resistance above 1.0 ohm)
      • Fast charging devices (for example the Aspire Riil X features a built-in 700mAh battery and can be fully charged in only 20 minutes)

      What are the disadvantages of MTL vaping?

      • Vape kits are usually less advanced, with fewer ways to tailor your device to suit your individual vaping needs
      • MTL vape kits generally offer less battery life compared to DTL vape kits
      • Less cloud production

      What is a Mouth to Lung (MTL) vape kit?

      Mouth to lung vape kits feature a tight draw (restricted airflow) to closely match the inhale from a regular tobacco cigarette. They are generally lower powered devices with smaller batteries when compared to direct to lung kits. MTL kits are compatible with high resistance atomiser coils (resistance more than 1Ω). Although, recently more modern MTL device have featured sub-ohm coils. For example, the Uwell Caliburn A2 uses a 0.9ohm coil in it's closed pod.

      MTL devices are designed to be used with high PG e-liquids (50% PG or higher), including nicotine salt e-liquids to produce a discreet amount of vapour. MTL kits can be used with all nicotine strength e-liquids (0mg-20mg), to provide a satisfying throat hit at the strength you choose.

      In recent years we have seen massive demand for disposable vapes like Crystal Bars, Lost Mary vapes and Elf Bars. Disposable vapes are compact, draw activated devices that are charged and prefilled with e-liquid ready to vape. They can’t be recharged or refilled with vape juice and the coil can’t be changed, making them easy to use, cheap and super-convenient. Disposable vapes are intended for first time vapers and require a mouth to lung inhale.

      Pod system kits like the Aspire Flexus Stik and Uwell Caliburn GK2 have become massively popular. Pod vapes are lightweight, compact and portable vape kits that can be refilled with e-liquid, and the coil can be replaced once it has come to the end of it’s life. Pod kits are most commonly used with nicotine salt e-liquids but high PG and 50/50 liquids will work well too. Pod kits are intended for beginner vapers and more experienced vapers alike looking for uncomplicated, inexpensive and reliable e-cigarettes for use while on the go. Don’t be put off by the cheap price tag; pod kits are excellent devices and some offer clever functionality and large battery capacity, served in a small, lightweight and compact package ideal for on-the-go vaping.

      At TABlites we have worked with some of the largest hardware manufacturers in the business for over 10 years. We buy in bulk and pass on the savings to our customers.

      What e-liquid should I use with mouth to lung (MTL) kits?

      Mouth to lung kits are compatible with high PG e-liquid (50% PG and higher), and nicotine salt vape juice. The type of liquid you use with an MTL kit is crucial to getting your desired throat hit.

      • The PG (Propylene Glycol) in e-liquids provides the throat hit
      • The VG (Vegetable Glycerine) in e-liquids provides the vapour clouds
      • Equal parts of PG and VG will provide medium cloud production and medium throat hit

      High PG e-liquids are thin in consistency and will easily saturate the wicking material inside the coil faster. Less power and higher resistance is a general rule.

      E-liquids with a higher ratio of PG to VG will produce more discreet vape clouds when vaped and provide a smoking-like sensation.

      Nicotine salt e-liquids like Bar Juice, IVG salt and TABlites Nic Salt are an ideal choice for using in your MTL vape kits available in 10mg and 20mg. 50% PG 50% VG liquids, along with high PG liquids are also a great choice available in a wide range of flavours and nicotine strengths. Salt nicotine flavours include popular disposable vape flavours like; Blue Razz Lemonade, Watermelon Ice, Kiwi Passion Fruit Guava and Blueberry Sour Raspberry.

      We also carry a large catalogue of weird and wonderful flavours including; Caramel Tobacco, Blackcurrant Menthol, Riberry Lemonade, Pina Colada, Raspberry Sherbet and Cherry Bakewell.

      Read our blog: Top 10 Best Nic Salt Vape Juice Flavours

      The most popular high PG e-liquids we stock are Vampire Vape 10ml and our very own TABlites Premium Range that offers 22 mouth-watering flavours from Tobacco and Menthol to Strawberry Cheesecake, Blue Raspberry and Cherry. There is something for everyone!

      Read our blog: Best Menthol E-Liquid Flavours Right Now

      Read our blog: Best Tobacco E-Liquid Flavours Right Now

      We also stock a great selection of 50:50 e-liquids including; Simple Essentials, Doozy Fifty 50, Nasty Juice, IVG and Dinner Lady to name a few. 50/50 vape juices offer equal parts of PG to VG to provide a medium throat hit and medium cloud production.

      Read our blog: Top 5 Best 50/50 E-Liquids

      MTL vape juice is available in all strengths (0mg, 3mg, 6mg, 10mg, 12mg, 18mg, 20mg), to cater for all types of vapers. The strength of e-liquid is displayed on the bottle. The addition of nicotine in e-liquids is there to help you manage your cravings when making the switch over from smoking cigarettes to vaping. The nicotine content is how many milligrams of nicotine is present per millilitre of e-liquid (for example 6mg/ml or 0.6%). The lower the ‘mg’ number, the lower the nicotine content present in the e-liquid bottle.

      MTL vaping allows you explore a large variety of vape flavours and strengths. If you feel you are not getting enough nicotine per dose, or the nicotine dose is too high you can easily switch between strengths. It isn’t as easy when DTL vaping as you are limited with strength options.

      For further MTL e-liquid information and recommendations read our blog: What is the best e-liquid for my MTL device

      Using an e-liquid with a VG content that is too high for MTL vaping, it may struggle to saturate the wicking material and end up making the coil taste burnt also known as a ‘dry burn’. You want to avoid dry burn because it doesn’t taste pleasant and is likely to ruin your vape coil.

      What e-liquid strength should I choose for MTL vaping?

      • 0mg: 0mg or (0.0%) e-liquids are nicotine-free. Designed for customers who are looking to quit nicotine altogether. The PG (propylene glycol) in e-liquid will provide a mild ‘throat hit’ even with nicotine free e-liquids, so you get the hand to mouth action and minimal throat hit associated with regular cigarette smoking
      • 3mg: 3mg/ml or (0.3%) e-liquids are considered very low strength designed for very light smokers. Suited to customers who smoked less than 5 cigarettes per day or social vapers
      • 6mg: 6mg/ml or (0.6%) e-liquids are considered low strength designed for light smokers. Suited to customers who smoked between 5 and 10 cigarettes per day
      • 10mg: 10mg/ml or (1.0%) e-liquids are considered medium strength. Suited to customers who smoked between 10 and 15 cigarettes per day. 10mg is most commonly available in nicotine salt e-liquid
      • 12mg: 12mg/ml or (1.2%) e-liquids are considered medium strength. Suited to customers who smoked between 10 and 15 cigarettes per day
      • 18mg: 18mg/ml or (1.8%) e-liquids are considered high strength. Suited to customers who smoked 20+ cigarettes per day
      • 20mg: 20mg/ml or (2.0%) e-liquids are considered high strength. Suited to customers who smoked 20+ cigarettes per day. In the UK 2mg e-liquid is the highest strength legally allowed following the rules set by the TPD (Tobacco Products Directive). 20mg is most commonly available in nicotine salt e-liquid. Most disposable vapes available are available in 20mg nicotine strength to make the transition from smoking to vaping as comfortable and easy as possible

      For further information about e-liquid read our guide: Ultimate Guide To E-Liquid

      Examples of MTL vape kits

      At TABlites we stock all the latest MTL vape kits available from all the biggest and most respected brands in the industry including; Aspire, Smok, Innokin, Vaporesso, Uwell and Voopoo.

      MTL vape kits are amongst the easiest vape kits to use and include; disposable vapes, pen kits, pod kits and starter kits. MTL kits are a great place to start your vaping journey, they are inexpensive, compact, easy to use, and most importantly provide great flavour. More recently we have seen MTL kits that offer inhale-activation, so you just need to inhale on the mouthpiece to activate the device. Vaping has never been so beginner-friendly.

      Read our blog: Best Inhale Activated Vape Kits Right Now!

      All the MTL kits we stock at our vape stores nationwide and online are supplied with a free e-liquid. So you just need to fill your device with juice and enjoy.

      MTL Kit Recommendation

      If you’re looking for quality of vape and ease of use, a great MTL kit we recommend is the Uwell Caliburn A2. A great pod kit that delivers huge flavour and discrete amount of vapour, with amazing value for money at £18.99. A personal favourite of ours here at TABlites.

      For more recommendations, check out or blog on the Best MTL Kits of 2022.

      What is DTL?

      DTL or Direct-to-Lung vaping is where the vapour from an electronic cigarette is inhaled directly into your lungs. This inhaling technique requires a long and steady draw (3-5 seconds). This one step inhaling technique is best suited to more experienced vapers.

      Direct to Lung (DTL) Vaping Diagram

      DTL or Sub-ohm is a style of vaping that doesn’t closely resemble the inhale from a traditional tobacco cigarette. Instead this method is designed to produce large, thick and dense clouds of vapour, with a looser and more airy inhale.

      DTL vaping is more commonly favoured by experienced vapers as the large, thick plumes of vapour can be a little more dauting for new vapers. Another reason why sub-ohm kits a more suited to experienced users is they can be a bit more complicated to use compared with pod kits and starter kits.

      Looking to blow large clouds of vapour? Then DTL vaping is the one. Large, thick and satisfying vapour clouds are produced and you can take full control over the way you vape.

      DTL vaping requires a low resistance vape coil, resistance below 1.0 ohms, hence the name ‘sub-ohm’ vaping. Your vape coil will display the resistance of the coil and most often provide what wattage range to set your device at for optimum performance.

      If you are new to vaping we don’t recommend starting your journey with a DTL kit as they require more experience and knowledge for safe vaping. High powered vape mods can be a bit more complicated to use compared with pod kits and starter kits.

      For more detailed information about sub ohm vaping read our guide: The Ultimate Guide To Sub Ohm Vaping

      If you aren’t satisfied with smaller vapour clouds and are looking for a really flavoursome hit, then DTL and sub-ohm vaping is for you. The sub 1 ohm coil burns vape juice at a higher temperature, paired with the high power that a sub-ohm kit produces, this gives you a larger vapour cloud and lots of flavour. However, because of this you will use lots more e-liquid and will go through coils faster so the cost burden will be greater than if you were to use an MTL kit.

      For more information about vape coils read our guide: Ultimate Guide To Vape Coils

      How do you vape DTL?

      DTL vaping is a very different sensation to smoking cigarettes.

        • Take a long, steady and smooth inhale directly to your lungs (3-5 second draw)
        • Exhale the vapour

          What will I need to produce large clouds of vapour?

          DTL or Sub Ohm vaping is a style of vaping that produces large clouds of vapour and intense flavours. Not all vape devices will help you achieve large vapour clouds.

          Things you will need to blow big vapour clouds:

          • High VG e-liquids or Shortfill e-liquids (usually 70% VG / 3mg or 6mg strength)
          • High powered vape kit (power output above 40 watts)
          • Sub-ohm vape tank (with a ‘wide bore’ drip tip and wide airflow openings)
          • Low resistance vape coil (<0.9 Ω with large wicking channels)
          • Batteries with high amp ratings designed for high wattages (if your device uses external batteries)

          What are the advantages of DTL Vaping?

          • Doesn’t closely resemble the inhale from a regular cigarette. Delivers nicotine in the form of thick clouds of vapour
          • Smooth inhale and more gentle on the throat
          • Warm vapour with intense flavour
          • Thick clouds of vapour deliver more nicotine per draw so you can use lower strength e-liquids (most commonly 3mg or 6mg) and get the same satisfaction
          • DTL kits usually offer more advanced vape settings so you can tailor your vape to suit your preferred style of vaping
          • Airflow control
          • Allows for higher wattages
          • Many DTL vape kits use removeable 18650 batteries, so when your battery runs low you can switch it out for a charged one
          • Huge selection of vape flavours. Premixed 10ml with nicotine, or shortfill e-liquids that you can add your own nicotine shots to reach your desired strength
          • Shortfill e-liquids are cheaper, compared to purchasing 10ml bottles to add up to the equivalent e-liquid volume (and more eco-friendly)
          • Compatible with low resistance vape coils

          What are the disadvantages of DTL vaping?

          • Uses larger volumes of e-liquid compared to MTL vaping, can work out more expensive
          • Sub Ohm kits offer advanced settings and are most often more expensive to purchase
          • Sub Ohm kits are generally larger and heavier than MTL devices
          • Requires more vaping knowledge. It is important to have a good knowledge of battery safety, Ohms Law, and how to use advanced settings and features
          • Large vapour clouds can make you stand out from the crowd, and can be far from discreet
          • You can’t use high nicotine strength e-liquids
          • Reduces the longevity of your battery life, coil and vape juice
          • DTL devices generally take longer to charge

          What is a Direct to Lung (DTL) vape kit?

          DTL vape kits or sub ohm vape kits refers vape devices that use atomiser coils below 1.0Ω in resistance, when combined with high VG e-liquid, and a high powered vape mod will provide satisfying, smooth and mouth-watering clouds of vapour.

          Direct to lung kits most often feature increased power, advanced modes that allow you to tailor, customize, and take your vaping game to the next level. A high level of power and improved battery life will provide increased flavour and vapour production, that smaller MTL kits can’t achieve.

          Learn more about DTL and sub-ohm vaping in our ultimate guide to sub-ohm vaping guide.

          What liquid should I use with DTL kits?

          Due to the higher power output and the sub-ohm coil it is best to use a thicker e-liquid. An e-liquid with a VG concentration between 70% and 80% will suit your sub-ohm device well. It would deliver a highly flavoursome hit with large vapour production.

          Check out our blog on the top 5 e-liquids for DTL devices here. (not yet written)

          DTL Kit Recommendation

          For you sub-ohm lovers, we recommend the Geek Vape Max100 (Aegis Max 2 Kit). The new and improved version of the Aegis Max Kit, featuring a lighter and more durable build. Powered by either a singular 18650 or 21700 removable battery (sold separately) and boasts a 100-watt power output. Made for pairing with the Geek Vape Z tank delivering an out of this world sub-ohm vaping experience. Available from TABlites for £56.99 in 3 eye striking colours.

          We hope you enjoyed this article and found it useful. Do you use a MTL or DTL device? What do you prefer? Join the conversation and let us know on social media @tablites

          If you need any help or advice on disposable vapes, e-liquids, vape kits, tanks or coils, feel free to contact us. We are always happy to help.

          Tel: 0161 723 0064


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