Mouth to Lung Vs Direct to Lung Inhale Explained

Plus the mods, tanks and coils you need

I just wanted to buy a vape kit, but when I landed on a site I was immediately confused. Mouth to lung, sub ohm, direct to lung…what on earth do they all mean?

Browse through a vape website and you’ll often come across the terms mouth to lung (MTL) and direct to lung (DTL).

In this post you’ll find an introduction to what these terms mean, a guide to choosing the inhaling technique that is likely to be right for you and the equipment you need to suit your style of vaping.

If you’re confused by other terms, make sure you check out our beginners vaping glossary 🙂

Man confused

What is mouth to lung inhale?

Mouth to lung (or MTL for short) refers to a type of inhaling. When you mouth to lung inhale, you take the vapour into your mouth. You then hold it in your mouth before inhaling it into your lungs.

What is direct to lung inhale?

Direct to lung inhale (DTL) is when you inhale the vapour directly into your lungs, without holding it in your mouth first. It’s almost like taking a deep breath of air, only while pursing your lips.

Direct to lung inhale can also be known as straight to lung inhale.

A mixture of both?

Although most sites use the terms mouth to lung or direct to lung, in reality there can be a blur between the two. After all, however you vape, the vapour has to pass through your mouth on its way to your lungs. Still, the terms are widely used, and it’s worth learning what they mean before choosing the right device for you.

Which is right for you?

For new vapers

Most people prefer mouth to lung inhaling when they start vaping. This is ideal for vape devices with a tighter draw, higher nicotine levels, and which deliver a better throat hit.

Some people also find it more closely resembles the way they smoked. Direct to lung can be quite intense, and new vapers may find it makes them cough.

Man vaping and coughing

For flavour

It’s not just new vapers who prefer mouth to lung vaping. Some vapers believe that they get more flavour from their vape when they use mouth to lung vaping technique.

This could be because you add less air to your vape when you mouth to lung vape, or because the vapour spends more time in your mouth where you have more taste buds.

If flavour is important to you, check out these 10 tips for maximising flavour from your vape.

For clouds/intense vape experience

Direct to lung inhaling is more suitable for people who like blowing big clouds of vapour or for those who like a more intense vaping experience.

If an intense vape and lots of vapour is important to you, check out this article on how to cloud vape like a pro.

Mouth to lung vs Direct to lung diagram

How do you mouth to lung vape?

Take a smooth, steady drag straight into the mouth. This is a much longer drag than you would use with a cigarette. Hold the vapour in your mouth. Then inhale into the lungs before exhaling.

How do you direct to lung vape?

If you have adjustable airflow on your device, it’s a good idea to open this to full first. This allows for a more airy vape. Then take a long, smooth steady vape straight into the lungs, just as if you were breathing.

What e-liquid is best for mouth to lung vaping?

Typically, when mouth to lung vaping, most vapers use an e-liquid with a high PG (propylene glycol) ratio. This gives a satisfactory throat hit and is also more suited for the devices used for mouth to lung vaping. Halo e-liquid, with its 50-50 VG:PG ratio, is ideal.

(See here for more information about propylene glycol and vegetable glycerine).

What e-liquid is best for direct to lung vaping?

When you direct to lung vape, you usually use an e-liquid with a higher VG (vegetable glycerin) ratio. This gives a smoother vape with more vapour, and does not hurt the throat despite the larger clouds. Typical VG:PG ratios vary, but 70:30 VG:PG and 80:20 VG:PG ratios are common.

You can find examples of these here.

Nicotine strengths for mouth to lung vaping

The nicotine you use for mouth to lung vaping will depend on your needs. For example, if you’ve recently quit smoking and have been a heavy smoker, you’ll need stronger nicotine levels. However, in general, you’ll need stronger nicotine levels with mouth to lung vaping than with direct to lung vaping.

Nicotine strengths for direct to lung vaping

When you direct to lung vape, usually with a more powerful device, you can get a lot more vapour. That means you get a lot more nicotine. What’s more, nicotine can contribute to the hit you get on your throat.

As a result, you’ll usually need to use a lower strength nicotine for direct to lung vaping. Many direct to lung vapers use very low nicotine levels such as 0.6%. 0.3% or even 0%.

A good generalisation when moving from MTL to DTL and considering nicotine intake, is to imagine how many times more vapour you inhale, and to reduce the nicotine levels to counter it. Using 1.2% and now taking in four times as much? Maybe use a 0.3% instead.

Man vaping


Inside your tank are coils. These heat up the e-liquid, turning it into vapour. Coils come with a different resistances, which are measured in ohms [often shown using this symbol: Ω].

To explain simply:

Higher resistance coils: Requires less power, produces less vapour.
Lower resistance coils: Require more power and battery capacity, produces more vapour.

Which coils are right for mouth to lung vaping?

Because mouth to lung vaping needs less vapour, you usually use a coil with a higher resistance. Typically, it will be higher than one ohm.

Which coils are right for direct to lung vaping?

You usually want more vapour for direct to lung vaping. As a result, you’ll want a coil with lower resistance. Most people use coils with a resistance of less than one ohm, and coils can go as low as 0.1ohm. If you’re just getting started, a coil with 0.5ohms (as with the Jac Vapour kit) is a good resistance to start with.

Vaping hardware for mouth to lung vaping

MTL vape batteries and mods need less power than DTL hardware, while the tank is often designed to take coils with a higher resistance.

What tanks are suitable for mouth to lung vaping?

The Innokin Zenith tank is the product of a colloboration between well-known vape reviewers Phil Busardo and Dimitris Agrifiatos with vape manufacturer Innokin. The aim was to create a tank which worked for mouth to lung vaping and is easy to use.

Alternatives include the Jac S22 and the Innokin Jem tank (both of which have a mention in our kit section below.

What batteries are suitable for mouth to lung vaping?

The Innokin Coolfire Pebble is great for vapers who are looking for a compact device. Firing at up to 50 watts, it also gives you the option to produce more vapour if you do choose to try direct to lung vaping at a later date. However, it doesn’t have the battery capacity of larger devices.

Also by Innokin, the Coolfire 40W is a larger device. It’s not as compact but does offer a longer battery life. Finally, the Tesla Nano is a more compact device which can deliver up to 60 watts, meaning you still have the option to direct to lung vape if you choose.

Coolfire 40W

Coolfire 40W


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Tesla Nano

Tesla Nano


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What vape kits do I need for mouth to lung vaping?

A great option for mouth to lung vaping is the Jac Vapour S22. It’s very easy to use and offers great performance. But if you wish to progress to direct to lung vaping at a later date, you can do this by simply changing one component of the Jac Vapour – the coil.

If you’re looking for something a little more flexible, the Wismec CB60 is a good option. It comes with a tight draw similar to a cigarette, allows you to increase or decrease power and is compatible with nicotine salts – ideal if you want a stronger nicotine hit.

If you’re looking for something which is very easy to use and looks and feels like a cigarette, the Halo Cigalike Bundle may be more appropriate for you. Alternatively, if you need a (much!) stronger nicotine hit check out the Aspire Mini Gusto, which comes with pre-filled pods.

Jac Vapour S22

Jac Vapour S22


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Wismec CB60

Wismec CB60


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Vaping hardware for direct to lung vaping

For direct to lung vaping, you need a device with more power. You also need a tank with lots of airflow to give an airier vape. Finally, you need a coil with a low resistance. (Remember, the lower the resistance of the coil, and the higher the power, the more vapour you can get.)

What mods do you need for direct to lung vaping?

With a power output of up 90 watts, the iStick power can handle most tanks. At £44.99, it’s a great price for this level of device and also manages to combine ease of use with optional advanced features for when you want to get deeper into the intricacies of vaping.

If you want something super lightweight but with tonnes of power, consider the Big Box Atlas. This has 200 watts of power, but its resin construction means it’s also super lightweight.

Even more powerful is the Aspire SkyStar mod. In addition to a massive 250 watts of power, it’s also the first mod we’ve seen which comes with touchscreen technology.

iStick Power

iStick Power


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Big Box Atlas

Big Box Atlas


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Direct to lung tanks

New coil technology from Aspire maximises the surface area of the Aspire Revvo coil to the e-liquid, meaning this is a great tank for producing tonnes of vapour. It also has the easiest filling mechanism of any tank we have seen!

The Innokin Crios is a back to basics which can produce decent amounts of vapour. Working at power range of 30-65 watts, it’s great if you already have a mid-end mod with a reasonable power range.

Aspire Revvo

Aspire Revvo


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Innokin Crios

Innokin Crios


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What kits are suitable for direct to lung vaping?

A great option for people who want to direct to lung vape is our Cloud Chaser bundle here. This is best for people who already have some experience of vaping.

Do you prefer mouth to lung or direct to lung vaping? Let us know in the comments!

2 thoughts on “Mouth to Lung Vs Direct to Lung Inhale Explained

  1. James, I am a new e-cig user. I bought the Logic Pro within the last 2 weeks. After I charge the battery, the green light stays on and the e-cig does not work. I’ve only used it maybe 4 times. Any help would be appreciated!

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