MTL vs DTL - What do they mean?

MTL vs DTL - What do they mean?

Chances are, you started vaping to get as far away from the word “lung” as possible. The hacking cough that’s the biggest warning sign ever to make the switch disappeared once you ditched the ciggies, and for obvious reasons.

We’re so busy nailing our perfect e-liquid and out-doing our mates with vape mod kits, we often end up ignoring the most important vaping aspect of all: how we’re doing it. If you’ve heard Mouth to Lung vaping and Direct to Lung vaping (but haven’t really got a clue what the difference is), keep reading. How you vape can improve your experience just as much as what you vape.

Mouth to Lung vs Direct to Lung Vaping

In a nutshell, there are two ways to vape: Mouth to Lung (MTL) and Direct to Lung (DTL). Most people eye up a device, adapt their vaping style to whichever method comes with the mod and don’t give it a second thought. To be fair, most devices have been ready-tailored to the type of vaping required: for instance, most vape starter kits, Pod Kits and vape pens were designed for the quitting smoker. They were precisely designed for a cigarette-like experience. That happens to be Mouth to Lung, but we’re here to give you the proper breakdown.

Mouth to Lung Vaping: What is it?

Mouth to Lung vaping is a style of inhaling you’ll be more than familiar with if you were a smoker. You draw vapour into the mouth, hold it for a few seconds, then inhale into the lungs with a second breath. Holding it in the mouth for a few seconds allows the tongue to detect the e-liquid’s subtle flavours, although if you took up vaping to replace smoking, you’ll likely be doing this because it just “feels right”.

Direct to Lung Vaping: What is it?

Direct to Lung vaping is a whole different story. It involves a slow and steady inhale (averaging 2.8 seconds), and it pretty much does what it says on the tin. 100% about filling the lungs to capacity from one single breath, DTL vaping gives a more intense experience and has become the preferred method for hardcore vapers (who aren’t fussed about the cigalike experience anymore).

A different result with each style

DTL vaping is going to be more intense overall. With a more intense throat hit (that can easily be balanced out with adapted PG and nicotine levels), DTL produces way bigger clouds, more satisfaction for some, but it can equally prove overwhelming for a beginner. Conversely, MTL results in a more subtle delivery, overall. Flavour is something you’ll notice more immediately with MTL as the vapour is held in the mouth, plus there’s less of a throat hit. Mods have become as advanced as the e-liquid realm though, so if you want to stick to MTL and still enjoy the flavour perks, all you have to do is a little tweaking.

MTL vs DTL pros and cons

“Like we were going to let the biggest pro of all slide. By switching from smoking to vaping, you’ve already won the biggest pro of all: slashing your cancer, stroke and disease risk and probably extending your life. High five”.

Say you take up running (you know, so your entire life doesn’t come with a #CouchPotato). There will be overall pros and cons- getting up and doing it in the dark is never pleasant, but you’ll eventually gravitate to the type of running that works for you. Same goes for vaping.

Mouth to lung vaping: Pros and cons


  • Your best bet for quitting smoking: With an inhaling mechanism that couldn’t be more similar to cigarette smoking, the biggest pro of MTL vaping is that it mimics tobacco smoking. You still get that satisfactory throat hit, it’s more gentle than DTL vaping, and nicotine is always on the table as an option.

  • Uses less juice: While vaping is significantly cheaper than the £3000 a year that smoking 20 a day will cost you, it’s still an expense. Daily vapers will have their eye on the amount of e-liquid they’re going through, so a huge advantage of MTL vaping is the slower vapourisation rate. You’re inhaling more slowly here. The juice is used more sparingly, leaving you with more cash to spare.

  • Cooler vape: To be fair, you can up your game here anyway with hugely popular ice ranges like Riot Squad's Bar EDTN and Bar Juice 5000, but what you’re looking at here is a hardcore temperature difference. Using lower battery power, MTL vaping steers clear of your vape becoming too hot.

  • Better flavour: Flavour chaser vs. cloud chaser. Vapers will forever debate this one. Because MTL holds the vapour in the mouth, your taste buds have more of a chance to enjoy the flavour. By using high PG-eliquids, you choose a higher ratio of the PG component of e-liquid that is the flavour carrier. The result is definitely noticeable.

  • Way more discreet: We find it pretty hilarious that “stealth vaping” is an actual phrase, but it couldn’t be more bang-on. Sitting at home blowing your giant clouds is all good and well, but if you’re popping outside the office or a pub garden gathering, you’ll be aware of your vapour. MTL vaping takes smaller hits. Smaller hits = smaller clouds.

  • More Nicotine: MTL vaping opens you up to nicotine salt vaping which offers the highest nicotine strengths available. So if you are a heavy smoker and you want to make your switch to vaping a successful one, you be sure that you will be able to satisfy your cravings and enjoy that satisfying throat hit you're familiar with.

  • Really easy to use: Refillable MTL pod kits are degined to be as hasle free as possible. Quick refilling, easy pod or coil changes and buttonless inhale activation are all there to make your transition from smoking seamless and enjoyable.


  • Can feel weaker than DTL: This is mostly a complaint that you see with DTL vapers who are used to their intense clouds. They might have vaped MTL-style when they quit smoking, but they’ve moved onto DTL. Stick an MTL device in their hands, and they can be left feeling a bit deflated.

  • Chance you can whinge that it feels “outdated”: Anyone who has upgraded from a starter vape kit to a Sub Ohm vape kit might raise their hands with this one. Advanced box mods and Sub-Ohm tanks are 100% designed to bring you the ultimate vaping experience, so finding yourself back at square one can feel a bit outdated.

  • Can’t accommodate big hits: Although discretion is a pro here, the one downside of MTL vaping is that you can’t take all the air in the world and channel it into one giant cloud. You’re taking two breaths here versus one. Until you become a superhero with super lungs, you’ll be limited with MTL vaping. You can still pack a punch, hit-wise, though. Just select a high PG-e-liquid.

Direct to lung vaping: Pros and cons


  • Way more satisfying: A direct lung hit is straight-up more powerful than a MTL hit. Anyone wanting a throat hit that packs more of a punch will want to give sub-ohm vaping a try. The best equipment for this will be a Sub-Ohm tank, an RDA and a high VG-eliquid. You can tailor your e-liquid search by PG/VG ratio by clicking here then selecting your ratio.

  • Way bigger clouds: If blowing nuclear clouds is a priority for you, then DTL is where you want to be. Guaranteed thick plumes of vapour. Sorted.

  • An easier draw: You’re vaping with one breath, not two here. It’s half the work, so you’ll notice an easier draw overall with DTL vaping.

  • Hello, huge hits: With no interruption from using one breath to hold the vapour in your mouth before inhaling into the lungs, DTL vaping is dedicated as it gets for huge hits. If you’re looking to DTL vape discreetly, you can use a high ohm coil, take that deep lung hit and squeeze in a few seconds of holding to allow the vapour to dissipate before you inhale.


  • More work to avoid harsh hits: Hey, you want to play with the big boys, you learn. Avoiding harsh throat hits with DTL vaping is easier than you think, though. Lower your PG by switching to a high VG-eliquid and consider lowering your nicotine.

  • Risk of burnt cotton: You’ll want to keep an eye on your juice not running dry here. It’s called having one eye on the tank. Beginners who don’t want to be fussed with refilling e-liquids are best opting for the JUUL or fuss-free Pod Kits, especially since so many of them accommodate nic salts. Vape with no juice in the tank, and you’ll burn the cotton.

  • More PG and nicotine limitations: Since DTL vaping can feel harsher, you might find you have no choice but to reduce your PG and nicotine levels (not for everyone).

“Ultimately, how you vape is down to you. Trying both is a good starting point. Asking us for advice is even better.”

Our new interactive website also has a ton of handy guides, from the beginner’s guide to vaping, to finally quitting smoking.

For anything else or to try out new mods or e-liquids, pop into our Tottenham or Goodge St stores or get in touch. For exclusive offers, promos and savings, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. contains general information about vaping and vapour products. The information provided is not medical advice, and should not be relied upon unless explicity cited. We do not make any warranties surrounding the health benefits, reliability and accuracy of written copy across all pages on our website, including blog content and content posted on social media.

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Author Image: Dan Judd
About the Author: Dan Judd
Dan Judd, Head of Digital at Vape Superstore, has been a pivotal figure in the company since joining in 2018. Beginning his personal vaping journey in 2015 as a means to quit smoking, Dan not only understands the products but also the transformative power of vaping. Armed with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Management & Marketing from Leeds Beckett University, Dan seamlessly blends academic prowess with real-world experience. Dan is committed to educating the wider community about the benefits of vaping and its potential in leading a smoke-free life.

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