Mouth to Lung (MTL) vs Direct Lung (DL) Vape Guide

When starting out, most people don’t realize that there are two modes of vaping: Mouth to Lung (MTL) and Direct Lung (DL). You may pick one over the other only to find later that you prefer the other one. Hence, it is important to know the differences between them so you can make a more informed decision before going ahead with your choice.


Here, we explore these differences to give you a better understanding of the working mechanism behind the two.


Mouth to Lung (MTL) vs Direct Lung (DL) Vape Guide (6)

Mouth To Lung (MTL)

Vaping started out as a means to replace smoking and curtail its harmful effects. Instead of smoke, you get to inhale the vapor that contains nicotine, giving you the same effects of smoking without the tar, carbon monoxide, and carcinogens. To emulate the smoking experience, it needed to impart a mechanism by which smoke gets delivered to the lungs for an easier transition. As a result, designers went ahead with the Mouth to Lung mode of delivery.


As its name implies, the MTL mode of delivery is where, upon suction, the vapor collects in your mouth before going into the lungs. If you’ve ever smoked a cigarette, then you already understand that MTL vaping is very similar to smoking.

MTL Vapes

There’s a stark difference between the hardware of Mouth to Lung and Direct Lung vapes. You cannot interchange most of their components. Most MTL vapes are compact, like the Juul, Smok Nord, and Smok SLM. You’ll find that they come in a single body with coils that can’t be replaced.


However, you can also find some MTL vapes that allow you to change the tank and convert it into a DL vape, but then the battery may become a limiting factor. Here are some other aspects of the hardware that are unique to MTL vapes.

Small Nozzle

The suction nozzle on MTL vapes is smaller in diameter compared to DL vapes. As a result, it restricts the flow of the vapor, mimicking the pull you get from cigarette smoking.

Small Tank

Since the small nozzle won’t let you inhale huge amounts of vape fluid, you won’t require a bigger tank. Therefore, tank sizes are generally smaller compared to DL vapes.

High Resistance Coils

Again, you won’t inhale as much; hence there’s no need for excessive heating to produce more vapor. Higher resistance means lower current flows into the coil for heating, and less vapor gets produced. Additionally, it also has the effect of saving your vape’s battery and prolonging coil life.

Small Battery

Requiring a lower current allows you to secure a vape with a lower battery rating. This factor, and the ones described above, allow MTL vapes to come in a range of sizes depending on the user’s preferences.

Who should use MTL Vapes?

MTL vapes are ideal for people who want to quit smoking altogether or want a different mode of nicotine delivery. Smokers tend to collect smoke in their mouths before drawing it into their lungs. This way, it mixes with the air and doesn’t irritate the throat on its way down. However, new vapers may feel irritation in their throat when starting out.


Plus, if you’re worried about having to carry a bulky device, then don’t worry. They come in a multitude of sizes that fit nicely into the palm of your hands, and you can use some models right out of the box. Plus, you can also find one that’s in your budget.


They’re easy to get started, don’t consume as much battery, and use less fluid. Hence, you can bank on their longevity and ease of use.

Direct Lung (DL)

Have you ever seen professional vaping competitions? Players go head to head and do tricks with the vapor they push out. You guessed it; they’re using DL vapes.


Direct Lung, as the name implies, allows vapers to pull out more vapor from their devices and into their lungs. This mode of nicotine delivery allows them to inhale more and produce denser clouds of vapor. As a result, many of them are referred to as cloud chasers in the vape community.

Mouth to Lung (MTL) vs Direct Lung (DL) Vape Guide (2)

How is Direct Lung different from Mouth to Lung?

Other than the difference in the mode of delivery, DL devices are generally bulkier than their counterparts. There are some differences in hardware that allow them to perform their intended function.

Long Wide Nozzle

The long wide nozzle at the top of the tank is what allows DL vapes to allow more vapor to flow into the lungs. By circumventing the mouth and going directly into the lungs, the vapor doesn’t get mixed with air that fills deeper into the lungs. As a result, DL vapers get to exhale a thick plume with a high volume.

Bulky Body

In order to keep a consistent volume, the tank needs to bigger to accommodate more fluid so that DL vapers don’t run out of fluid mid-session to refill.


Additionally, the battery compartment is bigger to house a couple of Lithium-ion cells (normally 2-3) for the large power draw.

Low Resistance Coils

To get the desired density of the vapor, DL atomizers are equipped with low resistance coils. It allows more current to flow, making it more responsive as well. However, the battery life tends to drain quickly because the power draw increases from the battery.


This can be dangerous in some situations as excessive current draw from their lithium-ion batteries can make them explode. Hence it is imperative to choose a DL vape that comes with overcurrent protection circuitry. Additionally, low resistance coils tend to burn out quickly, requiring maintenance.

Who should use DL Vapes?

If you want to get into vape tricks, then DL is the right vape for you.


Since air doesn’t get readily mixed with the vapor produced by its atomizer, DL vapers get to experience a richer flavor of the fluid. However, you need to select one with a lower nicotine content to cut back on its bitter taste.


Lastly, if you just like to blow out huge clouds, then DL vaping is the right one for you. Whichever you choose, just remember to vape responsibly, especially in public places.

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