Vaping – Battle of Mouth to Lung vs Direct Lung Inhaling


Electronic cigarettes have introduced new styles of inhaling the vapor that didn’t exist beforehand. The two most common being mouth to lung and direct lung inhalation.

There’s a lot of confusion about this topic. Therefore, we decided to write a comprehensive guide that sheds some light on it and debunks some common myths.

Mouth to Lung vs Direct Lung Vaping: Different Terminologies Used

Vapsters use various terms for different styles of vaping, so let’s make life easy and learn all of them before we get into details.

Mouth to Lung Hit: Mouth Inhale, Mouth Inhalation, or MLT. We’ll use MLT throughout the rest of the guide.

Direct Lung Inhalation: It includes Lung Inhale, Lung Vaping, Lung Inhalation, Direct Lung Hit, Lung Hit, Direct to Lung Hit. Additionally, it also includes Direct Lung Inhalation, Lung Vaping, or DLI. We’ll use DLI throughout the rest of the guide.

You now know the different terminologies for the two vaping styles. For better understanding, we’ll do a head-to-head comparison. But first, let’s define each of them:

Definition of Mouth to Lung Hit Vaping (MTL)

In MTL style of vaping, you inhale and gather the vapor in the mouth. After a short amount of time, you inhale it into the lungs.

This is similar to smoking cigars and traditional cigarettes or drinking soda with a straw.

Definition of Direct Lung Inhaling (DLI)

In DLI vaping, the vapor bypasses the mouth and channels it through the throat, directly to the lungs.

This is similar to using a hookah, shisha, bong, joint, or just inhaling air into lungs.

Which is Ideal for You?

The two ways of taking a hit can yield extremely different results. Additionally, your ideal style depends on your expectations from your e-cig.

  • MTL is for flavor seekers – those who want more flavor but don’t care about the amount of vapor.
  • DLI is for cloud chasers – those who want a solid hit and a lot of vapor but don’t care about the flavor.

The two techniques may seem just a matter of inhaling vapor from your e-cig (which is partially true). However, you need different setups and e-liquids to achieve pure MTL or DLI.

Vaping Experience – Mouth to Lung vs Direct Lung

Since the vapor stays in your mouth for a while, the flavor is more apparent. However, the throat hit or lung hit is subtle as compared to direct hit. This approach is pretty similar to smoking cigarettes and cigars. As a result, ex-smokers who have recently switched to vaping will find it more agreeable. MTL is also ideal for chain vapers, mainly because of high flavor and low throat hit.

On the other hand, DLI offers an intense experience which only experienced vapers will find satisfying. But, it can be overwhelming for beginners. The throat hit is intense, however, since vapor quickly passes through your mouth. It doesn’t leave the taste buds enough time to extract the flavor.

Equipment – Mouth to Lung vs Direct Lung

The ideal hardware and e-liquid composition for MTL is:

  • Tanks with high ohm coils, at 1.2-ohms or higher
  • Medium to low battery strength, ideally between 15-18w
  • Narrow drip tip
  • Tight airflow
  • High PG e-liquid, generally above 70% PG (can be up to 100%)
  • Any nicotine strength

And for DLI, here’s the recommended setup:

  • Sub-ohm tank (i.e. a tank that has coils with resistance under one ohm)
  • Powerful battery
  • Wide bore drip tip
  • Loose airflow
  • High VG e-liquid
  • Low nicotine strength, ideally around 3-6mg/ml

Variations of MTL and DLI

Many people think that mouth to lung hit and direct lung hit are the only two styles of vaping. It simply isn’t true. We have subtle variations of these two methods, which aren’t very common. Also, they aren’t as satisfying but try to offer the best of both worlds.

Pure Mouth Hit – This is the simplest way, where first, you inhale the vapor, keep it in your mouth. Then, you exhale without taking it into your lungs, either through your mouth or nostrils.

Hybrid Hit – Just as the name suggests, it’s an MTL followed by DLI. Here’s how to do it. First, draw and gather vapor in your mouth. Then, while doing it and your mod still firing, allow some air into your mouth. Third, take a deep direct breath. This gives some flavor, and some lung hit at the same time.

The Moment of Truth

Both DLI and MTL have their unique pros and cons, let’s take a quick look at them one by one.

Pros & Cons of MTL

  • Affordable setup – Sub-ohm tanks, as well as more powerful batteries, are required for DLI. This means that you can save a few bucks when you go for MTL.
  • Economic in the long run – MTL vaping consumes less e-liquid, mainly because of slow inhalation and slow vaporization.
  • Soothing flavor, cooler vapor – The biggest reason people prefer MTL is the immense flavor it has to offer. On top of that, the vapor produced is comparatively cooler and gives a satisfying sensation.
  • Ideal for ex-smokers – If you’ve recently switched to vaping from smoking, you won’t find it off-putting. It’s because the overall experience is pretty much the same. But in the case of DLI, ex-smokers might feel overwhelmed.
  • Weak throat hit – If you want a higher throat hit, MTL will rather disappoint you. Using e-liquids with a decent amount of PG can make up for it. However, it still can’t be compared with DLI.
  • Old-fashioned – Experienced vapers consider MTL to be outdated. It is mainly due to the growing popularity of cloud chasing and vaping. It has turned from a hobby into a competitive sport. Additionally, most of the modern vaping gear focuses on sub-ohm vaping.

Pros & Cons of DLI

  • A more fulfilling experience – A powerful hit means that the vaper will feel more satisfied.
  • It’s a hip thing – Bigger clouds, more excitement, and a satisfying experience makes DLI desirable. This is why almost every experienced vaper prefers DLI. Moreover, you’ll find most of the new vaping gear designed for DLI.
  • Bigger clouds – With DLI, you’ll be instantly blowing massive plumes of vapor. You’ll be the envy of your vaping friends.
  • Overwhelming – The experience can be a little overwhelming, especially for new vapers.
  • Risky – The risk factor is slightly higher since we’re dealing with extremes. You have very high battery powers and very low coil resistances.
  • Likeliness of dry hits – The biggest nightmare of a DLI vaper is getting dry hit when cotton gets burnt. This comes as a result of not getting enough e-juice when your tank is about to run out.
  • Less flavor – You’ll barely feel any flavor for two reasons, you’re using low PG juices. On top of that, you can’t keep vapor in your mouth long enough for your taste buds to feel it.

Mouth to Lung vs Direct Lung Vaping: Conclusion

The vaping style ideal for you depends on your personal preferences. For this reason, we can’t say one technique is better than the other. However, you need to know certain aspects to enjoy either of the styles. If you are a newbie or an ex-smoker, MTL provides a better way to step into the world of vaping. When you eventually learn the ropes, you can switch to DLI. In fact, finding your style is what makes the overall experience of vaping a lot more fun. This guide has explained all the possible tips and tricks. Now it’s time to put them to practice.

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