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MTL or DTL? That is the question…

MTL or DTL? That is the question…

I’ve been a bit anxious about trying to tackle this topic for a while now. It’s been on my list of things to write about for several weeks and I knocked around a few ideas and mapped out a path but I keep coming back to the MTL vs DTL debate in my head but…. it’s not a war. Or so I keep telling myself.

Some simple definitions fist:

Mouth to Lung or MTL tries to approximate the experience of smoking in terms of the way and feel of the puff. If you’ve smoked for a while you probably didn’t notice the tightness of the draw and how you hold the smoke in your mouth for a second before slamming it back with another short sharp breath into your lungs and how it hits your throat on the way there. That throat hit becomes sought after in MTL style vaping as much as the tightness of the draw.

Direct to Lung or DTL is like skulling a very tasty cloud straight to your lungs. Maximum vapour production right over all your taste buds. We’re talking decent volumes here. You want a quick burst or a measured draw with minimum air flow restrictions with a high powered set-up for those high voluminous clouds.

Each style gives a different experience and they come with their very own pros and cons. I’ve mentioned many times previously that there’s no right or wrong way to vape and I firmly believe that. We tend to experiment with vaping anyway and we naturally gravitate towards what rewards us the most. A lot of that is going to come down to what are we willing to compromise on to find that balance around the intensity of flavour and economies of consumption of juice and batteries and that may or may not take some time to find...and that’s OK.

MTL is generally recommended for new vapers transitioning off the cigarettes. This is understandable as the new vaper is more concerned about success with giving up tobacco during those first few weeks more than anything else. The less you have to miss out on the higher the chances of passing those early days. By miss, I mean the whole cigarette ritual. The hand to mouth action, the tight draw, the throat hit and nicotine rush. If you’ve ever gone Cold Turkey before you quickly realise you have nothing much to do with your hands other than open the fridge to find something to put to your mouth… and we know how that’s going to go.

But!! lots of starter kits are designed for DTL style vaping too. Particularly those multi coiled factories produced coils like the Revenger X by Vaporesso and the like. These chunky high powered mods deliver decent intense vapours at a reasonable entry-level price.


While it pays to have a think about MTL or DTL if you're just starting off, both systems are proven to work for the beginners so it’s going to come down to what appeals to you off the bat. Have a chat with your local vendor or other vapers. You can always change later on or like most of us slightly more seasoned vapers do both. Why not?

Now I’m stuck at this point because I am biased towards MTL and my experiences with DTL is limited by comparison. I think my experiences with MTL is limited to what’s been readily available here in Australia. Compared to what’s available in say Europe where MTL style is taken to a higher sophisticated level… so I think from this point onward you may detect a bit of bias towards MTL.

To cut it down short. DTL is just awesome for flavour and cloud production. Most e-juice recipe designs are made for the DTL vaper in mind. Let's face it...if you want to experience layered flavours with noticeable inhale and exhale differences then this is your go. You are going to be leaving giant clouds behind so maybe not something you would do everywhere unless you want to entice smokers. Big clouds mean lots of power, thicker more exotic coils and higher juice consumption but the intensity of the flavour is an experience in itself.

On the MTL side if you don’t want to muck around with making your own coils your choices are fairly limited to Pod systems and small tanks like the Innokin Nautilus series. This is not a bad thing as within this group there are more choices than ever before. With Nic Salts all the rage at the moment and the explosion of well-regarded pod systems that are surprisingly good, you be kicking the cravings in the most thrifty way possible and the minimum of fuss.

Rebuildables is where your options in both MTL & DTL explode but well talk more on that another time.

It’s a tough choice to make when starting off as mere words don’t do either way any justice and as a beginner, you have no real way of making an informed choice.

The real question is...How do I choose?

That’s not something I can answer for you but there are a few things I have noticed that may nudge you one way or another.

The older you are the more likely you will gravitate towards MTL. I don’t know what that is really but I guess us older ones just aren’t interested in big clouds.

You’ll more likely go the same way your friends do. Yep….that’s what’s going to happen and how many people discover DTL vaping if they started off with an MTL starter.

If the flavour is more important to you than approximating a cigarette experience then DTL is probably the way to go. I have to admit seeing a large thick cloud billowing out and filling space has its enchanting charm to it. Some of the flavours available these days just makes DTL unbeatable.

If your budget is tight. MTL is the way to go.

MTL Pods are the way to go for ease of use.

Whichever way you start is not the wrong way.

Both DTL & MTL can work and they can both be a stepping stone or simply a path to finding better MTL or DTL systems. Most vapers are a curious lot and will try both systems and use them according to social contexts & conditions. Meaning….sometimes it’s not appropriate to blow giant clouds.

Whichever way you look at it you have options and it’s most likely you will fairly quickly know which way you want to go. Either option is cheaper than buying cigarettes that’s the important distinction here.

All the best with your choices. If in doubt ring up a shop and ask. There is always someone at the other end willing to help.

Cheers for now


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