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What is MTL and DL?

by Ben Wong 17 Jul 2019 0 Comments

MTL and DL Explained

If it is your first time buying a vape and you have been researching what setup suits you best, you would have undoubtedly come across the terms MTL (Mouth to Lung) and DL (Direct Lung). What do these two terms mean and how can you trial them at home with everyday objects before you make a decision? In this post we’ll go through that with you.

There will be three recurring terms that you will see throughout this post.

  • MTL - Mouth to lung
  • DL - Direct lung
  • Coils - The heating element within your tank.

What is a coil?

Coils located in your tank and are comprised of organic cotton and a heating element, generally a piece of coiled up wire or a piece of mesh. The organic cotton absorbs your E-juice and retains it within the coil, while the heating element heats it up and allows the E-liquid to become vapour when you take a puff.

MTL coils are generally smaller in terms of heating surface area and amount of cotton within the coil. With smaller air and juice flow passages, juice within the coil tends to dry up much quicker after consecutive puffs.

DL coils have a much larger heating surface area and a lot more cotton within the coil, allowing the coil to retain more juice and have a higher rate of absorption compared to the MTL. For vapers who enjoy taking many consecutive puffs in a row, the DL coil will dry out slower than a MTL coil.

Why does drying a coil matter?

The heating element within the coil reaches temperatures of up to 100 - 200 degrees Celsius. Should the organic cotton go dry, the heating element will simply cause the cotton to burn. Once the cotton is burnt, every puff you take will taste just like burnt cotton; something that you definitely would like to avoid. Therefore it is important to pick a kit that best suits your vaping style in order to prolong the life of your coils.

What are MTL or DL kits?

MTL Kits - are essentially what we call cigarette style kits. It has a restricted air inhale which feels similar to a cigarette. MTL kits generally run at lower wattage and have coils that are smaller in size. The wattage range of most MTL coils are between 9 - 28 watts due to the small and restricted design of the coils and tank. Running your vape higher than the recommended wattage range will cause the cotton in the coil to burn prematurely. MTL tanks are also designed to be smoked with short puffs, similar to cigarettes. Long and extended consecutive puffs tend to dry out the cotton quicker. If that is your style of vaping, it is recommended you look into getting a DL kit.

DL Kits - are great for users who want larger vape clouds and stronger flavours. The inhale goes directly into the lung, similar to a shisha or hookah. The coils are generally larger in size compared to MTL coils. This allows for a greater volume of air flow through the coil meaning they can be run at a higher wattage. The wattage range of DL coils range between 30 - 130 watts. Due to DL coils being larger in size, they are less likely to burn compared to the MTL coils. DL tanks burn through a lot more juice due to the larger heated surface area of the coil which, in turn, provides you with a much tastier vaping experience. DL kits ideal for vapers who enjoy taking long and extended inhales. 

How can I test which style do I enjoy?

Vaping now falls under the Tobacco laws in Victoria. Unfortunately, this means that vapes cannot be tried in store. The good news is it is possible to get the 'feel' of both MTL and DL vapes by using everyday objects. What you would need to do is obtain a large straw, the same type of straw given with a bubble tea with pearls drink, and a small straw given with most drink purchases.

We’ll start off with the MTL / small straw. Simply put it in your mouth and compress it as much as possible with two fingers.

Now take a deep inhale and it should give you a restricted inhale, similar to a cigarette.

With the DL / big straw, it's as easy as taking a deep inhale with the big straw.


These two experiments will mimic what it will feel like with a MTL or DL setup and should make your decision slightly easier. 

Hopefully this post has helped you make a more informed decision in choosing your first vape!

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