Mouth to Lung Vape vs Direct Lung Inhale

Mouth To Lung Vape Vs Direct Lung Inhale

If you’ve heard the terms “mouth to lung vape” or “direct lung inhale” you may be wondering exactly what they mean and how they differ from each other.

You’re not alone.

When I began vaping, I came across these terms and often thought to myself, why on earth are there different terms for an inhale?

It turns out that there are different techniques to inhaling a vaping device.

The technique used usually depends on the type of vaping device you’re using or the way you have your tank setup, which we’ll be discussing in the guide.

Some people prefer the mouth to lung method, while others, like me, prefer to direct lung inhale.

Neither of these is right or wrong – it’s merely a matter of personal preference.

If you’re serious about getting the best out of your own vape experience then it’ll help you to learn and understand the two most common ways to inhale a vaping device: mouth to lung and direct lung.

In this guide I’ll be covering:

  • What is mouth to lung vaping?
  • What are the main benefits of mouth to lung vaping?
  • What are some of the drawbacks of mouth to lung vaping?
  • What are the most common mouth to lung vaping devices used?
  • What is a direct lung inhale?
  • What are the main benefits of a direct lung inhale?
  • What are some of the drawbacks of a direct lung inhale?
  • What are the most common direct lung inhale devices used?




Mouth to lung (MTL) vaping is the way that most who transitioned from smoking inhale.

This is because the technique used to smoke a cigarette is mouth to lung.

Mouth to lung vaping occurs when you draw vapor (or smoke if you’re smoking) into your mouth before you fully inhale it into your lungs.

Most people tend to recommend a mouth to lung device to get you started if you’re currently a smoker that’s considering getting into vaping.

MTL devices include cig-a-like e-cigs, vape pens and pods.

You can read more about some of the most common types of vaping devices here.

For now, let’s take a look at some of the other benefits of MTL vaping…




The most obvious benefit of mouth to lung vaping, which I’ve already touched on, is how closely it mimics the feeling of drawing on a cigarette or cigar.

For some of you considering the switch, this may be important in the early stages.

You may have already tried other nicotine replacement therapies without much success.

I feel your pain.

Often times this can be due to the fact that you’re used to the habit of putting something in your mouth and inhaling.

Yes, there are nicotine inhalers, and these have been successful for a lot of people, but they just didn’t cut it for me. The nicotine delivered rarely satisfied my cravings and I resorted back to smoking.

It seems that electronic mouth to lung devices do a much better job of delivering higher nicotine content. When you start, you should consider using a high-content nicotine cartomiser or e-liquid, especially in the early stages.

If you don’t have enough nicotine in your e-liquid to satisfy your cravings you may find yourself giving up vaping pretty quickly.

You can read more about this in our nicotine strength guide here.

Another benefit of mouth to lung vaping is that e-liquid tends to last quite a while, saving you plenty of cash when compared to how much you’d spend on tobacco or cigarettes.

This makes MTL vaping much more cost effective and will likely be the way to go if you’re likely to be on a long-term tight budget.

MTL vaping also lends itself to a more discreet vape.

Not everyone wants to blow huge clouds. Sometimes it’s nice to be able to just vape without drawing attention to yourself.

If you’d like to maintain a low profile while you vape you should most certainly look to getting a MTL device.




While it does have its benefits, mouth to lung vaping may not necessarily be the best option for you.

We just discussed how MTL devices tend to be lacking in vapor production so you’ll know by now that it’s generally a lot harder to produce larger clouds with most mouth to lung devices.

There are exceptions where you’ll find that you’re able to get good-sized clouds with a MTL device, but they rarely compare to more powerful devices.

If the sensation of filling your lungs similar to how smoke fills up your lungs is important to you then you’ll be better off avoiding most MTL devices.

The lack of vapor is evident as you inhale, especially if you use a cig-a-like or pod-style vaping device.

It may sound minor, but you may be surprised just how much of a difference this can make to your overall vaping experience.




There are different types of devices you can use for a mouth to lung vape.

The first MTL device we’ll look at is one that most closely resembles that of a traditional cigarette – the Cigalike.

Cig-A-Like E-Cig


Cigalike’s are usually the smallest kind of vape you’ll come across.

The advantages are that they closely resemble the size and feel of an actual cigarette.

However, they tend to be less reliable, have smaller batteries and can suffer from poor performance.

Some are disposable, which isn’t good for the environment and buying disposable can be more expensive than a reusable device.

On top of this, you’re usually limited with the functionality.

Some cigalikes don’t even have a button to power the device – instead you just inhale it as you would a nicotine inhaler.

Next up, the vape pen.


Vape Pen


They resemble pens, hence the name, “vape pen” and usually come equipt with a tank. You may have heard them being referred to as ego sticks, which is another name they go by.

Vape pens are quite often recommended to beginners.

They’re generally not that expensive, they’re simple to use, and they are usually more powerful than a cig-a-like since they come with larger longer-lasting batteries.

You’ll also find that you get a larger variety to choose from when it comes to picking an e-liquid flavor since you can buy pretty much any e-liquid and fill your tank.

Unfortunately, these too suffer from reliability problems. While they have their advantages over smaller cig-a-like devices, they’re still limited with battery life and battery power.

From my own personal experience using vape pens, I found that most initially worked quite well, but it wasn’t long before they’d become prone to leaking issues.

Fortunately, replacement parts are usually quite easy to come by and they’re pretty cheap. But on the whole, you may end up spending a lot of money on a lot of replacement parts like I did.

Moving on we get to mouth to lung tanks. They’re a very popular choice for mouth to lungers…



Aspire Nautilus Mouth To Lung Tank



There are a number of tanks that are specifically designed for mouth to lung vapers.

Examples of a few popular MTL tanks that got good reviews include: Aspire Triton Mini, Jacvapor S22 Tank, and Aspire Nautilus X 2.

I didn’t have a good experience using the Nautilus X 2, but most customer reviews online are actually pretty good so I may have just got unlucky with the one I bought.

You can check out my personal review of the Nautilus X 2 here. And there are also a few customer reviews of the Nautilus X 2 here.

Mouth to lung tanks are very hit and miss. Some are really good, while others are built terriably. It’s always worth doing plenty of research before you buy one.

Vapor production is usually a lot better than cigalikes and vape pens, but their limited airflow really can limit the amount of clouds you’ll get from one.

You’ll also find that you can’t vape MTL tanks at high temperatures without burning out the coil.

If you want a tank that does create plumes of vapor at higher wattages then you’ll likely have to turn to something like a sub ohm tank that is more suited to direct lung inhale vaping.




Direct lung inhale vaping is a technique where you draw the vapor directly into your lungs rather than let it linger in the mouth first.

You simply inhale the vapor directly into your lungs, which is a technique that closely matches the natural way that you breathe.

If you’re familiar with using an asthma inhaler this method will likely come quite naturally.

Most vaping devices used for a direct lung inhale have a ‘firing button’.

The firing button triggers the atomizer  to heat up, and this vaporises the e-liquid, which you then inhale.

When using such a device, you’re meant to simultaneously inhale as you press the firing button in order to inhale the vapor directly into your lungs.

You should release the firing button either before or as you stop inhaling.

If you continue to push the firing button after you have finished inhaling you may burn the coil. Something you’ll most definitely want to avoid!

Now we’ve discussed what a direct lung inhale is, let’s take a look at the benefits…




A direct lung inhale has various benefits.

You’ve probably gathered by now that you’ll get more vapor production due to the higher wattage and larger airflow, and this generally results in a stronger sensation of filling your lungs.

Another benefit of direct lung inhale vaping is that devices designed for direct lung inhale’s usually have more features and therefore give you more options you don’t get on a MTL device.

For example, most direct lung inhale tanks allow you to vape at much higher temperatures, and some give you have the option to build your own coils with rebuildable decks.

To learn more about some of the different types of tanks you can get, check out this article.

One more thing that’s also worth mentioning is that you can usually turn a device designed for direct lung inhaling into a MTL device by limiting the amount of airflow.

Here’s a little tip though: If you’re looking for a tank designed primarily for a direct lung inhale vape that you may wish to use for a MTL vape too, try to find one that has adjustable airflow and one that comes with coils you can vape at low temperatures.

This way if don’t get on with a direct lung inhale, you can turn it into a MTL tank simply by adjusting the airflow and you won’t be completely out of pocket.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t usually work the other way round. Most devices designed specifically for a MTL vape can not be configured in any way to work as a direct lung inhale device.

Now let’s look at some of the drawbacks of direct lung inhaling…




While there are many fans of direct lung inhale vaping, there are some drawbacks that should be considered.

The first relates to your bottom line: more cloud production means more juice consumption. Ultimately, this does mean that you’ll likely end up spending more on e-liquid than you would if you was using a mouth to lung device.

Not everyone uses the direct lung inhale method at high temperatures, so it is still possible to use less juice with this method. But generally, you will use more.

E-liquid can be bought just about anywhere nowadays, so competition is pretty fierce.

This is great for us the consumers since it means we can find juice pretty cheap as a result of all this competition, especially if you shop around.

You should also find better deals if you buy your e-juice in larger quantities.

Finally, a direct lung inhale doesn’t mimic the act of smoking a cigarette as much as MTL vaping does.

If this is something you’re looking for in the early stages of giving up smoking, you’ll be better off using a MTL device instead.

A lot of vapers I know, including myself, started with a MTL device before moving on to direct lung inhaling, but it’s not uncommon to see ex-smokers go straight into direct lung inhaling.

Give ’em both a try and see what you prefer.

Let’s now take a look at some of the different types of direct lung inhale devices you can get…




If you want a device that allows you to direct lung inhale, you’ll usually have to purchase two parts – a tank that can be vaped at medium to high wattages and a mod that provides the power and functionality.

It should be noted that tanks and mods are often sold together as a ‘kit’, and it can work out cheaper if you buy them this way.

You also have the option to get an all-in-one mod, which will come with both the tank and mod together, hence the name.

The most common tanks that support direct lung inhales include Sub Ohm Tanks, Rebuildable Tank Atomizers (RTA’s), Rebuildable Dripping Atomizers (RDA’s) and Rebuildable Dripping Tank Atomizers (RDTA’s).

You can learn more about these tanks with their pros and cons here.

You can’t vape any of these tanks without a power source, and these powerhouses usually come in the form of a MOD of which there are two common types: regulated mods and mechanical mods.

For more details on these different mods check out our guide on the different types of vaping devices.

I will point out, however, that unless you know exactly what you’re doing you should avoid using a mechanical mod at all costs for your own safety.

If you misuse a mechanical mod there is a good chance that you’ll be the next victim of an e-cigarette explosion. Battery safety should be your top priority.

Feel free to check out our 11 tips that will help you to avoid an e-cig explosion.




When trying to find the best device and best technique for you, you should consider what your goals are.

If you want the sensation that most closely represents cigarettes then mouth to lung devices are the best choice for you.

However, if you like the idea of larger clouds and want extended battery life then you’ll want to focus on direct lung inhale devices.

These types of products tend to produce larger clouds and give you a lot more control over how you vape.

In the end, different users will prefer different devices based on different goals. Neither method is right or wrong or better or worse than the other.

There’s no harm in experimenting with both ways before determining which is best for you.

Just do whatever works to keep yourself off of those stinkies. That’s what really matters.

Which inhale technique do you prefer and why? Let us know in the comments below…


Hi, I'm Carlos. Several years ago I started vaping to help kick my smoking habit. In 2014 I decided to create E-Cigs Advice to share unbiased, helpful reviews that always include the things I like and dislike about each product I use. I also write articles and guides for anyone interested in vaping. Whether you're starting your vaping journey or simply wanting to keep up-to-date with the industry, this is the place for you. Thank you for visiting, and I hope you find the content on this website extremely helpful.

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