Sub-Ohm and Mouth-To-Lung Devices, What’s the Difference? [UPDATED]
Date first published: 05/09/18. Date modified: 12/01/20
The vaping industry is becoming increasingly progressive in terms of the sheer range of options provided to us as vapers, most notably in the variety of devices we can pick up. Two main distinctions can be made between the style of these devices; Sub-Ohm devices typically for direct-to-lung (DTL) vaping and mouth-to-lung (MTL) devices.
It is important to note that not all sub-ohm devices are vaped in a DTL way, nor are all MTL devices are vaped in an MTL way. This is down to personal vaping preference, but in most cases, sub-ohm devices are vaped with a DTL inhale.
DTL vs MTL: What’s the Difference?
What is direct-to-lung (DTL) vaping?
The idea here is to slowly and smoothly inhale the vapour directly to your lungs, as though you are ‘breathing’ the vapour in, then exhale a magnificent cloud You don’t necessarily have to fill your lungs like the cloud-chasers do, but can take smaller inhales if you prefer.
What is mouth-to-lung (MTL) vaping?
Considered much more similar to conventional smoking than the aforementioned inhale, MTL inhales follow the principle of drawing the vapour into the mouth first and then inhaling to the lungs, before exhaling a smaller volume of vapour.
Is it better to inhale DTL or MTL when vaping?
There is no right way or wrong way to inhale, it’s down to personal preference. However, if you want to blow the biggest clouds then inhaling DTL using a sub-ohm device is the way to go. You are also unlikely to vape MTL on a sub-ohm device which uses high power and has increased airflow in the tank.
Sub-Ohm Devices Explained
What is sub-ohm vaping?
Sub-ohm vaping is a style of vaping that produce big clouds of vapour and a stupendous amount of flavour. This is achieved through using a sub-ohm device, which uses lower resistance coils that are typically less than 1ohm on a battery that can deliver a high wattage.
Typically those using a sub-ohm device will vape it in a DTL fashion, but not always. Certain devices such as the Innokin Endura T20-S are technically sub-ohm as the tank comes with a coil with a resistance of less than 1 ohm, but due to the tighter airflow and weaker battery output of only 20W, it is meant to be vaped in an MTL fashion and produce less vapour.
Sub-ohm devices aren’t usually the best option for new vapers; their low resistance coils (<1 ohm) produce a lot more power and therefore vapour than MTL devices, which is great for flavour intensity, but not so great when you want to vape higher strength (>0.6mg) as it will be harsh and may even give you a headache if you vape too much.
Why do people sub-ohm vape?
Vapers use sub-ohm devices because they deliver more flavour and produce thick clouds of vapour. These are the devices vapers use to perform vape tricks or ‘cloud chase’.
What types of sub-ohm tanks can be used on a ‘mod’ battery?
Mod is a battery (fixed or not) with a regulated power output that tends to be customisable and has higher power delivery. There are a few different types of sub-ohm tanks that work well with these batteries:
- Disposable Coil Sub-Ohm Tank: Perfect for those new to sub-ohming. These tanks are traditional in style, with a chamber to store e-liquid and a coil of under 1ohm that can be easily disposed of and replaced.
- Rebuildable Tank Atomiser (RTA): These tanks have a chamber to store e-liquid, but you ‘build’ your own coil to your desired resistance on the deck/base. Some RTA’s can be built with more than one coil which provides a thicker vape.
- Rebuildable Dripping Atomiser (RDA): This tank also has a deck on which you ‘build’ your own coil but there is no chamber for your e-liquid to be stored, instead you ‘drip’ the e-liquid straight onto the coil until it is saturated, pop the top back on and puff. You usually can have two or three puffs before needing to ‘drip’ the atomiser once more.
Without a chamber, there is less distance for the vapour to travel, this coupled with increased airflow and a large surface area on the coil, means RDA’s produce the biggest clouds and the most flavour.
- Rebuildable Dripping Tank Atomiser (RDTA): An RDTA is a type of RTA which features a tank that stores e-liquid into which the deck sits above and wicks hang into. This is less popular than the other tanks.
What e-liquid should I use with my sub-ohm device?
Typically those who vape with a sub-ohm device prefer juice with a higher vegetable glycerin (VG) to propylene glycol (PG) ratio because it produces more vapour and has less of a throat hit which enables a longer DTL inhale.
Those using a sub-ohm device will prefer a lower strength e-liquid, typically no higher than 6mg/ml as more nicotine is delivered through the larger intake of vapour. Here at Decadent Vapours, we have crafted a range of short fills (0-3mg/ml) with a higher VG base that works splendidly well with a sub-ohm device. These short fills can have additional nicotine shots added to them to make them stronger if you require a strength higher than 3mg.
Is sub-ohm vaping dangerous?
If you are wanting to build your own coils, make sure are confident in your knowledge of ohm’s law and how different coil resistances and wattage work together. Watch tutorials, read up on it, and make sure you have the correct testing equipment and tools.
There have been cases in the past where the mod batteries, typically tube mods, used for sub-ohming have exploded due to poor care or ignorance. The FDA has put together this handy pamphlet to avoid battery explosion, which you may find useful.
Mouth-to-Lung (MTL) Devices Explained
What are mouth-to-lung (MTL) devices?
These are the traditional vaping devices that output less power than a sub-ohm device and the tank typically has coils above 1ohm and a tighter airflow, allowing the draw to feel similar to that of a cigarette. There is less vapour production with an MTL device, making it a more discreet vape and perfect for who have just made the switch to vaping.
What e-liquid should I use with my MTL device?
A good ratio is about 50VG/50PG as this provides a smooth vape with plenty of flavour. Too higher VG ratio will clog up the coil quickly as it is more viscous, so avoid e-liquids with a VG content higher than 60%. Higher PG ratios will make the vape harsher.
Our premixed e-liquid range is suitable for all MTL devices and features a range of complex flavours to suit all tastes. Our nicotine is some of the finest in the market – filtered, titrated and diluted from 100% pharmaceutical grade nicotine in our proprietary 13-step process to craft the purest and cleanest nicotine, without any ‘peppery’ taste.
Sub-ohm devices typically have more powerful ‘mod’ style batteries coupled with a coil that is less than 1ohm and produce a lot of vapour and flavour. Those that use these devices tend to inhale DTL and use higher VG e-liquid with a lower nicotine strength than an MTL vaper would use, due to the sheer amount of vapour inhaled.
MTL devices output less power than a sub-ohm device and use a tank housing a coil with a resistance higher than 1ohm. This produces a draw similar to that of a cigarette, and less vapour is created. This is typically the device beginner vapers should use and what many vapers continue to use. It is down to personal preference what style of vaping you enjoy.