Vape Guides

How to Inhale When Vaping

Hemok Wang
Hemok Wang
Feb 12, 2023
How to Inhale When Vaping

When looking at the vape kits on, you’ve likely noticed the fact that our product descriptions often mention three different inhaling styles:

  • Mouth to Lung (MTL)
  • Direct to Lung (DTL)
  • Restricted Direct Lung (RDL)

If you’ve recently switched to vaping or are still a smoker and haven’t switched yet, the fact that different inhaling styles for vaping even exist may come as a surprise to you because there’s really only one way to inhale cigarette smoke. No one inhales cigarette smoke directly to their lungs because it causes coughing. When you vape, on the other hand, inhaling the vapor directly into your lungs is a perfectly viable option.

With that in mind, you’ll probably want to know why direct-to-lung vaping is possible. Moreover, you’ll probably also wonder why anyone would even want to inhale in that way – and those are two of the questions we’ll answer in this article.

The various factors that affect your vaping experience – inhaling style, nicotine strength, throat hit and the type of device you use – all relate to one another. In that sense, understanding how you want to inhale when vaping and what equipment is best for that style is the key to unlocking your ideal vaping experience. Reading this article, you’re going to learn how to do exactly that.

Here’s everything you ever wanted to know about the three different inhaling styles for vaping.


Mouth-to-Lung Inhaling (MTL)



The mouth-to-lung inhaling style is the way that you already inhale as a smoker, and it’s also the inhaling style used by almost all new vapers. You should buy a mouth-to-lung vape if you want vaping to provide a familiar experience that feels like smoking. Learn more about how to choose the best vape starter kit for beginners.


Advantages of MTL Inhaling

The biggest reason to use the MTL vaping style is it ensures that the motions and sensations of vaping will be completely familiar and natural to you as a smoker. If you use a high-strength e-liquid – which is generally the best way to have a good experience with a mouth-to-lung vape – you’ll experience a strong and assertive throat hit. That reinforces the sensation of satisfaction and also helps to make vaping feel as similar to smoking as it possibly can.

Another advantage of the MTL inhaling style is that it’s a very low-cost way to get started with vaping. The devices themselves are often very affordable, and the replacement parts they require – if they need replacement parts at all – are usually cheap as well. The most important factor that makes MTL inhaling affordable, though, is the fact that it requires little e-liquid. The devices themselves produce small vapor clouds, and you don’t need to vape as much to achieve the desired level of satisfaction because of the e-liquid’s high nicotine strength.


Disadvantages of MTL Inhaling

Throat hit is the priority in MTL vaping. Some people consider that a disadvantage because a strong throat hit comes from using a high-nicotine e-liquid, and the peppery flavor of nicotine may tend to cover the flavor of your vape juice. As a result, the flavor quality may tend to be a bit muted when you use a device designed for MTL inhaling.


How to Identify Mouth-to-Lung Vape

Devices and vape tanks designed for mouth-to-lung inhaling will always have narrow mouthpieces and small air intake vents. If a vaping device is comparable in size to a cigarette or small cigar – and the mouthpiece is small and narrow, like a cigarette filter – the device is almost definitely designed for MTL vaping.


Direct-to-Lung Inhaling (DTL)

  • DTL Meaning: Using the direct-to-lung inhaling style means that you inhale directly from the mouthpiece of your vaping device, drawing the vapor straight into your lungs without holding it in your mouth first.
  • Best E-Liquids for DTL Inhaling: Low-strength e-liquids, usually 3 mg/ml
  • Best Vape Types for DTL Inhaling: Larger devices, such as sub-ohm vape mods
  • Recommended Vape Kits for DTL Inhaling: Innokin Kroma 217, Innokin MVP5 Ajax, Innokin Proton Mini Ajax

Direct-to-Lung Inhaling (DTL)

Although most people start out with the mouth-to-lung inhaling style when they switch to vaping, many ultimately end up switching to larger direct-to-lung vapes after they’ve been vaping for a while. When you learn about the advantages of DTL inhaling, you’ll understand why – and that’ll help you decide whether you might like to change your inhaling style as well. Learn more about the features of the best vape mods.


Advantages of DTL Inhaling

The greatest advantage of DTL inhaling is vastly increased cloud production, which comes as a result of a higher-wattage vape coil and more open airflow characteristics. Because DTL inhaling greatly increases the amount of e-liquid inhaled with each puff, it also results in substantially richer flavor.

DTL vaping is also much smoother than MTL vaping. That’s because the most popular nicotine strength for DTL vaping is 3 mg/ml, which produces almost no throat hit. You might assume that switching from a very high nicotine strength to one as low as 3 mg/ml might reduce the satisfaction you feel from vaping, but that’s actually not the case because of the greatly increased vapor production. Because you inhale a greater volume of vapor, you consume a similar amount of nicotine overall even though you don’t feel a strong sensation in your throat.


Disadvantages of DTL Inhaling

DTL inhaling is generally the most expensive way to vape. That’s partially because powerful vape mods tend to cost more than small vaping devices, and it’s also because using the DTL inhaling style means that you’ll spend more on replacement parts. Vape coils burn out more quickly if you consume more e-liquid – and if you decrease your nicotine strength from 20 mg/ml to 3 mg/ml, it stands to reason that you’ll need to use at least six times more e-liquid to maintain the same sense of satisfaction. You’ll also have to deal with the increased cost that comes along with using so much e-liquid, although freebase nicotine e-liquid does tend to cost less per ml than nicotine salt vape juice.


How to Identify a Direct-to-Lung Vape

Devices and vape tanks designed for direct-to-lung inhaling always have large mouthpieces and wide airflow vents to facilitate the maximum possible vapor production. If a vaping device is significantly larger than a cigarette or small cigar – and the mouthpiece is noticeably wider than a cigarette filter – the device is almost definitely designed for DTL vaping.


Restricted Direct-Lung Inhaling (RDL)

  • RDL Meaning: Using the restricted direct-lung inhaling style means that you’re inhaling the vapor directly into your lungs. Compared to DTL inhaling, though, the airflow is slightly restricted.
  • Best E-Liquids for RDL Inhaling: Mid-strength e-liquids, such as 6 mg/ml
  • Best Vape Types for RDL Inhaling: Mid-sized vape pens, pod systems and vape mods
  • Recommended Vape Kits for RDL Inhaling: Innokin Sensis EZ, Innokin Sceptre 2, Innokin Endura Apex, Innokin Coolfire Z60

The RDL inhaling style has become very popular among intermediate and experienced vapers because it gives you a balanced experience with the benefits of both the MTL and the DTL styles. To ensure that you can customize the experience to your exact specifications, a device designed for RDL inhaling usually offers a tab or dial that you can use to adjust the device’s airflow characteristics.

CoolFire Z60


Advantages of RDL Inhaling

As we mentioned above, the benefit of RDL inhaling is that it provides a balanced experience. The RDL inhaling style provides increased vapor production compared to MTL inhaling. Between the increased vapor production and the lower nicotine strength, you’ll enjoy increased flavor and reduced throat hit. Due to the slightly restricted airflow, though, the vapor passes through your throat a bit more slowly than it would with the DTL inhaling style. Because of that, RDL inhaling doesn’t completely sacrifice throat hit the way that DTL vaping does. Since a device designed for RDL inhaling usually has adjustable airflow, you can tweak your device’s settings to achieve your ideal puff characteristics.


Disadvantages of RDL Inhaling

RDL inhaling has no real disadvantages. Because this inhaling style is balanced between flavor quality and throat hit, though, it’s not capable of reaching an extreme in either area. The RDL inhaling style is for people who want a balanced vaping experience. If you’d rather experience the strongest throat hit or the biggest possible vapor clouds, you’ll probably prefer a device designed for MTL or DTL inhaling.


How to Identify a Restricted Direct-Lung Vape

As we mentioned above, RDL vapes are usually mid-sized devices that aren’t quite as small as cigarette-sized miniature pod systems or as large as traditional box mods. In addition, it’s very common for RDL vapes to have adjustable airflow settings because people who prefer the RDL inhaling style are often very particular about the airflow characteristics of their devices.

Hemok Wang
Hemok Wang

Hey! Hemok here, a vaping enthusiast with a passion for helping people quit smoking. My uncle was diagnosed with lung cancer a few years ago after smoking for more than 40 years. I do understand that quitting smoking isn't only a physical issue but also a mental one. It's just hard to go "cold turkey". I believe that vaping is one of the best solutions to make the switch only if you do it in the right way, and that's why I am here to share :)