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MTL vs. DTL Vaping Tanks

Are you a former cigarette smoker? If you are, you’re probably familiar with the concept of mouth-to-lung vaping because it’s the same inhalation style that most cigarette smokers use — they draw the smoke into their mouths before inhaling it. In vaping, though, a second inhaling style — inhaling directly to the lungs — has become common. It’s a byproduct of the cloud chasing trend. Many vapers love huge clouds, and you simply can’t get those huge clouds without taking full advantage of your lung capacity.

Where do you fall on the mouth-to-lung vs. direct-to-lung spectrum? Reading this article, you’ll learn how MTL vs. DTL tanks compare. Are you not completely happy with the tank that you own? You’ll also learn what you can do to adapt a tank for your inhalation style.

Mouth-to-Lung Inhaling

Because of its similarity to smoking, most people use the mouth-to-lung inhalation style when they first begin vaping. People use that inhalation style when they smoke for two reasons. The first is that a cigarette — with shredded tobacco densely packed inside a paper tube — has fairly restrictive airflow, making direct-to-lung inhalation difficult. The second reason is that inhaling the smoke quickly from the mouth to the lungs reduces throat irritation. If you tried inhaling cigarette smoke directly into your lungs, you’d probably cough.

How to Identify an MTL Tank

MTL vaping tanks recreate the experience of smoking by using small atomizer coils and narrow mouthpieces that mimic the restricted airflow of a cigarette. You can identify a mouth-to-lung tank by these three features:

  • The mouthpiece is usually about the same width as a cigarette filter.
  • The atomizer coil has a diameter similar to — or less than — that of a pencil.
  • The wick openings on the side of the atomizer coil resemble small pinpricks.
  • The tank has small airflow vents at the bottom.

The Benefits of MTL Tanks

People who prefer MTL tanks often like them for two reasons.

  • MTL tanks create small vapor clouds, so they consume little e-liquid. Their atomizer coils are also usually inexpensive. Since you’ll spend very little on e-liquid and replacement atomizer coils, using an MTL tank is one of the cheapest ways to vape.
  • MTL tanks work best with higher-nicotine e-liquids. Used in conjunction with a strong e-liquid, an MTL tank creates a sensation in the throat that’s similar to what you’d feel when smoking a cigarette. Vapers call that sensation throat hit. Many people find that throat hit — which makes vaping feel much like smoking — makes it easier to give cigarettes up.

Direct-to-Lung Inhaling

As mentioned above, many vapers transition from MTL to DTL inhaling in the pursuit of bigger vapor clouds. The capacity of your lungs is much greater than that of your mouth, so switching to DTL inhaling immediately gives you access to much bigger clouds. Today, most vaping companies design their sub-ohm tanks to accommodate the DTL inhalation style. If you buy any large vaping device with an included tank, you can bet that it’ll be a DTL tank.

How to Identify a DTL Tank

Direct-to-lung vaping tanks have large atomizer coils that operate at high temperatures. To keep the coil cool and allow it to reach its potential for vapor production, a DTL tank will also need to allow plenty of air through. You can identify a direct-to-lung tank by these features:

  • The mouthpiece is much wider than a cigarette filter.
  • The atomizer coil has a diameter much larger than that of a pencil.
  • The atomizer coil has wide wick openings that allow you to see large portions of the cotton wick.
  • The tank has large airflow vents at the bottom.

The Benefits of DTL Tanks

People who prefer DTL tanks often like them for two reasons.

  • Many vapers love to blow huge vapor clouds. If you like the idea of using a vaping setup that produces truly impressive clouds, the only way to get those clouds is with a setup optimized for direct-to-lung inhaling.
  • When you switch from MTL to DTL inhaling, you’ll consume much more e-liquid than you currently do. You can therefore lower the nicotine strength of your e-liquid without reducing the amount of nicotine you consume. People who use mouth-to-lung vaping setups often use e-liquids with nicotine strengths of 16-18 mg and higher. The most popular nicotine strengths for direct-to-lung vaping are 3 and 6 mg.

How to Set Up a DTL Tank for MTL Vaping

If you walk in to a local vape shop today in search of a new vaping device, there’s a good chance that you’ll walk out with a device optimized for direct-to-lung inhaling because that’s the customer base to which most vape shops cater today. You could end up with a bit of a nasty surprise, then, if that’s not the inhalation style you actually want. In some cases, though, it’s possible to get a good MTL experience out of a DTL tank by making a few adjustments. That’s the beauty of vaping — you can customize or adjust almost everything. Follow these steps to set up a DTL tank for MTL vaping.

  • Experiment with the airflow settings. For a good MTL vaping experience, you’ll want to close the airflow as much as possible. A coil intended for DTL vaping can become hot very quickly, so you may also need to lower the wattage of your device to compensate.
  • Replace your tank’s original mouthpiece with a narrow mouthpiece. A tank intended for DTL vaping usually includes a wide mouthpiece that encourages smooth airflow and maximum vapor production. For MTL vaping, though, you want a mouthpiece that’s about the same thickness as a cigarette filter. In vaping, the most common type of narrow mouthpiece is called a “510 drip tip.” A 510 drip tip most likely won’t fit your tank, though, so you should also look for a product called an “810 to 510 adapter.” Remove your tank’s original mouthpiece and put the 810 to 510 adapter in the hole at the top of your tank. Place the 510 drip tip in the adapter, and you’ll be all set.
  • Replace the atomizer coil in your tank with the highest-resistance coil that you can find. Ideally, the coil should also have small wick openings. You can find SMOK TFV8 Baby Beast coils, for example, that work well for mouth-to-lung inhaling. Switching to a higher-resistance coil will allow you to get a decent amount of vapor out of your tank at lower wattage settings.

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