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A beginners guide to Sub-Ohm and MTL vaping. Which is best for you?

We have many customers who frequently visit our shops to purchase sub-ohm/MTL devices, coils, and appropriate liquid. Across our site, you will see that we mention sub-ohm & MTL (mouth-to-lung) a lot in our product descriptions. After a recent survey, we found that many people did not understand the two terms and what they really mean. There is a major difference between the two types of devices and getting the wrong device is a major factor for people failing to make the transition from cigarettes to vaping. Here we will go into more detail to fully explain the two different terms, giving you pros and cons for each, and the do’s and don’ts.

Whichever vaping device you use, be that a modest pen-style device to a large box mod device, they all have the same four important components:

  • Battery (sometimes called a mod)
  • Tank
  • Coil
  • E-Liquid

As we all know, once you activate your battery, it places an electrical charge into the coil, which in turn heats up the e-liquid in the tank, turning it into vapour. Simple!

When we talk about sub-ohm and MTL, what we’re really talking about is the resistance of the coil – but all other components play their part and we will explain below.

What is MTL?

MTL stands for mouth-to-lung, which refers to the way in which you inhale using a MTL device. Pretty much just like you would with a cigarette, gently drawing vapour into your mouth, before taking a double inhale down into your lungs. We might also call these devices plus-ohm devices.

MTL devices are generally smaller than sub-ohm devices, operate at lower settings, produce less vapour, and feel a bit more like a cigarette. When looking at MTL coils, they will all have a resistance above 1 ohm. For example; 1.2 ohm, 1.6 ohm, 1.8 ohm etc etc. Most MTL coils at this kind of resistance would not require a lot of power (wattage) to fire up. On average, most will work between 8-17W. If you check the side of your coil, it should tell you the resistance, and the recommended wattage range in small writing.

A few examples of MTL devices:

Aspire K3 Kit

TECC Arc 5 Kit

Vaptio Cosmo Kit

What is Sub-Ohm?

Sub-ohm refers to the resistance of the coil being below 1 ohm. Sometimes we will call sub-ohm vaping direct-to-lung. The way you vape a sub-ohm device varies greatly compared to a MTL device. With a sub-ohm device, imagine taking a big breath through your mouth, direct to you lungs and exhaling straight away. It is like breathing through a big straw. Sub-ohm devices are designed to produce large clouds of vapour.

Sub-ohm devices use coils which have a resistance reading of below 1 ohm. For example; 0.15 ohm, 0.3 ohm, 0.5 ohm etc etc. The wattage setting required for sub-ohm coils vary greatly. Depending on the coil and resistance, they can work from 30-120W+. We would say the average coil would require 40-70W nowadays but as mentioned above, check the side of your coil and it should tell you the recommended wattage setting.

A few examples of Sub-Ohm devices:

Eleaf iJust 3 Pro Kit

UWELL Crown IV Kit

VooPoo Drag Mini Kit

Have you got the right battery?

Plus-ohm coils can work on pretty much any battery because they do not require a lot of power to be used. When you buy a plus-ohm kit, the majority of the time, the battery will not go higher than 40W (if your battery allows you to adjust your settings) as its simply not needed with a plus-ohm coil. Because as mentioned above, most plus-ohm coils will operate at an average of 8-17W. In theory, you should be able to put your MTL tank on any battery and it should work perfectly, providing you adjust your settings accordingly.

Sub-ohm coils on the other hand are completely different when it comes to batteries. As these coils require a lot of power (wattage), you normally find the batteries are a lot bigger. This is because these batteries are designed to output 80W to upwards of 230W. Another reason sub-ohm batteries/mods are a lot bigger is that, using a device at 40W+ requires a lot of energy, and you will go through your battery like there’s no tomorrow if you’re using a small one!

You will not be able to use a sub-ohm tank on a MTL battery as the batteries simply do not have enough power to fire up the tank. If you try this, you will be presented with a flashing button, and if the battery has a screen, it will read something along the lines of ‘atomiser short’ or ‘no atomiser’.

Bare in mind that just because your battery might offer a high wattage maximum, it doesn’t mean you need to use it! Using wattage higher than the coils recommended amount, will result in burins the cotton in the coil. Some of us have had to learn the hard way!

Does it matter what E-Liquid you use?

YES! We cannot stress this enough. Using the wrong liquid can result in leaking, burning coils, and and overall poor experience.

E-Liquid contains two main ingredients; Vegetable Glycerine (VG) & Propylene Glycol (PG). VG is thicker than PG, so the more VG in your liquid, the thicker it will be. When describing e-liquid we will give you the VG/PG ratio. For example you can have a 70/30 liquid or 50/50 liquid and many other mixtures.

E-liquid used in MTL devices are typically thinner liquids. Most commonly 50/50 like our Steam 10ml range. As a 50/50 liquid is bit thinner, it works perfectly with the smaller coils. You will also find that 50/50 liquid comes in a greater variety of nicotine strengths; 3mg, 6mg, 12, 18mg. With a MTL device, you can use any strength you feel comfortable with but we would recommend starting low and working your way up if you need to. You might need to try a few to see what works for you.

With Sub-ohm devices, you’re looking for a thicker liquid. Something along the lines of 70/30 or 80/20. When it comes to nicotine strength, we would say that 95% of sub-ohm users will use 3mg of nicotine. This is because a sub-ohm devices produces a lot more vapour, therefore carrying more nicotine per inhale. Of course some users will use a greater nicotine strength. We wouldn’t recommend more than 6mg. It can become very harsh on your throat and to be honest, its just too much.

Hopefully that makes sense! If you require further information then please don’t hesitate to contact us on 01889226182 or contact us on Facebook