Dabbing is gaining popularity as one of the fastest growing delivery methods. Its effects are very different than other consumption methods. In this article, I explain what you need for a complete dab rig including the latest accessories to hit the market place. I have also linked to the many dab accessories that Bloom Medicinal Maryland has to offer.
- Dab rig or dab straw
- Dab nail or banger; domed or domeless
- Butane torch
- Dab tool
- Carb Cap with optional lid
A dab rig is just a small bong with fewer filters, known as percolators. When you smoke flower, you want the smoke to travel as far as possible through multiple percolators. The end result is a much smoother experience. If you vape concentrates at lower temperatures, a shorter path through fewer percolators will preserve its flavor and the potency as well as its terpene profile. This results in a more gradual onset of effects. Some dabbers prefer using higher temperatures. This results in bigger vapor clouds with a more immediate and stronger effect.
It is also recommended that you buy dedicated mouthpieces for flower and for concentrates. You won’t appreciate this until you become a seasoned dabber, but using the same mouthpiece for both will alter the flavor…not in a good way.
Dab or Honey Straws
The latest device for dabbing to appear in the market place is a vertical dab straw. It is also referred to as a honey straw and a nectar collector. It is much smaller, more portable, cheaper, more convenient and less complicated than the traditional dab rig. It is very simple to use.
You heat up your dab straw with a small torch. It is recommended that you rotate it as you heat it for better heat distribution. It should take about 10 seconds to heat up and make sure you do not heat it until it is glowing. You touch the end of the straw to a small amount of your concentrate, housed in a heat resistant container, and inhale repeatedly. No nail, no tool and no big torch required.
The dab nail is the part of the dab rig where you heat your concentrate to vaporization. There are 4 different categories of nail which all have their pros and cons. Whichever one you choose will depend on your personal preference. Temperature consistency is crucial in dabbing.
- Titanium Nails
- Ceramic Nails
- Quartz Bangers
- Consistent and durable
- Heats up relatively quickly
- Retains heat for about 20-40 seconds
- Adjustable sizes are readily available
- Comes in different grades which are not food grade; always buy Grade A
- Alters the taste and flavor of your dab and degrades the terpenes
- Needs to be seasoned
- More expensive than quartz
- Food grade safe
- Takes longer to heat than Titanium
- Heat retention exceeds 60 seconds after heat source is removed
- Fragile and can easily crack or shatter
- Susceptibility to temperature fluctuations can cause cracking
- Does not alter the flavor as much as Titanium does
- Recommended seasoning to enhance flavor
- Heats up the fastest
- Best flavor and taste
- Can withstand high temperatures without breaking
- Perfect for low-temperature, short dabbing sessions
- Doesn’t get contaminated easily
- Does not emit poisonous gases
- Cheaper than Titanium
- Loses heat the fastest
- More durable than ceramic but can break if you drop it
- Requires reheating for longer dab session
The “E” stands for Electronic. It consists of an electric controller box that directly connects to the titanium nail, delivering heat through a coil. It has temperature control buttons which let you know when the optimum temperature is reached.
- Consistent temperature is maintained for lengthy periods
- No need for butane torch
- Uses very little power to operate
- Can reach extremely high temperatures
- Should not be left on and unattended
- Use with caution when exposed to the outside elements
- Potential fire hazard, not to be used around flammable items
- Much more expensive
- Need access to electrical outlets
And then we have carb caps which is a category unto itself! A carb, short for carburetor, cap is a device made from glass, titanium or other heat resistant material. Its function is to trap the heat by restricting air flow, creating convection type heat for your concentrates. It increases the flavor of your dab and the efficiency of your rig. Carb caps come in many types and are designed to be used with specific nails.
- Directional Flow Carb Cap
Designed to be used with Quartz Bangers, it contains an angled stem that passes through the center of the cap. When you rotate it, the air pushes the oil around the bottom of the bucket. This maximizes vaporization.
- Quartz Bubble Carb Cap
Designed to be used with Thermal P and Flat Top Quartz Bangers. It uses a directional flow to vaporize every drop of concentrate with its dual carb stems surrounding a ball-and-socket.
- Universal Titanium Carb Cap
Designed to be used with a Trough style Quartz Banger and the “Castle style” Domeless Nail, it is unbreakable.
- Hollow Carb Cap
Designed to be used with the “Castle style” Domeless Nail. Best choice when your domeless nail is not evenly flat.
- Flat/Solid Carb Caps
Designed to be used with Trough or Quartz Banger
Domed Nails vs Domeless Nails
The biggest debate in the dab world is whether to go with a domed or a domeless nail. Each has its pros and cons. It is a matter of preference.
- More efficient with less vapor escaping
- Better for inexperienced dabbers
- Requires maintenance and cleaning which makes it easier to break
- Holds a lot more concentrate
- Easier to clean, making it less likely to break
- Recommended for experienced dabbers
- Loses heat and vapor escapes easily unless you use a carb cap
- More expensive
Anyone interested in purchasing a full dab rig or parts can talk with our patient specialist to help you select the best rig for your needs.
Here are the links to several dab rigs available for purchase at Bloom Medicinals Maryland:
thedablab.com, Carb Cap Buyer’s Guide, Blog, Nov 5, 2018
maryjaneshq.com, Domed or Domeless Nails: What’s Better? Nathan Bil, Aug. 27, 2015
tokersupply.com, How-To Guide: Dab Rigs for Beginners, July 31, 2018
youtube.com, Dab Straws and How To Use Them Tutorial, Todd, Apr 2, 2018