Dab Rigs: A New Alternative to Smoking

Dabs Rig Seattle Dispensary

For even the most ardent pot smoker, the term dabbing might not ring any bells. Dab rigs, unlike a pipe, joint, or bong are not created to set anything ablaze. Rather, the point of the dab rig is to heat a concentrated extract so it can be inhaled. It contains a nail that serves as a heating element. Once the torch is hot enough, the extract is then “dabbed” on. This will then emit a vapor that you inhale. The point, and what makes dabbing so unique is that with this technique, is that consumers report it provides a more intense high. The dab rig is just as effective as taking several hits from your old school pipe or bong. They are becoming the sought after item among today’s more knowledgeable cannabis consumer.

Dab Rig HQDabbing is when you physically place extract, either in wax or oil form onto the dab rig nail. It may take a little practice but over time it will become easier and with anything worthwhile, the efforts are worth the rewards. Most extracts are thick enough that they won’t run off the nail. You will need both a nail and torch in order for the rig to work though. Different rigs require slightly different techniques. The rig and the torch devices are typically sold separately. Some retailers like Head Shop Headquarters may sell them as a set or can certainly provide you the advice you need to ensure you make the purchasing option that best fits your unique smoking needs.

How to Use a Dab Rig

Blow TorchFirst, you should heat the nail with a torch. Watch as it heats up, and once you believe that you have generated enough heat, you should apply the wax or oil. The vapor should appear immediately. You can then drag the vapor through the mouthpiece. Always be sure to let your rig cool down before storing.


Why Have I Never Heard of Dabbing Before?

While the wax and oils for dabbing have been in the marketplace for more than 50 years, dabbing is a relatively new phenomenon. Until about 2010, it was largely underground with only certain groups engaging. They would use concentrates like oil and wax. Dabbing occurred then with crude “home-made” rigs.

Most people would agree that the major turning point in the world of dab rigs occurred around 2012. With the flurry of marijuana legalization activities around that same time, consumers more and more began to stop inhaling smoke in lieu of dabbing. Dabbing began to catch on as a result and the demand has gone through the roof.

Today there are rigs of all kinds. Head Shop Headquarters has a large collection of dab rigs, with options for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a portable dab rig, an affordable dab rig, or even one that looks like an avocado, they’ve got you covered.

What’s with All the Pieces?

ceramic_nail_female_mediumFor the most part, dabbing rigs are made up of three essential parts glass, a nail and a torch lighter. For some rigs, parts come together, but the likelihood is that you’ll have to purchase the pieces separately. Also, you’ll need the short, small rod; this is the actual dabber. And this is the part used to apply the concentrate.

When it comes to the nail to use, there are a number of options. But be mindful that it is the nail that is responsible for providing the heat for the extract or concentrate. It has to sustain enough heat to generate vapor. In most cases, the nail will heat very quickly and be able to maintain its heat level.

Here are a few nail options to consider:

  1. Glass This is the type of glass that we typically see with pipes and bongs. It is called borosilicate glass. Not really recommended by experienced dabbers because they break and have been known not hold enough heat for long periods.
  2. Ceramic Similar to the glass nail, it is not as sturdy; but also like the glass, it’s cheap.
  3. Quartz Definitely a step up from the first two choices. It is very hard to overheat this type of nail. But like the other two, the problem is that it won’t hold heat long. Some say that while the concentrate might get hot, it might not stay hot enough to produce much vapor.
  4. Titanium Most dabbers who are experienced stick with the titanium nail. It is virtually indestructible mineral and can sustain heat for optimal periods of time. One caveat with this nail is that might get too hot and ruin the extract or concentrate; thereby failing to generate vapor.
  5. E-nails These are electric nails that come with a port to insert coil that also has a monitor for the coil’s temperature. While the e-nail is convenient, most people are passing on them at the moment. They are a bit more costly but they eliminate the need to solely depend on a torch. Also, you can control the temperature with the e-nail. Once the heat is set, it maintains at the same level.

Domed or Domeless?

Domeless Rig

Another thing to consider when searching for the right dab rig, you will begin to notice some nails with domes and others without. There are those who advocate on either side domed or domeless (shown to the right). Which is best? The choice is yours. Some experimentation may be called for here on your part to determine your own preference.

Like with anything else, rigs come with pros and cons. If dabbing becomes your thing, you will certainly need to procure a quality rig. Some of the primary benefits of using a dab rig include:

  • Convenience  Everything you need will be at your fingertips and you’ll have everything you need to enjoy your dabbing experience.
  • Safety A high-quality rig will aid in maintaining your safety while dabbing. Beware of cheap products because you are literally playing with fire.
  • Style You’ll find a great variety of styles. There is a lot to pick from and you can show a bit of your own personality through your rig. You can also mix different parts with different rigs. You need to be certain to consult with your retailer as to the safety of this.

Ready to Enter the World of Dab Rigs?

Among those who use dab rig, you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone who will have many bad things to say. The exception here is, of course, are cheap, poorly made or home-made models. The same holds true for the wrong nail choice. In the end, you will accomplish little but a lot of wasted money, time and concentration. Nails getting too hot or not hot enough can be a major frustration. In the end, there is no vapor to inhale; which sucks.

However, you might want to do everything you can to avoid these problems. Ask questions about the nail, the quality, how well does it maintain heat, will it produce enough vapor? If it gets too hot and stays too hot the risk you run the risk of taking in more smoke than vapor. It will truly defeat the purpose of buying a dab rig to start.

HeadshopHQ logoSo now that you’ve entered into the brave new world of dab rigs, you should keep several things in mind. First, do homework, much like you are doing reading this column, ask questions and get advice from those with experience with rigging, and who you trust and make sure that you purchase a quality product.

What are you waiting for?! Get 20% off at Head Shop Headquarters using the code: LEAFBUYER and start your journey into the world of dab rigging!

Article By: Alfonzo Porter