Dabbing is a cannabis delivery method where the quality of your components has a huge impact on the quality of your experience. With dry herb, you pretty much just need good bud, a functional lighter, and a pipe to get things going. You can up the ante with higher quality glass for better filtration, but that's about it. Dabbing is different because it's a much more finicky process than the combustion of dry herb. The temperature you dab at matters, so it's important to select a dab torch that meshes well with the rest of your equipment. If you're ready to upgrade from the screw-on kitchen torch, you don't need to drop a ton of money to get a serviceable product. You just need to know what will work best based on a few different factors.
Dab Torch Materials
You want to make sure you're getting a dab torch that won't quit on you after just a few uses. Unfortunately, this can happen sometimes if you're going for cheap corner store dab torches. These products are generally imported from China and often masquerade as name brand dab torches.
The thing is, these cheaper torches can be perfectly fine – especially for beginners. You just want to avoid dab torches with plastic components in the trigger, which are prone to weakening and breakage in their close proximity to high heat.
Look for a torch made of metal, without any chrome-like shininess. These high-shine finishes often mask substandard metal. Anodized aluminum is a fairly standard material for quality dab torches.
The Size of Your Dab Torch
When dabbing was a brand new trend, you'd often see YouTubers hitting their rigs with massive propane tanks spouting equally huge flames. It was predominant among the edgiest of dabbers, and huge torches quickly died down as people realized they didn't need to use flamethrowers to dab properly. Add in the discovery of low-temp dabs, and the disappearance of huge dab torches is no surprise.
These days torches normally run about seven inches tall or less, and most people like it that way. Some torches are designed for portability and make great options depending on your lifestyle.
If you're planning to transport your dab setup often, a three to four-inch torch will be perfectly functional for a smaller rig without intensive use. If it's a daily driver, you probably want to consider something in the six-inch range. Butane chamber size usually increases with torch height, so a bigger torch cuts down on refill frequency.
Dab Torch Jet(s?)
Most torches have just one flame jet. Depending on the size of the torch, this can be more or less effective for your concentrate setup. A small torch with a single flame jet can work well for a titanium nail, but the more common quartz banger comes in a variety of thicknesses.
- 2 MM: Thinner bangers are the prime candidate for small, single-flame torches. It doesn't take long to heat them up, and because they don't retain heat for very long, it's easier to heat them evenly. If you already have a dab rig with a thin banger, there's no reason to risk overheating with a high-powered torch.
- 4 MM: This is the most common thickness for quartz bangers, and you need a flame jet of at least ¼ inch diameter and a couple inches in length to heat it evenly and efficiently. You probably don't want to consider the smaller handheld torches for this thickness and should go for a dab torch big enough to have a foot/stand.
- 6 MM: It's rare for a banger to reach six millimeters in thickness. For this type of banger, you need more than one flame jet to ensure even heating on a reasonable schedule.
While most dab torches have a single jet of varying sizes, you can often find variants with three or four jets to get the job done quicker. Almost all butane torches burn at the same temperature, so adding more jets is a matter of speeding up the process and providing a larger heat coverage for evenness.
If you're into low-temp dabs, almost any dab torch will work fine. If you're a newcomer uncomfortable with the high-powered flame, you can wait a little longer for a small torch to heat up your nail or banger. If you're more experienced, you probably want a larger torch and/or more than one jet to get the job done quicker.
Many torches have a flame lock built in, so you can fire the torch and flip a switch to keep the flame on. This is especially handy for medical patients, who might not be able to hold down a trigger comfortably. Adjustable heads are another feature to look out for if dabbing feels uncomfortable.
Perhaps the most important feature for a dab torch is the warranty. All reputable brands offer some kind of warranty on their dab torch, so you don't have to worry about it quitting on you. While most warranties still require an exorbitant shipping fee, they provide at least a little peace of mind.
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