Start Dabbing Without a Torch

dabbing with an enail
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If you're at all interested in the world of weed, you can't avoid the topic of dabbing. Whether you've only heard of it peripherally, or if you have that one buddy who just won't shut up about how to dab, you probably have a sense that it's a complicated affair. There's no denying that all the terminology, products, and processes can get a little overwhelming for the beginner, and one of the most intimidating parts of dabbing is undoubtedly the torch.

The Trouble with Torches

Even talking about torches in regular conversation feels ridiculous at first. You may as well be talking about flamethrowers and seeing a torch in action only strengthens the association. When dabbing first hit the mainstream a few years ago, it was common to see people heating the nails on their dab rigs with 14-ounce propane tanks and six-inch, full-bore flame jets. Things have calmed down a bit in recent years, and now that more average weed enthusiasts are dabbing, there are more average-sized torches on the market.

Even so, a relatively small handheld torch still puts out a flame that can reach up to five inches long. Couple that with a temperature of 2,500F and a moment of clumsiness, and you've got a recipe for disaster. Other disadvantages include:

  • Long cooldown time
  • Imprecise heating
  • Cost of butane refills

Torches just aren't for a lot of people, but is dabbing without a torch a viable option? Absolutely, as long as you find the right product!

E-Nails and Electronic Dab Rigs

credit: Puffco.com
The most common alternative for dabbing without a torch is the e-nail. Put simply; it’s just a nail that heats up using an electric component. The coiled e-nail is where it all started, although that’s certainly not the best option available today. These are basically just metal coils that go around your nail to heat it with the aid of electricity generated by a battery. The battery box also allows you to set the temperature of the coil, so you know how hot your nail is.

The major con to this setup is the coil cord itself. They often require replacing, and frankly, they just get in the way. The cord has to be connected to the battery box and the nail as well, so it's pretty easy to smack or tug on by accident if you don't set it up correctly. You also need to leave the coil around your nail until it cools down, so the danger of knocking over your dab rig looms for a while longer than it would if you just used a good old torch.

Dabbing without a torch is best done with a modern e-nail or e-rig. These dab rigs are designed specifically to provide a simple, low-complication process for dabbing that's a lot less dangerous than using a coil.

An e-nail is an attachment that pairs with any 510 thread vape mod as its power source. They usually feature a titanium nail, and some even come with a ceramic chamber you can use for dry herb.

The Best of the Bunch

There are a lot of e-nails to choose from on the market, but several brands stand out from the crowd. If you're ready to start dabbing without a torch, take a look at these three quality products:

Dr. Dabber Boost

This e-nail is portability at its finest. It has two temperature settings ? one for titanium and ceramic nails, and one for a quartz nail. For the price of $159.95, it comes with all three nails, as well as a magnetic carb cap and dab tool combo. This e-rig charges via USB and can handle 20 to 30 dabs per charge.Operating this e-nail is easy. You push the button three times for the lower heat setting, or five times to access the higher heat setting for the quartz nail. These features mean a lower level of customizability, but for someone who's just beginning, the simplicity can be a key factor.

The Boost isn't capable of directly emulating a manual dab, but it can produce some decent clouds thanks to its included water filtration attachment.

Dabado Bolt 2

The Bolt 2 from Dabado is very similar to the Dr. Dabber Boost, but with a few key differences. Most notably, it features a built-in LCD screen, where you can see the temperature and battery usage readouts. It also includes an extra heating element in case the first one ever goes out, which adds nice peace of mind to a pretty substantial purchase. In addition to being available in white or black, the Bolt 2 is highly customizable with a variety of affordable glass attachments that alter filtration (and plain look cool).

Perhaps the most attractive part of the Bolt is its lower price of $129.99!

Puffco Peak

The Puffco Peak is a new kind of e-rig, aiming to bowl you over with high-tech functionality. It has four heat settings, allowing you to find your preferred sweet spot. If you do another dab while the bowl is still hot, the Peak's "intelligent temperature calibration" adjusts the heating time to maintain temperature. From cold, it takes about 20 seconds to heat up the ceramic bowl. The battery lasts through 30 dabs and takes two hours to charge fully. Given the steep price point of $379.99, this device is suited to those who are looking to make a legitimate investment. It's a highly functional e-rig and is certainly beautiful from a design standpoint.

Health Benefits of Dabbing Without a Torch

THC shatter of a dabber
Roxana Gonzalez/shutterstock
Not convinced yet? There are more reasons to try one of the options above. Dabbing without a torch eliminates certain health concerns, too. When you're using a torch, you have to rely on your timing. So, you have to remember exactly how far to keep the torch away, what gas setting to put the torch on, and the right number of seconds to apply heat. Even then, the heating process changes when your torch is getting low on butane, and when you get a new nail or banger.

This results in a very loose idea of how high you're heating your concentrates. That matters because most cannabinoids and terpenes are vaporized at 400F or below. Any hotter than that, and you're essentially burning off the compounds you want. Not only does that lessen the efficacy of your dabs, but it's not any better than smoking regarding health. Combusted dabs are super harsh on the lungs, leading to a lot more coughing. They also don't taste good, since the terpenes that emit those delectable aromas go up in smoke.

Lose the Torch, Gain Portability

A dab setup isn't terrifically portable, either, as it involves a torch of varying size and a large bit of glass. Many battery-powered e-nails, like the Boost and the Bolt, have the distinct advantage of being highly portable. It's such an integral part of their design that the kits come in portable cases for dabbing on the go. Friends will be impressed when you show up to the party with a lean, mean electronic dabbing machine.

A Worthwhile Investment

The main thing that makes people shy away from e-nails and rigs is their cost. While high-end contraptions like the Puffco Peak may not be a good option for first-timers, more budget-friendly options are a lot cheaper than a classic dab setup. Between the torch and a decent dab rig, you're already spending as much as you would on an entry-level e-nail. All in all, there's a truly compelling case for throwing out the torch altogether and going for an electronic setup. Let us know what you think of your e-nail!