For everyone out there who loves the flavor and feeling that cannabis gives them, it’s a golden time to be alive. More than half of the US considered legalization this year, and more will soon. Thanks to all that change, there are now more ways to vape more dry herb and cannabis concentrates than ever before. Sweet!
But it’s not always easy to choose which portable dab rigs are best, and that’s a problem. As the technology improves, there are more choices out there—and most of them are expensive. So which portable dab rig is best for the discerning cannabis connoisseur or the brand new medical marijuana patient?
What Are the Best Portable Dab Rigs?
- The Dipper – Chrome
- Puffco Peak – Smart Rig
- Higher Standards – Rig Kit
- Vivant – Dabox Vaporizer
- Dr. Dabber – Switch
Best portable dab rigs
On to the important issue: the best portable dab rigs on the market right now. This list was curated by the VaporVanity editorial team after some debate.
Everyone on the VaporVanity editorial team is pretty serious about their vaping. We have each been using dab rigs for long enough to be glad that e-nails are now an option.
That said, a few of us will never totally abandon our torches! Therefore, we have included one torch-and-burn model, and one smaller box mod option. We also included a portable dab rig that can also handle flower, because we believe in something for everyone and a vape for all.
As a team, we think these are among the best portable dab rigs on the market today, this post is here to explain why. Rest assured that any portable dab rig on this list is an excellent choice.
Ready to get your dab on? Let’s go.
Here Are the Best Electric Dab Rigs
We fought long and hard, and although at first the Puffco Peak Vaporize ended up on top, new tech sometimes changes things. Now, the best electric dab rig of 2020 is The Dipper.
Ousting the Puffco Peak Vaporizer from the top spot: The Dipper. Here’s why.
It’s truly one of a kind. It’s the single absolutely portable dab rig that gives you a nectar collector or quartz chamber with a pen feel that also doesn’t use water or a separate heat source. It is stupid easy to use, and there’s nothing else exactly like it on the market.
The functionality is great and the flavor is even better. You get instant heat from the element, and if you are missing that classic experience, use the DipWhip accessory. (Some of our testers liked the flavor even more that way anyway.)
Cleaning is really, really easy. It’s the easiest to clean and redeploy that I have—and I have a lot of them. This whole design eliminates many of the problems with wasted concentrate that are basically inherent to other units.
And the final blow knocking PuffCo Peak out of the top spot: value. The Dipper’s price tag (without our awesome coupon, that is) hits $114.99. Next to the Peak, this is a way better value, not to mention way simpler to use and more portable. And the one-year warranty make it even more worthwhile.
Finally, it’s not quite as sexy as the PuffCo Peak design-wise—but it’s close. And in exchange, it’s high-quality, sleek, and compact. It’s a real pocket unit but it delivers on performance for a truly portable dab. If you want to dig deeper into this great and truly portable dab rig, read our in-depth review here.
* Use the code “vaporvanity” for 10% off your order!
Puffco Peak, Smart Rig
Yes, there is no question: the Puffco Peak Smart Rig has a style advantage. And so what? When you’re investing in your top piece of dabbing equipment, you want it to look amazing, and the smart rig from Puffco truly does. But that’s really just the beginning.
The Puffco Peak is a portable e-nail made up of a glass spout and a base. It stands 7 inches tall, and looks a little like an e-bong, a small water pipe, or the banger-hanger type of rig that lots of dabbers may find familiar. The glass chamber is hand-blown, and gives you that vapor diffusion and water filtration that is so nice.
This is not a stealth vaping option, is what we are saying.
The Puffco Peak Smart Rig features four heat settings: blue is 450°F, green is 500°F, orange is 550°F, and white is 600°F. So although you don’t have total, bespoke control over your temperature, you do have a lot of precision, and every setting produces a lot of vapor with this bubbler. You can adjust the temperature based on what’s in the chamber, or how much you’ve put in there.
The Puffco Peak portable dab rig charges in about two hours, and takes only around 20 seconds to heat up—pretty awesome compared to other portable dab rigs. Every full charge lasts about two hours, or up to 30 dabs.
Where the Peak really shines, though, is user experience. You control the rig with a single button on the front. It features haptic feedback, such as a gentle vibration that lets you know when it has reached the right temperature.
This smart rig also delivers precision temperature feedback via an LED ring that wraps around its base. The ring also pulses when it’s firing. And the Puffco Peak’s new “sesh-mode” function also retains some of the old-school pass-around fun of sharing your portable dab rig with friends and extending your vaping session.
Downsides to this portable dab rig? Obviously, the cost. At $400.00, this is a serious hit on your wallet. Also, you have to replace the ceramic bowls sometimes, and even the chambers with some regularity.
In fact, they are designed to be replaced—but at $24.99 each once a month, that is an ongoing cost to consider. Furthermore, not breaking things like the ceramic stem is a challenge, and although I am one of this unit’s biggest fans, breakage is a problem.
The bottom line: If you want a real showpiece for concentrates, the Puffco Peak Smart Rig is your portable dab rig. It performs beautifully, tastes great, and looks super cool. It also provides a sexy user experience and a great, old-school sesh mode without any of the old-school hassles.
Dr. Dabber Switch
In the battle of vaping flower or concentrate, there is no battle with the Dr. Dabber Switch. That’s because the Switch is one of the only high-end portable dab rigs that handles both concentrates and flower equally well. This way it gives you everything the old-school rig does, with none of the hassles.
It brings the flavor with both, too, thanks to its cups. The Switch provides a black ceramic cup for concentrates and a crystal induction cup for flower, and both taste delightful. This makes it superior to, say, the Hera 2 which handles both herb and concentrate, but has a metal chamber.
As far as power goes, the Switch absolutely rips thanks to induction heating, letting you churn out nice, thick clouds no matter what’s in the chamber. The Switch is powered by an enormous 33.3 Watt-hour battery. It’s designed to provide 150 full cycles per full charge, and you can even dab while it’s charging thanks to its pass-through functionality. It stays charged a lot longer than, for example, the Puffco Peak, and gives you more temperature options.
Down sides to this portable dab rig? For one thing, any rig with a removable battery, while it may increase convenience, comes with added risk. This is mostly for people who use them even after they are damaged, since taking them in and out increases the chances of things like that happening, and damaged batteries can be an issue.
But worse than that? Again, the cost.
Like the PuffCo Peak, the Switch comes with a $400.00 price tag, and that’s a serious hit for most of us. And unlike the Peak, the Switch is only so-so to look at comparatively, especially for the price. The user experience is also less friendly and exciting (although it doesn’t lose any real, hard functionality, for sure).
The bottom line: If you want one, high-end device for your concentrates and your herb and you want that device to really rip, the Switch is for you. It’s got excellent battery life and can handle whatever you throw at it with the best, cutting-edge technology. The Switch is an investment, but a really smart one, especially if you like having one daily driver that’s not a tremendous commitment.
If you need the dual use of flower and concentrates but you can’t handle that Switch price tag (we feel you), the Pulsar RöK is for you. The Pulsar RöK also has its own interesting look, and we can imagine Mr. Spock (or Dr. McCoy at least) using it to stun us.
The Pulsar RöK is 6.75 inches tall and fits nicely in hand. The RöK has its water bubbler is at its base encased in highly durable borosilicate, an interesting design. The Pulsar RöK also has a disc percolator, which means cooler, smoother vapor, although all of these features mean it’s not a quick rig to assemble.
The RöK is made from scientific glass and metal as well as tougher plastic so it’s a fairly durable device.
To use the RöK:
Fill the base no more than halfway with water. Attach the downstem to the device body’s underside.
Put the base on a level, solid surface, and then put the RöK body on the base and line up the parts. Lock them in place.
If using concentrate, dab your concentrate onto the quartz coil. If using herb, switch to the ceramic dry herb coil.
Power on the device by fast clicking the button five times. Cycle through temperature settings by clicking three times.
RöK mode or sesh mode maintains the selected temperature for thirty seconds so you don’t have to constantly hold down the power button. To engage or end it, fast click twice.
Once you’re done heating, cover the coil with the carb cap and inhale.
Clean RöK atomizers using the included alcohol-filled cotton buds or a cotton swab dipped in isopropyl alcohol. They can be alone or attached when you clean them, but clean threaded connections, too.
Take glass parts off the rest of the RöK to clean them with isopropyl alcohol. Remove any clogs in tubes using the included cleaning brushes and soak the tubes in iso as well. Rinse all the glass parts and tubes with cold water and air dry.
The RöK heats fast and stays cool, even in sesh mode, or should we say RöK mode. We didn’t find the vapor quality from the RöK on par with the Switch or the Peak, but it is still very high end because of the disc percolator and quartz coil, mostly.
You can chase some huge clouds at the high temperature setting, but we loved the flavor at lower settings, which was smoother. The RöK delivered better dry herb vapor quality than we predicted, maybe because it comes with a carb cap and coil specifically for vaping flower. Stay on the lowest setting and you too may be pleasantly surprised with your dry herb experience.
One complaint was that the RöK takes over two hours to charge unlike competitors that use faster USB-C connections, it uses a Micro USB port. Another was the plastic pieces detract from the overall design. Finally, the highest temp, to us, is a little high for some concentrates and for dry herb. Still, overall it is a much cheaper alternative to the competition, and these are issues that some are willing to trade on.
The bottom line: The Pulsar RöK is a nice alternative to a huge rig like the Switch both in terms of cost and size if you need one device for both dry herb and concentrates.
Carta Vape Rig V2
For those of you who just cannot see shelling out that much for a rig but want a vapor experience in the neighborhood with the Puffco Peak, the Carta Vape Rig V2 is the next best option. It is definitely not in the same league design-wise, but in terms of performance it does everything you want—for a lot less.
The Carta consists of the base unit, the borosilicate glass water attachment, and the atomizer. Assembled, the whole thing is about 7” tall, and although it does have a plastic finish, it has a heavier feel in the hand than it seems like it would.
The basic Carta V2 is black and white two tone, but it’s not nearly as appealing as the monochrome options, which each have their various tinted glass options to go along with the colored base—a definite upgrade compared to the two tone version.
The concentrate atomizer comes with quartz and titanium bowls. You also get two 18350 batteries that you can change out for charging, a charging cable, a carb cap, and some tools. There is also a dry herb atomizer available for $30; it works well here and it’s a unique feature in a portable dab rig.
The Carta V2 charges fast via USB-C, typically less than an hour. Of course you can always keep one of the two batteries charged, and you’ll get around 30 hits before needing to charge anyway.
Start by clicking the button five times, and you’ll get that haptic vibration. Now the Carta V2 is in standby, so tap once to go into your last heating setting. To select a new temperature, one-click between 500°F and 842°F, and once you choose, let the unit heat. When it’s ready, it will flash and vibrate again. The lights remain solid green until the cycle ends.
The unit heats quickly, in 10 to 15 seconds, depending on the setting. The water attachment is actually larger than the Peak’s, which cools the vapor considerably. If you like big dabs, the bowl can handle it.
To shut down your Carta V2 when you’re done, hold the button down or press it five times. It also has an automatic turnoff feature in case your product is a little too good.
We love this best for concentrates, and if you are a cloud chaser you’ll love cranking this up. This is so easy to use, and great flavor. No torch, no hassle.
The Carta feels solid in your hand, especially for its size and the materials, and the glass especially is sturdy. This is not as sexy a piece as the Peak, but especially those monochrome designs are very cool looking, and this performs like a true competitor—even before you see the price.
And that’s a big deal, because at $250 to $350 (depending on the style you like) compared to $400 for a Medusa Peak even before you replace anything? That matters.
The bottom line: The Carta is a fantastic portable e-rig. The best features are the huge clouds, fast heat-up time, auto-shutoff safety, and the removable batteries. It isn’t the showpiece that the Medusa Peak is, but it performs like a dream, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a better value.
What Are Portable Dab Rigs?
Portable dab rigs, often called enails although they’re not all electronic, are riding the wave started by the synergy between the cannabis and wellness industries. There are so many reasons for this, but the main one has to do with the changing face of who is dabbing—and what we dabbers are willing to accept and demand.
Today’s consumers want higher impact cannabis without lung damage. Enter the portable dab rig, and vaping explosion.
But before portable dab rigs came onto the market, the torch-and-burn rig set up with nail was the only option available. If that sounds complicated, and potentially dangerous, that’s because it can be.
Old-school dab rigs use a torch to heat the nail. You have to achieve the right temperature before applying your concentrates. Insufficient heat means a sticky, uneven mess and wasted product you are left cleaning up. But apply too much heat, and your dabs go up in smoke, and not in a good way.
Unlike larger, more traditional versions, portable dab rigs are powered by a battery instead of a butane torch. Portable e-rigs may seem complicated, but they are pretty simple. The base or controller box joins the nail and a battery which heats it. Concentrate goes on the hot nail, producing vapor.
Portable dab rigs powered by batteries on the market today offer freedom from the heat and stigma attached to torches, not to mention more precise temperature control. With that comes smoother, tastier dabs filled with richer terpene profiles and more impressive psychoactive effects—and even a noob can achieve them.
Portable e-nail rigs are smaller, simpler units compared to the bigger desktop models, but they still use a glass mouthpiece, some form of heating element, and a power source. Some rigs are battery-powered, while others attach directly to a vape mod 510 connection.
Still, even the modern torch-and-burn portable dab rigs are really impressive. And for dabbers who love absolute control of temperature in the palm of their hand—at least as far as their sense of touch can afford them—these torch dab rigs are still appealing.
Any way they are powered, portable dab rigs are by far the best way to get both the flavor a true aficionado wants and the portable package anyone who is on-the-go needs. An enail rig can remove any perceived “druggie” element out of things, not to mention the potentially eyebrow-singing aspects of the process. Or, an old-school torch plus a new-school, high-quality build can give you years of performance.
Using portable enail rigs
If you’ve never used a portable electric dab rig before and you’re feeling a little intimidated, you’re not alone. I broke the first three I used, mostly because I was embarrassed about asking for help and I couldn’t find it online!
This should help (don’t worry. It’s easier than it seems).
How to Use a Dab Rig:
- Step One: power the dab rig on.
- Step Two: select your optimal temperature. Remember, you don’t want to overheat it, especially if it’s dry herb.
- Wait while it heats up to the optimal temperature.
- Use a small amount of wax/concentrate (they call it a “dab” for a reason– so use a small amount).
- Put the dab of concentrate on the hot nail as you inhale the vapor.
- If there is a carb cap, use it on top of the nail while you inhale.
Pros and cons: portable dab rig materials
A titanium nail is what you see most in these rigs, because titanium that is Grade 2 or higher quality is safe to inhale, lower-cost, and long-lasting. It also heats quickly, which is nice.
The trouble with titanium nails is apparent as soon as you inhale, if you love concentrates. They just don’t taste as good coming off of these dab nails.
Ceramic dab nails are in many newer electric dab rigs for just that reason. Ceramic tastes delicious, is fairly simple to use, and doesn’t retain heat the way metals do.
On the other hand, it certainly takes longer to heat ceramic. And I’ve had my heart broken by more broken ceramic dab nails than I can count, because that is ceramic’s other flaw: it is fragile. Oh, and one more tiny complaint: ceramic starts looking kind of gross and stained pretty quickly, if that bothers you.
Quartz nails are the flavor fan’s best friend. This is not because these dab nails taste that much better than ceramic, but more because they have the best overall safe, delicious heat.
On the down side, quartz nails take more time than, say, metal, to heat. They are also breakable. But if flavor counts for you, there isn’t yet a way to escape breakable pieces completely.
How much does a dab rig cost?
Speaking of price, how much do these things cost? A portable dab rig will typically cost approximately $50.00 to $400.00. I know, not cheap, especially the newer enail kits.
Just like everything else in life, you get what you pay for. If you’re new to dabbing and unsure what you like or what matters to you, it may make sense to save your money.
Some of the cost of many of these models is definitely about the power source. Torch-and-burn models still offer a lot more in the way of saving money, as do smaller box mods. The rest of the difference is often about whether or not there is water filtration, how fancy the user experience is, and the quality of the build and materials.
Better builds, higher quality nails, and more advanced features such as precision temperature control come at higher price levels. This translates into a superior vaping experience, so if you do prefer dabbing, it’s a worthwhile investment to get the right portable dab rig.
Alzghari, Saeed K., To Dab or Not to Dab: Rising Concerns Regarding the Toxicity of Cannabis Concentrates, September 9, 2017, National Institute of Health
Strongin, Robert M., Toxicant Formation in Dabbing: The Terpene Story, ACS Omega
Hyde, Will, The Best Dab Rig for You, Leafly
FAQs, Dr. Dabber