How to Dab and Other Frequently Asked Questions About Dabbing

Many people are turning to a new form of smoking, called dabbing. Dabbing refers to the process of inhaling vapor produced through heating up the concentrates, considered an alternative way to enjoy smoking.

If you have tried and enjoyed dabbing, you are perhaps thinking about owning your own dab rig now. If this will be your first time to buy dab rigs, chances are you may be a little intimidated by the countless options available. Remember that the dab rigs you choose can make a huge difference in your dabbing experience. You therefore need to choose which one will work best for you and will suit your preferences and needs, but how will you know what is best?

To be able to learn which dab rigs to purchase, you need to learn the dab rigs and its nature first. Educating oneself before plunging in the world of dab rigs is important. Usually, when shopping for a dab rig, terms such as domes, nails, torches, and bangers are being thrown around. You should know what these terms mean in order to learn whether a particular dab rig could meet your standards and needs. There are lot of other things a beginner should know about dab rigs.

All the important things a beginner should know about dab rigs are given in this guide.

Thing to Know About Dabbing

The term dabbing came from actually having to dab a small amount of concentrated oil on to the rig as for the purpose of producing vapour. In most cases, concentrates are indeed fairly thick and might not run off the nail as well.

Dabbing is not a portable activity. You either need a torch or an E-nail to heat up to high enough temperatures in order to vaporize the concentrates. This can be difficult to bring with you, so if you are looking for a portable method of smoking you should check out vaporizers, bubblers or hand pipes.

How Dabbing Works

Dabs are most of the time smoked with the use of a water pipe also called a dab rig. Setup your dab rig with a nail or E-nail. If you’re using a nail take your blowtorch and heat the nail directly until it just about becomes red hot. Once it is up to temperature take a dabbing wand and a piece of your concentrate and place it on to the nail, inhaling through the mouthpiece as it vaporizes. Nails come in several different types of styles and materials which we will talk more in depth later in the article. If using an E-nail set the temperature to your preferred temperatures are between 610-700 Degrees Fahrenheit. This is hot enough to vaporize your concentrate but not too hot that you can’t taste its flavour. Check out our guide on the best dabbing temperatures.

Risks and Precautions

When dabbing you are handling a torch and a very hot nail. You have to be careful when using the torch not to burn yourself or accidently light anything on fire. The nail is also very hot and touching it could result in serious burns. Using an E-nail could prevent both of these risks but are a bit more expensive.

What Are Dab Rigs?

For beginners who have little to no background about dabbing, understanding what a dab rig is can be a bit confusing. Some refer this as a device similar to a bong.  However, there are lots of differences between dab rigs and bongs.  It can be considered as a particular kind of water pipe but instead of burning your product with fire you are vaporizing it using special tools.

The device has a nail, often gets heated up using a torch. Afterwards, concentrated extracts from numerous different legal herbs are “dabbed” onto the nail. When the nail is heated, a vapour will be produced then inhaled through the mouth piece on the dab rig.

Import Parts of Dab Rigs

Dabbing has been increasingly becoming more popular in the recent years, especially among the smoking aficionados. For beginners, prior to knowing how dabbing works, it is first vital to be able to know the different components of the dab rigs. The ability to identify which is which and what its function is will aid in the proper use of the equipment.

Nail – This is perhaps the most important part of the dab rig. This is what you will heat in order to vaporize the concentrate. Usually, since dabbing is done at extremely high temperature, users heat this using a blowtorch. Nails are generally manufactured using different materials including quartz, glass, titanium and even ceramic. Each of which works great but they also comes with disadvantages. We will discuss these later in the article.

Dabber – This is can be any long utensil you use to touch your concentrates onto your heated nail.

Carb Cap – This clever tool is used to create an enclosed space on the nail so your concentrates vaporize and provide airflow into your rig.

Torch – This tool is often over looked, because how can one torch be better than another? You need a torch that gets hot quickly and stays hot. A reliable torch is crucial to dabbing.

Silicone Case – This is not needed but welcomed among frequent dabbers. Storing you concentrates can be tricky if you don’t have one of these.

dab rig tools


Pros and Cons of Different Types of Dab Nails

Each nail is different you can look for the one that suite with your needs and in your budget. Of course, all of them will work great, but it all depends on your budget and preference.

Ceramic Nails

Ceramic like glass can’t with stand the stress of heating and cooling, eventually causing it to fracture. Ceramic nails also take the longest to heat, for dabbing temperatures. However ceramic is great at holding the heat so no worrying about constantly using your torch. They are also medicali grade and food safe material.

Quartz Nails

Quartz doesn’t have great heat retention like ceramic but it heats up really quick. It doesn’t have to worry about constant heating and cooling but overheating can cause fractures as well as dropping it. Quartz is food and medical grade as well.

Titanium or Ti Nails

For regular dabbers, perhaps titanium nails are the common type used. They are indestructible; it will crack or fracture even if you drop it. They can withstand high amount of heat and hold it for a while like ceramic. Titanium can also heat fairly quickly, almost as fast as quartz. Ti nails are not food grade or medical grade so you have to season the nail before you use it. If you are looking for flavour Ti nails are not what you are looking for.

 What to look for in a Dab Rig

If you are new to dabbing you can always switch out your bowl for a nail and use your bong as a dab rig. However that is not going to be as enjoyable as using a water pipe designed for dabbing. Here are a few things you should look for when you take the plunge into dabbing.


The smaller your dab rig the better, you want as little distance from the nail to your mouthpiece. The more percolators or the longer the vapor travels the more of your dab you lose to condensing into resin on the inside of your rig. Besides looking for a small dab rig you want to look for a small mouthpiece. Both of these attributes will aid in tasting the concentrates you are vaporizing. The size of your glass joint dictates airflow, and smaller joint sizes are preferable. Male nails heat and retract which can harm your dab rig, but female nails tend to drip reclaim creating a sticky mess.


The less percolators the better, when putting a hot vapour through too many percolators will condense too much and lose most of your dab. Look for inline percolators or something with only a few slits/holes. Make sure it does hold water, no one wants to take a super-hot dab without any cooling.

The size of your glass joint dictates airflow, and smaller joint sizes are preferable. Male nails heat and retract which can harm your dab rig, but female nails tend to drip reclaim creating a sticky mess.


A thick borosilicate glass dab rig is necessary to with stand the heating and cooling that dabbing requires. A dab rig with a wide base or heavy bottom is also very helpful to prevent tipping.   

Dome vs Domeless

The debate of dome vs domeless has been going on for years. We are big fans of domeless and it seems like the market is headed that way as well. It is up to you to decide what you prefer. Here are some pros and cons for each option.

Domed nails are generally the cheaper option of the two. They’re great for solo sessions when you just want to relax by youself. However domed nails are an extra piece you have to worry about breaking, cleaning and taking care of. It also can be a pain heating the nail, putting the dome over the hot nail then finally dabbing. It might not seem like much but compared to domeless its annoying.

Domeless nails are a bit more expensive but with popularity the price is starting to come down. They have a bigger dish which means bigger dabs. One of the best parts of domeless is some are univerisal and will fit any joint size and male or female. You will however need to purchase a carb cap if you go this route.

How to Clean Your Dab Rig

Cleaning your dab rig is very important because it will maintain the cleanliness of your tools and at the same time provide you great flavour from your concentrates every time.

Consistently cleaning your glass dab rig will make it easier for you in the future, as it helps prevent the build-up of the resin.

The easiest way to clean glass is with Epsom salts and rubbing alcohol. In cleaning your dab rig here are a list of things you will need:

  • Salt
  • Water
  • Large Ziploc Bag
  • Pipe Cleaners
  • Your glass pipes
  • Q-tips

Here are the right steps on how to clean your pipes effectively:

Step 1: Take the Ziploc and fill it up with rubbing alcohol with some of the salt then shake the bag.

Step 2: Now, put the stem and the bowl in the bag.

Step 3: Close the bag and carefully shake it for 30 seconds. Check if it’s clean then shake again for another 30 seconds. Repeat until completely clean.

Step 4: scrub your dab rig with the use of the Q-Tips and Pipe cleaners if you still see some residue that is left behind. Wash it with clean water then allow it to dry.

Dab Rigs And The Benefits Of Dabs

Lately dabbing has become a hot topic in the smoking scene, but it is not a recent discovery. Some consumers already practiced the hot knifing, which consisted of heating two knives to sprinkle on a stove until they were red hot and then placed between the resin of the remains of pipes or bongs (or even hash directly) until the heat produced vapors to inhale.

Rigs And Vaporizers For Dabbing

The necessary means for the dabbing are a rig/bong/bubbler, a burner, a bowl for concentrates and a wand. The rig is the basic apparatus used for the dabbing process; the burner is a small butane torch used to heat the bowl; this bowl fits inside the rig and melts the concentrate, and the nail picks up the concentrate and presses it against the bowl.

It is important to prepare the vessel when using the rig for the first time, heating it to approximately 260 °C аnd bаthіng іt with thе соnсеntrаte. Thеn let іt cool and rереаt thіѕ 2 or 3 times. Once the bowl is ready, it’s placed in the rig and heated with the torch. Then, vaporize the concentrate in the bowl with the wand while inhaling. Never touch the bowl to empty the stuff, or you will burn your fingers.

Heating And Safety Methods

There’re a couple of ways to heat concentrates for dabbing. There is the induction heating method, wherein the concentrate is applied directly to the heating support to convert the product to a usable and inhalable state; while the very convection heating process employs an electronic apparatus to heat the air. While it rеасhеѕ a сеrtаіn tеmреrаturе, іt heats the соnсеntrаtе tо thе point of turning the Concentrate into steam ready to inhale.

The temperature at which the concentrate is heated is also an aspect to be taken into account for dabbing. Benzene is released when the product is heated above 185 ° C. Benzene is a common carcinogen and tends to be produced in small doses, but consumers aware of their health should know that inhaling steam’s not entirely free of toxic substances.

Advantages Of Concentrates

Some may spend a lot of money on dab concentrates. Apparently, the concentrates are more expensive than the dry herbs, but remember, dabbing only needs a small amount to be effective. There are those who have estimated that one draft of a vaporizer equals two in a bong. So if you manage to keep your tolerance relatively low, concentrates may be more respectful with your pocket than the dry herb itself.

What Is In Dabbing For You?

The biggest benefit of dabbing is that the effect is much stronger than smoking or perhaps employing a vaporizer. This makes dabbing very fitting or maybe suitable for folks suffering acute or chronic pain and intense nausea due to its direct and very effective effect. Achieving a similar effect when smoking or with a vaporizer is impossible.

Due to the growing popularity of dabbing, the University of Albany, State University of New York, has recently done a study on this. This research has shown that dabbing is a healthier way to consume tobacco. Also, the data collected showed that there is no evidence that more problems or accidents occur when consumed by dabbing than when smoking tobacco.

Researchers have also pondered whether dabbing may or may not lead to increased tolerance and withdrawal symptoms. “It is not surprising, given the highest dose concentration in the dabs,” Loflin explains.

When Loflin explained how he interpreted the study, he said: The results suggest that dabs could more easily produce a dependency syndrome than tobacco, although there is no evidence that this type of consumption is interfering with main areas of people’s lives more than we see with the consumption of tobacco. Unfortunately, results on the use of long-term dabbing are not yet available.

Lastly, Dabbing is becoming a very popular way of consuming tobaccos to help patients treat their illnesses and for day-to-day smoking. It’s necessary to adapt and discover the type of rig that suits your use, and which concentrates are most beneficial to you.

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