How To Take The Perfect Dab

If you’ve recently decided to take your first foray into concentrates, then you’ve come to the right place. The flash vaporization or “dabbing” of concentrates has become an incredibly popular cannabis consumption method in recent years, but due to the hardware required and the margin of error associated with this method, it can also be intimidating to newcomers. Luckily for those who may be unnerved by dabbing, this article will run you through the basics so that you can dab with confidence in the future.

learn how to take the perfect dab

The Right Tools for the Job

Before you can start, it’d be wise to make sure you have the proper dabbing equipment. The standard dabbing set involves what you see here: a dab rig or water pipe of your choice that is fitted with a “nail” (an accessory that can be equipped to most water pipes that have a glass-on-glass downstem system), a butane torch with which to heat the nail, a dab tool with which to safely transfer the concentrates onto the heated nail, and of course, concentrate. In regards to your choice in a rig or water pipe, you typically want to shoot for something with low volume. For most, dabbing concentrates often involves taking few, small hits rather than the large rips a frequent bong user may be accustomed to, that’s why you don’t typically see people taking dabs out of 6-foot Zongs. Instead, most opt to use more compact pieces like the one you see pictured, which stands at 10-inches tall. If you’re looking for a butane torch, many smoke shops have begun carrying them in recent year, however, if there isn’t one nearby, a creme brulee torch from Walmart will do the trick. If you get seriously into dabbing, consider a larger butane torch from a home improvement store, as they heat up nails more efficiently and last longer than their smaller counterparts. As far as a dab tool goes, it’s always better to be safe than sorry and you should always use a tool made for this exact purpose. Dab tools come into direct contact with the heated nail and inhaling hazardous substances becomes a possibility when you use some kind of alternative to a “real” dab tool. These tools come in all shapes and sizes too, each facilitating the dabbing of a particular kind of concentrate, so keep your preferences in mind when selecting a dab tool.

taking the right size dab matters

Size Matters

The nature of concentrates is made apparent by their name, they are concentrated cannabis extracts that pack a real punch. As such, if you’re new to dabbing, do yourself (as well as your respiratory system) a favor and start small. So when loading your first dab, shoot for something that looks more like this:

taking the perfect sized dab

Rather than something that looks like this:

don't take to big of a dab

Building up a tolerance to the sensation and effects of dabbing concentrates takes time, so dab within your limits while you’re just getting started and know that it’s always better to risk having to take another dab rather than potentially find yourself utterly couch or cough-locked.

Turning Up the Heat

Since there are a nigh-countless number of nails that each heat up at different rates and even more added variance due to differences in torch output, I can’t get too particular here, but I can give you a few rules of thumb. For starters, always be sure that the torch is pointing away from yourself, others, your concentrates, and any potentially flammable materials. This may seem like a no-brainer, but I’ve seen and heard of a large number of instances in which torch-related negligence caused damage to an individual or one’s property. Next, you typically want to heat your nail until it begins lightly glowing red:

using the right heat to dab

From there, wait about 30-45 seconds for the nail to cool before applying the dab tool directly to the inside of the nail as you inhale like you would through any other water pipe. Allowing time to cool is important though, as taking a dab from an overheated nail can be a truly awful experience.

taking the perfect dab is easier than you think

Time to Apply Your Newfound Knowledge

And there you have it folks, a beginners guide to dabbing. While the specifics regarding heating times and dab sizes vary depending on the glass being used as well as the individual using it respectively, these are things you will gain comfort with as time goes on and you become more experience in the realm of dabbing. As always, thank you for reading and keep it a mile high!


Travis A. Denver, Co
An accomplished scholar, researcher, athlete, writer, and editor, Travis is always aiming to keep himself on the forefront of content creation. Most of his free time is spent practicing mixed martial arts, hitting the slopes, or adventuring with his beloved canine companion, Fate.