How To Take The Perfect Dab

Taking the perfect dab takes a fair bit of work. There should be an optimum temperature, technique, and timing in order to get the most out of your dabs. It’s okay if you are not quite there yet. After this piece, though? You bet you will be.

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. 

How To Take The Perfect Dab

How to Take a Dab

Taking those concentrated doses of cannabinoids can be pretty tricky if you are a newbie. Considering how many attributes come into play here, taking a dab or two may need some time and expertise. Right off the bat, you might need a piece of equipment called a dab rig.

Using a Dab Rig

A specialized type of bong or water pipe, the dab rig is used to ensure that you get the maximum out of your cannabinoid concentrates. What makes dabs so special is how pure and potent it can make your hits. Of course, you will have to get your temperatures and timings right (more about it later). 

You should be adamant about investing in a good dab rig. These usually contain a few elements as mentioned.

  • A water pipe with a nail is pretty important. This will be your primary conductor of heat. 
  • A butane torch will be needed for heating. You can easily avail of this at a convenience store. It makes your experience, dare we say, pretty convenient. 
  • A carb cap will help in better aeration. This is an additional element, but we recommend you get it. 
  • You will also need a dabbing tool that moves that extra concentrate. You can obviously devise homemade items, but it is always advisable to get a special dab tool. 
  • You can also invest in a dab mat; in case you wish to not make a mess around your rig. These are honestly pretty inexpensive no-brainers.
  • Lastly, you will obviously need to concentrate. How else would you get your high?

Heat Up the Nail

This is possibly the steepest learning curve here. Learning the optimum temperature of your nail can be pretty tricky. Fret not, with practice, everything seems achievable, doesn’t it? 

You need to bear in mind that different nails have different optimum temperatures. Not just that, but each torch has a different grade of heat that it can provide. Temperature is crucial because it affects taste, aftertaste, and of course, the aftereffects. More about it in the FAQ section.

If you do not wish to invest in a blowtorch, you can obviously save yourself the time and convenience and get e-nails altogether. After all, being able to control temperatures and their durations sounds pretty cool, doesn’t it? 

Take a Small Pinch

Now that you have heated the nail, you need to place an appropriate amount of dab. Keep in mind that different compounds have different THC concentrations. So, in order to obtain an optimal experience, be aware of how much you actually need. 

As a general rule of thumb, your dab amount should not be more than a crumb. Take a small pinch as a starting metric. If you happen to be a newbie, try not to be overambitious with the amount of dab you are considering. 

This is mostly done to avoid tolerance. Along with it, you can get a pretty good high with the optimum amount of dab at your disposal. 

Let it Fully Melt on the Nail and Inhale

Pretty self-explanatory, isn’t it? Nail, and inhale. Once your dab starts melting, it is bound to release its vapor, which will take you to cloud nine. 

Here, keep in mind that if you don’t maintain that optimum temperature, you won’t get the high you are looking for. Additionally, you leave a lot of residues. Doesn’t sound conducive. 

Nectar Collector

Functioning as a new kind of accessory, the nectar collector is something you should be quite aware of. Don’t be surprised by its simple tube design. Looks are often deceptive, and nectar collectors are the epitome of it. 

Using the nectar collector can be like using a straw to make the most out of your hits. There are various types of collectors you can get, especially made or constructed out of different materials like silicone, glass, or even the crème de la crème titanium. 

Heat the Tip

The most important step is to heat the tip with your blow torch. How will you know whether it has reached optimum ranges? Simple—the color of the tip should be red hot. You can obviously choose to dab it at lower temps, but higher is better (pun intended). 

Also, pro-tip: use some heat-resistant surface too while heating it. Silicone, or glass make good choices. 

Dip it into Your Container

The rest of the job is pretty easy. All you need to do now is place the nail in the container that has the wax or the oil. The advantage of nectar collectors is that it makes dabbing a lot more convenient. Additionally, you waste very little material. Yes, it is THAT simple to be a pro now.

Dab Pen

If you are one of those discreet elements of society, the dab pen might just be the appropriate thing for you. Don’t get us wrong—with the right pen, you are bound to get the best hit possible. 

Being a vaporizer for cannabis concentrates, the dab pen is pretty compact in nature. This is pretty advanced stuff though. With an atomizer and a chamber, the dab pen is a pretty cool device.

Put a Small Amount in the Atomizer Chamber 

The atomizer is basically the spot that has a lot of coils and science magic going on. All you need to do is place some concentrate in your atomizer chamber, and the coils will do the rest of the heating. Works like magic, honestly. 

Heat it Up and Inhale

Obviously, the coils are connected to an electrical system which you will have to turn on. Once you do this, the heating process starts. The fun bit? Heats up in seconds. Inhale and enjoy!

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.

How To Take The Perfect Dab

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:

How To Take The Perfect Dab

Rather than something that looks like this:

How To Take The Perfect 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:

How To Take The Perfect 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.

How To Take The Perfect Dab

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!

FAQ on Dabbing

How Often Should I Clean My Nail?

Ideally, you should clean it after every session. We don’t live in an ideal world, so we suggest you do it as frequently as possible. Oh, and when it comes to those hard crusts which won’t leave? Use isopropyl alcohol. 

Should I Use a Carb Cap on my Banger?

Again, always. Your job is to make your vapors as thick as possible for the best experience. With the carb cap on, you will be able to heat your concentrates a lot more effectively. Moreover, you will get more out of your flavor. 

What Temperature Should My Nail or Tip be?

Nails with a lower threshold of temperatures can bear 300-400 Fahrenheit on average. These are low-temp nails, which obviously cause a lot more wastage. You can go for the high-temp counterparts too, but those will obviously be abrasion-prone. 

You will usually get the temperature limits when getting a nail. So, get the proper materials first. 


That was a lot of comprehensive information, wasn’t it? Don’t worry, we have left no questions unanswered. Happy dabbing!