About Dab Rigs

As the public becomes aware of cannabis concentrates and their medicinal benefits, we wanted to share some information about dab rigs. What is a dab rig? How to use a dab rig?

Here is our comprehensive guide to getting your first dab off to the best possible start.

What is Dabbing?

Dabbing is considered an alternative and safer method for inhaling smoke to a direct flame set to burn or char herbs, oils, or concentrates directly. Dabbing causes wax to boil in a vapor-like fashion because it uses convective heating instead of conductive heating. It's a form of cooking concentrates on a protective surface instead of burning directly by a flame.

The apparatus used for dabbing is called a dab rig.

What is a Dab Rig?

A dab rig is a specific type of smoking pipe or bong used to smoke concentrates and oils, also known as dabbing. They can also be called concentrate rigs. Our favorites are made and designed in glass and incorporate the use of water filtration in the pipe.

A dab rig is made to incorporate a two-step process in which you first use a torch to heat the nail (a surface area) before "dabbing" concentrated extracts from the herbs onto the nail surface. Once the concentrates are in place on the nail, you then inhale the vapor through the dab rig's mouthpiece.

How Does a Dab Rig Work?

Dab rigs work in slightly different ways and vary depending on the style of the concentrate rig you choose. However, in its most basic form, a dab rig works by incorporating a glass vapor slide, a 90-degree joint, a recycler, and a nail.

Of these rigs, nails are arguably the most critical aspects of the dabbing process. A nail can be made of quartz, titanium, or glass, and they all have pros and cons along with personal preferences to consider. So, it's essential to choose one that's right for you.

A dab rig can feature a vapor dome that fits the nail and prevents you from losing any of the concentrated vapor produced. Whereas traditional water pipes have 45-degree joints, dab rigs typically have 90-degree joints and are smaller in size to help prevent the dilution of the vapor's taste.

A dab rig may also come with a recycler - a specific type of water pipe that pushes the water throughout the device. Smoke and water travel from one chamber to the next, then back down into the first chamber, providing a continuous loop of filtration that continually cools the water and vapor. 

Not sure whether a device is intended for dabbing? Look at the gender of the joint on the apparatus. If it is a male joint and comes with a vapor dome or glass nail, you can use it for dabbing. Other pipe styles can be converted using unique nails, but the male joint pipe is most common.

How to Choose the Best Rig for Dabs?

If you're ready to invest in a dab rig of your own, it's easy to become overwhelmed by the sheer assortment available. Trying to understand terms like "burn," "domes," and "nails" can be intimidating, but you don't need to feel like a fish out of water. Like most smoking apparatuses, there are low-end, simple dab rigs, mid-level devices, and high-end dab rigs, complete with an assortment of extra features.

Just as concentrates have evolved in the past several years, too have the pieces you use to enjoy them. If you've never owned a concentrate rig before, the options can be intimidating. Keep in mind that a standard dab rig kit requires three pieces: a nail, a glass piece, and a torch lighter. While you can certainly go the cheapest, most economical route, pay attention to an essential part of your setup - the nail or heating element.

Depending on your preferences, you have several choices of nail surface material: titanium, ceramic, glass (borosilicate), or quartz (fused silica). While some people might prefer one type of material over the others, the truth is, your choice will have little effect on the flavor. Instead, the material will affect the temperature the nail reaches and how long it remains at that temperature.

If this is your first dab rig, you might consider opting for a domed nail. Domed nails generally require less upkeep but do offer a bit less airflow. Domeless nails require more care and cleaning but are designed to have more airflow. Domed nails are also smaller and don't need as much heating time as domeless nails.

When purchasing a torch, we'd recommend using butane. Propane gets too hot too quickly. Choose a small torch with a manageable flame to avoid heating the glass on the rig. As you continue to dab, you'll notice that the rig will become coated in a resin-like oil - known as "reburn" or "reclaim." You can collect this and spread it on papers will come down to a personal preference. Experiment, ask friends and experienced dabbers what they use, and ask questions to get the best possible experience.