Concentrate Pipe Nail & Dome Parts: The Differences Between Titanium, Ceramic, Quartz, and Pyrex Glass
Those new to the world of dabbing will likely, at some point in their journey, come face-to-face with the question, “What is the difference between titanium, ceramic, quartz and Pyrex glass?” Here at Mile High Glass Pipes, we break down these materials to help you choose the best nails and domes for your concentrates.
Titanium Pipe Parts
Titanium is a metal and heats relatively quickly, typically within 15 to 25 seconds, and it has great heat retention. In addition, a titanium nail will never break, no matter how much you drop it or heat it.
Most pipe experts maintain that grade 2 titanium parts are best for dabbing, although both grade 2 and grade 3 have minimal or no harmful by-products and retain heat well. Unlike quartz and ceramic parts, the titanium used for nails is not food- or medical-grade, so it is important to consider researching the manufacturer to avoid buying potentially carcinogenic, titanium with high iron levels.
You may notice a thin layer of titanium oxide on the dab nail after repeated use, which ultimately affects the productivity of the rig. If this happens, you can use a “water-dippin’” method to remove the white oxidation residue. Heat your nail as normal, then use tongs and place the nail into room-temperature water to clean the piece. Unseasoned titanium nails can also make the concentrates taste like metal, seasoning the nail before use is best.
Ceramic Pipe Parts
Although ceramic nails can take 30 seconds or longer to heat, they can hold heat for the longest amount of time. However, this can make the ceramic piece more prone to heat stress than other materials, and in rare situations, the material can fracture. To prevent breakage or cracking from heat stress, make sure to heat the ceramic nail evenly. Unlike quartz and titanium parts, ceramic does not turn orange when it is hot, so you may wish to time the heating process for the best results. Ceramic can also take a while to cool down, so it is often recommended that you invest in a carb cap to maximize your hits and prevent leftover concentrates from sticking to the nail.
Ceramic nails are food- and medical-grade, so they do not release harmful gases when heated, and since ceramic is a non-porous material, you do not need to season ceramic like you would with other quartz or titanium parts.
Quartz Pipe Parts
Quartz is a mineral compound with a crystal-like structure and appearance. Out of these concentrate pipe materials, quartz parts take the least amount of time to heat, generally around five to 10 seconds, but quartz does not hold heat as well as titanium or ceramic. A carb cap can help to retain heat since quartz tends to cool down as fast as it heats up. Quartz is also prone to breaking if it is overheated or if it is dropped repeatedly, but it is much more durable than ceramic or Pyrex glass pieces. Quartz dab nails work well for once-a-day dabbers, but they are not meant to withstand heavy use.
Quartz is a food- and medical-grade material, meaning that it is completely safe to use and does not release toxic gases when heated. Much like titanium nails, quartz nails are available in a number of styles and sizes, making them a convenient choice for many users. However, if you use different rigs, keep in mind that quartz nails are not always available in all-in-one and adjustable styles.
Pyrex Glass Pipe Parts
Of all the materials, Pyrex is considered the least durable and is more known to crack and/or break after repeated use. Pyrex glass comes standard with most all dab rigs because it is the cheapest option. Although Pyrex is a fantastic material for someone who dabs on occasion, it is not meant for heavy use, and you risk destroying the components if you dab all day, every day.
However, if your Pyrex rig does break, it is relatively inexpensive to replace. Most people who are just starting out with dabbing ultimately upgrade from the standard Pyrex glass nails because they tend to be tiny, only allowing for small dabs at a time. In addition, Pyrex glass requires a lower heat, but it does not retain heat as long as other concentrate rig materials such as quartz.
Choosing the Best Pipe Dome
Since some dab rig nails have domes or can be domeless, there’s also a debate as to whether domed or domeless nails are better. Nails with domes are considered safer because it covers the nail nicely and helps reduce the risk of burning yourself. Domes are generally made using quartz or Pyrex glass. You won’t find them made of ceramic material, nor in titanium.
Choosing the Best Dabbing Nail
There are a number of types of nails to use with your dab rig, and each has a certain resistance to heat stress and thermal properties that allow them to absorb and hold heat. For instance, some people prefer the quick-heating quartz, others like the durability of titanium nails and some love ceramic’s heat retention properties, so it is important to weigh your smoking habits and needs before choosing one that is right for you.