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Dab Rigs for Beginners

Leslie kahn

I was tasked with writing about dab rigs but I have a confession. I have never used one as I favor smoking flower out of a glass pipe. I thought it would be relevant and interesting to write about the experience of a woman who has used cannabis but has never dabbed. She purchased her first dab rig, with some advice from an expert. This article explains what first time dab rig buyers should consider when shopping for a dab rig, the parts of a dab rig, and pros and cons of dabbing.

Parts of a Dab Rig  

  • Dab Rig
  • Banger or Nail
  • Butane Torch
  • Dab Tool
  • Carb Cap with Optional Lid

Dab Rig

A dab rig is basically the same thing as a bong but is typically smaller with very few percolators. Percolators, of which there are several types,  filter the vapor. When you are using flower, the longer the path and the more percolators that the vapor passes through, the smoother the smoke. With concentrates which require lower temperatures short of combustion, a smaller path with fewer percolators will allow the vapor to reach your lungs more quickly. It will preserve the flavor and the potency of your dabs.

Other Considerations When Choosing a Dab Rig

  • A comfortable size for your hand
  • Portable, especially if you travel a lot
  • Durable
  • Ability to upgrade with accessories
  • Pleasing color, shape and style

Banger vs Nail vs E-Nail

Deciding which dab nail to choose is much more complicated than choosing a dab rig. There is a lot of personal preference and trial and error involved in the decision. The dab nail is the area of your dab rig where you place your concentrates. It is heated with a torch which vaporizes it so that it can be inhaled by the user. The type of nail you choose will determine the effect you will experience.

1. Quartz Banger

  • Heats up the fastest
  • Cools down the fastest
  • Requires reheating for a long session
  • Delivers most flavorful effect
  • Breakable

2. Titanium Nail

  • Heats up faster than ceramic but slower than quartz
  • Retains heat well for longer sessions
  • Durable
  • More expensive
  • Needs to be seasoned where heat is applied to remove the coating and a thin layer of oil is applied

3. Ceramic Nail is the newest product to hit the market

  • Heats up slowly and retains the heat very well
  • May alter the flavor and taste of your dab
  • It is important to heat it evenly to avoid breaking or cracking it
  • More durable than quartz but still breakable

 4. E-Nail

  • Electrically controlled nail
  • Temperature controls maintain your preferred heating and cooling process
  • Takes the guess work out of finding the optimum dabbing temperature
  • More expensive than the other options

Domed vs Domeless Nail

Domed Nail is cheaper, easier and more efficient. No carb cap is required.
Domeless Nail is easier to clean which makes it less likely to be dropped and broken. It holds a large quantity of your dabs. Recommended to be used with a carb cap.

Carb Cap

A carb cap is a tool designed to cover your nail to make sure that all the concentrate vaporizes. It comes with an optional dome. It is called a carb cap, short for carburetor, because it does the same thing for your dab rig that a carburetor does for your car. It regulates the intake and flow of air to your dab rig. There are different types of carb caps designed to be used with certain types of domeless nails. The right combination makes it possible to maintain lower temperatures which preserve the terpene profile.

Types of Carb Caps  

1. Directional Flow Carb Cap to be used with Quartz Banger
2. Flat/Solid Carb Cap to be used with Trough Style or Quartz Banger
3. Quartz Bubble Carp Cap to be used with Thermal P Flat Top/Quartz
4. Hollow Carb Cap to be used with Castle Style Domeless Nail

Temperature is crucial in dabbing. The hotter the temperature of the dab, the bigger the vapor cloud. This results in a strong effect which comes on very quickly. With lower temperatures, the effects come on more gradually while maintaining better flavor. In order to control your preferred temperature, you can either use an E-Nail or a timer to measure how long it takes for the dab to heat up and cool down.

Here is what our first time dab rig buyer purchased:

  • A borosilicate glass Dab Rig
  • Quartz thermal style banger
  • Butane Torch
  • Thermal directional Carb Cap with Optional Lid

Here are her thoughts about dabbing in general:


  • Preferred vaping over smoking
  • Enjoyed the effects of the higher doses of cannabinoids
  • Flavor and smell of the concentrates were much more intense and distinctive
  • Virtually odor free
  • Described the effects as “exceedingly good” which made her giggly


  • The process of dabbing seemed very involved
  • Unsure she used the carb cap properly which she clearly did not as she had left-over plant matter in the rig and wanted to know what to do with it

A word of caution for first time dabbers. Start slowly with a small dose. Dabbing provides much more intense effects than other delivery methods! Happy dabbing!

Source:, Know Zero Things About Dabbing and Don’t Want To Ask? This is for You, Emily Resling, July 9, 2018, Carb Cap Buyer’s Guide, Blog, Nov 5, 2018, Benefits of Titanium Vs. Quartz VS. Ceramic Nails Coils and Accessories, Dab Rigs for Beginners, July 31, 2018