So, you’ve been considering getting into dabs. What are dabs, exactly, and how does one smoke them? Does one smoke them, per se? The simple is: not really. Dabbing is a much more complicated form of smoking marijuana (or CBD) concentrates that requires a dab rig and some other accessory tools to get going. If you’re serious about getting into dabs, a dab rig is essential, but finding the best one for you and your needs can be a complicated and overwhelming process. That’s why, in this article, we’re going to break down all the things you ought to consider when buying a dab rig and dab accessories so you can do dabs right.
There are many similarities between dab rigs and regular old bongs, but there are a few key differences that separate them. First, in choosing a rig, size is a factor. Rigs are characteristically much smaller than bongs, and that’s because concentrate vapor condenses upon cooling. A larger area for condensation means you lose out on more of your concentrates, as more concentrate vapor is then able to condense onto the rig, so be sure to choose a modestly sized rig.
More, bongs use a bowl that holds the flower so you can light it and smoke it. With a rig, instead of a bowl you use a nail, which can be ceramic, titanium, or glass, onto which you place small amounts of concentrates (dabs).
Nails have to be heated up before you apply your dabs. While flower only requires the flame of a lighter to be ignited, concentrates require a much higher temperature in order to vaporize into the smoke you inhale, so most people heat up their nails with a small torch, like a brûlée torch used in cooking. Once your nail is properly heated up, you place the dab onto it, which instantly vaporizes it and sends a burst of vapor through the rest of the rig.
There are two types of nails. There are standard, nail-shaped nails, which fit into your rig joint and may or may not be paired with a dome that sits overtop the nail to trap any concentrate smoke that doesn’t make it into the rig after you apply your dab. There are also bucket nails. Bucket nails attach to your rig a lot like a bowl does to a bong, but have an arm extending out with a bucket-shaped enclosure on the end. The bucket shaped enclosure traps heat inside of it, allowing it to stay hotter for longer, which is optimal for low-temp dabbing. The bucket also saves a lot of concentrate reclaim, making it the more economical option.
You may have noticed that some bongs have percolation features in them. These are often glass features designed to filter and cool smoke or, in this case, concentrate vapor as it passes through the rig and into your lungs. For regular flower pipes, percolators are more of a nice-to-have sort of thing, but for rigs they are much more important. Concentrate vapor is notoriously harsh and users often cough a lot from it, so when purchasing a rig, the more percolation the better. It makes the hit cooler, less harsh, and elevates your overall dabbing experience.
And, finally, you’re probably wondering how you apply your dabs to your nail. In addition to purchasing a rig, you’ll have to purchase a dab tool. Dab tools can be metal, glass, or ceramic, and have ends designed to scrape and/or scoop up concentrates and to easily apply them to your nail.
Also, if you decide to go with a bucket nail over a traditional nail, you’ll want to invest in a carb cap. Carb caps can also be metal, glass, or ceramic, and are meant to be placed on top of your bucket nail to trap any excess concentrate vapor that did not get inhaled, much like a dome. Regular nails usually come with domes, but sometimes they don’t, so be sure to watch for that, too. A dome is essential to making the most of your dabbing experience.
If you’re in the market for a dab rig, be sure to keep all this in mind so you can find the perfect rig for you and enjoy dabbing to its fullest potential.