What You Need to Know About Using Dab Rigs

By: Anna     July 15, 2020
Cannabis connoisseurs around the world are embracing a potent and exciting method of using cannabis concentrates: Dabbing. Products such as wax, shatter, BHO and THC oil are distinctly stronger than their marijuana flower cousins. As such, people usually want to aim for the purest method of imbibing to deliver the most mind blowing effects. Dab rigs are a true cannabis lover’s best friend.

What is a Dab Rig?

Smoking, vaping and hitting bongs is one thing, but they can only deliver so much in terms of purity and intensity. Dab rigs take using concentrates to the next level. Dabbing is the best way to get a serious medical-grade hit of THC for those occasions when nothing less will do. If you’re a beginner recreational smoker, approach with care. Dab rigs are usually best in the hands of veteran tokers and medical patients.
An oil rig, or dab rig, is the best way to consume cannabis concentrates like wax, shatter, BHO, live resin and rosin. These delicate concoctions tend to be more volatile and fragile than full extract cannabis oil or hash. Smoking them in a bowl or blunt wastes a lot of the goodness from these expensive, high-quality extracts.   
Dab rigs are almost identical to bongs, except they have a nail inserted into the female stem instead of a bowl.

What is a Nail?

Nails are made from one of three materials. Place a twirl or drop of your desired concentrate onto the searing hot tip of the dab rig nail and breathe in. Some nails come with a carb cap, which prevents excess vapor from escaping. Invest in one of these to take the dabbing experience into the stratosphere.

Quartz Nail

Quartz is the fastest type of nail to heat up. It’s excellent because it’s medical grade, which means it never gives off harmful gasses. The main downside with quartz nails is that they’re fragile compared to other nails. 

Ceramic Nail

If you like dabbing at low temperatures to savor the taste of every terpene, a ceramic nail could be the best choice. It retains heat for longer than quartz and it’s more durable, so it’s unlikely to get fractured over time or because it gets too hot. 

Titanium Nail

Titanium heats up fast, it’s excellent at retaining heat and it’s practically unbreakable. Because the titanium used for dag rigs isn’t usually food-grade, you need to ensure it’s seasoned before use. The other downside with getting a titanium nail for your dab rig is the cost — they’re pretty expensive.


E-nails are the most expensive options, but they allow for perfect precision. An e-nail heats up to the desired temperature, so there’s no more guesswork to get your ideal hit.

What is a Quartz Banger?

Quartz bangers are specialist dab rig nails designed for extra durability and the ultimate clarity of flavor. Glass offers a clean taste, but quartz takes it to the next level. This is awesome because you get ultra-clarified tokes, and you can go as hard as you want with the torch. An ordinary quartz nail might not be great at retaining heat, but a quartz banger holds it for around a minute.

Step by Step Guide to Dabbing

Discover how to use dab rigs in this step by step guide:
  1. Heat the nail: At first, you’ll need to get the hang of heating the nail and taking a drag. But once you know, it’s easy. It must be hot enough to vaporize your extract upon impact, but not so hot that it burns. It’s a delicate balance, which is why an e-nail can come in handy. Dabs should start at between 340 and 440 degrees Fahrenheit; otherwise, you risk losing potency and flavor.
  2. Drop the extract: Use a loading tool to place as much concentrate as you’d like on the dab rig’s hot nail.
  3. Take a dab: Place your mouth on the inhaling piece of the dab rig and inhale. Hotter temperatures mean a harsher smoke. It might take a few goes to get the hang of landing the wax, shatter, budder or oil perfectly, but you’ll be a pro in no time. Plus, it’s always fun to add a new weapon to your cannabis arsenal.
  4. Clean the nail: If you want your dab rigs to last, you must keep it properly clean. The nail collects toxins, so make sure you use some cotton or tissue to wipe it while it’s still warm. If you’ve let the nail coo, just use some rubbing alcohol to clean away any residue.

How to Choose a Dab Rig

Choosing the perfect dab rig depends on what the individual is looking for. Here’s a guide to some of the most sought after qualities in the land of dabbing.

Portability's Your Priority

Pulsar Mini Recycler with Disc Perc
You can get compact, small rigs perfect for on the go or even electric rigs that have a great battery life so you can take it with you.

Discretion is the Word

Stonesmiths' The Slash Vaporizer
We’ve all been in situations where we need to be low-key with our concentrates. For these occasions, get a dab pen instead of a full-on dab rig.

Daily Toker

Keith Haring Dab Rig
When you need something for everyday use, you’ll want a borosilicate, heavy-hitter, ready for anything. The Keith Haring dab rig is great for this.

On a Budget

Cannabox Smokey the Stoney Ghost Mini Bong
Golden Crown 14mm Male Quartz Banger

Even if you’re on a budget, you can just get a bong. It’ll have a water base for filtration, and you’ll need to get a separate nail or quartz banger.

Find the Right Dab Rig for You

Pretty much every cannabis lover who tries a dab rig loves it. When done correctly, you get pure hits of the most potent concentrates with no taste of coil, metal or carbon — just essential oils and active compounds.