Your dab rig is the most important part of your entire setup, but what exactly is it and how does it work? Check out the complete guide below and get the complete scoop on dab rigs, how to use them, and how they work.
What is a dab rig?
A dab rig is a small water pipe designed to inhale cannabis concentrates, better known as dabs. They typically come with a percolator or two that helps to cool, diffuse and filter vapor through water, much like a regular bong. However, they come with a dab nail or quartz banger which allows you to vaporize concentrates that you’ll inhale through your rig.
How to use a dab rig
Before we dive into using a dab rig, let’s start with the things you’ll need to use one.
- Dab rig — necessary for cooling and filtering vapor through water
- Dab nail — used for vaporizing concentrates after heated
- Torch — used to heat the dab nail
- Concentrates — so you can get high
- Dab tool — used for scooping, cutting, picking, or otherwise manipulating concentrates and applying them to the hot dab nail.
- Carb Cap — reduces airflow and improves heat distribution to allow for better flavors and less wasted concentrates
- Cotton swabs and 91% isopropyl alcohol — used for cleaning your dab nail after every use
Once you have the necessary supplies to enjoy your dab, here’s how to use a dab rig.
- Fill your dab rig up with water and attach your nail: Start by filling your dab rig up with water until you can inhale from it and get a little bubble action without any backsplash. Then slide your dab nail into the joint on your dab rig.
- Heat the nail with the torch: Using a torch, apply heat to the bottom and sides of your banger until it begins to turn red.
- Allow the nail to cool to the correct temperature: This is a little bit of a tricky thing to do if you’re new, so you might want to invest in a laser thermometer or an enail to make sure you’re hitting the perfect temperature for a low temp dab. A good sweet spot is between 311-388°F. If you’re going to eyeball it, wait about 30-45 seconds for it to cool down. It should still be hot, but not glowing red. Once you hit the right temperature, you can dab.
- Use a dab tool to add your concentrates to the hot dab nail: Using your dabber, you can scoop a bit of wax, shatter, rosin, or otherwise onto the tool. Once you’ve got a good scoop, apply it directly to the hot nail with the tool. Your concentrate should begin vaporizing instantly. Begin inhaling.
- Inhale and cap your nail with a carb cap: While you inhale from the mouthpiece, use your carb cap to cover the top of the banger. This helps to regulate airflow so that you can get a better, more flavorful hit and reduce the amount of leftover waste when you’re done dabbing.
- Exhale and repeat: You may have to inhale and exhale a few times before the concentrate fully vaporizes. Just keep going until the concentrate is fully vaporized and you can no longer pull vapor from the rig. Voila! You just did a dab!
- Clean your nail: Rig hygiene is extremely important. Allow your nail to cool a bit, and use isopropyl alcohol and cotton swabs to remove any leftover residue or oil from the nail after each use. You should also take care to change the water in your dab rig after each use to keep it tasting fresh, and opt for a deep clean once a week.
How much do dab rigs cost?
Dab rigs range from $25 to thousands of dollars based on the materials used to make them, the intricacy of the working parts, and whether or not the design is artsy. You can get really great dab rigs in the $50-$100 range, but you might pay more if you want to smoke out of a functional art piece designed by a professional glass artist. You might also pay more for different materials, percolators, or recycler-style dab rigs.
What’s the difference between a bong and a dab rig?
The key difference between bongs and dab rigs is the size. Bongs tend to be on the larger side and come with a wider mouthpiece and joint, making it easier to pull smoke and give it more surface area to diffuse and cool down smoke. They also tend to come with a lot of fancy percolators and additional water chambers to further cool and filter weed smoke. When it comes to flower bongs, bigger is better.
Dab rigs are usually much smaller and come with a narrower mouthpiece and joint, creating a slower pull from the rig, allowing you to sip it and cool the vapor without taking much away from the flavor. They’re usually limited to one water chamber and no more than two percolators. Their small, no-fuss design makes it possible to cool and smooth out the vapor without filtering the terpenes away. Since there’s no combustion involved with dabbing, dab rigs don’t need a ton of space or bells and whistles. When it comes to dab rigs, the smaller the better.
Lastly, a bong is usually outfitted with a bowl slide while a dab rig comes with a dab nail or quartz banger.
Best dab rigs for beginners
If you’re exploring the world of dabbing for the first time, you might be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of different designs, styles, materials, and accessories. If that’s the case, have no fear. Below are the top three best dab rigs for beginners.
1. Quartz Beaker Kit
If you’re looking for an affordable way to explore dabbing without shelling out tons of extra cheddar for the accessories you need to get going, check out the quartz beaker kit. Beaker rigs are excellent for dabbing because their shape provides plenty of space for vapor diffusion. Inside the rig is also an in-line percolator that gently bubbles the vapor to help cool it down before it reaches your mouth. However, the most important thing about the kit is that it comes with everything you need, minus the torch and concentrates. Inside you’ll find the beaker rig, a quartz banger, a carb cap, two terp pearls, and a dab tool. The kit will save you about 20% on the whole setup, making it a great choice if you’re new to dabbing and not sure if you’ll like it.
2. Fat Bottom Rig
A lot of beginners are clumsy, to no fault of their own. But that’s okay! If you know you’ve got butterfingers, opt for the super affordable fat bottom rig. The fat bottom rig comes with an extra heavy, thick base that makes it more stable for the tables. More importantly, its thick bottom makes it capable of supporting giant, heavy nails (including terp slurpers!) and reclaimers. The stability gives it an edge for newvies since its less likely to break from an accidental drop. Inside you’ll also find a 4-slit inline percolator on the downstem that gently diffuses vapor without hurting those tasty terps.
3. Inline Rig
If you’re a beginner, start with the basics! The classic in-line rig design is the perfect no-fuss model that promotes some of the best flavors in this extremely affordable price range. Inside you’ll find an inline percolator attached to the downstem, which filters and diffuses smoke gently through the power of bubbles. Beginners love it for its price range, its simple, no fuss design, and its clear design that’s easier than most to keep clean. Its small size makes it a great option for tabletops at home or on the go.
That’s everything you need to know about what a dab rig is, how to take a dab, and some of the best beginner dab rigs.
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