Dab Rigs

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You can’t dab without a dab rig! Your rig is easily the most important part of your entire setup since it helps you water-cool your vapor for smooth, flavorful hits every time. More importantly, your rig houses your nail and errs on the smaller side to help you get the most out of your favorite concentrates in terms of vapor quality, flavor and smoothness.

What is a dab rig?

Dab rigs go by a few different names, and may also be called an oil rig or a wax rig. More or less, they look like really small bongs and come with a dab nail for concentrates instead of a bowl slide for flower. They come in a few different shapes and can be made from many different materials, though they’re easy to identify by their smaller size and simple, no-fuss designs.  Since no combustion is involved with dabbing, the smaller the rig the better. Dab rigs are designed to encourage the best flavors and hits with a smaller vapor pathway and fewer chambers and percolators.

What’s the best type of dab rig? 

At the end of the day, the best dab rigs are small rigs that have good pressure without a bunch of extra percolators or chambers. Most of the time, people prefer heavy-duty borosillicate glass dab rigs since they’re more stable on the table and less likely to break when they inevitably get knocked over. Borosillicate glass also handles heat nicely, making it less prone to stress fractures on the neck or the joint where you heat up your dab nail. Look for something small without unnecessary bells and whistles as well as something that’s sturdy and looks cool.

Key considerations when buying a dab rig

When you’re shopping for a rig online, there are a few important things to be on the lookout for. Take care to address the material its made from, the size and angle of the mouthpiece, the joint size, the bells and whistles, and of course, the overall size of the dab rig.

  • Mouthpiece: Unlike bongs, you want a dab rig with a small mouthpiece. Since you don’t have to clear the chamber with a dab rig, you want a smaller mouthpiece. The constant airflow from the nail allows for better flavors and less waste. Remember, you want to sip a dab rig, not rip it. Dabbing is also much safer from a table top, so you might prefer an angled mouthpiece that you can comfortably hit while sitting down.
  • Material: Dab rigs are typically made with either glass or silicone. Silicone stays cool to the touch and is virtually indestructible, though it slightly alters the flavor of your dabs and tends to be so basic that silicone rigs don’t cool your hits down as well. Ideally you want a dab rig made from borosillicate glass since it’s easy to use and clean, stays cool, and offers a sturdy design.
  • Joint Sizes: Not all dab rigs come with the same sized joint, so you should consider sizing when buying a rig online. Make sure you match the size of your rig to the size of your banger. If your rig has a female joint, you’ll need a male dab nail in the same size. The best size joint for a dab rig is usually 10mm since it allows for more airflow restriction, encouraging better flavors.
  • Percolators and filtration: Your dab rig should have at least one chamber for water so that you don’t burn your lungs to cinders hitting a dab. Just take care to avoid really heady designs for dabbing. Less is more. You don’t need a ton of percolators or additional water chambers because you don’t want to increase airflow volume and reduce the flavors of your dabs.
  • Size: Keep it simple — the smaller your rig the better it’ll taste. While medium and large water pipes can be used as dab rigs or for both concentrates and flower, you’ll have a better experience when you opt for something smaller. The less volume where you can lose vapor potency through the oxygen it has to travel through, the better your flavors and overall experience will be.

How to smoke concentrates with a dab rig 

Dabbing is a pretty easy process. You just need a few things to get started. Keep in mind that the method outlined below is the most common method, but you can also dab easily by using an e-nail to get your temperature into the perfect range and make the process a lot easier.

You will need: 

  • Dab rig
  • Quartz banger or dab nail
  • Carb cap
  • Dab tool
  • Butane torch
  • Your favorite concentrates

How to dab with a rig: 

  1. Fill your dab rig with water and slide your banger into your rig.
  2. Use your torch to apply even heat to the surface of your banger until it’s heated to your ideal temperature. You can use a terpometer or other laser thermometer to get it to the ideal temperature, or you can heat it up until its red hot and allow it to cool down to the ideal temperature range before dropping your dab in.
  3. Once your rig is at the ideal temperature, use your dab tool to scoop a small amount of your favorite concentrate up and drop it into the hot nail.
  4. Once you get all the concentrates off of your dab nail, cover the top of it with a carb cap. You can spin the carb cap with your hand to push the concentrates around in your nail to ensure even heating.
  5. Sip from the mouthpiece to pull in the vapor until the rig is clear from vapor and your dab is no longer bubbling in the nail.
  6. Allow your nail to cool and clear out any leftovers with a cotton swab and a bit of isopropyl alcohol.

Dab rig vs. bong — what’s the difference? 

Bongs and dab rigs are basically the same thing. They are water pipes that help cool the smoke or vapor to give you a more enjoyable and flavorful smoking experience. The biggest difference however boils down to size and artistry. Bongs tend to have bigger mouthpieces and larger designs that feature lots of different percolators and filtration devices to cool hot smoke along a long vapor pathway. Dab rigs on the other hand are much smaller and designed with precision in mind. The smaller mouthpieces and shorter vapor pathways without tons of chambers or percs amplify their flavors and make them feel more potent. While you can take dabs from a bong, you’ll have a much better time taking dabs from a specially designed dab rig.

Are small rigs better than big ones? 

In short, yes — small rigs are better than big ones. The smaller ones are more honed in on the flavor of the concentrates since there’s a much shorter path for the vapor to travel through. Bigger rigs are often outshined in terms of flavor because there’s more room for oxygen and water that dissipate the vapor and reduce the flavors.

How much do dab rigs cost? 

Dab rigs start as low as $20 but can cost up to several thousand dollars depending on the quality of the materials they were made with and the artistry involved. Cheap dab rigs will still work, though the ultra cheap ones are usually more susceptible to breaking or simply not having appropriately sized joints. The better your dab rig is designed and how intricately its designed from an artistic standpoint usually drives the prices up. Cheap rigs are very plain and may not be made as well as more expensive rigs, but they still work well. A good price range is between $50 and $200. Anything more than that is usually a functional art piece.



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