Bongs and dab rigs are similar because they filter smoke through their water pipes. However, unlike bongs, dab rigs are used to consume vapor from THC concentrates. Often, people who use dab rigs are those long-time users who like experiencing more potent hits, which concentrates contain. Unlike dry flower, usually inhaled through bongs, dab rigs hold concentrates that have been processed only to retain pure THC, making getting high faster and more robust.
Despite the numerous advantages, there are to using dab rigs, the extent of knowledge users know about it is limited. That's why questions like how much dab rigs are, where to buy dab rigs, and how to pick a good dab rig usually surface. To help you understand everything there is to ‘dabbing’, we made a comprehensive guide. Hopefully, by the end of this article, you will not only find interest in dab rigs but also find the most suitable one for your next session.
How Much Do Dab Rigs Cost?
Dab rigs come in different sizes and designs and as a result, vary in cost. The cheapest dab rigs range from $10 to $20 while the most expensive ones can get to be well over hundreds of dollars.
Dab Rigs Under 40
It’s quite difficult to find regular-sized dag rigs under $40 since most rigs at this price are mini ones. However, there are still available glass dab rigs at $39.99 with bent necks and castle nails such as DHTC Glass’ designs.
Dab Rigs Under 50
There are relatively more options for dab rigs under $50 than $40 because of the different designs and materials they are made from. For example, most silicone dab rigs are at $49.99 and already have titanium joints.
Dab Rigs Under 100
If you would like to invest in easy-to-use and convenient dab rigs, then e-rigs ranging from $90 to $299.99 are available in online stores.
If you would like custom-made glass or ceramic dab rigs, they may also fall under this price range. As it typically takes weeks to finish setting up specific styles and dimensions for a water chamber, neck, and banger, the labor and general cost of these rigs could reach well over two hundred dollars.
What Is A Dab Rig
A dab rig is a type of water pipe with the specific purpose of vaporizing cannabis concentrates. Since dabs are typically in liquid forms like shatter, oil, rosin, and water hash, it has a quicker effect and is less wasteful of the product. Unlike bongs that have similar use and structure as dab rigs, these weeding tools also provide stronger taste and intensity.
Compared to bongs, dab rigs also have a few extra pieces that go with them! Typically, dab rigs have six essential parts and three tools that you must have to make it work. In this section, you will be able to read the usage, importance, and location of its parts as well as the overall function of a dab rig.
The Parts of A Dab Rig
A dab rig has six basic parts that only differ in design and purpose. In this section, you will get to know each of their purposes and how they contribute to the whole dabbing experience.
The dab nail is where you put your dab that will be heated up. Often shaped like a container that ranges from two to four inches wide, the dab nail could affect the overall taste of the vaporized cannabis depending on which type you are using. Besides its types, the design and shape of a dab nail also have a significant impact on how the dab vaporizes into smoke.
There are three common types of dab nails: glass, ceramic, and titanium.
Glass dab nails
Glass dab nails are among the most popular and widely available type of weeding tool used. Considering that it is on the cheaper side of glass rigs, it does its job well of holding up the heated dab and transferring much of the concentrate’s flavor to the user. However, its downside is it is easily breakable. Be mindful of overheating during the process of dabbing.
Ceramic dab nails
Like glass dab nails, ceramic nails are relatively affordable. However, its durability is less than glass nails as it cannot withstand the higher temperatures. But those who use ceramic dab nail praises that this material provides one of the best flavors from its concentrate.
Dab Nail Design
The standard setup of a dab nail has a dome. Domes serve as the cap placed above the nails to prevent cannabis vapor from coming out of the dab rig. Meanwhile, domeless nails do not have the additional cap, making it easier to simply dab and smoke.
Aside from the classic design of a dab nail wherein a column connects to the center of the bowl-shaped container, there are other dab nail designs that you can choose from. Similar to the shape of a classic dab nail is a honey hole, except that its surface is styled like a slanted circle for a larger smoking area. On the other hand, a castle nail design is shaped like an open door knob which has small slits surrounding its opening.
One of the most popular dab nail designs for dabbers is the banger because its dome is located not on top of, but to the side of the dab rig. It is easier to place smoke concentrates through the side since it extends away from the face.
10mm joints are commonly called micro joints because they can only fit in small and portable dab rigs. If you are unsure of the size of the joint you have, you can measure it by placing a dime above it. If the dime cannot fit the surface at all, then it is a 10mm joint. If it can fit ¼ of the surface, it is 14mm, and if it can completely fit the small cylinder, then it is likely an 18mm joint.
When buying a dab rig joint, you must also consider the joint gender. There are two genders you need to know: male and female. A male joint fits inside a female joint. Whether it goes above or below it, a male joint is always smaller than its opposite gender. Meanwhile, a female joint is always bigger than a male, meaning it always covers the male joint when connected.
Glass joints are the most common type, followed by titanium, then ceramic. It is easier to spot the gender of a joint when you have a banger nail. Since its dome is on the side, you will have a clearer view of the correct side to connect a joint.
The percolator or perc serves as a filtration and cooling mechanism for your dab rig. As it shoots bubbles up to the mouthpiece, it provides a smoother and more potent hit when inhaling the concentrated vapor. It also prevents water from hitting your mouth when you inhale for a hit, making it an essential tool for a dab rig.
The percolator is typically the second widest part of a dab rig following the chamber. It directly works with the chamber to ensure that every hit you take will be the best it can be. Therefore, it does not make you higher, but it does make smoking less rough on the throat.
This dab rig part has six popular types: disc, circ, showerhead, barrel, swiss, and donut percolator.
A disc percolator is horizontal and disc-shaped with holes all over its body, known for diffusing a significant amount of smoke through the big bubbles it creates. Despite its reliability as a filter, its tiny holes can be tricky to clean for new dabbers since it's difficult to reach down the percolator.
Meanwhile, unlike a disc, a circular percolator has long linear slits around its body.
A showerhead percolator has two tubes in its body—one that functions as the primary filter and the other as the connector with the chamber.
A barrel percolator is one of the most trusted filtering and cooling types as it has numerous holes throughout its body, making filtered smoke spread more evenly throughout the mouthpiece. Since the vapor is more diffused, the feeling when inhaling the dab is smoother.
Swiss and donut percolators are almost the same, as both have holes in the body of the dab rig. However, the main difference between them is their number of holes. A swiss percolator resembles a swiss cheese with numerous holes all over it. Meanwhile, a donut hole only has one big opening and is typically at the center of the percolator—thus, named a donut.
Without a water chamber, you defeat the purpose of having the best dab rigs. After you heat your concentrated dab in the dome, the vapor passes through the water chamber where it produces vapor that you will inhale through the mouthpiece. Aside from creating vapor, it also cools down the heat coming from the concentrate to prevent your lungs from getting burnt.
There is no specific amount of water you must put in the water chamber, but the general rule is it must be enough to produce bubbles inside the dab rig. However, do not put too much water as it may splash on your face as you inhale the vapor, which can burn your skin. Always practice safe dabbing.
It is important to only put clean water in your water chamber as its primary purpose is to remove toxins from your dab. It is advisable to change your dab water not less than twice to thrice a week if you religiously use your dab rig. If you use it once a week or less frequently, you should still change the water.
Although your waterway seems clear and clean, you must remember that concentrates have chemicals that can contaminate the water which are dangerous to your health–always practice sanitary and safe smoking. Best practice? Clean and empty the dab rig after each use.
A dab rig’s neck is a tunnel that transports the vaporized concentrates from the water chamber to the mouthpiece and into your mouth. You can often see two types of neck designs for dab rigs: straight and bent.
Straight necks are less popular because it is more challenging to inhale vapor from a rig that only has a linear design. Often, you would have to tilt the whole body of your rig which might cause accidents like burning from touching the heated water chamber or even breaking your whole dab rig.
Bent neck dag rigs are the more popular designs because it is more convenient to reach down a rig that is already leaning towards you. For an average-sized dab rig, the length of a bent neck is typically 6.5 inches. However, there are some designs that have an even longer or short neck depending on your preference.
If you have a glass dab rig, it is advisable to not hold the neck while the weeding tool is still hot. Although the dab rig neck is farther away from the dome which is where the heat comes from, the heat spreads throughout the glass and might be too hot to hold.
The mouthpiece is a simple yet essential part when using a dag rig. This circular-shaped seal is where you put your mouth to inhale the vapor. Every time you take a hit of the dab, your mouth touches the mouthpiece, transferring bacteria from your lips to the weeding tool, be sure to clean this well too!
If you share a dab rig with other people, you may want to consider buying silicon rubber mouthpieces that you can place on top of your primary one to reduce the amount of bacteria you share with others. For glass dab rig users, buying a heart-resistant mouthpiece is a common practice since the heat throughout the glass would reach up to the mouthpiece and could sting their lips sometimes.
For dabbers who would like a longer neck but have limited budget to buy a dag rig with a longer one, you can also choose to buy a mouthpiece extender online which will give an additional two to three inches of length to your dab rig. Once you have one, you can simply insert the button of the mouthpiece extender to the original one and ensure that all parts around the mouthpiece are sealed to avoid wasting vapor.
Other Dab Rig Tools
Aside from the six essential dab rig parts, three other dab rig tools will elevate the quality of your next dab rig session. To find out their uses, read on.
Since you will need continuous heat to vaporize your liquid dab, owning a dab torch will save you time and effort. A dab torch is usually powered by butane or propane gas that can heat your concentrate at the level you prefer. Unlike using a lighter or candle that can only produce small heat and also quickly perish, using a dab torch makes it quicker to make the dab burn faster because of its high heat.
The best dabbing torches currently on the market have a price range from $20 to $60 depending on their size, length of usage, and brand. Most dab torches use butane fuel because they omit less fire which makes it easier for dabbers to estimate the amount of heat the concentrate must have.
However, if you’re on a tight budget, you can also use a kitchen torch as a substitute. But be cautious in using a different touch that is not specialized for dabbing as it may not always work well with the external material of your dab rig. As an added precaution, you can also place a fire extinguisher within your proximity to quickly stop any accidental fire.
A dabber is a tool used to stir and mix the concentrate when it is in the dome to ensure that it is equally distributed within the container. It is typically a metal rod with a fat spoon-like stirrer. Since concentrates are liquid, having a fork-like dabber will make it difficult to mix the dab well.
As dab rigs are small, it will be difficult to use a small spoon as an alternative dabber. Instead, it is best to invest in a good quality metal dabber that will make steering easier. However, using a metal dabber has its cons too as the heat can easily transfer from the dab rig into the tool.
If you do not want this to happen, you can buy a silicone holder that will not conduct heat from the metal dabber. A safer option would also be to buy a silicone dabber instead.
For domeless nail dab nails, owning a carb cap is essential to retain the heat from the dab rig longer. A carb cap’s primary purpose is to serve as a small cover on the banger’s opening whenever you’re not using the dab rig so that the airflow within the weeding tool remains the same. Although you do not need to buy a carb cap, owning one can make it more convenient for you every time you take a hit.
The common mistake new dab rig users make is heating the banger while the carb cap is still on top. Although there’s no rule saying you cannot do it, it is better if you take off the carb cap while you are heating your concentrate to prevent the banger from holding too much pressure. Instead, only place the carb cap when you are done heating the concentrate and about to inhale the vapor. This way, you will maximize the heat you built up using a dab torch by sustainable it for a long time.
Dab rig users often play with the design and color of their carb cap. Often, they would buy an aesthetically-pleasing design that would match the design of their rig or their room.
Types of Dab Rigs
Dab rigs can be relatively affordable, but it doesn’t have to be low quality. You can choose a dab rig that suits you best based on your preference and style. To help you find the best type of dab rig, we presented five of the most popular ones you should consider.
Glass Dab Rigs
Glass dab rigs are the most common type of weeding tools available. The whole dab rig is made out of glass, with several ones having a plastic mouthpiece for safety measures. As you can see through the glass, it will be easy to check when the concentrate has enough heat, if the water chamber is producing enough bubbles, and if the vapor is clean enough.
If you’re a beginner, the glass rig is the ideal tool you should start with as it is one of the simplest ones to use.
Silicone Dab Rigs
There has long been a debate about whether silicone is better than glass rigs, and the answer to that is purely subjective. It all depends on the user’s preference. If you are into fun, colorful dab rigs, a silicone dab rig is the best for you as it comes in different patterns, shapes, and designs. It is also more durable than glass because, as you can imagine, it isn’t as fragile!
Silicone is also heat resistant which makes holding any part of the weeding tool possible. However, its downside is you cannot see the status of your water chamber and percolator as you heat the concentrate.
Recycler Dab Rigs
Some users call recycler dab rig hybrid because it can work with both a flower (which is the primary herb product that bongs work with) and concentrates. It has pipes that can recycle your concentrate as you take a hit, reducing the amount of wasted vapor per hit.
The recycler dab rig has been getting much attention from the public in recent years because it is low-maintenance and can save a lot of concentrate. Overall, if you do not like wasting concentrates, then this dab rig is the best for you.
Mini Dab Rigs
Mini dab rigs are portable, miniature-sized rigs that are handy if you would like to have an on-the-go hit. It is easier to store and faster to clean compared to regular-sized rigs. Heating a concentrate is also faster since you will use less.
Another, and more significant advantage of using miniature dag rights is the level of punch you get in every hit. Many have said that using a mini rig gives them a more potent hit compared to regular ones because you can inhale a more dense amount of vapor in one inhale.
E-rigs are the latest development in the world of dab rigs. Since e-rigs use electricity rather than the traditional torch to heat a concentrate, it becomes quicker and more convenient to get a hit anywhere you are.
An advantage of using an e-rig is you get to control the temperature of a dab through its built-in settings. Instead of manually adjusting the position and amount of heat from a fire, you can operate the e-rig through a battery that heats a banger and produces vapor.
This device is also recommended for people who want to try dabbing but do not want to commit to buying traditional dab rig equipment. Hey, we get it; they can seem overwhelming!
How To “Dab” Guides
Now that you know the different parts and tools of a dab rig, the next thing you should know about is how to pick, use, and clean your own one.
How To Pick The Best Dab Rig
Dab rigs and nectar collectors are always a topic of debate whenever people talk about the best tool to smoke concentrates with.
Generally, when picking the best dab rig, you must check three things: the quality, its design, and durability. Since there are thousands of different dab rigs, the best one should be durable enough to use within your preferred frequency.
If you are a regular smoker, then you’ll want to consider investing in a high-quality glass or titanium dab rig. If you give importance to convenience, you might consider the style of the dab rig’s neck. Really, as long as you are educated on the parts of a dab rig and know what is essential, they ‘best’ dab rig is ultimately the one you’ll want to use the most.
Once you pick your rig, you are ready to start dabbing!
How To Use A Dab Rig
There are six easy steps to using a dab rig.
1. Fill the chamber with water
This is the first step to start dabbing. Fill your dab rig with the appropriate levels of water, then blow into your downstem to see if water backsplashes into your mouth. If so, you will need to pour some water out as this means you have added too much water in the rig.
2. Heat the dab nail
It's now time to heat up the nail on your dab rig using your torch until it turns red hot.
If you're using a quartz banger, you need to season it to get rid of any dirt and make sure it's clean for use.
3. Allow your dab nail to cool down
You don't want to scorch your concentrate, so allow the nails to cool for about 30 to 45 seconds (this will still depend on the material of your dab nail). The ideal temperature for dabs is anywhere between 300 to 450 degrees.
4. Apply your cannabis concentrate
This is where you start dabbing. Using your dabber, place your concentrate onto the nail and begin inhaling the vapor. With dabs, it's best to use long and slow inhales as the concentrates do not get vaporized instantly.
5. Place a carb cap on the nail
Using a carb cap allows the concentrates to vaporize more quickly and efficiently. Simply cover the dab with your carb cap to trap the heat, then remove it once you're ready to inhale the resulting vapor.
6. Exhale and repeat
After inhaling the vapor, exhale and enjoy the buzz. Repeat the above process and continue to enjoy the distinct flavor of your concentrate.
How To Clean A Dab Rig
Cleaning your dab rig is crucial to keep it in good condition for use. The last thing you want is for bacteria to grow in the rig, so aim to clean your dab rig regularly.
There are two ways to clean a dab rig: the fast and deep way. The quickest way to clean a dab rig is by swiping a nail with a cotton swab. Meanwhile, the deep way is swiping the dab nail with rubbing alcohol once everything has cooled down.
You must also remove all the water from the chamber and only replace it once you are ready to use it again. For the exterior, you can use a clean cloth damped with rubbing alcohol and gently wipe the surfaces of the dab rig. Do not forget to clean the interior and exterior of the mouthpiece to prevent any bacteria from staying there.
Dabbing Made Easy
Dab rigs are a consumer favorite because of their portability and relatively lower cost. With dab rigs, you're able to consume large amounts of cannabidiol or CBD with just a few inhalations! They're offered at different price points, styles, and smoke shops, so you're sure to find one that will fit your needs. Happy dabbing!