dab set up

Dab Rigs

The Essential Tool For Enjoying Cannabis Concentrates

Dab Rigs

Dab Rigs Are Extremely Popular, Here’s Why

If you’ve been enjoying the medicinal or recreational benefits of cannabis for some time, then you probably know how popular dab rigs have become in recent years.

Dabbing is similar to vaping in that both use cannabis extracts, and neither is based on combustion. The key difference between the two is that dabbing uses only highly-concentrated cannabis extracts.

Which means…

The effects dab rigs produce are much more intense and immediate – and many people find that quite desirable.

Dab rig designs have been evolving as quickly as the technology behind them, and you can find many interesting rigs on the market.

There’s one dab rig, in particular, that’s setting the bar with a unique, versatile design.

We’ll tell you all about it in a minute. (Can’t wait? Check it out here).

But first, let’s take a look at why dabbing is so popular in the first place.

While dabbing may require a bit more attention and preparation than some traditional methods of consuming cannabis, many people consider the benefits well worth the effort.

Here’s why…

Dabbing Gives You a ‘Cleaner’ and More Intense High

With concentrated cannabis extracts typically between 70-90% THC, you’ll likely appreciate the speed and potency of using cannabis concentrate in a dab rig. People who enjoy dabbing say they experience a more intense, clear-headed high that feels ‘cleaner.’

And if you use cannabis therapeutically…

Dabbing Gives You Faster CBD Benefits

If you’re taking CBD to manage pain, stress, nausea, difficulty sleeping, or other conditions, quickly getting relief is important. With dabbing, you’ll feel the effects almost immediately. Dabs are much stronger than vaping or smoking because you are consuming highly-concentrated cannabis. For example, one dab may provide all the relief you need to manage your pain from arthritis or other inflammation issues for many hours.

But, here’s a word of caution…

Dabs are Potent!

The extreme effects of dabbing concentrates may take less experienced users, or dab rig first-timers, by surprise. Accidentally dabbing “too much” isn’t hard to do.

The good news is, taking too much cannabis does not carry the same serious side effects as many other drugs – but taking too much can be uncomfortable. Be sure to exercise your best jugement, and take things slow to ensure you have an enjoyable experience.

Here’s what you need to get started —

Basic Dabbing Tools

Dab Rig
A dab rig is essentially a modified water pipe. They come in different sizes and styles and are all designed to hold a nail (which is heated and used to vaporize the cannabis concentrate).

Dab Mat
A dab mat or dab rag is technically not an essential tool for dabbing, but it’s a useful, inexpensive item that will protect your table’s surface from sticky residue.

Dab Nail
When choosing the nail that will be used with your dab, you have a few options – quartz, titanium, or ceramic. Quartz and ceramic provide better flavor but are more fragile to handle. Titanium is often preferred for its durability, but extremely high temperatures can cause damage and shorten its life. Banger nails offer a simple design and are perfect for beginners.

Dabbers are used to apply cannabis concentrate to the hot nail for vaporization to occur. They are available in glass, titanium, stainless steel, quartz, and ceramic.

Carb Cap Dabber
Carb caps allow you to dab at a low temperature and experience a full range of terpenes that are destroyed at higher temperatures. Some have dual functionality and include a dabber on one end.

Regular household lighters will not get the nail on your dab rig hot enough to vaporize the cannabis concentrate – that’s why you need a torch. There are a number of fantastic options on the market. Whichever one you go with, be sure to pick up some butane for it as well.

And if you don’t want to use a torch to heat your nail, here’s another option…

Electronic Nail (e-nail)
The e-nail is the solution for dabbers who just don’t want to deal with a torch or who want greater control over the temperature of their nail. The only hesitation may be the price tag – e-nails can cost up to $300.

Ready to pick your rig?

Choosing Your Dab Rig: What Type of Rig is Right for You?

When you’re ready to pick your dab rig, you’ll find you have a number of options, each with unique advantages (and our favorite one has everything you need and more).

Glass Rig
A basic glass dab rig without any bells or whistles is quintessential for every dabber to have in their collection. Glass performs wonderfully and looks great. The only drawback is, no matter how careful you are, your glass rig will always be in danger of being broken.

Silicone Rigs
Silicone rigs offer a much more durable solution than glass – just be sure to choose BPA free silicone that’s medical grade.

Recycler dab rigs are as popular for their aesthetics as they are for their water-cooling, throat-friendly pulls. They have multiple chambers that water is ‘recycled’ through to create continuous filtration.

These dab rigs work just like recyclers but they do not have an exterior chamber. Instead, incyclers have one main chamber. Water bubbles up the main chamber, into an interior chamber, before funneling back down to the main chamber.

Perfect for traveling or anyone who wants to keep things discreet, mini-rigs are typically the size of your hand. Many people prefer these smaller rigs because they preserve the terpene flavors better than their larger counterparts.

These handy rigs are gaining popularity. They are basically the evolution of the e-nail – simplifying the whole dabbing experience with an all-in-one, convenient tool that is ultra-compact and easy to use. Functioning much like a vape pen, e-rigs make it easy for beginners to get started with dabbing. The only pause for consideration is that e-rigs can be pricey and hard to fix if something breaks.

Dab Straws
With dab straws, there is no water involved, which means you won’t get the same cooling effect as with traditional dab rigs. However, dab straws are a great compact way to dab and perfect for traveling, or the minimalist dabber. Popular dab straws include the Nectar Collector Honey Straw.

Converted Bongs
Another option for your dab rig is to convert a bong. Many companies make conversion parts that will easily adapt a bong into a dab rig. If you are curious about dabbing and want to give it a try before committing to a full dab rig setup, this may be your best option.

And of course, you’ll also need…

Cannabis Concentrates For Dab Rigs

Whichever dab rig you decide to go with, choosing your cannabis concentrate will be your next big decision. By now most people have heard of wax and shatter, the two common forms of cannabis concentrates used in dabbing.

These concentrates are extracted from hemp and cannabis plants using solvents like C02 and butane. The C02 extraction method is commonly used to create cannabis oil for vape pens. Butane is the most common extraction method for creating dabbing concentrates.

Often referred to as BHO, Butane Hash Oil is known for its honey-gold color. The texture and appearance of BHO products vary according to the different treatments used to remove the residual compounds left behind post-extraction.

While there are many names for BHO extractions, there are only a few categories:

As its name suggests, shatter is glass-like in appearance and brittle enough to shatter. It resembles hard candy and can range in color from clear to amber, which has to do with technical factors like how much heat or moisture is present and the concentration of terpenes. Shatter has about 90% THC – making it the most potent option on the market.

Sap is Shatter in sticky liquid form. Sap is often made from cannabis strains that are high in CBD and terpenes which contribute to its viscous, sap-like consistency. Sap is perfect for dabbing but can also be used in bowls, joints, and vape pens. Some people even choose to cook with sap.

Wax concentrate is the softest of the bunch and becomes opaque due to the circumstances under which it is extracted – which involves agitating the cannabis molecules and causing them to crystallize. Again, heat and moisture play a key role in its production. Waxes come in a variety of consistencies, with softer waxes typically referred to as “budder” and hard waxes commonly known as “crumble” or “honeycomb.”

Dabbing Temperatures: Which One is Best for You?

Dabbing at different temperatures offers different benefits. The boiling point for the majority of active cannabis compounds is under 400 °F (204.44 °C). Find your ideal temperature to dab at based on your use goals and your personal preference.

Cold Start/Reverse Dab up to 330 °F
Cold start dabs are a simple concept – rather than heating your nail and touching the concentrate-loaded dabber to the hot surface; cold start dabs load the cannabis concentrates onto a cold nail and then slowly heat it. If you’re in a hurry a cold start dab or reverse dab is the perfect solution as heating your dab to the boiling point takes about 10 seconds. And as an added bonus, cold start dabbing is gentler on your equipment and will help it last longer. That’s because you use less heat, so you reduce the potential for heat-related breakage.

Low-temp Dab 330°F – 390°F Euphoric Effects
Low-temperature dabs are considered optimal by many people. Lower temperatures allow the full flavor of the terpenes to be enjoyed – and you still get all the therapeutic benefits and psychoactive effects of the concentrate. If you’re using a traditional dab rig setup that is heated with a torch, experiment with finding the low-range temperature that’s right for you. Usually heating your dab nail for 20-40 seconds will do the trick, of course, the exact time you need to apply heat will depend on the size and thickness of your components, your specific torch, and your personal technique.

Medium-temp Dab 390°F – 600°F Intense Effects
A medium-temperature dab will provide a nice balance of flavor and intensity. The drawback to this temperature is at 392°F harmful chemicals are produced. Also, combustion happens at 446°F, and vaporizing becomes smoking. At the higher end of the temperature spectrum, beneficial cannabis compounds are destroyed.

High-temp Dab 600°F – 800°F +
When you dab at high temperatures, you will feel the effects faster and more intensely than dabbing at lower temperatures. You can also be sure all the cannabis compounds will reach their boiling point at these temperatures. The drawback is, at 392 °F, harmful compounds like Benzene are produced. You also run the risk of destroying beneficial terpenes at these temperatures.

And now…

Here’s our pick for the most versatile, high-quality dab rig on the market —

The Perfect Dab Rig: Dr. Dabber SWITCH Vaporizer

If you’re looking for an easy, versatile setup, we’d like to introduce you to our favorite dab rig. What makes this our favorite dab rig? Glad you asked! There’s a lot to love about the SWITCH — here are some of the highlights:

  • Versatility – works with oil, leaf, and concentrate
  • Safety – automatic cool down
  • Self-cleaning – keep your equipment clean for superior performance
  • Performance – an even heating temperature and advanced electronics for 5-second heat-up
  • Longevity – an advanced heating element that uses no electrical connections to wear out

Ready to experience dabbing with the Dr. Dabber SWITCH vaporizer?

See if Dr. Dabber’s SWITCH is right for you.

This 2020 quick start guide walks you throgh step-by-step the benefits of dabbing, the tools you'll needs, and a review of our #1 favorite dab rig.