Carb Caps: Everything You Need to Know

by Dr. Dabber on July 22, 2021

If you’re a THC enthusiast, then surely you know all about dabbing. Dabbing is one of the most popular ways to smoke THC, and has only gained popularity as legalization, both medical and recreational, has begun to happen. If you know about dabbing, but you’re not too familiar with the process yet, then we’re here to help.

In this article we’re going to go over the basics of dabbing, and we’re going to explain in depth the benefits of carb caps and why you should be capping your dabs.

Understanding the Anatomy of a Dab Rig

Dab rigs are fairly simple pieces of equipment, and are very similar in shape and size to bongs. However, the appearance of them is a bit different, and can sometimes be a little intimidating to new users. We’re going to look at the main pieces that compose every dab rig’s anatomy, and then we’ll talk more about carb caps.

The Mouthpiece

The mouthpiece of a dab rig looks nearly identical to the mouthpiece of a bong. They’re meant for inhaling the smoke or vapor created by burning the concentrated THC. The mouthpiece is elevated above the base (chamber). When vaporizing your concentrate, you’ll press your lips against the mouthpiece to create a seal and trap the vapor that’s ready for inhalation. The action taken is the same as that of a bong.

The Base (Chamber)

The base is the bottom portion of the dab rig, where water is held, and the vaporized concentrate passes through to the mouthpiece. Sometimes there are filters in the chamber of the dab rig, and occasionally you’ll find some rigs with several filters in the chamber. It is worth mentioning that these chambers are designed to hold much less water than the traditional bong does.

The Nail and the Downstem

The nail and the downstem are the two most important parts when it comes to THC delivery. When using a dabbing rig, the nail is where the THC concentrate is placed once it’s been preheated. The nail is made from durable materials, typically glass, quartz, ceramic, or titanium. The downstem is the pipe underneath the nail that the vapor travels through. 

An important thing to note is that in an electronic dabbing rig, the nail is heated by electricity rather than by using a torch.

The Torch

When using a traditional dabbing rig, a torch to heat the nail is incredibly important. Without one, the THC concentrate cannot be vaporized properly, as it requires a high temperature to do so efficiently. There are downsides to using traditional dabbing rigs, however. When using a torch and a nail it can be difficult to regulate temperature.

Electronic dabbing rigs have the advantage of heating the nail using electricity, making temperature regulation a breeze, and allow for specific temperature settings in most cases—we’ll get more into this later.

The Dome

When using a traditional dabbing rig, the nail and the dome are two separate pieces, allowing for removal to heat the nail when necessary. The dome is placed over the nail, helping to prevent any loss of vapor when heating concentrates. It also helps to prevent burnt fingers when adding concentrates to the nail.

So, What Is a Carb Cap?

A carb cap is an accessory to be used while dabbing. They’re a small, often overlooked accessory when it comes to dabbing, too, but they’re an absolute necessity when it comes to taking low temperature dabs. They look, well, like a cap, like the name implies of course. There are a ton of different specific designs that carb caps come in, but the basics of them remain the same.

Carb caps are made from the same durable materials that nails are made of, in most cases. The most common materials are glass, titanium, and ceramic. They cover the top of the nail or banger after concentrate has been dropped in, helping to trap the residual heat of the burning substance. This trapping of heat prevents cooling off during the process, and allows the concentrate to burn more completely.

An additional thing to understand about the name is where the term “carb” comes from. Carb stands for carburetor, and much like the carburetor under the hood of a car, they help to regulate airflow in a specific way. This can work in a number of ways, depending on the design of the carb cap.

Does Material Matter?

You bet it does! Generally, the type of material your carb cap is made of, in addition to your nail or banger, can affect the flavor palette of your THC concentrates. You’ll want to choose the carb cap based on the material that suits your wants best. Here are the general differences between the most common materials.

  • Quartz or Glass - These materials provide a clean delivery when being compared to the other materials offered. These lack the durability of other materials, however.
  • Ceramic - Ceramic carb caps allow for the most flavorful delivery, as they’re a neutral material when it comes to flavor. When you dab with ceramic, it’s sure to preserve the pure flavor of your concentrates, and it’s also fairly durable.
  • Titanium - Titanium carb caps, as well as nails for that matter, are designed to last a lifetime. The one downfall of a titanium carb cap is that it can add a slightly metallic tinge to the flavor of your dabs.

Why Should I Use a Carb Cap While Dabbing?

If you’ve found yourself asking this question, the answer is simple. Using a carb cap while dabbing allows you to modify airflow in your rig in a way that makes the experience the best for you. One of the biggest advantages of carb caps is something that’s already been mentioned, and that’s the ability to take lower temperature dabs.

Why Does a Lower Temperature Dab Matter?

You may be wondering what the advantage of a lower temperature dab is. When a dab is taken at a temperature that’s too high, it destroys the oils in a dab that produce the desired effects, as well as flavor. When you dab at a lower temperature, you can preserve the oils and the terpenes that provide flavor and desired effects. If you’ve only ever dabbed using high temperatures, a carb cap can help you really enjoy the experience of a low temperature dab more thoroughly.

To put it into perspective the average optimal temperature for vaporizing terpenes is normally between 300 and 400 degrees fahrenheit. When heating a nail, the temperatures can exceed 1,000 degrees easily, effectively destroying the chemicals you’re after. Yes, this can result in a high-powered dab that takes just seconds to create, but it doesn’t allow for the full flavor experience.

It’s worth mentioning that electronic dabbing rigs don’t tend to have the overheating problem that a traditional rig does, and allows for the most effective, flavorful dabs when used in combination with a durable carb cap.

Dr. Dabber Carb Caps

How Does a Carb Cap Work?

The simple answer is by restricting airflow, but it’s a bit more complex than just that. When dabbing at lower temperatures, it’s easy to lose the optimal heat needed to fully vaporize the concentrate being applied to the nail. Even though the nail is made from a material that tolerates high temperatures and holds heat well, the act of applying something at room temperature will deplete the heat quickly. 

Here’s where a carb cap comes in. The heat that’s lost is expelled through vapors in the air. Trapping that vapor effectively also traps the heat, allowing the concentrate to continue to vaporize effectively, even at lower heats. Carb caps are responsible for trapping that heat, and even adding more air to the oils, making them vaporize even more efficiently.

In addition to trapping that heat and vapor, the restriction of air in the rig itself drops the pressure in the rig. What does that do, you might ask? When the air pressure in a closed system is lowered, the boiling point of materials is also lowered. That means that your dab will vaporize at a lower temperature more effectively, making low temperature dabs a possibility.

How to Use a Carb Cap

Now that you know how a carb cap works, it’s important to understand how to add a carb cap into your dabbing routine. It’s relatively simple, but still should be explained for any first timers.

  1. Apply your concentrate to your nail with your carb cap in hand.
  2. Once applied, cap the dome with the carb cap.
  3. Move the carb cap up and down off of the dome, adjusting airflow and pressure, until you’ve found the right mix.
  4. If the carb cap you’ve got is functional in design, it can be used accordingly to create the right heating environment for your dab.

It’s as simple as that! But what are functional carb caps? Let’s explore some of the more popular options on the market.

Popular Carb Cap Designs

When choosing a carb cap, there are plenty of different options available, each with their intended design. We’ve gathered the most popular designs available to highlight the versatility on the market.

Dr. Dabber SWITH: Marble Carb Cap

The Traditional Carb Cap

A traditional carb cap is flat with a small protruding handle. They’re the original design, and they allow the user to restrict and enhance airflow the way that they see fit. It allows for low temperature dabs to be taken, as all of these designs do. You can find traditional carb caps in any number of materials. We recommend the Marble Carb Cap from our line for this type.

Dr. Dabber Directional Carb Caps

Directional Airflow Carb Caps

Directional airflow carb caps are an innovative take on the traditional carb cap. They allow for airflow to enter the dome while maintaining the heat as the concentrate vaporizes. When introducing airflow, the air can be moved to different portions of the dome, invigorating concentrates and moving them. This causes the entirety of the concentrate to vaporize in an even manner, allowing for great dabbing. Directional airflow carb caps are normally made from glass, as it allows for the most versatility for creating airways. Our Directional Carb Caps are available in a multitude of colors and feature a horizontally blown hole at the tip, creating a cyclone effect when you inhale. The unique placement of this hole also provides a cooler, more flavorful experience with your oils.

Dr. Dabber SWITCH: Bubble Carb Cap

Bubble Carb Caps

These are named for the two bubble shaped protrusions that are on the top and bottom of the carb cap. Oftentimes, concentrate is applied to the protrusion on the carb cap itself, allowing for spinning inside of the dome to vaporize concentrate more efficiently. These allow for large dabs. These are quite often made of glass or quartz. Our Bubble Carb Cap is a great entry-level option for dabbers.

Combination Carb Caps

When looking for carb caps, you can often find dabbers that come with a carb cap on one end. This lets you add the concentrate to the nail or the banger, and then quickly cap it. This versatility allows for capping the dome quickly, making sure that the least amount of vapor and heat are lost. They’re very useful, and normally come in titanium.

The Best Combination of Rig and Carb Cap for Dabbing

Whether you’re experienced in dabbing, or you’re just getting into it, you’ll want the most efficient and effective way to dab so that you’re able to enjoy it fully. To achieve this, you’ll want to look for an electronic dabbing rig, or e-rig, and a good quality carb cap. And if you want to get these two things from the same place, then you’re in luck! At Dr. Dabber, we offer an excellent e-rig and accessories that can enhance your dabbing experience.

Dr. Dabber SWITCH Vaporizer

The Dr. Dabber SWITCH

First, let’s highlight the e-rig that really helps make low temperature dabs a possibility. The Dr. Dabber SWITCH is the ultimate e-rig in terms of versatility. We created the original electronic dabbing rig back in 2015, and have done nothing but innovate with our products ever since. We also take the feedback and suggestions of our customer base and apply it directly into our product development whenever we’re able to.

This electronic dabbing rig allows for a temperature range of 300 to 780 degrees Fahrenheit. That means that it’s perfect for those low-temperature, flavorful dabs, especially when used with our carb caps.

What Makes the SWITCH Stand Out?

The SWITCH is like the swiss army knife of e-rigs. If you’ve been using a traditional dabbing rig, or are considering getting into dabbing, look no further than the SWITCH. Its design has been perfected through numerous testings, as well as improved through customer feedback. With the SWITCH you can have it all.

We designed the SWITCH from the ground up, allowing us to dial in everything that a dabbing enthusiast could want in a traditional rig, but made more convenient in our e-rig. With the SWITCH you won’t need a torch, minimizing the complexity of the dabbing process, meaning that you can start smoking sooner. With the variable temperatures and the 25 different settings built into the rig you can find exactly what you like. Lower temperature, flavorful dabs are possible, but so are higher temperature dabs that can give you an intense hit like no other.

The technology used in the SWITCH is the first of its kind in an electronic dabbing rig. The SWITCH utilizes induction heating. The process itself uses magnets to heat the material to the optimal temperature within seconds, rather than using conductive heating and directly vaporizing the product. This is the most efficient way to dab, and you’ll get so much more life out of your concentrates because of it.

The Dr. Dabber Carb Caps

At Dr. Dabber, we offer a multitude of options when it comes to carb caps for the SWITCH—you’ll be sure to find one that fits your needs, as well as your style. 

If you’re looking for a directional carb cap, we have a full line of carb caps in a variety of colors, all made from hand-blown glass. If you need something a little more standard, we also offer the Marble Carb Cap, an accessory that combines the standard design with a directional airflow design. Additionally, be sure to check out the Tiger’s Eye Bubble Carb Cap, available as a premium, limited edition accessory. This carb cap allows you to apply the concentrate to the tip, and then maximise airflow through it’s curved design. It’s another hand-blown glass product created with attention to craftsmanship and design. 

When you choose a product from Dr. Dabber, you’re sure to be impressed. We’re the original e-rig supplier and designer, as well as one of the only companies to fully engage with our customers, taking their feedback and applying it to our lineup. Consider buying the SWITCH, as well as some of the available carb cap accessories, as your first or next electronic dabbing rig.

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