Dab Tools: The Ultimate Guide

by Dr. Dabber on June 11, 2021

If you’re in the market for a dab rig, or even if you’re an experienced dabbing aficionado, tools can make all the difference. Today, we’ll be going over anything and everything about dab tools, and how to pick the right one for your needs. Learn all about why dab tools, from the carb cap to a nail, are essential parts of any setup, and how they can make your life easier!

Dr. Dabber Boost EVO


What’s a Dab Tool?

Simply put, a dab tool is an implement used to make dab rigs a little bit easier to use. They are used to apply your THC concentrate to dab nails. They come in all sorts of different styles and materials, and can be simple or sophisticated. As dabbing has become more popular, the range of available products has increased, allowing users to enhance their dabbing experience in all sorts of ways.

How is a Dab Tool Used?

Dab tools, also known as dabbers, are used to manipulate your THC concentrate when using dab rigs. Often, THC concentrates are harder to manage than traditional flower, making tools a necessary part of the process. Concentrates come in a variety of materials, from oils and resins that are sticky, to more crumbly or fragile forms like crystalline concentrates. 

Dr. Dabber Boost EVO

Knowing the types of concentrates available is important and can help you make an informed decision about the tool you’ll need to make dabbing the most enjoyable.

Wax

Dabbing is originally derived from vaporizing wax concentrates, and ultimately is why dabbing became popular. Wax concentrates are sticky, and really benefit from the use of a dab tool, as they can be quite a mess to work with otherwise. Wax is the traditional concentrate when it comes to dabbing, and is the main reason that tools have been developed so extensively.

Oil

Oil is another form of THC concentrate that can be runny and hard to manage. While not entirely conducive to the use of tools, they can be used in order to make oil more manageable if need be. In some cases, oils can be thicker, and tools may be your best bet for easy use. They also tend to be quite flavorful, and tools can affect the flavor of your concentrates, so knowledge of them is imperative.

Shatter

Shatter is a concentrate that’s fairly glass-like in structure and appearance. It is a crystallized version of THC, and is known to be stable and solid. Most versions of shatter available can be fragile and tend to break easily, hence the name it’s been given. While all THC concentrates are potent, shatter is exceptionally strong.

Crumble

Depending on the process used to create it, crumble can be a very manageable form of THC concentrate. It occurs when oil is whipped during the creation process. Depending on the amount that it’s been whipped, crumble can fall to pieces that are easy to dose with, or can break down even further into a finite dust.

Rosin

Made by a process that only requires heat and pressure, rosin has become a very popular option in the THC concentrates market due to the cost effective manufacturing process. Rosin quality may vary as it is a good way of using lower grade cannabis in a more effective form, but most times the process results in a concentrate that is somewhere between a thick oil and a stickier shatter.

To learn even more about different types of concentrates, you can check out our blog post here.

What to Keep in Mind in Terms of Tools

With as many options as there are on the market these days, there are a few things to keep in mind when it  comes to picking your dabber. The sheer amount of options available can be a bit overwhelming, but we think we’ve narrowed it down to exactly what you think you’ll need to know when shopping.

Material

Dabbing tools can be made from a variety of materials, but not all are made equal. Generally, you’ll want to look for materials that are of high quality, and heat resistant. There are some materials that are commonly used, and should be sought after when buying tools.

  • Quartz - Quartz is a common material used in dab tools, as it is durable and heats up well, but can lose heat fairly quickly. Additionally, most people agree that the nature of quartz allows for the best flavor when dabbing.
  • Titanium - The most durable option, by far. When buying a titanium tool, you can be assured that you are buying the tool for life. Titanium should be bought only when it is medical grade titanium, as it’s durable and lightweight.
  • Ceramic - Ceramic allows for better heat retention over time, and is fairly durable. While the material may not deliver flavor as well as quartz, it still delivers flavor better than the metal alternatives, like titanium and stainless steel.
  • Glass - More often than not, glass tools add a flair of creativity to your dabbing experience, as many are handmade and made to order. Glass is more fragile than any of the other materials mentioned, but looks great, and works fine if you’re careful.

Design

There are many different designs available when it comes to choosing dab tools, and each type has its purpose. They lend themselves to different types of concentrates, and the right tip or shape can make all the difference. Many dabbers look like dental tools, but others can be found that are far more palatable. Tips can be heated and used to cut stickier or tougher concentrate with ease, but when doing so you run the risk of prematurely burning material.

  • The Paddle - Paddle tipped dabbers are the most versatile, typically, allowing for the use of many different concentrates. Paddles can be used effectively in a number of ways, depending on the material.
  • The Scoop - These are best used when working with a runnier substance, as they tend to have a divot similar to a spoon. These can be used very effectively with oils and waxes.
  • The Pick - Pick ends are best used when working with isolates like wax and shatter, or stickier substances.

Versatility

Many dab tools come with options that make them more than just a single-use tool. As of late, dab tools have begun to come with carb caps, meant for carbing your dab to help control the airflow when dabbing. Some carb caps come with silicone attachments that allow you to suction oil into the dabbing tool. As time goes on, the versatility of dabbers will no doubt expand and become more useful.

Portability

This may come as a surprise, but not all dab tools are equal in terms of portability, either. Some are too long-handled to be packed away and used discreetly, and some come with too many attachments and no viable options for travel. When selecting dabbing tools, you’ll want to have the most portable options available. 

How to Select the Right Dab Tool

When selecting a dabbing tool, you’ll want to ask yourself a few questions. These will help you to determine exactly what you need in terms of tools, and will make picking the right tool easy. 

  • What type of concentrate do I use most? Answering this question will help you to determine the design of the dabbing tool you’ll need. Making sure to choose the right tip and size will make all the difference. If you use many different types of concentrates, you may want to consider several different tips (like the Dr. Dabber Budder Cutter–more on this later), or a double-ended tool.
  • How often am I dabbing? This question is important, as the frequency of dabbing will determine the material you need to look for. If you dab frequently, you’ll want to buy something made of a durable material like stainless steel or titanium rather than glass.
  • What’s my price point? This makes a world of difference when you’re in the market for a dabbing tool. Standard stainless steel is the cheapest alternative, making it the easiest material to obtain. Titanium and ceramic tend to be pricier, overall, but are going to last.
  • How do I feel about flavor? Are you a big fan of flavor? Or do you not care so much? Material makes an impact on flavor, and most times you’ll want to choose an inert material to get the purest flavor from your concentrates. Glass, ceramic, and quartz allow for the best flavor according to experts, while stainless steel and titanium can leave a metallic aftertaste when dabbing.
  • Do I need any add ons or versatility? Do you need a carb cap? Or do you need something to help with your oil? We offer a variety of carb caps to choose from but all upgrades are optional. With all of our vaporizers, you’ll receive everything you need to get started in the kit, because we believe add-ons should be an option, but never a requirement.

Most Common Dabbing Tools

The most common dabbing tools you’ll see on the market are below. They’re tested and proven, and tend to be in every dabber’s arsenal. They’re the ones you’ll see most often, and will be cost effective.

Double-Ended Tool

These are the most common tool when it comes to dabbing, and they look like something that’s been taken right out of a dentist’s office. The most common combination of tools you’ll find are the scoop and the pick, which allow for the use of nearly all available concentrates on the market. There are affordable versions of the double-ended tool that are made from stainless steel, with pricier options made from titanium.

Changeable Tool

Similar to the double-ended tool, the changeable tool allows for more customization of your dabbing tool. Different shaped ends and applicators can be screwed and unscrewed from the handle, allowing for any situation that may arise while dabbing. These are pricier, and commonly come with a carrying case and several different attachments. Materials used are normally stainless steel and titanium, as well. One of the more versatile options.

Carb Cap Combination

With the rise in popularity when it comes to dabbing, many enthusiasts wanted a way to carb their dabs without the use of two separate tools. Enter the carb cap dabbing tool. One end of the tool carries a standard paddle or pick tool, and the other acts as a carb, often fitting various diameters. The carb cap is nearly all made from stainless steel, as well. Curious about carb caps in general? You can read more about why they’re so important on our blog here.

Hand Blown Glass Tool

Hand blown glass has been a large part of cannabis culture for a very long time, and dabbing tools are no exception. These tools are often able to be made custom, allowing for different colors, shapes, and sizes. The tips are typically pretty limited, only allowing for more organic shapes like the paddle, the spoon, or the ball point, but they serve their purpose just as well.

Silicone Suction Dabber

Quite possibly the best option available for use with runny oils, silicone suction dabbers are an option on this list that stray far from traditional. They forgo a traditional handle for a silicone one that doubles as a suction cup. The tip is hollow, and made from either stainless steel or metal. Using the handle, oil can be sucked into the tip and held there, allowing for transport of the material to the dab nail with ease. Silicone is non-stick, and very heat resistant, making for a great combination of features when it comes to dabbing tools.

Trust, But Verify

When buying a dabbing tool, there are certain measures that should be taken when checking the quality of the tool. The measures are different for every tool, but we’ll tell you how to check them, and whether or not what you’ve got is up to snuff.

Ceramic, Glass, and Quartz Tools

When it comes to ceramic, glass, and quartz tools, they all have one thing in common that they don’t share with metal tools. These dabbing tools are able to crack, unlike their metal counterparts. Cracking is a large issue with these, and should be taken seriously.

Examine the tool under the light, looking for imperfections in the surfaces. These may not be entirely visible, so looking with scrutiny is important. In many cases with ceramic tools, just because you can’t see a crack doesn’t mean it isn’t there. In these cases, trust your fingers. They’re sensitive, and will most likely be able to feel any imperfections that you won’t necessarily see.

The reason cracks are so important is because the material is exposed to extreme heats, and cracks allow for the movement of air in the piece. When this happens, if done rapidly, it can cause the piece to further fracture, or at worst pop suddenly. Sharp materials can present a nasty cut, and that is something that should be avoided.

A Cut Above the Rest

When it comes to dabbing tools, we’ve mentioned several times that they are not all created equal. That being said, we’d like to highlight one of our best-selling and most unique dabbing accessories, the Dr. Dabber Budder Cutter.

What Makes the Budder Cutter So Great

Dr. Dabber is no newcomer in the world of dabbing, hence our name. We were the original creators of the first electronic dabbing rig, so you know that when you buy a product from us you’re getting something made with quality. What’s more though, is that our products are highly innovative. The Budder Cutter is no exception to our creative designs or our willingness to research and develop high quality products.

 

 

Released in 2015, the Budder Cutter is truly a dabbing tool that does it all, and in a unique way. While heating an average tool to handle concentrates, you run the risk of overheating the tool and burning or vaporizing your concentrate prematurely. This can really dampen the mood, because no one likes to waste material. We solved this problem with the Budder Cutter tool, which is by all accounts a smart dabber.

The Budder Cutter is a self-heating dabbing tool, calibrated to not exceed optimal material handling temperatures, so you never run the risk of wasting any concentrate. The instrument is powered by a rechargeable battery that lasts a long time. It’s the same battery that’s in our award-winning Ghost vape pen, so you know it’s been researched heavily.

Additionally, the Budder Cutter comes with seven different tips, allowing for customization and versatility. These self-heating tips can do it all, from cutting to loading. You can even use the tool while heated to clean out your other instruments that have caked on concentrate, if you suffer from that issue. The Budder Cutter is a tool that is of use to any enthusiast. It’s cost effective, and covered under a one year warranty, should something happen to it.

If you’d like to know more about the Budder Cutter and why we believe it’s a staple accessory in every dabber’s kit, check out our blog post, “Why Every Dabber Needs a Budder Cutter” here.

The Takeaway

Dabbing is one of the most popular ways for cannabis enthusiasts to partake in. In recent years, it’s become far more accessible, making room for plenty of innovation as well as advances. With this growth have come tools that are key in making for an enjoyable experience. When using a dab rig, you can’t go without tools. They come in a variety of shapes and materials, and if you can come up with an idea for a tool, there’s a chance that one exists on the market.

While traditional dab rig tools that look like sterile operating equipment make up a majority of the market, there are innovators in the field, as well. The Budder Cutter is truly a jack of all trades, and can be used for just about anything related to the handling of concentrates. If you’re a serious dabber and in the market for a new dabbing tool, give the Budder Cutter a try. You won’t regret it.
BACK TO TOP