With the legalization of recreational and medical cannabis, THC enthusiasts can delight in more and more products being built to serve our needs. In the last decade or so, dabbing has started to become more popular. While it used to be a niche form of THC consumption, more manufacturers are starting to get involved with the creation of dab rigs, both traditional and electronic. We’d know, since we made the first electronic dab rig available, after all.
That being said, some people are unfamiliar with dabbing and all of the equipment and accessories that a dab rig can consist of. If you’re in those shoes, you’ve got nothing to worry about. We’re here to explain to you all the parts and pieces of a dab rig, as well as the three main components and dab accessories you’ll need to get started. Keep reading to find out more!
Why Dabbing? What Is It?
Before we get into the dab rigs, it’s important that we introduce what dabbing actually is. If you’re a budding THC enthusiast, you may think that it only refers to the viral dance move. When it comes to dabbing in the THC world, though, it’s a different way of consuming THC.
Dabbing is the act of vaporizing dabs. What are dabs, you ask? They’re super concentrated forms of THC and can come in various forms, but the most popular are oil, shatter, and wax. A THC concentrate is far more potent than dry herb, and they can pack quite the punch. They’re ideal for people who are looking to get the most out of their THC. Dabs are normally very high in actual THC content and can range from minimal flavor to incredibly flavorful.
Unlike flower, smoking a concentrate changes with how you choose to smoke it. They can be vaporized in a range of different heats, and each one will give you a different result while smoking. Some will produce a large amount of flavor and will hit with intensity. Others will be less powerful but more flavorful. Dabbing is a method of THC consumption that comes with a high degree of customization. You can vaporize a concentrate in a way that you like best rather than just smoking your product.
Now, because of all of the different things that can be done to affect dabs, there are many different options when it comes to dab rigs. We’re going to go over traditional dab rigs, electronic dab rigs (or an electronic dab rig), and dab accessories. We’ll even suggest a few things to make your experience the best it can be! Dabbing is all about finding the perfect dab, trust us. We’ve spent plenty of time perfecting it.
Traditional Dab Rigs
The traditional dab rig is where it all started. They look similar to that of a standard water bong, but they hold far less water. They differ in construction, as well. While they still have the base, or chamber, that holds water, they don’t have the bowl that a water bong does. See all of the specifics below.
The Dab Rig Mouthpiece
This part of a traditional dab rig is the exact same as a water bong. It’s going to look familiar, and it’s going to serve the same function. Pressing your mouth against the mouthpiece is what creates the closed environment that smoke and vapor will live in until you inhale. They’re normally made of glass, and some dab rigs have removable mouthpieces. This allows you to change the kind of mouthpiece that you have, changing the experience entirely when done. Dabbing is highly customizable, so it makes sense that mouthpieces would be customizable as well.
The Base / The Chamber
No matter what you call it, the base is the largest part of the dab rig. It’s the area that you store your water in. Some bases come with several different filters in them, and some hold more water than others. Occasionally, the base will be glass wrapped in silicone, too, making it easier to handle. This piece looks a lot like a water bong, but normally on a smaller scale.
The Banger / The Nail
The nail, typically called the banger, is a crucial part of any rig. It’s the piece that gets superheated, allowing for the vaporization of a THC concentrate. The nail is the surface that you’ll put your concentrate on once it’s heated. It can be made from several different materials, including quartz nails and glass nails, and each has its own distinct advantages and disadvantages. Check them out below:
- Quartz: This is the most common material used for nails. Quartz nails conduct and retain heat well, and it is fairly sturdy. Beginner dab rigs will likely come with quartz nails.
- Glass: Glass is another popular nail option. It holds heat well. However, glass is not nearly as sturdy as quartz is. Most glass nails are made of borosilicate glass, but not all.
- Ceramic: Ceramic nails are one of the best material options if you want flavorful dabs. Ceramic is inert, meaning that it won’t interact with the concentrates you’re using. If you want a lot of flavor, pick ceramic. It’s very strong, as well.
- Titanium or Medical Grade Steel: Metal nails, or a grade 2 titanium nail, are nearly indestructible, meaning that when you purchase one from a shop, you’ll have it for life as long as you take care of it. Unfortunately, they aren’t the best for flavor. A titanium nail can result in a somewhat metallic taste.
The Dab Rig Dome
Once the nail is heated, you have to cover it so that none of the THC vapors escape. You want to inhale those, after all! This is where the dome comes in. When the nail has been heated thoroughly, you’ll carefully place the dome on top of it. Generally speaking, it won’t touch the nail so that it can avoid being superheated as well. Typically, the dome is integrated into the nail, and in others, it’s a separate piece. That’s what makes it worth mentioning here.
The Dab Rig Torch
The nail has to be superheated, but how exactly do you do that? With a torch, of course! Ideally, dabs are vaporized and retain heat between about 300 and 800 degrees Fahrenheit. To heat a nail to that temperature with a lighter would take ages. That’s why a torch is used. In most cases, the best torch to use will either be butane or propane. These fuels are easy to replace and normally come in canisters, eliminating the need to actually refill a tank on your own if you’d like to avoid that.
Most people will argue that butane is the superior option over propane, as it doesn’t change the flavor of the concentrate at all. Some residues from propane can be left behind on the nail, and as such, the flavor of the vapor can change. Propane is also more prone to overheating the nail in a quicker period of time. Use butane, but if you have no other options, propane will work.
Electronic Dab Rigs
Electronic dab rigs, better known as e-rigs, are very similar to traditional dab rigs in form. (And no, we're not talking about an oil rig). Functionally though, they’re superior in almost every way. They provide far more control over the dabbing experience and are much easier to use for first-timers. We recommend an electronic dab rig for a number of reasons, and not just because we pioneered the area. Learn more about the electronic dab rig parts below, as well as all of the advantages they come with.
The mouthpiece on an electronic dab rig serves the same purpose that it does on a traditional dab rig. However, they are more commonly customizable than traditional rig mouthpieces are. They are easily removable for cleaning, as well. If you want a more customizable experience, you’ll want to choose an electronic dab rig with optional mouthpieces.
This is the part of the dab rig that houses water on a traditional dab rig. On an electronic dab rig, though, it serves far more purpose. The base is where all of the electronics are housed in an e-rig. These electronics allow for complete control over your dabbing experience. They include a heater, electronic regulators, and monitors, as well as a rechargeable battery, in most cases. Additionally, e-rig bases are more robust than traditional dab rigs. They are far less prone to breaking than a traditional rig is, making them a longer-lasting option.
The Lack of the Dab Nail, the Dome, and the Torch
E-rigs don’t have a dab nail or a torch. Instead, the THC concentrates are vaporized internally in a “nail” that’s in the shape of a cup. This prevents any possible burns when using the rig. The room for error is far higher than an e-rig, however. You’re using a high-powered torch and conductor to vaporize concentrates. The opportunity to burn yourself on one of those components exists. On an e-rig, however, the likelihood of burning yourself is slim to none.
Additionally, the torch and dab nail combo of traditional dab rigs is a guessing game. You can bring thermometers into the equation, but overall, the ability to gauge temp is almost impossible using a traditional rig. Everything is estimated, meaning that you may be burning your concentrates too hot or too cool for your liking. There’s no consistency. High-quality e-rigs eliminate this issue. While removing the torch and the dab nail may not be the most purist approach to dabbing, it’s the most consistent. This means that once you’ve found what you like, you can dial in and have the perfect dab each and every time!
For starters, we have temp control. This is the paramount feature that an e-rig comes with. We’ve already covered it in detail, but we want to emphasize that temp control is everything to ensure you will retain heat the right way. It lets the user dial in and enjoy smooth, flavorful dabs, or intense, high vapor dabs. It’s really up to the user. We know that there’s a setting for everyone out there.
In addition to that, though, we love the speed and the accessibility our e-rigs provide. When you’re using one of our dab rigs, you are going to be dabbing in seconds. Heat up times using electronics and battery power are monumentally faster than they are with a torch. What’s more is that once you find the perfect temperature, it can be held there and retain heat. This gives you more wiggle room to load and ready your rig.
Lastly, our dab rigs come with RGB light settings built-in. You can set the mood any time you’re getting ready for a session with plenty of different options. Not your thing? That’s okay, too! We designed these to be put into stealth mode, too for those discreet dab seshes. You don’t have to have the lights if you don’t want them.
Some electronics come with grossly underpowered batteries. That’s not the case for our e-rigs. We made sure that they can handle any job, and they last quite a long time (we’ll go over each later, don’t worry). But what if it isn’t charged and you need to dab? We’ve got you covered. We designed both the SWITCH and the Boost EVO with pass-through charging, meaning that both will still work while plugged in. The session never has to come to an end when you choose one of our e-rigs.
Okay, we’re done boasting about the SWITCH and the Boost EVO for now. Instead, we’re going to divert your attention to the different accessories that you should be using to enhance your dabbing experience, whether it’s with a traditional rig or an e-rig. Check them out below!
The Carb Cap
The carb cap is appropriately named after the carburetor. Why? Because the carb cap helps you regulate the air that your dab receives after it’s been put on the dab nail. The carb cap allows you to customize the way that you dab. Most commonly, though, the carb cap is used to achieve the best low-temp dab.
When you use a carb cap for your dab, it prevents minimal, or any, airflow to your concentrate. This changes the pressure in the rig and changes the way that your dab vaporizes. When the air pressure drops, the temp in the rig is able to be retained, and the concentrate will vaporize more effectively.
Not all caps are made the same, though. Some have specific airflows built in to help you agitate the oils that are vaporizing and can help you effectively vaporize the whole dab. A carb cap is great for dialing in your dabs and should be considered as you start to find your specific likes.
If you’ve ever seen anyone dabbing, there’s a good chance that you’ve seen them handling something that looks something like a dental tool. That’s a dabbing tool, and it’s incredibly useful. THC concentrates are sticky and oily, and handling them isn’t the easiest thing to do. As such, using a loading tool can help prevent any messes, as well as sticky fingers.
The most common tool you’ll find is the double-sided tool. It normally comes with a pick and a paddle. The pick is used for handling concentrates that are normally more “together” and allows them to be picked up with ease. The paddle is for more crumbly substances and serves the same purpose as a spoon or a shovel. If you’re getting into THC concentrates, you’ll need at least the basic double-sided tool.
If you really want to get the job done, check out the Budder Cutter. This dab tool is a Dr. Dabber best-seller for a reason. The Budder Cutter is a nifty accessory for any dabber, with a heated tip that’s carefully calibrated to avoid overheating, while getting hot enough to slice through even the stickiest of dabs. The Butter Cutter is super versatile, coming in handy for several different uses. Wanna know more? Check out our blog on why every dabber needs a Budder Cutter here.
Silicone Mats and Containers
We’ve already explained that dabbing can be a messy process. The concentrates are derived from oils, which are messy inherently. When you’re ready to have a session, it’s in your best interest to have a mat where you can put everything down. Silicone mats are heat resistant, and they’re normally anti-stick until they’ve become worn out. This means that a hot dab rig won’t melt through, and sticky tools won’t get stuck to it. Cleanliness is important.
The same idea stands behind silicone concentrate containers. They’ll house all of your products, and you won’t have to worry about wasting anything. They won’t stick to the silicone, and they’ll be easy to remove. A silicone case for concentrates is a great investment. We recommend the SWITCH: Silicone Base or the Boost EVO: Silicone Mat.
This isn’t so much an "accessories dab" as it is a requirement. When you dab for flavor, any sort of buildup in the rig can affect the taste. Keeping a rig clean helps prevent any foul flavors and keeps everything hygienic. Most cleaning kits should consist of cotton swabs and rubbing alcohol, or even better, our Iso-Snaps. Cleaning after every session is recommended to keep the experience great. The SWITCH actually features a self-cleaning mode to simplify things even further.
So, Which is Better?
If we had to recommend a rig to anyone, we’d recommend an e-rig. The advantages that they have over traditional dab rigs are very apparent. Let’s take a look at the Dr. Dabber SWITCH, for example. This is one of the best electronic dab rigs available on the market for many reasons. Let’s jump right into why the SWITCH should be anyone’s first choice.
The SWITCH Provides a Low Barrier For Entry
When you invest in a Dr. Dabber SWITCH, you’re getting everything you need to get started, except for THC concentrates. There are fewer moving parts, making it far less intimidating to first-time users. This is important to us - dabbing shouldn’t be an exclusive niche for THC enthusiasts. We believe that dabbing is one of the most enjoyable ways to consume THC, and as such, it should be easy to do. That was one of the many goals that we had when developing an e-rig for the masses. There’s no need to be intimidated by the SWITCH. It’s made for all users.
The SWITCH Lets You Dab the Way YOU Want To
Dabbing can be done from temperatures ranging from about 300 degrees to 780 degrees, give or take. Each temperature gradient gives you a different experience. That’s something that we wanted to dial in when we created the SWITCH. With the SWITCH, you can choose exactly how you want to dab down to the very choice of material–flower or oil?
Are you looking to do a highly flavorful, low-temp dab? Grab a carb cap and the SWITCH, and you’re set. The SWITCH lets you set your temperature as low as 300 degrees, helping you achieve the best low-temp dab you can imagine.
Are you looking for something more intense? The SWITCH has a setting for that, too. With the SWITCH, you can hike the temperature all the way up to 780 degrees and have a high intensity, high-temp dab. The point we’re trying to make is that you can get the best dab that you can imagine with the SWITCH. It comes with 25 preset temperatures, so you’re sure to find something that you like.
The SWITCH Uses a Powerful Battery
This is a huge plus for the SWITCH, as well as the Boost EVO. High-powered batteries make these two rigs possible. With the SWITCH, the battery lets you achieve dabbing temperature within 4 seconds. If you’re ready to have a session, the SWITCH is, too. There’s no complicated setup or heating process. Simply turn it on, and you’re ready to go.
On top of that, the battery lasts a long time. We never want the session to end, and with the SWITCH, it doesn’t have to. Off battery power alone, the SWITCH can complete 150 cycles. If you forget to turn it off, you don’t have to worry, either. It’ll power off and save its battery when you forget to. If you do somehow manage to run the battery dry, it’s got pass-through charging. That means that you can keep using the rig while it’s plugged in without having to worry.
The SWITCH is Customizable
Along with all of the internal customization that comes with the SWITCH, external customizations are possible, too. With the SWITCH, you can change the mouthpiece to something that fits your dabbing better. It comes ready to go with our traditional percolator mouthpiece, but we offer tons of upgrades to choose from like a Ball Attachment, if that’s what you prefer. Additionally, if you want to vaporize other THC materials in the SWITCH, you can, using our different induction cups. The SWITCH does it all!
Getting into dabbing can seem like a daunting task. With all of the individual pieces that make up a traditional rig, it can be intimidating to get into THC concentrates. While e-rigs also have plenty of different pieces and parts, they’re so much easier to use. They don’t require the use of an external torch, and they’re normally complete the way that they come.
If you’re looking to get into dabbing, consider picking up the SWITCH. We designed the SWITCH with you in mind. It has plenty of working parts, but only the ones that allow you to tailor your dabbing experience to your needs. Plus, if you have any questions about the SWITCH or dabbing in general, we’d be happy to help! Just contact our award-winning customer support team and remember, all our products are backed by an industry-leading warranty! Happy dabbing!