2023 Dab Rig Buyer’s Guide

by Chris Husong

Dab Rig Buyer's Guide

Dab Rigs: Unlocking the World of Concentrates

Welcome to our 2023 Dab Rig Buyer's Guide! 

Dab rigs, also known as "dab bongs" or "oil rigs," are devices designed for heating and vaporizing concentrates like oils, wax, shatter, and more. Unlike traditional smoking methods, dabbing involves vaporization instead of combustion, resulting in a smoke-free experience. 

Even for experienced bong enthusiasts, dab rigs can be a bit daunting. These unique devices have their own tricks and features that set them apart from regular dry herb bongs. 

So, before we dive into the world of dab rigs and explore what makes them special, it's important to find the right dab rig that suits your needs and provides the best dabbing experience. 

In this guide, we will explore different types of dab rigs and their components to help you make an informed decision.

Size Matters

Unlike their larger counterparts, dab rigs are typically smaller, and there's a good reason for that. Dabs deliver much stronger hits than dry herbs, so you won't find foot-long necks on dab rigs (although you might come across familiar beaker designs). Standard rigs usually range from 8 to 11 inches, but they can go even smaller. 

Mini dab rigs, under 8 inches, are gaining popularity, packing a punch with filtration features like barrel percs or honeycombs found in taller rigs. Even affordable rigs often come with a filtered downstem to break down and cool the vapor from the heated nail.

Recycler Rigs for Enhanced Flavor

A popular design for dab rigs is the recycler. These rigs have two chambers: one with a filter or percolator and another acting as a reservoir. The water and vapor travel through both chambers, cooling down the dab and creating a smoother hit. Recycler dab rigs not only look cool but also offer functional benefits.

The second chamber reduces the chances of splashing water, which is especially appreciated by low-temp dabbers. The multi-filtration system ensures the vapor gets broken down and cooled before reaching you. With minimal air entering the system, recyclers are known for their efficiency in consuming concentrates.

E-Rigs: The Electronic Option

If you're looking for convenience, E-Rigs are worth considering. These electric dab rigs feature a ceramic heating element connected to a power source (either a battery for portability or a wall plug for tabletop models). They heat up a quartz element where you place your dab. 

E-Rigs eliminate the guesswork of nail temperature by offering pre-set temperature settings, making them ideal for precise dabbing without the need for a laser temperature gun. E-Rig nails heat up faster than traditional nails, including quartz ones, providing an excellent solution for the meticulous dabber.

The Nail: Key to the Dabbing Experience

Another crucial component of a dab rig is the nail. There's a wide range of options available to suit your preferences. The easiest choice, albeit pricier, is an E-Nail. These externally powered nails heat up quickly and maintain the right temperature longer than regular nails.

For those who prefer more cost-effective options, there are various types of nails to choose from. Titanium nails are popular among beginners but might leave a metallic taste in the dab. Glass nails and ceramic nails are other alternatives that minimize flavor interference but are prone to breakage. Quartz nails are considered the gold standard due to their durability, neutral taste, and ability to retain consistent heat.

Dab nails come in diverse designs. Quartz bucket nails, also known as bangers, are highly sought after for their durability and even heating of concentrates. Thermal bangers, which have double layers for insulation, prevent your concentrate from dripping into the joint. Honey buckets combine a regular banger with a built-in dome for a similar effect. If you prefer simplicity, universal nails get the job done with minimal cleanup and effort.

Enhance Your Dabbing Experience with Carb Caps 

When setting up your dab rig, don't forget about carb caps. These accessories play a vital role in maintaining steady airflow to your nail and limiting oxygen contact with the concentrate. Carb caps offer their own unique benefits, but not all nails are compatible with them. If you want a consistent and satisfying dabbing experience, covered dabs with carb caps are the way to go. Don't miss out on this important addition if you're investing in a top-notch dab rig body and nail.

Consider Your Needs

With the abundance of options available for dab rigs, it's natural to feel overwhelmed. But fear not! Armed with some knowledge, you can turn your shopping experience into a fun and exciting adventure. Being an informed consumer allows you to spend less time worrying and more time creating the ultimate dab setup that perfectly suits your needs.

Now that you're more familiar with the world of dab rigs and various options, it's time to explore and find the setup that suits your preferences. Happy dabbing!

Types of Dab Rigs

  • Glass Dab Rigs: Glass dab rigs are the traditional option and are commonly used for smoking wax, shatter, or rosin dabs. Made from durable borosilicate glass, they come in various shapes, colors, and sizes. Glass dab rigs are versatile, sturdy, and offer a great flavor experience, making them suitable for beginners and those looking for quality and value.
  • Silicone Dab Rigs: Silicone dab rigs are convenient and affordable options. Their flexible material makes them nearly indestructible, and they can be easily cleaned, stored, and transported. Silicone dab rigs are best for users who prioritize durability, portability, and low maintenance.
  • Recycler Dab Rigs: Recycler dab rigs are known for delivering the smoothest hits. These rigs feature unique hourglass-shaped designs that recycle the smoke through percolators and tubes, effectively filtering out toxins. Recycler dab rigs are favored by seasoned dabbers, collectors, and those seeking a custom-designed, high-quality piece.
  • Mini Dab Rigs: Mini dab rigs are smaller versions of traditional dab rigs, offering the same performance in a more compact size. They are portable, convenient, and provide a smooth dabbing experience. Mini dab rigs are ideal for users who prefer smaller rigs, want easy setup, and enjoy a variety of percolation options.
  • E-Rigs (Electric Dab Rigs): E-Rigs, also known as electric dab rigs, are the most user-friendly and portable option. These battery-operated rigs offer superior temperature control and quick heat-up times. E-Rigs are suitable for users who prioritize speed, convenience, optimal temperature control, and portability.

Components of a Dab Rig

A dab rig consists of several components that work together to vaporize concentrates. The main components include:

  • Dab Rig: The glass water pipe that connects to the dab nail or bowl. Dab rigs and bongs are similar in structure.
  • Dab Nail (or Banger): The attachment where the concentrates are vaporized when heated. Dab nails can be made of glass, quartz, titanium, or ceramic.
  • Torch: A butane hand torch is used to heat the dab nail in traditional setups.
  • Carb Cap: A carb cap is a cap with a small hole that covers the nail, regulating airflow and optimizing vaporization.
  • Dabber: A dab tool used to place your dab onto the heated nail. Dabbers or dab tools come in various materials and styles.
  • E-Nail: An electric heating element that replaces traditional torch-heated nails. E-Nails offer precise temperature control and ease of use.

How to Choose the Perfect Dab Rig

Dab Rig Buyer's Guide

When it comes to selecting a dab rig, the choice ultimately boils down to your personal preferences. However, we have some helpful tips to ensure you get the most out of your dabbing experience. Check out these key features to consider:

For more detailed information on choosing the right dab rig, take a look at our informative article, Top 5 Dab Rig Brands, The 6 Best New Portable Dab Rigs, and The Best Dab Tools and Dab Tool Sets, Best Torches for Dabbing, and How To Use a Dab Rig Without a Torch on our blog. Alternatively, you can explore our comprehensive guide on [topic] to learn everything you need to know about different dabbing tools.

  • Durable & High-Quality Materials: While budget is a factor, going for the cheapest dab rig may lead to breakage due to mishandling or heat cracking the glass. Durability is crucial, so invest in a rig made from strong and high-quality materials like borosilicate glass, which can withstand thermal shock. Additionally, ensure your rig has the right dab nail or banger made from materials such as quartz, ceramic, or titanium, as they can withstand high heat.
  • Sizes & Styles: If you prefer portability, a smaller rig like a mini dab rig might be your best bet. On the other hand, if you want a stylish rig that enhances your dab hits, consider a recycler dab rig with a large percolator downstem. Smaller dab rigs are known for better flavor, while larger ones deliver bigger hits. Don't forget to explore extra features like percolators for an even smoother experience.
  • Filtration (Percolators): To avoid dry hits that can irritate your lungs, opt for a dab rig with percolators. Water filtration is essential for achieving smooth hits. As the smoke travels through the piece, the water cools it down, resulting in a more enjoyable and safe smoking experience. Percolators come in various shapes and sizes. Look for a rig with two to four percolators for the smoothest hit possible.
  • Consider a Hybrid Dab Rig: If you enjoy both flower and concentrates, a hybrid dab rig is an excellent choice. These versatile devices allow you to switch between a glass bowl and a banger, offering the convenience of smoking weed and dabbing your favorite extracts with a single rig.

Elevate Your Dabbing Experience with the Best Dab Accessories

Ready to take your dabbing game to new heights? We've got you covered with the top dab accessories to enhance your dab rig experience. In addition to carb caps mentioned above, check out these must-have items:

  • Quartz Banger: A quartz banger is a dish-like accessory that holds your extracts. It offers durability, easy cleaning, the ability to restrict airflow, improved flavor, and superior heat retention. Upgrade from a metallic banger to quartz for a pure and satisfying taste.
  • Terp Pearls: Terp pearls are small balls that can be placed inside your banger. When heated and spun, they distribute heat and disperse the concentrate, resulting in flavorful and robust hits. Quartz terp pearls are highly recommended for their flavor preservation and heat retention properties.
  • Reclaim Catcher: A reclaim catcher traps the condensed oil or resin produced during dabbing, making it easier to clean your rig. Consider factors like size, angle bends, and joint type when selecting a reclaim catcher that complements your rig.
  • Dab Tools: Dab tools are essential for scooping and applying concentrates. Quartz dabbers are favored for their flavor-preserving abilities, while titanium dab tools offer durability. Choose a dabber with a longer handle to avoid burn injuries.
  • Torch: A dab torch is crucial for heating the banger in your rig. Opt for a butane torch over propane, as it provides better control and avoids oxidizing a titanium banger. Consider the torch size and flame size based on your rig's dimensions.
  • Container: Keep your concentrates organized and safe with a non-stick container made of glass or silicone. Glass containers offer an elegant look, while silicone containers provide durability and affordability. Multi-slot containers are available for storing various concentrates.

To wrap it up, adding these accessories to your dab rig will elevate your dabbing experience. Remember, the world of dabbing is constantly evolving, so stay tuned for more exciting accessories to enhance your sessions. 

How To Use a Dab Rig for Beginners

If you're new to dabbing, don't worry! We've got you covered with a helpful step-by-step guide on how to use a dab rig. Once you get the hang of it, using a dab rig can be a breeze and a lot of fun. Here are the key steps for beginners:

  1. Keep Your Dab Rig Gear Clean: Make sure to clean and maintain your dab rig gear before and after each use. This ensures smoother, tastier hits and helps your rig last longer.
  2. Heat the Dab Nail: Use a heating element like a dab torch to heat up your nail. Apply the flame directly to the nail for around 30 seconds. Remember to point the flame away from the rig to avoid glass cracking. If you're using an E-Nail, input your desired temperature and wait for it to heat up the nail.
  3. Allow the Dab Nail to Cool Down: Once the nail is red hot, move the flame away and let the nail cool down. Give it about 30-60 seconds after it stops glowing to avoid scorching your concentrate. Keep in mind that the nail retains heat, so be careful not to touch it with your fingers. The cooling time depends on the thickness and material of the nail. For optimal flavor, aim for a temperature range of 300-450 degrees Fahrenheit (149-232 degrees Celsius). With an E-Nail, you don't need to wait for cooling.
  4. Place the Dab on the Nail: After the nail has slightly cooled, use your dab tool to apply a small amount of concentrate onto the nail's surface. Rotate the dabber tip to ensure you don't waste any substance. Ideally, the dab should be small enough to vaporize and inhale completely.
  5. Inhale the Vapor: Slowly inhale the vapor from the mouthpiece of the dab rig. Keep inhaling until you no longer see vapor in the rig's chamber. Dabs require a longer, slower inhale as the concentrate doesn't vaporize instantly. Exhale slowly and completely without holding any vapor in your lungs. Inhaling or exhaling too fast can be irritating to your throat and lungs. If you cough, the nail temperature might have been too high.
  6. Enhance Vaporization with a Carb Cap: A carb cap can be placed on the dab nail to improve vaporization during inhalation to regulate airflow and retain heat, resulting in better hits. When you're ready to clear the rig of vapor, simply lift the carb cap.
  7. Clean Your Dab Rig and Tools: Be sure to clean your dab nail before and after use. Heat up the tip of the dab tool used to apply concentrate with the dab torch for a second to remove any residue. Let the nail cool down slightly and use a cotton swab to wipe the inside. For a deeper clean, dip a cotton swab in isopropyl alcohol and clean the warm nail's interior. Remember to clean the residue while it's warm and easy to remove. 

By following these steps, you'll become a pro at using a dab rig in no time!

The Pros and Cons of Dab Rigs: Weighing Your Options

When it comes to smoking preferences, everyone has their own unique taste. Some smoking enthusiasts swear by dab rigs, while others remain loyal to bongs. Both choices have their advantages and disadvantages.

To help you make an informed decision, let's explore the pros and cons of using dab rigs:


  • Compact Size: Dab rigs are generally smaller than most bongs, making them more portable and easier to handle.
  • Cost-Effective: Dab rigs can be a wallet-friendly option, especially when it comes to the consumption of concentrates.
  • Perfect for Concentrates: If you enjoy concentrates like wax or oil, dab rigs are designed specifically for this purpose, ensuring an optimal experience.
  • Vapor, Not Smoke: Dab rigs produce vapor instead of smoke, offering a smoother and potentially healthier inhalation process.
  • Easy to Clean: Cleaning a dab rig is typically easier and less time-consuming compared to bongs, allowing for convenient maintenance.
  • Instant and Intense High: Dabbing can provide a rapid and more powerful high, thanks to the concentrated nature of the extracts.


  • Less Potent: While dab rigs can deliver intense effects, some users find that the potency of their preferred method of consumption is slightly lower compared to other options.
  • Learning Curve: Dabbing requires a bit more know-how and technique than traditional smoking methods. It may take some time and practice to become comfortable with the process.

By considering these pros and cons, you can better determine which option aligns with your preferences and needs. Remember, it's all about finding what works best for you and enhances your smoking experience.

Dabbing FAQ: All Your Dabbing Questions Answered!

Dabbing is a modern and exciting way to enjoy your herbs without any burning materials. We understand that it can be a bit intimidating with hot nails and sizzling oils, but don't worry! Our dabbing FAQ is here to provide answers and boost your confidence, so you can fully enjoy the experience. 

Let's dive into some common questions:

What is dabbing?

Dabbing involves consuming concentrated extracts from your herbs. Just a small “dab” is enough to get the desired effects. The high heat of the nail "cooks" your concentrate on a protective surface, and the resulting vapor passes through your dab rig for cooling and filtration, making it easy to inhale.

What do I need for dabbing?

A typical dabbing session requires a dab rig, a dab tool for applying concentrates, a carb cap, a nail (banger or domeless), a torch, a tray for organization, and your preferred concentrate. Oh, and don't forget a knife for cutting your concentrates!

What are concentrates? 

Concentrates are products derived from processed herbs. Through extraction processes, the desirable compounds are separated, leaving behind plant matter. The result is a highly potent product with a rich flavor profile compared to flowers and herbs.

What kind of concentrates can I use?

There are several types of concentrates available, but for dabs, the best options include shatter, wax, oil, budder, honeycomb, and live resin.

What's the best temperature for dabbing?

The ideal temperature depends on personal preference and desired effects. Low-temperature dabs (500°F-650°F) are great for beginners and those who want to preserve flavor. Higher temperatures (800°F and above) provide stronger effects but can be harsh on the throat and lungs. A middle ground of around 700°F offers a balance between flavor and intensity.

How do I know when the nail is ready?

Heating times vary depending on the material, but a general rule is to heat the nail until it starts to glow without reaching a red-hot state. Using a timer or gauging the heat with your hand can help you determine when it's ready. Heating times can range from 10 to 45 seconds, depending on the desired temperature and the type of nail you have.

Can I dab without a torch?

Absolutely! While the traditional way involves using a rig and a torch, you can still enjoy concentrates without them. You can mix concentrates with herbs, roll a joint, or use a dab pen. If you prefer a rig, consider an E-Nail kit for a flameless heating experience.

What size dab should I get?

It's best to start with a small amount, just enough to cover the tip of your dab tool. Avoid going overboard, as large dabs can be overwhelming, especially for first-timers or those with limited lung capacity.

What is the best nail for dabbing?

The choice of nail depends on personal preference. Quartz bangers are popular for their fast heating, excellent flavor, and visible sizzle. Ceramic nails offer better temperature control and a clean taste. Titanium nails are durable and ideal for high-temperature dabs.

We hope these answers help you navigate the world of dabbing with confidence and excitement! 

Remember, finding the perfect dab rig is a personal journey. Explore different options, keeping these factors in mind, and you'll be on your way to an enjoyable dabbing experience.

Shop Dab Rigs at Headshop.com Today!

Explore our extensive collection of dab rigs at Headshop.com today. Find the perfect rig to elevate your dabbing experience and indulge in the smoothest hits. Our knowledgeable team is here to guide you in choosing the rig that matches your style and preferences. Discover cutting-edge features and innovative designs for the ultimate convenience. Unleash your inner connoisseur and revolutionize your dabbing journey with our large selection. Embark on a thrilling exploration of style and flavor at Headshop.com. Your perfect rig awaits!

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