Traditional ways of smoking weed are still fun, but dab rigs have added a whole new element to the life of stoners. You get everything you love—except it’s totally concentrated into a small, sticky glob. Who knew weed could become such a thing? You can get the power of multiple joints or bowls without having to torch your lungs. Dab rigs are designed to get the good stuff in so you can feel the potent effects and enjoy the rich flavor experience.
You get higher with less product and with vapor instead of smoke. If you’re in the market for a dab rig, you’re in good company.
How to Choose a Dab Rig
Like with any important purchase, you should know what you’re looking for. Not all dab rigs are the same because there are different styles and because they’re not all manufactured with high-quality materials. Below are some of the factors you should consider when choosing a dab rig.
Quality is everything. Sure, you can find cheap dab rigs, but they take away from your dabbing experience. Instead of going for the most inexpensive option, focus on high-quality pieces. You plan to get high. Really high. And you’ll be handling glass; it can easily break if it’s not high-quality. A high-quality piece is sturdy, won’t fall over easily, and can handle the heat needed for your dabs. A good dab rig has a super solid borosilicate glass base.
What does that mean? It means that it can withstand the heat from your torch. Another important consideration when it comes to quality is the dab nail. This is a small piece that looks like a regular glass bowl, except it’s made with different materials.
Remember, you’re using a torch, so the dab nail has to be able to handle that much heat. Typically, you can find some good dad nails made from Ceramic, quartz, or even titanium. Typically, when you purchase a dab rig, a dab nail comes with it. However, you can purchase these separately too.
Like we said, not all dab rigs are the same. Style is another important consideration. It’s definitely worth looking at what’s available on the market so that you can find a dab rig that suits your preferences and matches your overall style. You can always opt for a plain glass option, but that’s no fun. Check out some more colorful designs before you make your final decision.
Some dab rigs are better for travel so if you plan to travel with your dab rig, make sure that you select a style that prioritizes portability. If you just plan to smoke at home and keep it neatly tucked into your cabinet, you might want to invest in a larger, more sturdy option with extra features.
For example, you can purchase a dab rig that comes with a nice big percolator downstem to keep all your dab hits super cool. You can also find dab rigs that double as an art piece. They’re great to look at and serve as conversation starters.
Checking out different dab rigs is a fun process, but ultimately, you have to land on an option that meets your specific needs. If portability is a priority for you, then be sure to choose a smaller, portable dab rig that you can comfortably fit into your stash gear. Consider any extra features you might want, like a good percolator that makes your hits more comfortable. Bigger isn’t necessarily better when it comes to dab rigs.
A smaller dab rig can still deliver a super potent high. Plus, you may be able to save on a smaller option. Your budget is an important factor when deciding on the best dab rig. If you’re looking to splurge, there are plenty of options that are so stylish that they make for incredible collector’s pieces. If you smoke daily, investing in a high-quality dab rig is totally worth it. If you’re just testing the waters, perhaps you can settle for a more affordable model.
The fun stuff! Once you have your dab rig, you need to set yourself up with a couple of accessories. For one, you need a good set of dab tools. These are made with different materials, and some can be plain while others have more of an artistic touch. You also need a butane torch so that you can heat your dab nail.
There are plenty of other accessories, but those are the essentials. When you’re ready to invest in more, you may want to grab a good dab mat to keep all your dab equipment in one secure location. You’re working with high heat, and if you don’t have a good dab mat, you may ruin whatever surface you use for your dab rig. Another good accessory to grab is a container so that you can store your dabs and keep them from gathering dust.
Types of Dab Rigs
Now that you know what factors to consider when deciding on the best dab rig for you, we can explore the different types of dab rigs. Standard options come with the nail (also called a banger). That’s where you place your dab with a dab tool, and it’s where you heat the dab with a torch. Remember, you can always purchase these separately, too.
Glass Dab Rigs
Glass dab rigs are the traditional types of dab rigs. They’re the ones made with borosilicate glass, which is what makes them super sturdy and long-lasting. Traditional options come in different sizes, and they’re typically pretty plain to look at. Most of them look very similar to a regular glass bong, but you can also find them in different colors.
Silicone Dab Rigs
Silicone rigs are another option. Listen, you’re a stoner. You can get clumsy. If that’s the case for you and you’re not sure that even a high-quality dab rig can survive around your butterfingers, you may want to try a silicone rig. These are made with flexible silicone, and they’re unbreakable. Seriously, you can throw this thing across the room, and it’ll be fine. Plus, they’re super easy to clean, and you can usually get a pretty good deal on this style as well.
Recycler Dab Rigs
If you feel like getting fancier with your dab rig purchase, you may want to try out a recycler rig. These types of rigs come equipped with percolators so that you have an extra filter to keep out any toxins and other impurities. The smoke from your dab is recycled through at least two different chambers, sometimes more. Not only does it protect your lungs from any impurities or irritants, but it also gives you a much smoother hit. Since there are multiple chambers, recycler rigs are pretty interesting-looking. They usually have some added stylish features that make them more attractive than some of the traditional, more basic rigs.
Mini Dab Rigs
The name says it all here. Mini dab rigs are just like regular rigs but smaller. These are perfect if you plan to travel frequently with your rig or if you just prefer having a smaller piece on hand. These have full functionality, meaning they work the same as a classic option, but you can stash them more easily. These are super convenient, no matter where or when you plan to use them. If you’re new to dabbing, you might want to start with one of these.
Honey Straw Dab Rigs
These types of rigs are a lot different from your traditional style. Usually, these are made with glass, but some models are made with other heat-resistant materials. Some straws may come with a chamber that holds water but not necessarily. These are super portable, even more so than the mini dab rig, and are a great option to have on hand when sharing dabs at a party.
Electric Dab Rigs
Electric dab rigs, or e-rigs for short, don’t require a torch. Since a torch can get a little dangerous to have on hand, this is a nice option if you tend to be more accident-prone. Usually, these are rechargeable and come with several different accessories. This one is also a good portable option if you plan to travel with your rig. You can use it anywhere you’d like. It’s super convenient; leaving behind a torch and still being able to use your rig is a huge plus.
Features of a Dab Rig
Dab rigs are designed specifically for use with concentrates. Yes, you may have a bong on hand, and sure, you could add a quartz banger to it, but it’s not a dab rig. When you use a dab rig, your smoke sesh is milder and better overall. When deciding on a dab rig, consider the following features:
When you want to take a huge, fat rip while smoking weed, you need a larger mouthpiece. However, you’re using nails instead of a glass bowl with dab rigs, which means air flows easily. You don’t need to clear the chamber, and with the smaller size of the mouthpiece, you get a more flavorful experience.
You may enjoy smoking, but you know how hard it is on your lungs. Whether you’re using a pipe, smoking a joint, or filling a bong with thick clouds, you are putting a lot on your lungs. Dab rigs with percolators help to filter out the yuck and cool down your vapor, so you have a smoother smoking experience. Water is also an excellent tool when using a dab rig because concentrates require very little percolation. You can use either a two-hole or four-hole percolator to keep your dabs cool—plus, these won’t chop up your water the way others might.
Don’t use your rig dry. It hurts. Water filtration is what makes dabbing comfortable and enjoyable. You want to get high—not hurt your throat. Yes, some rigs are made for use without water, but you really need to consider cooling off the intense heat of your concentrates after you’ve torched them. If you’re a regular dab user, make sure you invest in a quality dab rig with water filtration.
How to Use a Dab Rig
All right, you’re all set up with your new dab rig, and your accessories are laid out. Now, how do you use it? To start, make sure you add water to the chamber. If you add too much water, it’ll splash. Go ahead and test the water level by inhaling through the downstream without the banger. There's too much water in your dab rig if water splashes into your mouth when you do this. Just go ahead and pour some of it out. Once you figure out how much water should be in your rig, go ahead and add the banger to the downstem and grab your torch. You’ll need to heat the banger until it’s glowing red. This is why it’s so important to have high-quality glass pieces.
Mostly, you should torch the bottom and the sides of your banger. Ultimately, you want the hottest piece of the banger to be where you place your concentrate. Once you’ve heated your banger sufficiently, wait about 30 seconds to let it cool off just a bit. You don’t want to completely scorch your concentrate when you attempt to place it in. Therefore, you must allow a short cooling-off period after torching your banger. Once you’ve allowed the banger to cool off just a touch, go ahead and apply the wax using a dabbing tool. As you do so, slowly begin inhaling the smoke through the mouthpiece.
During this process, you’ll need to move the wax around so that it touches the hot parts of the banger and releases the vapor. Keep your inhale slow and steady as you do this. If you have a carb cap, go ahead and place it on top of your banger and finish your inhale. Using a carb cap helps you regulate the airflow and can also make for a better hit. The process is pretty simple, and after a few tries, you’ll get the hang of it. After your first dab hit, check out how you feel and if you want to keep dabbing, just keep repeating this process.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much are dab rigs?
That depends on the quality of your dab rig. On the more affordable scale, you can pick up a rig for somewhere between $10 and $50. The more stylish or complex your rig, the more expensive it’ll be. Nevertheless, you can pick up a really good rig for under $100. If you’re spending over $100, it’s likely because it has extra features. You may not want to go all-in with a more expensive model until you’re more experienced with rigs.
How do dab rigs work?
Dab rigs work based on two primary elements. First, you need the concentrate. This is also called wax. That’s the dab that gets put into the banger and is the substance you inhale into your lungs. The other primary element is heat. Typically, you use a torch to heat the banger to vaporize the concentrate. The rig itself serves as a conduit for the vapor to cool and get it filtered enough for a comfortable hit. However, without the concentrate or the heating element, all you have is glass in a neat shape.
How do I clean a dab rig?
Like a bong, your dab rig needs regular cleaning. After regular use, it starts building up excess oil, which can clog your rig and ruin the flavor of your favorite concentrates. To clean your dab setup, you’ll need a couple of items, including rubbing alcohol, coarse sea salt, a resealable bag, and some Q-tips.
To start, you may want to just use your torch. This helps to clear any resin or residual concentrate until it’s burned completely off. If your rig isn’t that dirty, this step may be all you need. However, once it’s built up more excess oil, you need to go through more steps.
Once you’ve done some torching, go ahead and take the banger nail out of your rig and use the resealable bag to store it. Go ahead and grab the rubbing alcohol and pour it into the resealable bag. Your banger nail is going to need to soak for a bit. If you want, this is where you can add the coarse sea salt. Shake it up and let it sit.
Next, clear the water out of your rig. If you’re dabbing regularly, you should be clearing the water after each use to maximize the flavor of your next dab. If your rig is super gross, repeat the process as you did with your banger nail. Use alcohol and coarse sea salt. If your rig is not that dirty, you can just use a bit of rubbing alcohol.
Once you clean the banger nail and the rig, make sure that you rinse with warm water thoroughly. You have to clear out all of the alcohol and any residual sea salt before you can use your rig again. Repeat this whenever you need to clean your rig, and you’ll always be good to go.
Why are dab rigs small?
Mainly so you get a much more flavorful experience. Since small dab rigs require less water, you can thoroughly enjoy the richness of your favorite concentrates. This is the primary appeal for people who prefer dabs over traditional ways to get their smoke on.
How hot do dab rigs get?
Your rig may reach temperatures over 350°F. Actually, 350°F is the best temperature for you to start your dab hit. This allows you to get a perfect hit while also enjoying the super-rich flavor of your wax. If you start your dab and the temp is too high, you won’t get the maximum flavor you should be getting from your concentrates. This is kind of an art and as you gain more experience with the process, you’ll begin dabbing like a pro.
What are dab rigs made out of?
Primarily glass, but some are made with silicone. The nail you use is usually made with quartz, or it could be made with titanium.
How are dab rigs different from bongs?
The primary difference between a bong and a dab rig is what you smoke out of them. With a bong, you typically use ground-up dry herb, whereas, with a dab rig, you’re using wax concentrates.
Does a dab rig get you higher?
Yes, typically, dabs give you the most potent high. You get the full flavor and an intense high because you’re smoking concentrates. If you’re looking for something milder, you may want to stick with dry herb.
Which dab rig is the best?
That depends on your needs. If you want something that you can easily pack up and take with you, go for a mini dab rig. If you are known for breaking things, go for a silicone dab rig. If you want something basic, just stick with a traditional rig, or if you want a stylish option with upgraded features, you may want to go for a recycler dab rig.