basic dab rig

Dab Rigs

The Essential Tool For Enjoying Cannabis Concentrates

Dab Rigs

Dab Rigs Are Extremely Popular, Here’s Why

If you’ve been enjoying the medicinal or recreational benefits of cannabis for some time, then you probably know how popular dab rigs have become in recent years.

Dabbing is similar to vaping in that both use cannabis extracts, and neither is based on combustion. The key difference between the two is that dabbing uses only highly-concentrated cannabis extracts.

Which means…

The effects dab rigs produce are much more intense and immediate – and many people find that quite desirable.

Dab rig designs have been evolving as quickly as the technology behind them, and you can find many interesting rigs on the market.

There’s one dab rig, in particular, that’s setting the bar with a unique, versatile design.

We’ll tell you all about it in a minute. (Can’t wait? Check it out here).

But first, let’s take a look at why dabbing is so popular in the first place.

While dabbing may require a bit more attention and preparation than some traditional methods of consuming cannabis, many people consider the benefits well worth the effort.

Here’s why…

Dabbing Gives You a ‘Cleaner’ and More Intense High

With concentrated cannabis extracts typically between 70-90% THC, you’ll likely appreciate the speed and potency of using cannabis concentrate in a dab rig. People who enjoy dabbing say they experience a more intense, clear-headed high that feels ‘cleaner.’

And if you use cannabis therapeutically…

Dabbing Gives You Faster CBD Benefits

If you’re taking CBD to manage pain, stress, nausea, difficulty sleeping, or other conditions, quickly getting relief is important. With dabbing, you’ll feel the effects almost immediately. Dabs are much stronger than vaping or smoking because you are consuming highly-concentrated cannabis. For example, one dab may provide all the relief you need to manage your pain from arthritis or other inflammation issues for many hours.

But, here’s a word of caution…

Dabs are Potent!

The extreme effects of dabbing concentrates may take less experienced users, or dab rig first-timers, by surprise. Accidentally dabbing “too much” isn’t hard to do.

The good news is, taking too much cannabis does not carry the same serious side effects as many other drugs – but taking too much can be uncomfortable. Be sure to exercise your best jugement, and take things slow to ensure you have an enjoyable experience.

Here’s what you need to get started —

Basic Dabbing Tools

Dab Rig
A dab rig is essentially a modified water pipe. They come in different sizes and styles and are all designed to hold a nail (which is heated and used to vaporize the cannabis concentrate).

Dab Mat
A dab mat or dab rag is technically not an essential tool for dabbing, but it’s a useful, inexpensive item that will protect your table’s surface from sticky residue.

Dab Nail
When choosing the nail that will be used with your dab, you have a few options – quartz, titanium, or ceramic. Quartz and ceramic provide better flavor but are more fragile to handle. Titanium is often preferred for its durability, but extremely high temperatures can cause damage and shorten its life. Banger nails offer a simple design and are perfect for beginners.

Dabbers are used to apply cannabis concentrate to the hot nail for vaporization to occur. They are available in glass, titanium, stainless steel, quartz, and ceramic.

Carb Cap Dabber
Carb caps allow you to dab at a low temperature and experience a full range of terpenes that are destroyed at higher temperatures. Some have dual functionality and include a dabber on one end.

Regular household lighters will not get the nail on your dab rig hot enough to vaporize the cannabis concentrate – that’s why you need a torch. There are a number of fantastic options on the market. Whichever one you go with, be sure to pick up some butane for it as well.

And if you don’t want to use a torch to heat your nail, here’s another option…

Electronic Nail (e-nail)
The e-nail is the solution for dabbers who just don’t want to deal with a torch or who want greater control over the temperature of their nail. The only hesitation may be the price tag – e-nails can cost up to $300.

Ready to pick your rig?

Choosing Your Dab Rig: What Type of Rig is Right for You?

When you’re ready to pick your dab rig, you’ll find you have a number of options, each with unique advantages (and our favorite one has everything you need and more).

Glass Rig
A basic glass dab rig without any bells or whistles is quintessential for every dabber to have in their collection. Glass performs wonderfully and looks great. The only drawback is, no matter how careful you are, your glass rig will always be in danger of being broken.

Silicone Rigs
Silicone rigs offer a much more durable solution than glass – just be sure to choose BPA free silicone that’s medical grade.

Recycler dab rigs are as popular for their aesthetics as they are for their water-cooling, throat-friendly pulls. They have multiple chambers that water is ‘recycled’ through to create continuous filtration.

These dab rigs work just like recyclers but they do not have an exterior chamber. Instead, incyclers have one main chamber. Water bubbles up the main chamber, into an interior chamber, before funneling back down to the main chamber.

Perfect for traveling or anyone who wants to keep things discreet, mini-rigs are typically the size of your hand. Many people prefer these smaller rigs because they preserve the terpene flavors better than their larger counterparts.

These handy rigs are gaining popularity. They are basically the evolution of the e-nail – simplifying the whole dabbing experience with an all-in-one, convenient tool that is ultra-compact and easy to use. Functioning much like a vape pen, e-rigs make it easy for beginners to get started with dabbing. The only pause for consideration is that e-rigs can be pricey and hard to fix if something breaks.

Dab Straws
With dab straws, there is no water involved, which means you won’t get the same cooling effect as with traditional dab rigs. However, dab straws are a great compact way to dab and perfect for traveling, or the minimalist dabber. Popular dab straws include the Nectar Collector Honey Straw.

Converted Bongs
Another option for your dab rig is to convert a bong. Many companies make conversion parts that will easily adapt a bong into a dab rig. If you are curious about dabbing and want to give it a try before committing to a full dab rig setup, this may be your best option.

And of course, you’ll also need…

Cannabis Concentrates For Dab Rigs

Whichever dab rig you decide to go with, choosing your cannabis concentrate will be your next big decision. By now most people have heard of wax and shatter, the two common forms of cannabis concentrates used in dabbing.

These concentrates are extracted from hemp and cannabis plants using solvents like C02 and butane. The C02 extraction method is commonly used to create cannabis oil for vape pens. Butane is the most common extraction method for creating dabbing concentrates.

Often referred to as BHO, Butane Hash Oil is known for its honey-gold color. The texture and appearance of BHO products vary according to the different treatments used to remove the residual compounds left behind post-extraction.

While there are many names for BHO extractions, there are only a few categories:

As its name suggests, shatter is glass-like in appearance and brittle enough to shatter. It resembles hard candy and can range in color from clear to amber, which has to do with technical factors like how much heat or moisture is present and the concentration of terpenes. Shatter has about 90% THC – making it the most potent option on the market.

Sap is Shatter in sticky liquid form. Sap is often made from cannabis strains that are high in CBD and terpenes which contribute to its viscous, sap-like consistency. Sap is perfect for dabbing but can also be used in bowls, joints, and vape pens. Some people even choose to cook with sap.

Wax concentrate is the softest of the bunch and becomes opaque due to the circumstances under which it is extracted – which involves agitating the cannabis molecules and causing them to crystallize. Again, heat and moisture play a key role in its production. Waxes come in a variety of consistencies, with softer waxes typically referred to as “budder” and hard waxes commonly known as “crumble” or “honeycomb.”

Dabbing Temperatures: Which One is Best for You?

Dabbing at different temperatures offers different benefits. The boiling point for the majority of active cannabis compounds is under 400 °F (204.44 °C). Find your ideal temperature to dab at based on your use goals and your personal preference.

Cold Start/Reverse Dab up to 330 °F
Cold start dabs are a simple concept – rather than heating your nail and touching the concentrate-loaded dabber to the hot surface; cold start dabs load the cannabis concentrates onto a cold nail and then slowly heat it. If you’re in a hurry a cold start dab or reverse dab is the perfect solution as heating your dab to the boiling point takes about 10 seconds. And as an added bonus, cold start dabbing is gentler on your equipment and will help it last longer. That’s because you use less heat, so you reduce the potential for heat-related breakage.

Low-temp Dab 330°F – 390°F Euphoric Effects
Low-temperature dabs are considered optimal by many people. Lower temperatures allow the full flavor of the terpenes to be enjoyed – and you still get all the therapeutic benefits and psychoactive effects of the concentrate. If you’re using a traditional dab rig setup that is heated with a torch, experiment with finding the low-range temperature that’s right for you. Usually heating your dab nail for 20-40 seconds will do the trick, of course, the exact time you need to apply heat will depend on the size and thickness of your components, your specific torch, and your personal technique.

Medium-temp Dab 390°F – 600°F Intense Effects
A medium-temperature dab will provide a nice balance of flavor and intensity. The drawback to this temperature is at 392°F harmful chemicals are produced. Also, combustion happens at 446°F, and vaporizing becomes smoking. At the higher end of the temperature spectrum, beneficial cannabis compounds are destroyed.

High-temp Dab 600°F – 800°F +
When you dab at high temperatures, you will feel the effects faster and more intensely than dabbing at lower temperatures. You can also be sure all the cannabis compounds will reach their boiling point at these temperatures. The drawback is, at 392 °F, harmful compounds like Benzene are produced. You also run the risk of destroying beneficial terpenes at these temperatures.

And now…

Here’s our pick for the most versatile, high-quality dab rig on the market —

The Perfect Dab Rig: Dr. Dabber SWITCH Vaporizer

If you’re looking for an easy, versatile setup, we’d like to introduce you to our favorite dab rig. What makes this our favorite dab rig? Glad you asked! There’s a lot to love about the SWITCH — here are some of the highlights:

  • Versatility – works with oil, leaf, and concentrate
  • Safety – automatic cool down
  • Self-cleaning – keep your equipment clean for superior performance
  • Performance – an even heating temperature and advanced electronics for 5-second heat-up
  • Longevity – an advanced heating element that uses no electrical connections to wear out

Ready to experience dabbing with the Dr. Dabber SWITCH vaporizer?

See if Dr. Dabber’s SWITCH is right for you.

This 2020 quick start guide walks you throgh step-by-step the benefits of dabbing, the tools you'll needs, and a review of our #1 favorite dab rig.

A guide to dab rigs

Getting to Grips with Dab Rigs

Inhaling cannabis remains one of the most popular and effective forms of cannabis consumption to date. And while most of the world is fully aware of the dangers associated with inhaling any kind of smoke, for any purpose, the fact is that consumers want to inhale cannabis. They enjoy it.

As such, there’s a continuously growing consumer demand in the modern cannabis industry for alternatives to the most traditional inhaling methods, which is one of the reasons why vapes became so popular, so quickly. But in this short guide, we turn our attention to a fun kind of cannabis consumption known as dabbing.

  • What is dabbing
  • History of dabbing
  • Basic Components of Dab Rigs
  • Step-by-step Dabbing Guide
  • Components of a Standard Rig
  • Types of Dab Nails
  • Domes and Domeless Rigs
  • Accessories
  • Why Dab?
  • Best Practices
  • Learn More

So, what is dabbing?

While dabbing and vaping benefit from having a number of things in common, dabbing is the art of inhaling the vapor produced from heating cannabis concentrates; which is something that can be done in one of many dabbing devices. Essentially, the grand difference between dabbing and smoking or vaping is that many dabbing isn’t designed to catch anything on fire.

The problem for beginners arriving to the dabbing arena, is that it can all be fairly intimidating. Dab rigs, sometimes referred to as concentrate rigs, can look pretty technical to the untrained eye, and if you’re new to the cannabis space, dabbing is probably not the best place to start for a number of reasons.

But there’ll no doubt come a day when terms like nails, and domes, and reburn, start to catch your attention and feel tempted to give the world of cannabis concentrates and dabbing a try. When that time comes, remember to return to this guide and we’ll help you to get your dabbing experience off to the best possible start.

A Little Bit of Dabbing History

In the true spirit of our love for cannabis, it’s time for a little dabbing history…

Whether you believe it or not, concentrates, including oil and wax, have been around since the 1960s, but dabbing took a lot more time to fly into action. In fact, the idea of dabbing has always been a kind of “underground” activity, reserved for the more wild among us, which is why most people had to resort to making their own dab rigs from scratch.

But by 2010, the world of dabbing started to move out of the shadows and into the light, in part thanks to legalization, but mainly driven by a consumer desire to find alternatives to the inhaling of smoke of any kind.

Consumer demand grew and the choice of dab rigs grew with it, and we have no doubt that we’ll be seeing even more dab rigs and even more dabbing accessories on the market in the years to come.

What is a dab rig and how does it work?

A dab rig is a special industry device used in the consumption of concentrates, informally referred to as dabs. One of the most important things for a prospective dabber to note, is how dab rigs are designed and how they work. There are so many varieties of dab rigs available for purchase on the regulated market, that it helps to know what you’re looking for and why, before you start to shop.

Plainly speaking, there are four types of dab rigs: simple, low-end, mid-level, and high-end dab rigs. While they may look a little confusing, a dab rig is highly simple to use. Once you’ve chosen which basic dab rig you’re going to go for, you’ll be excited to know that there are tons of extra features and accessories that can be used to truly personalize your dab and the dabbing consumer experience that you’d like to develop.

The best dab rigs can help you to achieve the same level of medication that you’d get from taking several drags off of a traditional pipe or bong. The nail on the dab rig is heated by a torch, the concentrate is placed on the nail, and after a short amount of time a vapor is produced. It’s this vapor that is inhaled. The popularity of dabbing grows by the day, which is why there’s been such a recent explosion of custom dab rigs on the market.

Dabbing, Step-by-Step

Dabbing looks complicated, but don’t be fooled. It’s super easy and lots of fun. The exact way in which you dab will vary depending on the style of rig you’re using. So, let’s begin…

  1. Apply a small amount of concentrate — oil or wax — onto the nail, or the heating element that comes with your rig. Only e-nails have the capacity to heat themsleves. All others need to be manually heated, normally through the use of a torch. Dab rigs and torches are usually sold separately, but some vendord and brands sell them as a set.
  2. Heat the nail with the torch and, as soon as it’s hot enough, apply the wax or oil.
  3. As soon as you “dab” the oil or wax on the nail, place your mouth over the mouthpiece and inhale, because the vapor will materialize immediately.
  4. If your dab rig doesn’t have a dome, explained in more detail a little later on, you must wait for it to cool down before packing it away. So, be careful here.

What are the basic components of a standard dab rig?

At this point, you probably have a fairly clear idea of how a dab rig works and the good news is that, despite their apparent complexity, most types of dab rigs are made up of just three components: a glass piece, a nail, and a torch lighter.

In reality, the torch lighter is bought separately and most consumers like to apply their concentrates using a fourth piece of equipment, called a dabber: a small rod that simply keeps things nice and neat and tidy.

If you’re on the lookout for a unique dab rig, our advice would be to browse through those special dab rigs that are sold as complete sets. These rigs usually do come with torches and some even come with the dabber as part of the set too.

For the ecclectic among us, there are the electric dab rigs, glass dab rigs, premium dab rigs, and even micro dab rigs, each set-up with its pros and cons that are best felt and understood through individual experience and exploration. If you settle into the art of dabbing on a long-term basis, there’s no doubt that you’ll gradually build a kit of mix and match items that best meet your needs and personal dabbing tastes.

Beginners should give the standard dab rig starter kit a try. These kits have everything you need to launch on a basic level and they give you the opportunity to be able to add to your kit in the future, as and when you come across new products and new kit styles.

Let’s Dive into Nails

How do you know which type of dab nail works best? While it may seem like it’s not that big of a deal, when you start getting deeper into the experience of dabbing, you’ll realize the importance of the nail and why it makes a difference which type you choose.

The nail is the part of your dabbing kit that is responsible for heating up the concentrate. As such, you need a nail that heats up quickly and has the ability to retain heat for a decent length of time.

So, what are the options?

Glass Nails

Borosilicate glass is the glass that’s used to make bongs and pipes, so it may seem like a pretty good fit for a dabbing nail, but it’s not. While you’ll have no trouble finding a glass nail, because they’re widely available, it wouldn’t be our recommended choice because they don’t tend to last very long, meaning they need to be constantly replaced. Also, while glass heats up pretty fast, it’s not very effective at retaining heat. Cheap, usable, but really not what you need to be investing in by a long shot. So, moving on…

Cermaic Nails

Pretty much the same deal as glass. Ceremic nails retain heat a little longer than glass ones, but they chip easily and are generally not worth the initial investment, no matter how cheap they are. Next!


Quartz is a pretty good option for a dabbing nail. It’s much more durable than ceramic or glass and it’s almost impossible to overheat. However, it’s still not a nail that we would recommend. It’s very poor at retaining heat, which means there’s very little time to actually inhale and concentrate vapor.


Titanium nails are the experienced dabber’s choice. Awesome at heating up, awesome at retaining heat, and virtually indestructible. All good. The only snag is that there’s always a risk of overheating when using a titanium nail, which means you need to have a little experience in the art of dabbing in order to be sure you know how to use it well. An overheated nail can burn the concentrate you’re trying to consume, and that doesn’t make for an enjoyable cannabis experience.


Another market option is the e-nail. These babies are essentially electric nails with a built-in port for a coil and a PID. This PID gauges the temperature of your coil and helps to regulate the heat of your nail at all times. You can even set the temperature of some of them to ensure better control, making this option one of the most convenient and user-friendly options, especially for beginners.

To Dome or Not-To-Dome a Dab Rig?

Some dab rigs are built with domes on the nails and some aren’t, buy why? The purpose of the dome is two-fold. It keeps the vapor neatly locked inside, so that you can consume at the pace you desire without losing any of the product along the way.

Domes are also useful safety features, but, and to put it quite simply, not everyone likes to use them. They can become difficult to manage and slide into placing, causing more hassle than enjoyment for some people, hence the option to have a dome or not. In the end, it’s all about consumer preference and style.

How to Accessorize your Dab

If you choose to invest in a full dab rig kit, you won’t have to shop around to find the other pieces you’ll need. The only trouble is that buying your own dabbers and torches can be really fun.


Metal or glass, big or small, round or flat, dabbers come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, just because it adds to the fun. The only advice here is to buy your dab rig first and then buy the dabber to match. Lean on the staff at the store to guide you in your selection, but also take the time to just select a dabber that you like and that you’re excited about using.


The best kind of torch for a dab rig is a mini torch that runs off of butane. Propane torches are too much trouble. Blow torches are way too powerful. Keep it simple, keep it safe, and choose one in your favorite color… because you can!

Why Buy a Dab Rig?

You don’t officially need a professionally-made dab rig in order to dab, but there are many advantages to having one and, more importantly, owning your own dab rig is just damn right cool. So, what are the main reasons why we think you should invest in a professionally-made rig?


Professionally-made dab rigs have everything you need and you can even choose to buy a small dab rig if you think the size would be better suited to your needs.

Safety First

Homemade rigs might work, but they’re not 100% safe. When dealing with heat and fire and burning concentrates, it really is a much better idea to opt for something that’s been tried and tested.


Dab rigs are often nothing short of works of art. There are so many styles to choose from that they end up becoming a personal style statement as much as a working piece of dabbing equipment. Go for it. Have fun. Make a purchase that you love having in your home.

A Word on Quality

One word of warning… avoid buying a low-quality rig with a poorly designed nail, because you could end up wasting a lot of concentrate because the nail either gets too hot or doesn’t get hot enough. Speak to long-established dabbers and make the kind of purchase that’s really going to improve your dabbing experience, not restrict or reduce it.

How to Clean a Dab Rig

We’re here to show you how to clean your dab rig, but we’re also here to explain why it’s imperative that you keep it clean. It doesn’t matter what type of concentrates you use, or how premium they claim to be, your rig is going to need regular cleaning in order to make sure it lasts as long as possible.

Natural rig decline is to be expected, particularly if you use it every day, but if you take care of your equipment, there’s no reason why it won’t see you through a number of years of truly enjoying dabbing. So….

What to do with the Reburn?

When it comes to reburn, you need to make a decision. Some people gather up the reburn and throw it away. Others recycle what they gather and use it again as a new concentrate. Whatever you do, don’t leave it in the rig, festering away.

Cleaning Equipment

Keeping your rig clean is fairly simple and the only items you’ll need in your cleaning kit are some rubbing alcohol, pipe cleaners, a bowl, and some paper towels. When you need to do some real deep cleaning, you can add a little salt to the mix. So, how to clean, step by step…

  1. Pour the rubbing alcohol into the rig
  2. Leave it soak for at least a few hours or until the reburn and other residue is visible loose and ready to come away. Once this has happened, the alcohol normally turns a darker color.
  3. Pour the alcohol out and repeat if necessary.
  4. Use the pipe cleaners and a little more pure rubbing alcohol to clean the details and hard-to-reach areas of your rig.
  5. Leave the rig to dry completely and speed things up, if necessary, by using dry Q-tips or paper towels.

Interested in Learning More?

If you’d like to give dabbing a try, or if you’re looking for concentrates that could help to take your dabbing experience to the next level, feel free to contact us directly. We can help by outlining our full list of dabbing products and by helping you to choose how to dose correctly.

Remember, that when it comes to dabbing it’s all about personal taste. Finding the perfect rig can take time. Choosing the right products and the right dosage will be about trial and error for a while, but our advice to you is to kick back and enjoy the ride. Exploring is all part of the dabbing fun. We’re here if you need us!

Learn all you need to know about all the different types dab rigs and how to use them in the best way.