Beginner’s Guide to Dab Rigs

Dab rigs have become quite popular in recent years but if they are new to you or if you have never used one, they may initially seem a bit complicated or even overwhelming. Many users prefer them, however, feeling that by using concentrates, they get a greater high while using less product. Others might choose them because they are healthier than smoking.

Whatever your reason for choosing a dab rig, you will want to have a good grasp on how they are used.

dab rigs

What is Dabbing?

Dab rigs are for use with dabbing, so let’s begin with that. Dabbing is the act of vaporizing cannabis concentrates for consumption. The concentrates themselves are referred to as “dabs.” Made by extracting cannabinoids and other compounds from the cannabis flower, dabs are a highly potent oil. They can also be known by several other names such as rosin, sauce, wax, and shatter, with different types categorized according to the method of extraction and the consistency.

What is a Dab Rig?

Sometimes called oil rigs, or wax rigs, dab rigs are a type of water pipe that use a dab nail in place of a bowl slide. Like any water pipe, they use water and bubbles to diffuse, filtrate, and cool vapor for consumption. They come in different materials with a variety of percolators, filtration devices, and more.

Dabs typically use one or two small percolators and one water chamber. They also normally have a narrow, angled mouthpiece, making it easier to use at a table or other stationary position.


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Using a Dab Rig

Because of the number of parts and techniques used with a dab rig, it can seem more complicated than it really is. With a bit of practice, you’ll have no problems using it.

Your fully functional dab rig will include:

  • Concentrates 
  • The dab rig 
  • Quartz banger or another dab nail
  • Carb cap
  • Dab tool
  • Butane torch

You may also find it useful to have a timer or stopwatch, but they are not strictly necessary. The steps to using your dab rig are as follows:

  • Fill the rig to the water line. Once done, slide your banger into the rig.
  • Apply heat evenly to the surface of the dab nail using the butane torch. Bring it to your desired temperature. If you are using a stopwatch, you can heat the nail up until it’s red hot, then allow it to cool for about 45 or 50 seconds. Alternatively, you can use a laser thermometer or terpometer to help you find the right temperature before taking your dab.
  • Once you’ve got the right dab temperature, drop your concentrates onto the hot nail using a dab tool and quickly cap it with your carb cap. 
  • Spin the carb cap on top of the nail. This will help distribute your concentrates evenly and allow for even heating.
  • Inhale from the mouthpiece, pulling the vapor into your lungs until the concentrate is completely vaporized.
  • Let the nail cool down. Once it has cooled, use a little isopropyl alcohol with a cotton swab to clean it. It is now ready for the next time.
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How to Choose a Dab Rig

If you are planning to buy a dab rig, there are a few things to consider that can help you make the best possible choice, including:

  • Mouthpiece. You’ll want to look for one with a small, narrow mouthpiece. Your best bet is a dab rig that uses an angled mouthpiece, which is more comfortable to use when sitting at a table.
  • Material. Typically, dab rigs are made of glass or silicone. Of the two, glass is preferable since silicone can alter the flavor of your dabs.
  • Joint Size. The best size for a dab rig is 10mm, small enough that it won’t allow oxygen permeation. More importantly, however, you need to make sure that the joint on your nail is the same size as the one on your dab rig. Keep in mind that if you are using a female nail, you want a male rig and vice versa.
  • Percolators. Keep it simple. All you really need is one chamber and at most two percolators. The more volume that the vapor travels through before hitting your lungs, the more potency and flavour you are losing.
  • Size. As mentioned above, the more distance the vapor must travel, the more flavour and potency you are going to lose. Because of this, you will want to stick to a smaller dab rig.

Using a dab rig may seem a bit odd at first, but it’s worth it to get greater potency while being safer than smoking.