7 Common Dabbing Mistakes Every Dabber Makes (and how to avoid them)
A dab rig can be a lot to handle. You have to wield a blowtorch and work with concentrates which can vary in consistency.
If you’re having trouble with it, we’ve got your back. Here are the most common dabbing issues, and how to fix them.
Why Is My Dab Rig Not Hitting?
First, let's cover one of the most popular issues dabbers face; your rig just ain't hitting!
The most common reason a dab rig won’t hit is that it’s just a cheap dab rig. Not all dab rigs are created equal, so if you skimped on your rig it might not be usable.
It gives you a lot more control over how you hit your dab rig. It also helps you control the heat of the nail or banger. This means you can take lower-temperature dabs.
Even if your rig is hitting fine without a cap, this accesory makes getting a good dab hit a lot easier.
Speaking of low temperatures, if your rig is straight up not hitting, the nail might not be hot enough.
If you let it cool down for too long, or just don’t heat it up enough to begin with, it can make the hit not happen.
These are the main reason a dab rig won’t hit. That said, there are a number of dabbing mistakes that can impact your dabbing sesh.
7 Common Dabbing Mistakes to Avoid
Just because you can get a hit out of your rig doesn’t mean it’s a good hit. Here are some of the mistakes people make that affect the quality of their dab sessions.
1. Taking Too Big of Hits
This won’t affect your rig’s ability to hit, but this can dab sesh go downhill quickly. Too big of a dab hit can be intensely uncomfortable. If you are new to dab hits, you will want to start slow.
As their name suggests, cannabis concentrates are concentrated. This means things like wax, oil, and shatter have a much higher THC content than bud.
Your standard cannabis flowers are 15-30% THC, depending on the strain and grow quality. Concentrate generally starts at 60% THC, and can get well into the ~90% cannabinoid range.
The vapor is often hotter than the smoke of a bong hit. A lot of newbie dabbers hit the rig the same way they hit their bong. They wind up coughing a lot and way too high.
No shame if this has happened to you. But if you’ve so far avoided this, we recommend taking baby hits off your dab rig until you get used to it.
2. Heating the Nail for Too Long
The nail temperature is the fussiest aspect of dabbing. If you let it cool down too much, you can’t get a hit at all. But if it’s too hot, your hash can combust, which makes it tasteless and less potent.
The optimal temperature for a dab nail or banger is around 160–230°C (315–450°F). Different types of concentrate have different optimal vape temperatures, but they all fall in this range.
The best way to get the perfect temperature is to use an electronic dabbing nail, which gives you precision heating.
That said, most people who like dabbing like using a blowtorch. We get it, blowtorches are fun, even if they lack precision. Finding the ideal temperature using a blowtorch involves some fun trial and error with your setup and varying concentrates.
That said, most rigs take about 30 seconds to get red hot, and then another 40 seconds to reach the ideal temperature.
3. Grabbing the Nail While It’s Still Hot
If you ever make this mistake, it will probably only be once. Still, we gotta warn you: be careful handling your dab equipment. It gets HOT.
This is a super easy mistake to make. You grab the nail or banger just like you would a bong bowl after you’re done hitting it. But bong bowls are usually made of thick glass, and they withstand cooler temperatures.
You can grab most bong bowls immediately after you hit them to clear the chamber. You have to be careful where you hold the banger, and you can’t touch a nail.
When in doubt, ask the rig’s owner to hold it for you. Also, be sure to warn your guests about the heat of the nail.
4. Your Dabbing Technique Is Too Slow
It takes patience to heat the rig properly. That said, once it’s at the right temperature you’ll want to move swiftly.
If you approach the nail too slowly, the heat radiating around the nail can start melting your wax and it can wind up on the floor and not in the nail.
Once the nail or banger is ready, quickly put the whole dab in at a 45-degree angle, and try to inhale all of the vapor at once. Dabbing from a 90-degree angle tends to lead to messes. You have more control over where the wax lands when you dab from 45 degrees.
It’s important not to use too much concentrate when you’re doing a dab. It’s not like a bowl where you can take multiple hits from one bowl. It’s more like a snap where you’re supposed to clear the entire bowl in one hit. It takes some finesse, but practicing is fun.
5. Overloading the Nail or Banger
Even if you are a seasoned dabber, you still might be mindful of how much wax you put on the end of that dab tool. If you use too much concentrate, it can cool the nail too quickly.
The whole way a dabs work is through temperature equalization. The cool wax meats the red hot nail. The wax heats up while the nail cools down. However, the nail’s heat transfer is enough to turn the wax to vapor.
If you use too much wax, the nail can cool down too quickly to vaporize it. In this case, it just melts and hangs out in the rig. It’s called a “dab” for a reason, a little goes a long way.
6. Missing The Nail
This is such a buzzkill moment. You've got everything ready, dab loaded, and next thing you know it’s in your carpet. Ugh!
Concentrates have different consistencies. Some are a bit easier to handle than others.
That said, the easiest way to deal with any kind of concentrate is to get a dab tool set. A good tool set will let you scrape wax, scoop crumble, and pick up shatter.
7. Mishandling Your Dab Rig
Nothing kills a dab sesh faster than dropping and breaking the rig. If you don’t grip the rig properly, you can end up dropping the dab, burning yourself, or even dropping the rig.
Most rigs are designed to be held either at the main chamber or at the base. Some even have handles. You hold the rig with one hand and dab it with the other. When in doubt, watch the rig owner show you how to do it.
Good Dabs Only!
There is a bit of finesse to the art of dabbing. It takes a bit of practice to get a good dab every time.
The upside of that is the practice is quite fun. Dabbing’s a lot like riding a bicycle, once you get the hang of it, it’s super easy.