Skip to content
Dab Tools: A Beginners Guide

Dab Tools: A Beginners Guide

So you've picked out your first dab rig, and now you've heard that it's a good idea to use this thing called a dab tool to pick up and hold your wax while you apply it to the hot nail.

Well, you've heard right! Dab tools are an important piece of equipment you'll soon become good friends with after you've read this article.

Below, we'll catch you up to speed on what exactly a dab tool is, does, how it's used, and how to decide which type is best for you.

Let's dig in.

What Is a Dab Tool?

To put it simply, a dab tool is a stick that you use to apply dabs to a heated nail. Helping you handle wax is what they are all about. That is their entire purpose.

Of course, there’s a bit more to it than that. Always is.

dab tool with concentrate

Dab tools can be made of different materials, all with their own pros and cons. And they have a variety of different types of tips.

Let’s talk about the various kinds.

Types of Dab Tools

Two ways you can sort wands are by what they are made of and how they are designed.

Materials can be metallic, quartz, ceramic, and glass. Each has pros and cons.

Titanium or Stainless-Steel

These pieces have the best durability. These metals are medical grade. That means they tend to be tough and lightweight.

The downside is that metals can leave a gnarly aftertaste.


Quartz dab tools are also a solid choice. It heats well and doesn’t add any metallic taste.

But quartz loses heat fast. That may sound like more of a nail issue, but some heat transfers to the tool when used. You want all the wax to come off the dabber as it touches the nail.


Just like quartz, ceramic is favorable for pretty good flavor. It also holds heat better than quartz.

Some wax tokers seem to prefer the taste quartz wands offer. You may want to try both and see what you think for yourself.


Glass dab tools allows for easy styling for prettier pieces. Some people care about how their dab collection looks as well as how good it hits.

The flavor doesn’t seem to be an issue for glass dabbing sticks, unlike with metals.

The biggest downside is that glass breaks really easily, so you have to be very careful not to drop the tool. It’d be a bummer to have it break in the middle of a sweet sesh!

Different Dab Tool Designs

types of dab tools

Once you’ve chosen the material you want, now you have to consider the design of your piece.

Again, you have options. It’s always nice to have choices.

Paddle Tips

A paddle tip is one of the most useful. Like a spoon, it can hold waxes easily whether they are solid like shatter or runnier like oil.


Scoops are similar to paddles, but with an oval shape. They, too, work well with solid and liquid dabs.

Pick Tip

A pick tip works nicely with solid and sticky waxes, but not so much with oils.

Carb Caps

Carb caps are incredibly useful, and come in many different types. These are designed to increase airflow as you dab. They are placed over the nail after the dab wax is placed.

Caps can come with a spike atop that is the dab wand itself. Or the cap is the bottom of the wand. Whichever way you want to think about it.

Silicone Suction Tips

Silicone suction tips are good for sucking up oily and sticky waxes. Kind of like a syringe.

There are some dab tools that come with removable heads that can be swapped out so that you can mix and match tip types.

And there are double-ended tools so that you can have different tips on the same wand.

Industry wizards are always innovating, so staying up to date is pretty important.

Okay, then, you have considered material and design and selected your dabbing stick. So, now what do you do with it?

How Do You Use a Dab Tool?

If you have everything you need to dab, then it’s time to get right to it.

First, get your wax dish and put whatever you’re dabbing in it. Some dispensary containers work just fine for this.

Assemble your rig, nail, and all.

Now is when your dab tool comes into play. Use it to scoop or pick a small amount of the good stuff. If you haven’t banged before, don’t overdo it. Dabs are hella strong so take it slow.

using a dab tool

Then you heat the nail with your trusty torch.

After that is when you place the sticky icky on the melty-hot nail.

If your tool has a carb cap on one end, place it over the nail now.

Inhale slowly through the mouthpiece. Enjoy the taste, the aroma, the rush!

Of course, you can repeat as necessary. Or keep going at least until the wax runs out. Make sure to use a dab tool holder for easy cleanup.

It’s best to wait a while before taking another hit, especially if you haven’t dabbed before. The oil is very concentrated, so it could be pretty mind-blowing.

As you hit more often, you do build up a tolerance. So, eventually, you can increase the frequency of hits if you want.

Just remember that if you do it a lot, you will use your supply faster.

How to Choose the Best Dab Tool

Experience helps. If you don’t have that, read and learn. That is why you’re here. :)

Knowing the waxes that you’ll be dealing with can help you decide which dab tool is the best fit for the job.

This is where the different tips come into play.

  • Wax is a generic term for the various forms of concentrate. Any tip but a suction tip works fine with waxes.
  • Shatter is hard and glassy. It breaks easily into manageable bits. Scoops, paddles, and even picks can be used to place shatter on your heated nail.
  • Crumble is kind of flaky. It makes its own pieces. Again, picking some up works well with scoops, paddles, or picks.
  • Oil is runny. Thus, paddles or scoops don’t work as well here. And you’re not going to get much on a pick end either. This is where the syringe is better.
  • Rosin is a tougher call. This concentrate can vary from a thick oil to a sticky shatter. It’s a call you may have to make once you’ve opened the dispensary container.

Probably, you’re going to dab various kinds of concentrates. So, you may need different kinds of tools or tips, or even a dab tool set like this one.

Our Recommended Dab Tool

Gold Digger wand by Skillet Tools

Badass Glass offers a nice example of exactly the kind of tool described above.

The Gold Digger wand by Skillet Tools has a pointed spatula tip on one end and a long shovel tip on the other. That gives you plenty of possibilities.

The scoop end works with just about any kind of wax. It’s got a long enough troth to even accommodate an oil. Though obviously, you’d have to take care not to dump it out until you got it over to the nail.

The spatula end can work as both a pick and a paddle. So that works for crumble, shatter, or any kind of soft or hard wax.

The golden wand has a nice grip on the handle. That comes in handy when handling the stickier stuff. You want to have good control as you roll it onto the nail.

It’s six inches long with a comfortable weight. It’s big enough to be able to hold easily. Light enough to maneuver with your fingers.

The shiny gold skin makes it look like an expensive piece, but it’s not.

It’s sleek and classy. And it’s just plain versatile.

It would make a fine addition to any banger collection. Whether you’re an old pro or a noob starting out, consider it.

A Final Few Words on Dab Tools

A well-put-together dab collection is a wonderful thing! Even if you’re a rookie banger, you can put together a sweet setup. You just need to know what you need and what to do with it.

If you have a rig, a good torch, and a decent tab tool then you have the basics. Now all you need is wax.

dab tool wax

Once you have some supply, then an important part of any dab enthusiast’s arsenal is a reliable dab tool.

And you now know a lot more about what a wand does. You have learned that there are different tips that work well with specific waxes. You get that the materials they are made from can matter, too.

For those building their rig gearbox, there is The Gold Digger wand by Skillet Tools. Think about that when putting together your collection. It’s a versatile piece that will serve any concentrate connoisseur well!

You have the wisdom that you sought. Now, all you gotta do is get busy banging!

Previous article How Often Should You Change Bong Water? (you'd be surprised)