How to Use a Dab Rig (Step by Step Guide + Photos)
Raise your hand if you've never used a dab rig before. Perfect, we will go over exactly how to use a dab rig for the best tasting rips.
What Do I Need to Start Dabbing?
It’s important to understand a few of the words you will see when searching for a dab rig, so we’ve explained what the different parts and terminology mean.
A Dab Rig – A pipe that you use to consume dab. These vary hugely in price and design.
The Nail – The nail refers to the heating element. It’s usually made of quartz, ceramic or other material that can withstand large amounts of heat. You might also hear people refer to these as “bangers”. Buy a complete rig and you will get a nail included. An alternative to the nail is an electronic nail, which heats without any butane. They cost a little extra but can be a more eco-friendly way of doing things.
The Dabber – This will look like a little tool you might see in a workshop. It helps you to move the dab around from its container onto the nail. You don’t want to do this with your fingers or you’ll burn yourself.
Blowtorch – If you don’t have an electronic nail then you need some sort of torch to heat up the mechanism. A lighter or match won’t give off enough heat or burn long enough to hit the temperature needed to release all that vapor.
A Carb Cap – This covers the dab and seals in the vapor before you release it to inhale.
The Dab Itself – A dab is one dose of concentrate. It’s usually pretty tiny. This will vary in look and feel based on what kind of concentrate you use.
Q-Tips – You probably know what a Q-Tip is and you will have used them before. They’re used for cleanup.
How To Take a Dab - Step by Step
There are some basic variations in terms of the rig you have, but the main principles of dabbing are the same. It’s a relatively simple process. Here's the step by step breakdown of how to use a dab rig.
- Secure the nail
The nail is where the hazard lies in a dab rig so you need to secure it properly to the rig. If you don’t it’s easy to hurt yourself. A burned finger is sure to ruin your experience with a dab rig. Remember that you’re dealing with high temperatures.
- Heat the nail to temperature
It’s now time to heat up the nail. This can be done by using a small blowtorch, depending on how your dab rig works. If you have an electronic nail then this won’t be required. Some dab rigs will go red when they heat up. It can take 30 seconds or so to get to the sort of temperature you need.
- Let the nail temperature drop
It’s then time to let the nail cool down a bit. Do this for two times the length of time you heated the nail up for in the first place. For a 30 second heat, you need to let it cool for a full minute. Remember that nails are designed to keep the heat within so they’ll still be really hot.
- Apply the concentrate
This is the ‘dab’ itself. Use your dabber to get the concentrate in whatever form and then move it inside the dome, onto the nail and start inhaling. The dab will turn to vapor quickly, but make sure you’re moving it around to evaporate all of the oil or other concentrate.
- Cover it up
It’s time to use the carb cab to cover up the vapor. Make sure you take it slow, especially if you’re new to dabbing. If your temperature is particularly high then it might irritate your lungs or make you cough. Cool it down before going again.
It’s time to enjoy your dab, you might start to feel the effects in seconds. Remember not to go too hard if you are an absolute beginner.
- Clean up
The nail needs to be cleaned regularly. This is where your Q-tip comes in. Any residue left around the nail can be removed with the Q-tip to keep it clean and safe to use again next time.
If you’re missing any of the items listed above, we stock everything you need to start dabbing here at BadassGlass. From dab rigs to dabbing tools, we have a huge selection with something for everyone.
Tips For a Better Dab
When you're first learning to dab, heating your nail might be tricky because it requires either a torch or an e-nail. Although e-nails are more expensive initially, some people think it's worth the investment because they eliminate the hassle of using a torch and butane.
Whether you decide to use a torch or an e-nail, heating the nail is the trickiest part. The temperature of the nail should be high enough to vaporize the concentrate, but not so high that it burns the concentrate. It will take some experimentation to learn when a nail is at the perfect temperature.
You can experiment by torching your nail red hot and waiting 30 seconds or so to take a dab. Do this until you know when a nail has reached its sweet spot without needing to make it red hot first.
Most experienced users agree that you should start with low-temp dabs. Low-temp dabs occur between 350 - 500°F. If you’re having trouble vaporizing all your concentrate or are left with puddles at the end of a dab, try using a carb cap.
Congratulations! If you can follow these few simple steps, you will have officially taken your first dab. Like all worthwhile ventures, dabbing takes some time to perfect. It might take some practice, but it will be worth it when you get a clean, milky hit.