Dab Rigs

Dab Rigs

First of all, what’s a dab? Put simply, a dab is simple oil (or concentrate) excreted by herb or flower, and it often comes in an oil, wax, or “shatter” material. Waxes and shatters are merely the solid form of the oil. We know that so many of these things mean the same thing, just bear with us. 

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You can enjoy dabs with a dab rig the same way you enjoy dry herb with water pipes. The process differs only slightly. Instead of a bowl, you work with a dab nail. 

A “nail” as it is called, is a bowl like attachment, often made of quartz, ceramic, or titanium that functions as an oven of sorts for your concentrate. It is heated to an extremely high temperature for about 45 seconds, given another 45 seconds to cool down, and then you place your concentrate in the nail. 

From there, you inhale at the mouthpiece of your rig, and enjoy the cooled down vapor as usual.

Types of Glass Dab Rigs

Direct Hit/Classic

This is a simple enough design that does not require too much fanfare - it looks similar to a dry herb bowl, and facilitates the draw of smoke through the downstem column into the water. 


This design has a clef at its front, helping vapor remain inside the rig, not requiring a dome cap to keep it all in. 


This one will require a “dome” or a cap since vapors can escape this one easily, but this version is by far the most affordable. 

Electric Dab Rig (Erig)

While we will cover these in their own collection, electric dab rigs are virtually the exact same thing we are speaking here, they simply do not require a torch to heat your wax concentrates, utilizing a battery instead. 

The Benefits of a Dab Rigs

Because these rigs work with such concentrated, purified materials, the intensity during the inhalation process is much more potent than just using dry herbs. People find that dab rigs are simply more effective in acquiring the benefits and experiences that people are so fond of. 

Pros and Cons of Dab Rigs

More Potent hits Might be too much for new users
Fewer hits needed Hard to Store
Water cooling A full kit can be large and unwieldy 
No need to worry about batteries More skill is needed to get good results
Easy to clean

Choosing a Dab Rig For Yourself: Some Tips

You will notice the words “male/female joint” when browsing dab rigs. This merely refers to the attachment compatibility between the bong hardware and the nail hardware. A female joint on a bong means that a “male” nail would be “inserted” into the female attachment, where a male attachment on a big would mean a “female” nail would be fastened onto the attachment.

Also, nails are not always included, so you may need to do some shopping for these as well. Your bong will always give you measurements for any nail attachment, so make sure these are compatible with each other, in addition to making the “genders” are compatible as well.

You may notice the variations in size between classic dry herb bongs and dab rigs. Dab rigs tend to always lean towards the smaller side of things, while traditional bongs run the gamut in terms of size and style.

The reason dab rigs tend to be smaller is because the appeal of dab smoke is that it is so concentrated and intense, and it is meant to go straight into your lungs as soon as it is heated, with not as much resistance if there is a large surface area to travel through. 

We recommend sticking to smaller dab rigs for the best effect. They are also easier to clean. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Dab Rigs

How Often Should I Clean My Dab Rig?

Since you are dealing with wax concentrates, the buildup issue is not as much of a problem. However, you are still dealing with water, steam, the elements, and condensation. If you are a daily user, you will want to clean out your bong perhaps a couple of times a month. 

Do not skimp on cleaning, as sometimes minor problems can become big ones, and this can interfere with your session, giving you mediocre or foul flavor, and lower quality hits due to poor air pathways and the like. 

What is a Recycler Rig?

A recycler rig is a type of dab rig that has gained popularity with seasoned users. The benefit of this rig is that it keeps airflow and water circulating in a whirlpool type effect that cycles air, giving you the freshest hit.

There are 2 chambers in a recycler, the intake and the drain. The first chamber is where the smoke hits the percolator, dispersing the vapor bubbles into the water, and the second chamber spins the water into a tornado or whirlpool formation.

The result of this is a continual cycle of fresh vapor, with no risk of splashback, giving you hits that are even better than your typical dab rig.

What is the Benefit of a Quartz Nail? 

Titanium nails are just as useful and reliable as quartz nails, do not get us wrong. However, titanium is a metallic compound, and many users report tasting metallic flavor from their vapor when using a quartz nail. This is especially true if it has not been cleaned properly, but it can happen even on a clean nail.

Quartz always give you terrific flavor no matter what, as long as you keep it clean of course. Both are valuable in their way, and we are not telling you to choose - but if flavor is important, we urge you to go with quartz.

Who Are Dab Rigs For?

Ultimately, dab rigs are for experienced herb fans who know that they can handle the more potent hits delivered by concentrates. On top of this, they are for those who prefer a more old-school experience over the streamlined concentrate vapes. 

While a bubbler may not be quite as attractive as a full-sized bong, they still have a certain charm and should be kept in ship shape. If you don’t mind a little extra maintenance, then a dab rig is for you.