The Art of the Dab

By, Natasha Rose (Budtender)

As cannabis users gravitate towards concentrates, they are opting out of their pipes, bongs, and papers and are instead reaching for dab rigs and concentrate attachments for pens. Social media is filled with videos and photos of seasoned users, but for someone who is just teetering on the edge of using concentrates, the new accessory set up can be intimidating. Let’s take a closer look at the methods available to help make you more comfortable with the switch over.

Dab rigs work in the same fashion as bubblers and bongs. They have a water chamber, downstem, and mouth piece, but in lieu of a bowl for flower a domed or domeless nail sits in its place. If you are using a rig, you will also need a dab tool and a torch. To get started, add water to the rig and set yourself up a dab of concentrate on your tool. You will then torch the nail until it turns red, at which point you want to give it a little time to cool before you take your hit. If the nail is too hot to hold the back of your hand about a half inch above it, it’s still too hot for the dab. If it’s a glass or quartz nail, you can generally count down from ten after you stop torching. When your nail is heated, use the tool to drop the concentrate on it, avoiding the center hole if it is domeless.

Domed nails use the glass globe as a wind shield and to help keep the heat, and therefore the smoke, contained.

Domeless nails have a moat of sorts where the concentrate goes. The opening in the center is for airflow. These nails are often used with carb caps. These help maintain the heat so you get more out of each dab.


Bangers are alternatives to nails. They are bucket shaped attachments where you drop the concentrate. These are often also used with carb caps.

Electric nails and rigs are also available. These offer a controlled temperature, allowing consumers to take low temp dabs or much larger dabs with the continuous heat. Electric rigs are battery operated with multiple temperature settings, while electric nails are connected by wires to mods that control the temperature.

Pen attachments are also available for a more discrete intake of concentrate. The heating element will either be exposed coils or a flat heating base. These are usually made to fit on any 510 threading battery. These definitely force you to take smaller dabs, as you can only fit so much concentrate on the small heating mechanism without it bubbling over and making a resin mess. There are also mod type pens that hold a lot more power, allowing larger hits.

When choosing what kind of nail you want to use, keep in mind that titanium takes longer to heat and also retains heat longer. Ceramic heats quickly and is good for getting a fuller flavor out of your dabs. Quartz heats and cools quickly and is sturdy enough to withstand quick temperature changes without cracking. Glass also heats and cools quickly, but is the most delicate option as it can crack easily with heat changes.

 Domed vs. Domeless nail

Domed vs. Domeless nail