Key Features of Dab Rigs

…By Khurram Alley for TDPel Media. Dab rigs are designed to heat and inhale cannabis concentrates such as wax, shatter, rosin, and other oils. While these rigs can be intimidating and complex, they are surprisingly easy to use.


They are available in various sizes, materials, designs, attachments, and smoke styles. Below we will discuss key features of traditional dab rigs to help you select the right one for your needs.

1. Material

Using a dab rig for concentrates rather than traditional cannabis can enhance your overall smoking experience for a few reasons. First, dabbing is efficient – your wax will be vaporized in a single hit. Secondly, you get to enjoy the full flavor of your concentrates. Mixing wax and dried cannabis in the same pipe muddies the taste of both. A dedicated dab rig lets you get the most out of your concentrates by keeping them separate from each other.

Traditionally, dab rigs are constructed from high-grade, temperature-resistant borosilicate glass. They feature glass attachments that are used to hold and vaporize the concentrate. 

Glass nail rigs are still the most common option, but it’s also possible to find electronic dab rigs that do all the work for you.

2. Nail

Traditional dab rigs must have a nail to heat the wax or oil concentrate. The nail is usually a glass bucket or “banger,” heated by a butane hand torch. The nail needs to be the right size to vaporize the extract properly. Otherwise, it may be too hot and burn the terpenes. This destroys the flavor and leaves you with a stale, smoky hit.

The nail also needs to have a carb cap. Carb caps are small glass, quartz, or titanium devices that sit over the nail and help improve vaporization by lowering the nail’s temperature. Without the carb cap, you risk blowing through your dab too quickly and exposing the vapor to oxygen, which degrades the terpenes.


Consider your rig’s overall design to ensure the nail is the right size. You want a durable piece made from strong materials like borosilicate glass. Additionally, looking for a rig with water filtration to reduce dry hits would be best. You can also find rigs with percolators that add additional filtration to the dabbing experience.

3. Mouthpiece

A dab rig’s mouthpiece is used to inhale vaporized concentrates. Usually, the mouthpiece is located on the top or bottom of the rig. It’s essential to find a mouthpiece that is comfortable for you to use. Some rigs use glass mouthpieces, while others have metal or silicone ones.

A good mouthpiece will help you enjoy your dab’s best possible flavor. It should also fit snugly over your nail and make inhaling easy. Some people prefer domeless nails, while others prefer to use a dome with their rigs.

Keeping your rig and nail clean is essential to avoid any issues while using your dab rig. Keep a stack of Q-tips on hand with 99% isopropyl alcohol, and dip one after each session to remove any residue from your banger nail and rig. Investing in a dabber is also a good idea, an essential tool for handling your dabs. These tools resemble small shovels or are reminiscent of woodcarving or dentistry tools. They allow you to transfer and “serve” a dab from your dab rig to the nail without burning your fingers or wasting precious concentrates.

4. Torch

A specialized torch, commonly used for cooking, is a vital component of the dab rig. It is used to heat the nail to the proper temperature. This is necessary because traditional nails are usually made of glass, which breaks easily and requires frequent replacements. Other materials, such as ceramic, may hold heat better, but they could be better for dabbing.

A good dab torch will have a sturdy handle, a sturdy base, an angled nozzle for the flame, and a trigger or button to turn it on. It should also be easy to refill and maintain. Some torches have special heat guards for your hands, but this is more common in repurposed cook-style torches than purpose-made butane torches for dabbing.

A dabber tool is also needed to safely place your waxes or oils on the heated nail and inhale the vapor. The dab tool also helps to avoid burning yourself with the torch’s flame, which can be dangerous. A non-flammable material, such as silicone, is recommended for the dab tool.

5. Safety

As with any device that uses a torch, there is always the potential to burn yourself. This is especially true for rigs with domeless nails or dab atomizers that expose the heating element. Consider investing in a dab rig with a honey pot-style nail to minimize this risk. This allows you to heat the nail in a smaller pot that is moved aside to prevent contact with the heating element.


The best dab rigs are made with strong materials, including borosilicate glass, and crafted to withstand the intense heat necessary to transform concentrate into vapor. 

Some dab rigs have additional features to enhance your experience, such as a dab timer or thermometer. These devices allow you to accurately measure the temperature of your banger and take your dabs at their ideal state for maximum flavor and efficiency. Another popular option is a recycler dab rig, which has a unique design and offers an even smoother hit than other types of rigs.Key Features of Dab Rigs 

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