A dab rig is a pipe specifically designed for vaporizing cannabis concentrate. You may also hear the terms oil rig, vapor rig, or concentrate when referring to a dab rig. Similar to the way a bong functions, dab rigs filter the concentrate vapor through water at its base, making for a cleaner, smoother hit which may be a better method for the more sensitive aficionados looking for an alternative to joints and pipes.
As technology evolves, so does the way we smoke. The invention of the electric dab rig changed the game. With non-electric dab rigs, a blow torch is a must have in order to vaporize the concentrate. Now, you can completely forget about your blow torch. With modern advancements, electric dabbers use electricity and heating coils to heat the nail to the perfect temperature every time. At the push of a button, you have a smooth, effortless smoke sesh and a quick hitting high.
Glass piece – This part is essentially your standard bong with a couple chambers and water for the vapor to travel through in order to filter, cool, and clean the vapor before being inhaled. You can use just about any bong as a dab rig if you have a compatible sized nail.
Nail – Also known as a banger, the nail is where all of the action happens. This is the part of the rig that is heated by the electric heat source and is responsible for the vaporization of your concentrates. Both regular dab rigs and electric dab rigs have nails that are made of glass, ceramic, quartz, or titanium. With electric dab rigs, you can forget about manually heating your nail with a torch. Just charge it up, push a button, and you’re good to go.
Dab tools – These are must-have accessories for the dab rig that aid in loading and vaporizing your concentrate. They are small pieces of metal that allow you to manipulate your concentrate so that it makes contact with the heated nail. Without it, you’ll find yourself in a sticky situation.
Domes – Some nails come with a globe-shaped piece called a dome that fits over the nail of your dab rig. Its purpose is to prevent heat loss, allowing your product to continue burning at just the right temperature for seamless consumption. However, domes are not required. Some oil rig owners find that the heat conservation is not worth the bother of caring for the extra piece and find that they are too limited on the amount of concentrate they can fit in the bowl; you decide what works best for you.
How to Use an Electric Dab Rig
- Prepare all of the tools that you will be using, place them on a sturdy surface that isn’t flammable so you can prevent any mishaps. This should include the rig itself with the nail, dab tools, and your dome – if you’re into that, of course.
- Fill your dab rig with water to the appropriate level.
- Set the temperature to your preferred heat for dabbing. This should be between 500 and 700° F.
- High temperature dabbing is not recommended since certain concentrates are formulated with ingredients that can degrade and produce toxins that are dangerous to inhale.
- Once your dab rig has reached your ideal temperature, grab your dab tools, place your dome over the nail, and begin pulling through the mouthpiece and applying the concentrate to the heated banger. All that is left to do is inhale, and enjoy the high.
Pros and Con
- You no longer need a lighter on hand at all times. At the press of a button your banger is heated.
- There is no guesswork in heating your banger. Electric dab rigs can heat the nail to the exact right temperature everytime. This way, you can make sure that you are vaporizing your concentrate rather than burning it and inhaling nasty toxins.
- Electric dab rigs are safer than your manual dab rig since there is no need to use a torch which can cause serious burns or even start a fire. There are very minimal chances of getting burned when using an electric dab rig.
- It is more portable than other regular dab rigs since you only need to tote the rig itself and the small, metal dab tools rather than lugging a bulky torch in addition to your manual rig.
- The biggest drawback of electric dab rigs is that if you forget to charge it, you won’t be able to use it which is a huge bummer. When looking for one, it is wise to invest in a rig that has a higher battery capacity, that way you won’t have to deal with it dying at inopportune times. The bigger battery capacities can typically allow for up to 30 dabs on a single charge with a charge time of 2 hours.
- Electric dab rigs tend to be more costly than regular dab rigs, though you are paying for convenience and more tech. Prices range from $150 to $380 with most hovering around $250. If you are looking to save a bit, there are some great options below $100 that won’t break the bank.
Electric Dab Rigs v. Regular Dab Rigs
- Regular dab rigs – After a bit of practice, beginners will be able to consistently create delectable tasting dabs, though it does take some time to perfect.
- Electric dab rigs – It’s super easy to create good tasting dabs on the first try, but some find that the flavor of electric dabs cannot compete with the quality of a regular dab. It is up to you to decide what you value more and how much time you want to put into perfecting your dab practices.
- Regular dab rigs – Regardless of how clean a regular dab rig is, it can always produce a large plume with little effort.
- Electric dab rigs – Earlier technology limited the ability of electric dab rig users to create impressive plumes. With modern advancements, there should be no problem creating large, thick clouds as long as you are regularly cleaning and maintaining your rig. Take good care of it and you shouldn’t run into any issues.
- Regular dab rigs – Since you must manually heat up the nail, it takes more time and you’re at an increased risk of burning yourself and your concentrate.
- Electric dab rigs – Heating and cooling cycles are automatically programmed for electric dab rigs, so you need not be concerned with burning your product. The most common temperature settings are 450°, 500°, 550°, and 600° to accommodate any heat preference. In addition, they only take 20 – 25 seconds to heat up and can stay heated longer than regular nails for extended smoke sessions.
How to Clean Your Electric Dab Rig
It is very important to keep your dab rig clean to ensure that it is performing optimally, giving you thick clouds and good flavor. Dirty dab rigs will taint the flavor of your concentrate, altering the intended experience as well as inhibit its ability to produce the biggest clouds of vapor. Here are some ways that you can keep your electric dab rig spick and span.
Cleaning the nail
- When your nail is hot, you can take a Q-tip and swab the nail to clean off any remaining concentrate. If the residue is thick and the Q-tip is not doing the trick, you can let the nail cool down and use a scraping tool to remove it.
- Another method that will leave your nail looking brand new is unscrewing the top of the nail and using sandpaper to scrub away the residue while running it under water.
- If you are working with a ceramic or quartz nail, you can place it in a Ziplock bag filled with a mixture of rubbing alcohol and salt. Simply shake the bag and leave it to soak overnight and see the residue fall right off.
Cleaning the body
- Allow for the rig to cool down, then remove the nail. Drain the water from the rig and rinse it with warm water to loosen some of the residue. Simply add rubbing alcohol and salt, plug the stem, and shake vigorously for a few minutes.
- For more stubborn residue, allow the alcohol and salt mixture to sit overnight and use a Q-tip or straw cleaner to clean out anything that remains. Then, rinse thoroughly with water to remove the alcohol flavor.
They’re way more expensive than a regular glass dab rig, is it worth it?
Yes, electric dab rigs are notably more expensive than a regular dab rig. There are a few things to think about when considering whether or not an electric dab rig is worth it to you. If you enjoy longer smoke sessions and don’t want to keep reheating your nail, if you don’t want to deal with a torch, or if you consider yourself a true canna-sseur looking for a cool new piece to add to your collection, an electric dab rig may be a worthwhile investment.
Should I get an electric dab rig or a regular one?
It totally depends on your personal preference. Refer to “Electric Dab Rigs vs. Regular Dab Rigs” so you can make an educated choice on what is best for your habits.
Is it easy to clean?
There are multiple methods that you can use to keep your dab rig clean. It does require a bit of effort and a few materials but it is not any more difficult than cleaning your average glass bong. Check out “How to Clean Your Electric Dab Rig” for tips and tricks to keep it tasting and looking great.
How is it powered?
Electric dab rigs are most often rechargeable. In order to use it, it must be charged. When exploring your options, check out the battery life to ensure you’re purchasing a rig that suits your habits best.
How many uses will I get per charge?
The uses per charge ranges from rig to rig as it is completely dependent on the battery life. On the high end, you can get about 30 dabs on a single charge, but keep in mind that this varies.
I’m worried about the materials the vapor travels through; is it safe to smoke from an electric dab rig?
This is a totally valid concern. No one wants to inhale toxic materials or metals from their rig. The vapor path in electric dab rigs is completely separate from the electronic equipment, even though it produces no vapor or residue. The material that makes up the vapor path is non-toxic borosilicate glass so you can rest easy knowing you will only be inhaling the good stuff.