Picture the person you love most. Maybe it’s your partner. Maybe it’s Big Bird from Sesame Street. Or maybe it’s your dog.
They’re great, right? Now imagine them being crushed to death and then incinerated by a flamethrower.
Normally, this would be pretty disturbing. But what if, instead of causing the person to be horrifically maimed and mutilated, it turned them into a smaller, better version of themselves that was very sticky?
This is basically what a dab is: concentrated dry herb. The sap. The marrow. The good-good.
All you need to dab is a rig and a dream. And dabs. And a body.
There were exactly 10 things about 2020 that were not bad, and they were all dab rigs. We've hand selected them here for your delight.
What does a dab rig do?
Like a bong filters smoke by straining it through percolators and water, dab rigs accomplish the exact same process— but with vapor from concentrates. If you’ve ever seen a dab rig, you probably thought it looked like a bong’s little son, Bong Jr.
In fact, theoretically you could use any bong as a dab rig and any dab rig as a bong, simply by swapping out the nail and bowl. That would not be the best idea in the entire world, but it is possible.
Why are smaller rigs better for dabs?
Rigs and bongs are designed to make the most of the respective substances for which they are intended.
With a bong, the more diffusion the better— so you want lots of percs, lots of room for the smoke to circulate, and as much distance as possible between the smoke and your mouth. This is why there’s no such thing as a bong that’s too big or too complex.
With a dab rig you want the opposite. That’s because the vapor from a dab is much more delicate than the smoke from dry herb. You are dealing with a more complex palette of terpenes and flavors that should be preserved to their fullest integrity. You want the dab vapor to be filtered and cool, but you don’t want it to get stale and flat. This is why, despite however much the vapor is filtered, it usually emerges from the water as close as it possibly can to your mouth.
How are dab rigs legal?
This is America. The constitution stipulates that we are innocent until proven guilty. Who says dab rigs are for illicit substances? We never said what a dab is a concentrated form of. We could be talking about sauerkraut.
What is a banger?
A banger for a dab rig is a type of nail. A “nail” is the general term for the dab equivalent of a bowl. A “banger” is a subtype of nail that kind of looks like a little cup. All bangers are nails, but not all nails are bangers.
The biggest differentiating factor between nails is the material out of which they are made.
Titanium - these heat quickly, are extremely durable, and retain heat longer— but can leave dabs with a metallic taste.
Ceramic - these eliminate the metallic taste issue for pure and clean dabs, with the main downside being that they are much more fragile. If you use a ceramic nail, heat it evenly and never to the point of glowing red hot.
Quartz - these provide pristine flavor, but they also take longer to heat, cool off quickly, and are fragile.
How much does a dab rig cost?
Well, my friend, dab rigs cost as much as you want to spend.
You could find a decent rig like this one for as little as $30-40, or you could get this electroformed heady piece for $3,000. Typically, though, a middle of the road dab rig is within the range of $50-100.
What are the different types of dab rigs?
If you see the word “recycler” when researching rigs, get all up in there. A recycler, pictured here, is kind of like the little loop-de-loop waterslide that cracked your head open in 5th grade.
It basically loops the vapor through two separate chambers continuously. The vapor and water moves through the rig in a circle, filtering it infinitely. The second chamber, usually at the bottom of the neck, is positioned such that the bubbles of vapor pop as close to your mouth as possible.
It’s an incredible engineering marvel that deftly strikes a delicate tango between filtering and cooling the vapor, and ensuring the hit doesn’t become stale and flat.
Don’t think that glass is the only option you have for a quality rig. A silicone rig is great because it’s pretty much impervious to impact damage, and it is also malleable. This means it’s great for traveling and storing.
Electronic/electric dab rigs are basically robots that dab for you. All you have to do is load it up and suck it out. One of the biggest advantages of an e-rig is that instead of having to guess how hot you’ve heated your nail, you can simply dial in a specific temperature down to quite literally the nth degree.
How hot should I make my nail?
This is another thing that comes down to both personal preference and practice. As I mentioned, heating a nail manually with a butane torch requires a certain element of guesswork and experience.
High temp dabbing, medium temp dabbing, and low temp dabbing will get you a different dabbing experience, and it really depends on what you’re looking for.
High temp dabbing is done above 400 degrees Fahrenheit. This will maximize the potency of the dab, but you will sacrifice flavor. Low temp dabbing is the inverse— that’s done lower than 300 degrees F, and savors more flavor at the expense of potency.
Medium temp dabbing is a nice middle of the road option, and can be done between, you guessed it, 300-400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Regardless of how hot you want to dab, the temperature control is not done during the heating process. You’ll want to heat your nail the same regardless. The key is in how long you wait between removing the torch and smacking the dab on the nail.
To start out with, heat your nail evenly with the torch until it begins to glow. You don’t want it red hot, especially quartz or ceramic, because then it will explode. Well, it probably won’t explode, but it could break less climactically yet more annoyingly. To check, hold your hand about 3-5 inches above the nail (about the length of your dick) and see if it’s hot.
Let me emphasize the 3-5 inches part. Be very careful with the nail. Never ever touch it with your bare hands, and certainly don’t apply the flame of a butane torch to any human flesh or really any object other than the nail itself.
What is a nectar collector?
A nectar collector, otherwise known as a dab straw, is basically a straw that you sip dabs from. This isn't the type of straw that is going to kill an ardvaark or whatever-- it's usually made out of borosilicate glass with either a titanium or quartz tip.
They're very advantageous because they can feature percolation, water filtration, ornate glass design, and many other features you might find in a rig, but they're extremely compact and literally be held and operated with one hand in a solid fluid motion.
The only thing about nectar collectors is that you have dab off of a surface.
It is absolutely crucial to use a dab mat. These are silicone non-stick heat resistant placemats that make an ideal dabbing surface.
Dabbing is an art form. Dabbing can even be more economical. Dabbing gets you "f'ed up," as the kids say. And above all, dabbing is just fun. We don't live in a very good year for a lot of other things, but we definitely live in the best year so far for dabbing. Especially e-rigs. So take a load off and take a hit.