Most people have at least a vague idea of what a bong is and how it works, but dab rigs are another story altogether. While dab rigs, like bongs, are a form of water pipe, the design of dab rigs reflect their different usage. The most obvious difference between bongs and dab rigs is size.
Dab rigs are meant for use with cannabis concentrates, from oils to waxes and shatter. People choose dabbing because it delivers much more THC per hit than you can get from smoking dry herb. Dabbing also vaporizes its source material rather than burning it, so you’re inhaling steamy vapor rather than smoke. Getting more cannabinoids with less strain on the lungs is why so many medical patients prefer to dab, and it certainly doesn’t hurt when your aim is to get as high as possible.
Because dabbing is all preserving flavor, dab rigs are smaller than bongs. While the goal of a bong is generally to get the biggest hits possible, dab rigs are designed to minimize the glass surface area and oxygen exposure your vapor receives. The percs in a quality dab rig are also typically larger than in a bong, because larger bubbles preserve flavor better.
When you’re looking for a dab rig, there are a few things to consider.
Style: The most common type of dab rig is the banger hanger. These consist of a bell-shaped chamber with a perpendicular joint where you “hang” the banger. But the more adventurous may be more interested in multi-chambered dab rigs with intriguing body styles, like the Illuminati piece pictured to the right.
Perc: Most basic dab rigs will have a showerhead perc like the New Amsterdam piece up top. Three-hole stem percs are also quite common. Your more complicated dab rigs will often include recyclers, which allow for continuous cycling and diffusion of your smoke and water.
Price Range: Like any product, you can generally get an idea of a dab rig’s quality by its cost. That said, most other online headshops sell their glass at a huge markup. At Smoking Outlet, we sell our pieces as close to cost as possible, so a $100 dab rig on our site is the same quality you’ll find for $200 from our competitors. If you’re looking for a piece that gets the job done and aren’t a stickler for perfection, you’ll be able to find a solid, cheap dab rig in our Under $50 category. Upgrading to the Under $100 category will show you some of our name brand glass along with excellent quality non-branded dab rigs.
Dabbing is worlds different from smoking dry herb. It involves more equipment, and more fire make a great dab happen. Here’s what you’ll need to drum up the perfect dab:
A dab rig
A butane torch
A dab tool (aka “dabber”)
And since you’re playing with fire, you need a clean, clear space to work with. A kitchen or coffee table is often the dab station of choice for dabbing. The steps are relatively simple, but require some adjusting to obtain optimal results.
Prepare Your Dab: You don’t want to have a hot banger and then have to scramble to set up your dab. It’s important to get the correct amount for you in there or you’ll waste your material, so it’s best to dose up your dab before pulling the trigger on the torch. Use your dab tool to section off a piece of material the size of a peppercorn. Depending on the texture of your concentrate, this may be more of a scooping motion or closer to breaking off a piece. Place your dabber and material somewhere you can easily grab it when ready.
Heat Your Banger: Heating is the most crucial part of getting your dab right. The cannabinoids in dabs have boiling points between about 300° to 400°F. This is the sweet spot where the cannabinoids are getting vaporized, and if you go too far over this threshold you’re burning your dabs rather than vaping them.
For those with the standard 4mm quartz banger, the preferred method is to apply heat evenly to the bucket for up to 30 seconds and then let it cool down for several seconds before dropping the dab in. We find that starting with a 30 second warm-up followed by 15 seconds of cool-down is an effective place to start.
Apply Your Dab: Drop your dab into the bucket, or touch the dab tool and concentrate to the inside of the bucket until it melts off. Be careful not to scrape the surface of the bucket, as that can contribute to degradation over time. Put your dab tool down somewhere safe, inhale as much vapor as you feel comfortable with, and that’s it!
Q-Tip Tech: Once your banger has cooled off for about 15 seconds, you can use a Q-Tip to mop up the excess and keep your quartz clean. Learn more detail in our article How to Keep Your Quartz Banger Clean.
Still have questions about how to use your dab rig? Hit us up on chat or email us at [email protected]!