The Smoker's Essential Dab Tools
As a smoker, there are many tools out there designed to help you enjoy your favorite botanicals. However, one of the most important items is the dab rig, made for smoking concentrates and oils.
Getting all the right dab tools can be difficult if you don't know what to look for. In this blog post, you’ll learn about the most essential dab tools for smokers and how to select the best dab rigs for an enjoyable experience every time.
The term "rig" refers to an alternative water pipe. Think of it as a modified version of the typical water pipe, where the nail heats up with a torch rather than a flower placed in it. This is because the extract is vaporized after it's added onto the hot nails. In every other way, it functions like a normal water pipe you'd use for smoking tobacco.
Determining the size of your rig is crucial, as it greatly impacts the way you consume. Larger rigs are perfect if you’re looking for a smoother pull, while smaller ones lead to more intense hits with greater flavor. Ultimately, all that matters is what you like best — so explore our lineup to find one that suits your needs.
Nails and Bangers
Banger, nail, bucket, and bowl are all interchangeable terms that refer to attachments that heat up to vaporize your extract. There are many variations in shape, function, and material.
These attachments come in different sizes: 10mm, 14mm, or 18mm. Male and female connections are available to fit your water pipe if you buy them separately. The materials can differ, too: some are made of titanium or glass, while others might be ceramic. We use premium fully-fused quartz for our nails, and you get one nail included with your dab rig.
The debate over fused quartz glass or titanium for dabbing rigs largely hinges on personal preference. However, quartz is generally agreed upon as being easier to clean and offering a more pleasant flavor for smokers.
1) Domeless Nails
Similar to e-nails, domeless nails don’t need a dome. Instead, they feature a larger dish and an opening in the center for vapor to travel into the rig cavity.
Domeless nails have enough surface area to take a larger dab, and they’re easier to work than sliding a dome over a heated nail. Still, some concentrate users prefer domed nails for consistency with the traditional torch-and-dome setup.
2) Titanium Nails
Titanium nails boast the most durability, strength, and consistent heat transfer, which, at first glance, makes it a viable dab nail for smokers. However, titanium has low heat retention — this means it heats up more quickly than quartz but it also cools down more quickly.
Additionally, you should know that not all titanium nails are suitable for medical- or food-grade use. This means there is always the possibility that the nail could leach harmful contaminants at high temperatures. So if you choose to go with a titanium accessory, make sure that you’re working with medical-grade titanium.
3) Ceramic Nails
The biggest downside with ceramic nails is that they tend to crack or break more often because the material is so fragile. However, with medical- and food-grade ceramics, you can be confident there are no toxic substances in your vapor.
4) Quartz Nails
When it comes to dabbing, quartz nails are the best choice. They heat up quickly, and help you retain a consistent heat throughout your session. Be sure to use a carb cap when using a quartz nail, which helps direct airflow for a smooth, flavorful hit.
Percolators are an essential tool for all dab rig enthusiasts because they elevate the performance of your water pipe by creating tons of bubbling action that leads to water filtration. They also make your session more flavorful and smooth, which is why we recommend them as a must-have feature in your dab rig.
There are many different styles of percolators, but the most common in a water pipe is typically the one found at the base. The bubbling action from these components leads to improved water filtration when you dab through it.
- Disk percs refer to any sort of disk-shaped percolator with a network of openings designed to create bubbles. Given their relatively compact shape and size, it's easy to customize your piece by stacking multiple disk percs together.
- Tree percs offer a number of arms, each with a series of small holes. These many arms create lots of bubbles, which translates into tons of filtration.
- Honeycomb percs, which feature holes cut in the same structure as a honeycomb, tend to produce more bubbles than standard disk percolators.
- Inline or stemline percolators work the same way that downstem percolators do, but lie horizontally across the water chamber. This means that all holes in the perc are at the same level in the water, rather than sitting at varying heights.
- Helix designs are percs that twist, wrap, or spiral around each other inside the water chamber.
Percolators also add a lot of flavor to the way you experience your dabs. So, whether you prefer stronger or smoother hits, percolators are an essential accessory for any water pipe dab rig.
MJA’s mini dab rigs feature disk-style and honeycomb-style percolators because they’re more durable while still creating tons of bubbling action. Helix and tree percolators have an attractive look, but they’re a pain to clean and they’re much more delicate—not to mention tree arms have fewer slots for bubbles.
To properly vaporize concentrates or dab, heat must be applied to the banger or nail connected to your dab rig. Dabbers accomplish this most commonly via a dab torch.
It’s important to find a torch that won’t ruin the flavor or potency of your dab by overheating. A good tip is to look for a torch with an adjustable flame height, which is necessary for optimal dabbing.
There are two types of torches you can choose from — propane and butane. Propane torches are usually more expensive than butane-powered ones, and they are also more difficult to find. That’s why most dabbers use butane torches.
Dabbing has taken off as a popular way to consume concentrates, leading many companies to design torches for the process. As a result, consumers are better equipped now with newer tools for a better smoking experience.
Dabbers, or dab tools, are narrow rods you use to load your concentrates into your heated nail or banger. These also help with the reclaim process, if that’s your style.
To load your concentrate into a banger or nailhead without getting burned, you’ve got to get the right tools. The most durable and heat-resistant dabbers are usually titanium or stainless steel, but there are plenty of innovative new designs out there to choose from, too.
Dabbers vary in price, but you don’t need to break the bank. Unless you are interested in a new form factor or style of usage that is not yet mainstream, an inexpensive steel dabber will likely suit you just fine.
Carb caps can help to control airflow, redirecting it in a manner that maximizes flavor and consistency when dabbing. These accessories are typically made of ceramic or titanium to withstand high heat without breaking.
It’s your carb cap’s design that keeps your vapor from escaping, directing it into the smooth filtration of your rig. Different styles of carb caps can enable better distribution, unique carburetion, and visually stunning air flow.
A reclaim catcher will do wonders to preserve your oil.
Dabbing in a pipe may leave small amounts of oil where you don’t want them, but there are ways to clean the mess. Of course, the best way is to avoid a mess in the first place. That’s what reclaim catchers can help you do.
What if you could catch all the residual oil in one place? These nifty devices catch all the residual oil in one place when placed strategically. The leftover oil isn’t as potent as the original extract you dabbed, but what gets captured by reclaim catchers is a great way to recycle your "extra" collectible oils.
To ensure the best possible dabbing experience and keep your rig in optimal condition, it is essential to equip yourself with various cleaning tools. These typically include:
- Cotton swabs
- Isopropyl alcohol wipes
- Pipe cleaners
- Oil rig cleaner products
Beyond these basic tools, you can save yourself the additional cost of purchasing specific cleaning kits by investing in high-quality cleaning fluid to keep every component of your rig clean. We have a simple cleaning station to keep your cotton swabs, isopropyl alcohol and other cleaners neatly organized.
Dab Storage Tools
One of the main drawbacks to dabbing is that it can be hard to store your concentrates. Oil and wax tend to make a mess, so it’s important to purchase tools that help keep this material as organized as possible.
First is a dab rag or mat, placed under the operative area to protect whatever surface you're using to set your dab rig on. Concentrates can get sticky and oily and ruin materials of all kinds if not protected.
Secondly, a glass jar can help you if you’re working with concentrates. Dabs are difficult to pick up with your fingers and often get stuck on the nails. Using a dab tool, you can extract your reclaim and store it back in a glass container. Glass will help your concentrates last as long as possible.
Dabbing is a relatively new way to consume extracts, but it's quickly gaining popularity. If you're interested in getting started with dabbing or looking for some accessories to spice up your smoking experience, check out the Smokers Essential Tools and Accessories from MJ Arsenal.
MJ offers everything you need for an excellent dab rig setup, including mini dab rigs, nails of all shapes and sizes, carb caps, and more. Whether you’re looking for basic or high-tech smoking tools, our innovative designs and high-quality materials can boost the flavor profile of your favorite concentrates. MJ Arsenal helps you take every smoking session to the next level. Browse our exclusive collection of new accessories today.