how-to-smoke-concentrates-a-beginners-guide-to-dabbing

How to Smoke Concentrates: A Beginner's Guide to Dabbing

June 17, 2021

By Morgan Worley

Dabbing is the act of heating concentrates and inhaling the resulting vapors.

Concentrates pack a much larger punch than flower, so keep in mind that a little goes a long way. It’s always best to start low and go slow.

Dabbing can be done with 7 different types of rigs, each of them providing a means to heat the concentrate and inhale its vapors.

Types of Dab Rigs:

1. Standard Glass Dab Rigs 

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Standard Glass Dab Rigs are great for those that dab at home from an occasional to a semi-regular basis. Glass dab rigs are basically small bongs that house a banger or nail instead of a bowl. Many dabbers collect glass dab rigs because there’s a plethora of artistic options available. 

Pros: There’s no shortage of diversity when it comes to glass dab rigs and they’re usually easy to clean.

Cons: Glass dab rigs can be fragile and easy to break.

To use a standard glass dab rig:

  • Fill the rig with enough water to cover the base of the down-stem, but not enough to splash water into your mouth
  • Heat the banger or nail to your desired temperature using a torch
  • Place a small dab of concentrate onto the banger or nail using a dab tool
  • Cover the nail or banger with a carb cap to keep the vaporized concentrate inside the rig
  • Inhale through the mouthpiece, lightly lifting the carb cap to increase airflow as needed
  • Exhale away from the mouthpiece
  • Clean the nail/banger, carb cap and dab tool with a cotton swab
  • Repeat until you’ve peaked

Related Article: How To Clean A Bong, Bowl or Bubbler! Pro Tips and More!

2. Standard Silicone Dab Rigs

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Standard Silicone Dab Rigs are ideal for occasional to semi-regular users that dab at home or while traveling and camping. They’re also great for those with a habit of breaking dab rigs and bongs, as well as those that don’t clean their rigs very often. 

  • Pros: Silicone rigs are incredibly durable, making them great for outdoor activities and travel. They’re also very easy to clean and generally come in fun colors
  • Cons: You can’t see inside a silicone rig, so determining when it should be cleaned is somewhat difficult

To use a standard silicone dab rig, follow the instructions for using a standard glass dab rig.

3. Recycler Dab Rigs 

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Recycler Dab Rigs are optimal for terpene enthusiasts, daily users, or those that don’t clean their rig often. Recycler dab rigs are similar to standard dab rigs, but are shaped in such a way that inhaling through them causes the water to spiral inside the rig - often like a whirlpool. This recycling whirlpool motion keeps the water from getting stale and preserves the flavor of volatile terpenes.

  • Pros: There’s no shortage of diversity when it comes to recycler dab rigs 
  • Cons: Glass dab rigs can be fragile and easy to break. Recycler dab rigs often have two chambers, which can make them more difficult to clean than a standard glass dab rig

To use a recycler dab rig, follow the instructions for using a standard glass dab rig.

4. Dab collectors (concentrate straws)

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Dab collectors (concentrate straws) are perfectly portable for those that like to dab while traveling but don’t have the budget for a portable electronic dab rig. They’re also fitting for those that hate to clean their rig and those that can handle waterless dab hits, as some dab collectors can be intended for dry use.

  • Pros: Dab collectors are easy to use, clean and store
  • Cons: Because dab collectors are like straws, it’s easy to spill water from the mouthpiece if you don’t have a ‘spill proof’ cap

To use a dab collector:

  • Fill the collector with water to the manufacturer/designer’s instructions, if applicable
  • Place the desired amount of concentrate onto a dab tray or heat resistant rolling tray using a dab tool
  • Heat the tip of the collector using a torch
  • While inhaling through the mouthpiece of the collector, drag the collector’s hot tip over the concentrate to vaporize it
  • Exhale away from the mouthpiece
  • Clean the collector tip, the dab tool and the dab tray with a cotton swap and/or rubbing alcohol wipes (for your safety: when cleaning dab gear with rubbing alcohol or alcohol wipes, always allow the dab gear to cool first)
  • Repeat until you’ve peaked

5. Portable electronic dab rigs 

Pulsar_Rok_Vaporizer_rig_Electronic_Rig_Online_Vape_Store

Portable electronic dab rigs are quintessential for those that dab religiously, even on the go, and for those looking for reliable party sessions. Portable electronic dab rigs are compact water chambers attached to a battery powered atomizer that heats a bowl for concentrates. This type of rig eliminates the need for a torch, can heat quickly, provides various temperature options, and often includes a session mode for sequential re-heats – making this type of rig the best option to Puff, Puff, Pass.

  • Pros: Torchless, portable, easy to clean, quick and easy to use
  • Cons: Requires regular cleaning and maintenance

To use a portable electronic dab rig:

  • Always read and follow the directions provided with your electronic dab rig, as some may vary
  • Fill the water chamber of the rig according to the manufacturer’s directions
  • Place the desired amount of concentrate into the bowl using a dab tool
  • Place the carb cap on top of the bowl
  • Select the desired temperature
  • Initiate heat mode according to the manufacturer’s directions
  • Inhale through the mouthpiece once the desired temperature is reached, lightly lifting the carb cap to increase airflow as needed. Note: some electronic rigs illuminate or vibrate to indicate it is at temperature
  • Exhale away from the mouthpiece
  • Clean the bowl, carb cap and dab tool with a cotton swap
  • Repeat until you’ve peaked

Note: every electronic dab rig requires constant cleaning and maintenance for reliable functionality. The atomizer (the heater) will often need to be replaced and replacing it should be considered a part of regular maintenance. Always clean your electronic dab rig according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Failure to do so will likely void any warranty options.

6. Wax Pens

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Wax pens are common options for adventurers, travelers, and those that want to consume stealthily. Wax pens are designed like vape pens, but instead of using a cartridge there is a small atomizer to heat concentrates.

  • Pros: Portable, discreet, quick and easy to use
  • Cons: Wastes concentrates compared to a banger or nail and they’re not very durable - heat or cold can affect their performance

To use a wax pen:

  • Always read and follow the directions provided with your wax pen, as some may vary
  • Unscrew the top of the wax pen to reveal the bowl or atomizer coils
  • Place the desired amount of concentrate onto the bowl or atomizer coils using a dab tool
  • Replace the top of the wax pen
  • Select the desired temperature, if applicable
  • While inhaling, initiate heat-up according to the manufacturer’s instructions
  • Exhale away from the mouthpiece
  • Clean the bowl or atomizer coils and dab tool using a cotton swap lightly soaked in rubbing alcohol
  • Repeat until you’ve peaked

E-Nails (electronic nails)

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E-Nails (electronic nails) are the best option for regular dabbers who often host party sessions. E-nails are like portable electronic dab rigs, except they’re not portable and are generally much more reliable as a result. Provide dab after dab without the torch for parties and smoke sessions.

  • Pros: Quick and easy to use, reliable and durable, and easy to clean
  • Cons: Not portable and larger than most rigs

To use an e-nail:

  • Always read and follow the directions provided with your e-nail rig
  • Fill the water chamber according to the manufacturer’s directions
  • Choose your desired temperature setting and turn the e-nail on to heat up
  • When the desired temperature is reached, place the desired amount of concentrate onto the nail or banger using a dab tool
  • Place a carb cap on top of the nail or banger
  • Inhale through the mouthpiece while lightly lifting the carb cap to increase airflow as needed
  • Exhale away from the mouthpiece
  • Clean the nail or banger, carb cap and dab tool using a cotton swab
  • Repeat until you’ve peaked (always turn off the e-nail rig once finished)

To browse options for each of the 7 types of dab rigs, check out our inventory at our online smoke shop. We have everything you need to get dabbing! For help choosing concentrates, check out Your Guide to the 7 Most Popular Types of Concentrates.

About the author

Morgan Worley is a business development professional with a passion for the cannabis industry. After seeing the medicinal benefits cannabinoids can have, she decided to transition from opening new restaurants and coffee shops to working in the cannabis industry. Since 2018, Morgan has gained experience in the industry as a medical consultant, dispensary manager, cannabis trade show producer and traceability software saleswoman. Outside of the workplace, Morgan strives to live a healthy lifestyle modeled after Blue Zones.

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