What is a Dab Rig

Dab Rig Summary

In the last few years, the use of concentrates or “dabs” has skyrocketed. Many have experiences of dabbing the first time on some rickety looking device that a buddy made themselves. Of those, there are many who started sweating as soon as that buddy began heating their rickety rig with a large butane torch. Now, long past the opening stages of this new trend, there are many items you can purchase that will completely professionalize the process. After all, you’re going to be using high levels of heat to vaporize concentrates—it’s nice to know you’ve got the right parts. That’s where the dab rig comes in.

If you’ve seen a glass water pipe, a dab rig will look familiar—but still a little strange. A dab rig (also referred to as an oil rig or wax rig) is essentially the same thing as a water pipe but designed to function specifically for dabs. That means it works with your wax, concentrates, oils, shatter, etc. It is called “dabbing” after the method in which you “dab” your material on a pre-heated Domeless nail. The Domeless nail for a dab rig servers a similar purpose of the bowl piece for a water bong, except there are no herbs used here. This domeless nail can vary in size, shape, and material that includes ceramic and quartz. A user heats this area with a handheld butane torch (for best results) beforehand to have complete control over the temperature. The vapor that comes out of the dab rig can be drastically different depending on the temperature used to heat your material. 

A dab rig avoids many of the pitfalls of combustion by heating your material to the point of vaporization instead of burning it. It makes the entire process easier on you and keeps your vapor cool and flavorful compared to homemade solutions. Think of it like this: if you were smoking herb would you rather use a cored apple or a nice glass bong? The same principle applies to concentrates.

There’s really no point in investing your hard-earned cash in concentrates if you aren’t going to also purchase a dab rig. You won’t have to look far to find horror stories of people burning their clothes or wasting wax because they tried to make their own rig out of wires and plastic bottles. A small investment in a good dab rig is going to go a long way. 


How to Choose a Dab Rig

There are going to be some choices to make along the way when it comes to which kind of dab rig you end up with. Along the way, there are a few different qualities you will want to pay attention to:


Size is the biggest factor when it comes to convenience, along withportability and breakability. A larger more complex dab rig is going to be harder to lug around and it will be more likely to break during use. However, if you plan on keeping your rig in one place, size becomes much less of a factor.


Any oil rig you purchase is going to be better than a homemade rig in terms ofsafety. However, there are different items and accessories that you can purchase to help keep your skin unburnt and your material out of your hair—things like dabbers and other dab tools will always help.


Anytime style is involved, it’s a personal decision, however, there are also a few different options that can change your experience as a dabber. For one, a smaller, more compact oil rig is known to deliver thicker hits than a larger piece. Many swear that the shorter distance from the nail to your lungs the better. But others prefer the cool vapor from larger rigs. In any case, there are infinite numbers of aesthetic styles to choose from and that will come down to your personal taste. 

Wax Rig Categories

Glass Dab Rig

The benefits of a glass rig are the same as the benefits to using a glasswater pipe—and it suffers from the same downfalls with a few extra caveats. The benefit is owning a beautiful glass pipe that can sometimes look like a work of art. Also, glass is a great material for absorbing heat, as it doesn’t stay hot for very long--being a conductive material.

The downsides to a glass rig is the breakability factor. If you are the type of person that breaks something about every month, you might want to invest in a different material that won’t shatter so easily. Overall, they can be more finicky, especially when it comes to attaching accessories and keeping it clean. 

However, glass rigs are by far the most popular. There are a few different reasons for that, but people are generally more comfortable with something familiar and a glass dab rig looks just like a complicated water pipe. (Note: Many glass water pipes can be converted into a dab rig by replacing the bowl with dabbing implements like a Domeless nail.)


Cheap Dab Rigs

With anything in life, there are going to be some differences when it comes toquality as you go down in price. That being said, a cheap dab rig is still better than a homemade one. You can get a lot of mileage out of a cheap rig and be quite happy with your purchase.

Just keep in mind that there are inferior products out there that you might not want to trust with your life. There are certain materials that transfer harmful chemicals into your vapor. The heat of a torch is such that there it can literally melt down a less-than-ideal chemical coating, glaze, etc. 

When making a decision about your wax rig, you should always keep your spending limit in mind and try to find a solution that works for you and your budget. It is still a good idea to consider this a long-term investment and choose accordingly. You could be stuck with this dab rig for a long time.

Silicone Dab Rig

Dab rigs like this one are made from the rubberlike silicone material tend to be a little lessthan beautiful, at least compared to some of the more complex heady glass pieces. What they lack in personality, they make up for by being the toughest type of rig out there. These things are practically indestructible and offer an attractive alternative to glass.

Other than being sturdy, silicone also offers fantastic temperature resistance. They can typically handle flames up to 550 degrees Fahrenheit but more importantly they can be left out in the cold without the worry of cracking, so put it in the freezer for smooth vaping! They may also come with interesting features, like the ability to hold your dabs inside the rig itself in handy containers built-in to the device. Silicone dab rigs can typically be found for much cheaper than glass rigs, giving budget-conscious vapers a great option. 

Electric Dab Rig

If you know anything about portable vaporizers, you know that many of themfeature the ability to vaporize concentrates along with the herbs they are normally known for. However, many agree that this experience is just not the same as actually dabbing a glob on a nail. There’s a lot of reasons for that, but the good news is that there are portable electrically-powered devices that can achieve the same thing a traditional rig can.

Typically, they will be small pen-like rigs that are operated using a high-powered lithium-ion battery. There is usually a nail built directly into the device and some sort of breathing apparatus to direct the vapor into your lungs. They’re all smaller and the vapor is always a little hotter, but if you want to dab on the go, this is going to be your best option. 

Mini Dab Rig

Not every dab rig has to be a giant investment in space and money. There arerigs that are specialized to take up less space and suck up less money. If you live in a small apartment in the city, you might want something that you could hide easily and that doesn’t take up any of that precious square footage.

That means you should probably consider the “mini” dab rigs that have become popular among the dab crowds. There are some inherent advantages to dabbing out of a smaller rig. As stated before, many swear by the idea that the shorter the distance between the nail and your lungs, the better. Mini dab rigs are going to be the absolute best at accomplishing this for users. Just watch out for the hotter vapor!

How to Use a Dab Rig

There’s quite a few steps you can take to make sure you are ready to dab, once you’ve decided to join in. The tools, accessories, and rigs have become a sort of jargon and understanding what each piece of the process is used for will go a long way to ridding you of any sort of “dab anxiety.”


1. Dabbing is dangerous, especially if you are using a live flame to get the job done. Make sure you are in an area that has proper ventilation and keep the flame away from anything flammable. It’s incredible how quickly a situation can get out of hand whenyou’re using a torch.

2. When you are just starting out, don’t consume yourself acquiring and understanding every little complicated component. Typically, you just need a rig and a flame. Everything else will take care of itself as you get better at dabbing.

3. You need fuel. If you’re using a traditional rig (not an e-rig) then you need butane fuel for your torch. Imagine the full host of amateur dabbers that claimed their rig and their torch only to go home and realize they don’t have any fuel to burn. Don’t do that to yourself.

Once you have your rig set up and your concentrates handy, it’s time for dabbing. This isn’t a complicated process, but I’ll walk you through it anyway:

1. With your material nearby, begin heating the nail on your rig until it changes color—it usually needs to be red hot.

2. If you have a domed nail (an enclosure over the bit you are heating) close the dome and wait about 10 seconds for your nail to cool if it is titanium and about 45 seconds if it is quartz.

3. With your dabbing tool, get a scoop of the concentrate from your container and place it directly on the nail. Move the tool around the nail until all the concentrate has been turned to vapor.

4. Simultaneously place your mouth over the mouthpiece and inhale. If it’s your first time—hold on and exhale while keeping an eye on your still-hot rig.

For electronic nails, the process is the exact same, except you will need to control your temperature through whatever interface is provided to you. This is a more expensive option, but it is by far the safest because it does not involve an active flame. Follow the directions on the box to get it heated correctly and then follow through with the same steps referred to above.


How to Smoke dabs without a Rig

The Wax Vape Pen is the most popular alternative to dabbing with an oil rig. We highly recommend getting one of these if you enjoy concentrates and would like to do so on the go.

But if you don’t have a wax vape pen, as long as you have a Domeless nail you have other options. A bong is a great replacement and just replace the herb bowl piece with a nail and go.  No vape pen, no nail? Well than you’ll need to get McGyver and build something, or hit up NY Vape Shop for Free and Fast shipping on everything.

How to Clean a Dab Rig

When using any kind of concentrate, there is going to be an accumulation of oils and resins that can threaten the quality of your future dabs. You will have to clean your rig periodically to combat this. Cleaning about once a month or every two weeks will make sure that you don’t end up with a useless rig covered in gunk. 

Known as “reburn”, that material that is left on your rig can actually be repurposed and vaped again if you are careful about collecting it. There are collection attachments that you can use for this specifically or you can physically remove it using a tool to carefully scrape it off.

In any event, you’re going to need some isopropyl rubbing alcohol, wipes, and a pipe cleaner. Soak your rig in the alcohol for about ten minutes to loosen up any accumulation. Pour the alcohol out of the rig and much of the resin will go with it. For the rest, use the pipe cleaner to reach into the small spaces of your rig. You may need to disassemble it beforehand to completely clean it. Wipe it down and you are all set to resume dabbing once the alcohol dries.

Domeless Nails & Carb Caps

There are a couple of different options that you can choose from when purchasing a rig that can change the way your dabbing is done. Domeless Nails & Carb Caps can mold your experience more to your liking once you get a hang of the basics. 

Domeless Nails

Domeless nails are easy to understand once you get exactly what they are. There are all sorts of nails that can completely differ in design, size and everything else. With a Nail, there will be a covering thatcan be slid on and off over the nail.   But the more popular Domeless nail ditches that entirely and provides an array of benefits in return. They can often have a larger trench for more concentrates and it gets you vaping faster than the dome would allow. Also, for a complicated process, removing the step where you use the dome can simplify it for expert users.

There are a few different materials that these will be made from:

1. Titanium Nails

Will outlast you and your family, typically high-quality components

2. Quartz Nails

The most flavorful option, easier to clean and produces great vapor

3. Ceramic Nails

Old School, inexpensive and stays hot for the longest

Carb Caps—One of the most specialized accessories, carb cabs work to make the vapor from dabbing that much more enjoyable. Normally, the concentrate will rest directly on the nail and the vapor produced from the area in direct contact will be of lesser quality. Carb caps enclose your material and create a suction that cools the vapor produced by the concentrate so that it all comes out flavorful and fresh. 


Dab Containers & Dabbers

Now that we’ve covered everything that is used to vaporize your concentrates, let’s talk about the outside accessories that can really simplify your dabbing experience:


This can be the accessory that separates the men from the boys. There are as manykinds of dabbers as there are kinds of water pipes. There is a great deal of variation because they usually make an artistic statement along with being functional. There are dabbers shaped like octopi and there are dabbers that look like tools. Choose based on your own style. 

The purpose is always the same. These tools are made to make it easier to move your concentrates from your container to your rig without meeting anything in between. It’s great to have one tool to clean instead of finding something different every time you dab.

Wax Container

If you want to keep your own concentrates, you are going to need somethingto put it in. Don’t try to use anything else but dedicated wax containers. Concentrates are lost every day because someone put them into something that either absorbed the wax or will be impossible to clean completely.

The right kind of container is almost always made from silicone, but after that the choices are yours. You can purchase containers ranging in size from a thimble to a Tupperware container and your choice should reflect your own needs for storage. Silicone will keep your materials fresh while allowing for complete extraction. Don’t be stuck using wax paper and a plastic bag. 

Dabbing Tips

1. Keep your concentrate in a cool dry area. I always keep mine in the freezer. For the first few moments it is out, it retains a nice rubbery consistency and makes it easier to dab. Every person has their own way, but the goal is to keep it off your hands and clothes.

2. This is a situation that can get out of hand quickly. Keep your eye on your material, the dab rig, blow torch and eveyrthing else.

3. If there is anything that you should purchase for yourself, it’s a dabbing tool or dabber. More on that later, but if you don’t choose to use one, you might be looking at dabbing with a hanger or a rusty nail. Pick one up.

4. If you haven’t dabbed before, don’t assume it will be just like smoking herb. There is a large gap in terms of strength between the two substances. Take your time and take it easy. Be sure to keep hydrated and make sure your first few times are in a safe place with people who will take care of you.

Dabbing vs Vaping

As I stated above, when using a red-hot nail to dab, you are vaporizing the concentrate before it travels to your lungs. However, it is still a little different than if you used an electronic vaporizer to vape it directly. There isn’t a great deal of science to back this up, but with most electronic dual-use vaporizers, you’re going to be operating at a lower temperature and the vapor is going to be a little cleaner.

That being said, there is nothing that comes close to the power of using a dabbing rig with concentrates. And, considering that you aren’t combusting the material anyway, it’s going to be better than smoking either way.

Micro Vape Pen with Domeless Nail Carb Cap

Where to buy a dab rig

Due to the immense popularity of dabbing and the great demand for rigs that comes with it, you can now find dab rigs at any of your basic headshops you’d use to purchase anything else like this. However, thanks to the world wide web, you don’t have to worry about the awkward experience of going in and trying to haggle about something you aren’t sure about. Now, you can just read this guide and purchase your implements from any of the hundreds of online retailers.

But why worry about any of that when you can simply use nyvapeshop.com. They have everything you’ll need to get dabbing and they offer FREE shipping. You are already here, so go ahead and take a look at the selection and take advantage of that