Things You Need to Know When Picking a Dab Rig
Things You Need to Know When Picking a Dab Rig

When it comes to enjoying your cannabis, there are plenty of ways to choose from. Among the most popular is a dab rig. Using a dab rig lets you take advantage of concentrates, giving you a different experience from smoking marijuana. Read on to discover how to pick the best dab rig. 

Understand the Dab Rig Basics

Before we get into how to choose a dab rig, take a moment to refresh your memory on the basics of dab rigs. 

Why Use a Dab Rig?

There are several reasons you may want to dab your cannabis instead of smoking it, eating edibles, or choosing a different method. 

Because dabbing uses concentrates, you can use a very small amount to get the same effects. This also makes it a great choice if you want to maximize your high. 

On top of that, you will notice the effects starting almost right away because you inhale the vapors from the concentrate. 

Additionally, the taste you get when using a dab rig tends to be very clean. 

Understanding the Components of a Dab Rig

There are three main components in a dab rig. The glass piece is the main portion of the rig, and it is where the vapor gets stored until you inhale it. The nail is where you place the concentrate, and it sits on the glass piece. Finally, the torch heats the nail to the ideal temperature. 

As we go through how to pick the best dab rig, you will find specific tips for each of these components, as well as general tips. 

Pick the Type of Dab Rig You Want

As you start looking for the best dab rig, you will find yourself comparing various styles. Not one style is necessarily better than the others. The one that makes the most sense for you will depend on how you plan to use the rig, including how often, and your personal preferences. 

Pick the Type of Dab Rig You Want

Standard Dab Rigs

When most people think of dab rigs, they picture glass pieces that look like smaller bongs. They are usually about 7 or 9 inches tall. These are the most common type of dab rig you will find, and they are great for dabbers of all experience levels. 

Nectar Collectors or Vapor Straws

These are a simpler option for dab rigs and are called either vapor straws or nectar collectors. Their smaller size makes these portable. That feature alone makes them popular for people who want to take their dab rig with them. Another major difference is that their torch tends to be smaller. This can be helpful for people who are uncomfortable with larger flames or torches. 

In addition to being smaller, you simply heat one portion of the rig and touch it to the concentrate. As you do so, you inhale from the other end. Because they are smaller and simpler than standard dab rigs, these also tend to be the most affordable option. 


If you are not comfortable using a torch, you may want to consider an e-rig. These are battery-operated and easy to use. The battery powers the rig to heat the concentrate you place on the rig’s nail. Other than not having a torch, e-rigs function similarly to standard ones. 

There are two important things to keep in mind before opting for an e-rig. First, because they run on battery power, you can only use the e-rig so much before you have to recharge it. By contrast, if you used a standard dab rig, you could just swap out your torch for a new one if it gets low. The other caveat is that e-rigs create smaller hits than you will get with other rigs. You should also be aware that they have a higher upfront cost and can be harder to fix

On the other hand, e-rigs or e-nails also give you more control over your dabbing. Specifically, you can completely control the temperature. They also tend to have a more compact design and are simple to use. 

Recycler Rigs

These rigs feature two chambers and let you add water to them. Essentially, they double filter each hit through the water, resulting in a smooth hit. 

These rigs are also visually appealing because of their unique design. The downsides are that they tend to be more expensive, and they are not as portable. 

Mini Rigs

Mini rigs are exactly what they sound like, smaller rigs designed to improve portability. They are more affordable due to their small size. Plus, mini rigs do better at preserving flavors and potency because of their small size. 

Just keep in mind that they don’t hold as much water, meaning the vapor is hotter. 

Mini Rigs

Quartz Buckets

Many dabbers agree that using a rig with a quartz bucket delivers the most flavor and smoothness. If you opt for a banger, then you will find yourself enjoying more of the concentrate’s natural terpene flavor. 

Another advantage of quartz buckets is that they are usually deep enough to hold more concentrate than you can easily fit on other nails. More importantly, they do so without making a mess. 

Bong and Dab Rig Combinations

If you only plan on dabbing occasionally and typically prefer to use a bong, you may want to look into combination pieces that serve as both bongs and dab rigs. These are designed to work with either concentrates or flowers, letting you use them in a slightly different way for each. 

This is a particularly great option for those who like to dab occasionally but can’t justify spending the money or dedicating the space to a separate rig. 

Think About Your Dabbing Preferences

As you look at the various options for dab rigs, think about how you will use them. If you only plan on using the piece occasionally, you may not want to buy one that is very expensive. Or, if you want a piece that is portable, you probably want to stick to a smaller size. You can also opt for a different style. 

How to Choose the Glass Piece’s Size

One of the first decisions you will want to make is how large is the glass piece you want for your dab rig. This is the main factor that will affect the size of the rig. 

As a general rule of thumb, you will get more flavor and potency from a smaller rig. Opting for a larger glass piece can lead to the potency and flavor of your dab spreading out. That is why smaller glass pieces are so popular. 

Another bonus of opting for a smaller glass piece and smaller rig overall is that they are much easier to store. This is ideal if you don’t have a lot of space or if you want to keep your rig out of sight when guests come over. 

Know If You Want to Consider Silicone Instead of Glass

Silicone is a newer alternative to the glass piece in traditional dab rigs. While it has some benefits, it is not for everyone. Silicone rigs tend to be more portable and malleable, making them better at resisting damage. 

That said, glass rigs are still more popular as they are the traditional option and can be highly durable. 

Always Choose a Rig that Works With Water

Always Choose a Rig that Works With Water

Traditionally, dabbing rigs always included a spot for water, but some of the newer ones do not have this feature. There is some debate on this, but most experienced consumers agree that you should always dab with water. That is because the water is crucial to cooling down the vapor. 

Remember that the nail has to reach an incredibly high temperature for the concentrate to turn into vapor. This means that the vapor and the rig itself can get very hot. Without water to cool them, you may find yourself unable to even take a hit due to the high temperature. 

How to Choose the Nail Material

As mentioned, the nail in your dab rig is responsible for holding the concentrate or dab as it heats up and turns to vapor. You will have the choice of four main materials for nails, including titanium, ceramic, quartz, and glass. The biggest differences between the materials are how long the nail will stay hot and how hot it gets in the first place. Your choice of nail should not affect flavor. 

When in doubt, opt for a popular choice like titanium nails. Glass nails look cool, but they may break if you mistreat them. Titanium nails will not break. Compared to quartz, titanium nails retain heat better. That said, if you don’t want a titanium nail and know you will be careful, a glass nail is also a great choice for those new to dabbing

No matter the material you choose for your rig, make sure that it is highly durable. That is because this is the part of the rig that is likely to see the most abuse. You will heat it constantly and likely remove it before putting it back. 

How to Choose the Torch

The most effective torches for dab rigs tend to be butane. You may develop additional preferences as you get more dabbing experience. However, beginners will do best with a smaller torch as this makes the flame easier to manage. 

You do not want to skimp when it comes to choosing a torch. If you get a lackluster torch, you are setting yourself up for future frustration. Additionally, most high-quality torches are worth the extra cost as they last longer and get hotter than cheap ones. 

Think About Aesthetics

One good thing about dabbing rigs is that they are available in many styles, designs, and shapes. This makes it possible to get a rig that is not only useful and practical but also makes a beautiful addition to your interior décor. 

Look for Ease of Use

It is also worth mentioning that while most dab rigs work in the same way, some can be more challenging to use than others. The best way to tell if a rig is harder to use than average is to look at reviews.

Consider Other Feature and Accessories

Consider Other Feature and Accessories

With so many dab rigs available, it should come as no surprise that many offer various additional features or work with accessories. You will have to think about additional features, such as percolators, as you look at rigs. Accessories are more versatile, as you can always get them after your initial purchase. 

Percolators are a particularly popular feature in dab pieces, as they help create a smoother hit. 

In terms of accessories, you may want to get a dabber to make it easier to safely place your concentrate on the nail. You may also want to consider storage accessories or something like a mat to prevent spills. 

Many people also like to use carb caps, as these improve your hits by trapping heat within the banger. 

Be Willing to Pay More for Quality

We already mentioned that you should be willing to pay a bit more to get a high-quality nail, but this also applies to the entire dab rig. It will be worth paying a little more to get a piece that can last longer.

Remember that your dab rig will be exposed to high heat, so it needs to withstand high temperatures. This will be a given with any high-quality rigs, but it is not necessarily the case for lower-quality ones. 

Another reason to focus on the quality of your rig is to ensure that it can handle being passed around and used regularly. Many people dab in social settings, so you don’t want a piece that will break as soon as you pass it in a group. 


There are so many dab rigs available on the market that you should have no issues finding one that meets your needs and preferences. As you browse, focus on quality, and make sure to choose a rig that matches your dabbing preferences. 


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