Are bangers and nails the same thing?
So, you just started dabbing or are planning on getting into dabbing and you are wondering what the difference between a banger and a nail is. You have likely heard fellow dabbers use the terms synonymously, but the truth is there are some slight differences. Before detailing those though, in case you are completely unfamiliar with these terms, know that both a nail and banger are where your concentrates are vaporized; it's the bowl of dab rigs. Now that you at least understand their basic function, let's get into all the differences between the two.
What is a dab nail
As mentioned above, a dab nail is where you place your concentrates for them to be vaporized. It looks exactly like a regular old nail you would do woodwork with. Dab nails by definition are always made from titanium and come in the same standardized nail shape (thin and lengthy, with a flat top) every time.
Banger nails are also where your concentrates are vaporized. To be clear, your dab rig will incorporate either a dab nail or a banger, not both. Bangers are made from many different materials such as glass, ceramic, quartz, and titanium. Quartz is the best material because it is the most resistant to heat, this means it's especially important to opt for quartz if you typically enjoy high-temperature dabbing. Bangers are also variable in their shape, with some being angled or designed differently for specific purposes (like dabbing for long amounts of time).
What's the difference?
Although you might already have a bit of a sense of their general differences, with a nail being more standardized and a banger being more variable, it's time to get into the nitty-gritty of what this means for your smoke session.
The taste will depend a lot on the type of concentrate you decide to go with but don't think that's all that matters. A banger is going to get more flavor out of your concentrates than a dab nail— the quartz material that bangers are often made from offers the purest flavor. Quartz doesn't alter the taste of your concentrate at all whereas titanium will slightly alter and absorb the taste. For some, the slightly metallic taste that comes with the nail is fine or even enjoyable, but most prefer tasting everything their concentrate has to offer.
Because different people have different heating preferences, it would be unfair to claim a victor in this category, rather we will just talk about the differences and let you decide. Quartz bangers heat up the fastest, in roughly 10 seconds, but tend to not retain heat super well compared to other materials. A dab nail (remember it's always made from titanium) will take a little longer to heat up than quartz but does a better job at retaining heat. Lastly, ceramic bangers are even more extreme in that they take much longer to heat up but also do the best job at retaining heat.
This category is easy because titanium nails are by far the winner. If you don't know, titanium is pretty much indestructible. No matter how many times you drop your titanium nail it will be perfectly fine. Titanium also won't take any heat damage regardless of how high you like to heat your dabs. Titanium nails can withstand temperatures of up to 1000° Fahrenheit, well above the temperatures you will be dabbing with (even for those that like high-temperature dabs).
When it comes to bangers, quartz offers the best durability. Quartz offers virtually the same temperature resistance as titanium although it's not as resistant to brute force. That said, as long as you are careful with your dab rig and don't drop it a quartz banger will last a long time.
Because glass bangers were not discussed much in any of the subcategories, it might be good to speak of them briefly in their own section. Glass bangers are uncommon nowadays, mostly because they are not all practical and don't offer the same durability or heat retention. That said, glass bangers are cheap, offer good taste, and are easy to clean. So If you're someone who doesn't mind the required slow heating and can be very careful not to break or crack the glass then it can be a worthwhile option.
Types of Nails
One other factor not touched much to this point is that there are different types of nails, this was skipped over because it is extremely rare to see any type of nail other than the standard one. That said, there are domed nails as well as E-nails; domed nails as you might have guessed have a dome shape at their top rather than being flat and E-nails heat up electronically rather than with a torch. Typically, you should stay away from these nails because they don't offer any specific benefits and tend to just overcomplicate things.
What's your Budget?
Unfortunately, you can't always just decide what material you want just based on its pros and cons… sometimes you must consider your budget. Quartz bangers are going to be the most expensive material while glass is usually the cheapest. That said, even the more expensive dab accessories aren't very pricey, for example, at fat buddha glass, you can get a male quartz banger for just 14.99. Which is perfect for a rig small like this.
A banger comes in many different shapes and materials whereas a dab nail always looks exactly like what pops into your head when you think of a nail (and they are all made of titanium). What you prefer mostly comes down to preferences, a titanium nail is going to be the most durable option while banger materials like quartz or glass will offer the purest taste. No matter what, you can't go wrong, all of these options will serve you just fine for your dabbing needs and provide a good time. Still, now you know the differences between a dab nail vs a banger, just in case you are picky about what you want to get out of your dabs.