Drawings of dab rigs under a cloud of smoke

Dab Rig: What is It & How to Use It

If you’ve read our guide on dabbing, you know there are three main tools you can use to consume concentrates: dab rigs, e-rigs, and dab pens. In this guide, we’ll share everything you need to know about dab rigs, including: 

  • What is a Dab Rig?
  • What Do You Need to Use a Dab Rig?
  • How Do You Use a Dab Rig?
  • Dab Rig FAQs

What is a Dab Rig?

A dab rig is a tool that allows you to vape or smoke concentrates. At high temperatures, the dab rig vaporizes the concentrate, allowing you to inhale the vapor. The process of consuming marijuana with a dab rig is called “dabbing,” and the concentrates - e.g. marijuana wax, budder, shatter - consumed when dabbing are called “dabs.”

Dab rigs come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but some of the parts are the same no matter what. Most contain:

  • Nail or Banger: If you’ve ever smoked marijuana flower with a pipe, you know the ground cannabis goes in a bowl. Think of the nail or banger as a bowl for concentrates. The banger can be made out of a variety of different materials, including titanium, quartz, or just plain glass. 
  • Carb Cap: The carb cap is a small lid with a hole in it that is placed on top of the banger or nail. This lid traps the heat in the nail, reduces the pressure, and thereby, reduces the temperature of vaporization. This part is key to ensuring that your concentrates stay at a consistent heat.
  • Dabber or Pick: This tool, whether it’s called a dabber or pick, is just a small paddle that allows you to transfer the concentrate from the container to the banger. Using a pick is a great way to keep your concentrate free of any bacteria you could introduce by grabbing it with your finger. Plus, who wants that mess?
  • Butane Torch: If you’re an old school marijuana enthusiast, you might be used to lighting a pipe with a lighter. When it comes to a dab rig, you’ll want to level up and use a butane torch. This allows you to heat the concentrate at a consistent temperature to produce the best results. Make sure to get butane, though, as propane torches burn too hot and ruin your concentrate. 

If you're looking for more options in concentrate accessories, read our guide to terp pearls.

What Do You Need to Use a Dab Rig?

In general, if you go to a dispensary to purchase a dab rig, you’re going to get the entire unit—the pipe, nail, and carb cap. If you’re unsure what’s included, you can always ask a budtender or check out the information on the product’s packaging. This means that the only things other than the rig you’ll need to purchase is your concentrate of choice and a butane torch. We do recommend purchasing your butane torch from the dispensary because they’ll ensure the right lighters are stocked for an optimal dabbing experience. 

How Do You Use a Dab Rig?

Using a dab rig is easier than you might think, especially if you already have experience with a water pipe. The most challenging part is keeping a consistent, hot temperature (around 550°F) when dabbing. Follow these steps to easily operate your dab rig:

Step 1: Get your rig (with water in it), concentrate, and butane torch. 

Step 2: Using your torch, heat the nail or banger. You want it to be red hot before you turn off your torch. 

Step 3: Wait for up to 60 seconds for it to cool a bit. If you have a titanium nail, you only need to wait about 10 seconds. While you’re waiting, grab your concentrate and your pick. 

Step 4: Using the pick, apply the dab to the nail. Cover the dab with the carb cap. 

Step 5: Inhale. If needed, you can cycle between removing and covering the banger with the carb cap to better regulate air flow through the dab rig. 

Start slow until you get the hang of it. You can also play with the temperature of your dab. Some cannabis enthusiasts say you should use lower heat to enjoy the terpenes in your concentrate. Just remember, doing this will likely leave residue or oil in your banger, so there will be some waste involved. 

Answering Dab Rig FAQs

As dabbing grows in popularity, we get more and more questions about dab rigs. Here are some answers to our most frequently asked questions: 

What is the difference between a water pipe - or "bong" - and a dab rig? 
While dab rigs and water pipes both use water, there is one key difference between a water pipe and a dab rig: dab rigs are for consuming concentrates, and water pipes are primarily for consuming marijuana flower. 

How much concentrate should I use with my dab rig?
If you’re wondering how much concentrate to use with your dab rig, it’s going to be up to you and your tolerance levels. Ultimately, we always recommend to start low and go slow. This prevents you from overindulging or wasting product. When it comes to dabs, a little goes a long way. 

How much does a dab setup cost?
Aside from the cost of the dab rig, concentrates tend to be a little more expensive due to their extraction methods. The combination of both the costs of a basic dab rig and the concentrate probably starts you at around $100. That said, if you love dabbing, you can purchase dab rigs that cost thousands of dollars, so it really depends on what you want to put into it. 

Purchasing a Dab Rig

If you’re unsure about what dab rig to buy, how to use it, or if dabbing is even something you want to try, visit a local dispensary. The cannabis experts there can help you find the right products and tools to consume them. Their judgement-free advice ensures anyone from beginner to seasoned concentrate consumer can get the best experience possible. 

Recreational cannabis is not available in all states. Cannabis is for medical use only and may only be used by certified patients in Ohio and Pennsylvania. State laws impact what dispensaries can and can’t sell to recreational customers and certified patients. Not every type of product, consumption method, dosage form, or potency mentioned on this blog will be permitted in all locations.