In this guide, I will walk you through everything you need to know about dab rigs, from what they are to how to dab effectively and efficiently.

If you’re new to this method of cannabis consumption, you’re in for a treat.

Dabbing is a unique way to enjoy cannabis concentrates, offering a potent high, and flavorful experience.

According to a survey by Headset, 25% of cannabis consumers in the United States have tried dabbing.

Of those who have tried dabbing, 60% say they do it regularly.

So if you’re ready to start dabbing like a pro, let’s dive in!

What is a Dab Rig?

A dab rig, sometimes referred to as an oil rig, vapor rig, or concentrate pipe, is a device designed specifically for vaporizing cannabis concentrates.

It’s similar to a bong in that it filters vapor through the water at the base.

However, instead of a traditional bowl, a dab rig uses a nail or banger to hold the concentrate or “dab”.

MJ arsenal mini dab rig

Example of a Glass Dab Rig

The nail is heated with a torch, and the concentrate is applied using a long, slender tool known as a dabber.

Why Use Dab Rigs?

Using Dab rigs has gained popularity because it provides a more potent and flavorful experience compared to smoking cannabis flowers.

In 2021, the global dabbing market was valued at $1.2 billion and is expected to reach $2.5 billion by 2027.

This growth is being driven by the increasing popularity of dabbing among cannabis users.

According to the National Library of Medicine, It’s less harmful to vaporize cannabis concentrates rather than to combust cannabis flowers.

The effects of dabbing can last for up to two hours.

This is longer than the effects of smoking or vaping cannabis flowers.

These highly refined cannabis products offer a new way to experience your favorite flavors and effects.

How Does a Dab Rig Work?

A dab rig works by heating the nail with a torch until it’s hot enough to vaporize the cannabis concentrate.

Once the nail is heated, the concentrate is applied using a dabber.

The vapor is then inhaled through the mouthpiece of the dab rig.

In addition, there are even more advanced dab setups that are called electric dab rigs and electronic nails.

These electric dab rigs use a battery and only require you to press a button to heat up and vaporize cannabis concentrates.

Components of a Dab Rig Setup

typical dab rig setup how to use a dab rig

Example of Basic Dab Setup

A dab rig consists of 7 components, each playing a crucial role in the dabbing process:

  1. The Rig: This is the main body of the device, similar to the body of a water pipe. It usually contains a water chamber for filtering and cooling the vapor.
  2. The Nail or Banger: This is where you’ll place your cannabis concentrate. There are several types of nails to choose from like quartz nails, a ceramic nail, or titanium nails, and they are heated with a torch.
  3. The Dabber: This is the tool you’ll use to apply your cannabis concentrate to the nail.
  4. The Blow Torch: This is used to heat the nail. Butane torches are commonly used due to their ability to reach high temperatures. Make sure you fill your butane torch before you start.
  5. The Carb Cap: This is placed over the nail after the concentrate is applied. It helps to maintain the heat and direct the airflow of the dab vapor for better vaporization.
  6. A Clock, Timer, or Stopwatch: Timing your dab is critical to reaching the right temperature in order to take low-temperature dabs. Low Temp Dabs taste better and help avoid burns to your throat from hot vapor.
  7. Cotton Swabs (q-tip): To maintain the best dabbing experience, you’ll want to clean your nail or banger after each use. You do this using a Q-tip and some isopropyl alcohol.

All 7 components needed for concentrate consumption are available at local and online head shops worldwide.

How to Use a Dab Rig

Before you take your first dab, check out my guide on how to season a quartz nail.

This is a critical step to having the best dabbing experience.

Using a dab rig may seem complex at first, but with a bit of practice, it becomes a straightforward process.

how to dab example of someone dabbing

Example of “Dabbing” Concentrates

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to dab using a dab rig:

  1. Prepare Your Dab: Start by taking a small amount of cannabis concentrate with your dabber. Remember, concentrates can be very potent, so it’s best to start small.
  2. Heat the Nail: Using your torch, heat the nail for about 30 seconds. Use your timer so you do not overheat it as this can degrade your dabs and create a harsh vapor.
  3. Let the Nail Cool: After heating the nail, let it cool for about 20-30 seconds. The ideal temperature for dabbing is around 350-400°F (175-205°C). This ensures optimal flavor and potency.
  4. Apply Your Dab: Once the nail has cooled, apply your concentrate to the nail using your dabber. The concentrate should immediately begin to vaporize.
  5. Inhale the Vapor: As soon as you apply the concentrate, start inhaling the vapor. It’s best to inhale slowly and steadily to get the most out of your dab.
  6. Use the Carb Cap: After applying the concentrate, place the carb cap over the nail. This will trap the heat and help to vaporize the concentrate more efficiently.
  7. Clean the Nail: After each dab, clean the nail to ensure optimal flavor for your next dab. You can do this by wiping the nail with a cotton swab. Never touch a hot nail with your hands, always wait for the nail to cool.

Disclaimer: Dabbing can be dangerous if not done properly. The nails or bangers used for dabbing can get very hot, and there is a risk of burns if they are not handled carefully.

The Basics of Cannabis Concentrates Types

Cannabis concentrates are highly potent extracts of the cannabis plant.

They come in various forms, each with unique characteristics and potency levels.

Here’s a closer look at some of the most common types of cannabis concentrates:


shatter dabs example


Shatter is a type of cannabis extract that is glass-like in appearance and has a brittle texture.

It’s known for its high potency, often containing 70-90% THC.

It is a favorite amongst those who consume smoke concentrates. Shatter is transparent and its color can range from a bright, amber hue to a darker, honey-like color.

It’s typically consumed through dabbing or vaporizing.


wax dabs example


Wax is another popular type of cannabis concentrate.

It has a soft, wax-like texture that can vary from creamy to crumbly, depending on its specific formulation.

Wax is also high in THC, typically containing 60-80% THC.

It’s often a good choice for users who want a more potent experience than Flower but less intense than Shatter.


rosin dabs example


Rosin is a solventless concentrate that’s made by applying heat and pressure to cannabis flower or hash.

This process results in a sticky, resinous substance that’s rich in cannabinoids and terpenes.

Rosin is appreciated for its purity, as it doesn’t involve any solvents in its production.

Live Resin

live resin dabs example

Live Resin

Live resin is a type of cannabis concentrate that’s made from fresh, flash-frozen cannabis plants.

This process helps to preserve the plant’s original flavor and aroma profile, resulting in a product that’s rich in terpenes.

Live resin is often considered a premium product due to its high terpene content and complex flavor profile.

THC Diamonds

THC diamonds close up

THC diamonds, scientifically known as THCA crystalline, are a highly concentrated form of cannabis that ranks among the purest and most potent concentrates available.

Created through a meticulous extraction process that isolates the cannabinoid THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid) from cannabis plants, these diamonds undergo a crystallization period that results in their characteristic clear, crystalline appearance, resembling actual diamonds.

With purity levels that can reach up to 99.9% THCA, THC diamonds offer a powerful experience focused on potency, making them a sought-after choice for experienced cannabis users seeking the highest concentration of THC.

Dab Rig vs. Bong

While dab rigs and bongs may look similar, they serve different purposes.

Bongs are designed to smoke cannabis flower, while dab rigs are designed for vaporizing concentrates.

Dab rigs are typically smaller than bongs, and they use a nail instead of a bowl.

The smaller size of a dab rig provides less drag, allowing the vapor to reach your lungs more quickly.

diagram of a dag rig vs a bong how to dab

Diagram of a Dag Rig vs a Bong

How to Clean a Dab Rig

Keeping your dab rig clean is essential for maintaining the best flavor and performance.

These are the key steps to clean your dab rig:

  • Remove Residual Oil: After each dab, wipe the inside of the nail with a cotton swab to remove any residual oil.
  • Use Rubbing Alcohol: To clean the components of your dab rig, use rubbing alcohol. This will help to break up any stubborn residual oil.
  • Rinse and Dry: After cleaning with alcohol, be sure to rinse and dry your rig thoroughly before using it again.

Common Problems When Dabbing Cannabis Concentrate and How To Troubleshoot

  1. Nail Isn’t Getting Hot Enough: If your nail isn’t getting hot enough, it could be due to a low-quality torch or a torch that’s running out of fuel. Make sure your torch is filled with enough butane and that it’s capable of reaching the high temperatures needed for dabbing.
  2. Concentrate Isn’t Vaporizing Properly: If your concentrate isn’t vaporizing properly, it could be because the nail isn’t hot enough or the concentrate is being applied incorrectly. Make sure the nail is heated to the right temperature and that you’re applying the concentrate directly onto the nail, not the sides of the rig.
  3. Harsh or Burnt Taste: If your dabs have a harsh or burnt taste, it could be because the nail is too hot. Try letting the nail cool down a bit longer before applying your concentrate. Also, make sure to clean your nail regularly to prevent the buildup of residue that can affect the taste.
  4. Low Vapor Production: If you’re not getting much vapor, it could be because the nail is too cool, the dab is too small, or the rig isn’t sealed properly. Make sure the nail is heated properly, you’re using a sufficient amount of concentrate, and that all connections are airtight.
  5. Coughing or Lung Discomfort: If you’re coughing a lot or experiencing lung discomfort, it could be because the vapor is too hot or you’re inhaling too hard. Try letting the nail cool down a bit longer before dabbing and inhaling slowly and steadily.
  6. Nail is Cracking or Breaking: If your nail is cracking or breaking, it could be due to rapid temperature changes or low-quality materials. Avoid heating the nail too quickly, especially if it’s cold, and consider investing in a high-quality nail made from durable materials like quartz or titanium.
  7. Water Splashing Up: If water is splashing up from the rig into your mouth, it could be because there’s too much water in the rig or you’re inhaling too hard. Try using less water and inhaling more gently.

Remember, dabbing involves high temperatures and potent products, so always prioritize safety.

If you’re new and just learning how to dab, start with a tiny amount of weed concentrates and gradually increase as you become more comfortable with the process.

FAQs For How To Dab and Use A Dag Rig

Can I Use a Bong as a Dab Rig?

Yes, you can technically use a bong as a dab rig by replacing the bowl with a dab nail.

However, this is not ideal as bongs and dab rigs are designed differently for their specific uses.

How Much Water Should I Put in My Dab Rigs?

The amount of water you should put in your dab rigs depends on their size.

As a good rule, you should fill the base of your dabbing rigs with enough water so that the downstem is submerged.

How Hot Should the Nail Be for Dabbing?

The ideal temperature for dabbing is around 350-400°F (175-205°C).

This ensures optimal flavor and potency.

How Do I Know When the Nail is the Right Temperature?

After heating the nail for about 30 – 45 seconds or until it’s red hot, let it cool for about 20-30 seconds.

This should bring it to the optimal temperature for dabbing.

The optimal timing to heat up a quartz banger, titanium nail, or ceramic nail to the proper temperature will vary.

Test different timing or even reach out to others in the cannabis community online to find your desired temperature settings.

Caution: When you dab at very high temperatures, you risk burning your throat and degrading your dabs.

A good way to avoid having to time your dabs is to use an electronic nail.

How Do I Clean My Dab Rig?

You can clean your dab rig by either cleaning it out after each use with isopropyl alcohol or a specialty cleaner like Klear Kryptonite Glass Cleaner.

I recommend Klear Kryptonite Glass Cleaner for high-end dab rigs and heady glass.

After each dab, wipe the inside of the nail with a cotton swab to remove any residual dabs.

For a deeper clean, use rubbing alcohol to break up any stubborn residual dabs, then rinse and dry your rig thoroughly.

Final Thoughts on How To Dab and What Is a Dab Rig

I hope this guide has helped you understand how to use a dab rig.

Remember, dabbing is a unique and potent way to enjoy cannabis concentrates, so take your time, start small, and enjoy the experience.

Happy dabbing!

Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for professional advice. Always consult with a professional before making any decisions related to your health or lifestyle.