A few years ago, only a small percentage of stoners dabbed. Back then, dab rigs were huge glass pieces that were fragile and had to be handled with care. But dab rigs have finally evolved to catch up with the times, and dabbing is now easier and more accessible than ever before. Let’s take a look at some of the different types of rigs on the market today and what makes each of them unique.
Anatomy of a Dab Rig
Though there are many different types of dab rigs available, all of them have the same basic components. The whole glass piece is called a rig and has two important features: a water chamber connected to a dab nail. A dab nail is the part of the rig where you put your concentrates to be vaporized and inhaled. There is a huge variety of dab nails available today with variations that change the rate of vaporization and the amount you can dab. You’ll also need a carb cap, a small cap with a hole in it that covers the nail and helps you get a better hit. Carb caps need to be made from heat resistant material like glass, quartz or titanium. Another dab essential is a dabber, sometimes called a wand or dab tool. This is what you use to scoop up concentrates and load them in the nail. Concentrates are way too sticky to handle with your bare hands, so don’t forget your dab tool, or you’ll regret it. Finally, you’ll need a blow torch or an e-nail to heat your concentrates. E-nails are pricey but worth the investment if dabbing is something you plan to do often. They regulate the temperature of your e-nail to a precise temperature which makes hits smoother and wastes less concentrate. Now that we know what a dab rig actually is, let’s get into the different varieties.
Glass Dab Rigs
Glass rigs are the OG of dabbing rigs. They’re great for dabbing concentrates like wax, shatter or rosin and are made of a durable heat resistant type of glass called borosilicate. They range in size, shape and appearance based on your preference. Glass rigs are versatile, sturdy and moderately priced. They’re best for anyone who's new to dabbing or likes to taste their concentrates when they dab. One of their biggest pitfalls is that they can be hard to clean and a clean rig is essential to a quality dabbing experience. If you’re the type of stoner who doesn't clean your pieces too often, this might not be your best option.
Silicone Dab Rigs
Silicone dab rigs are made of a soft, durable, rubbery silicone that makes them virtually indestructible. They’re popular because they’re the most affordable rigs on the market and they’re easy to take apart, which makes them easier to clean and way more portable than glass rigs. They’re best for anyone who needs a sturdy compact rig that’s convenient to store and clean. Their biggest drawback is that some dab accessories can’t be used with this particular type of rig.
Recycler Dab Rigs
Recycler rigs deliver the smoothest hit of any of the pieces on this list. They’re made with extra design elements that funnel the vapor through different chambers before it reaches your lungs, helping to filter it for the smoothest possible hit. Recycler rigs range in size but tend to be on the larger side, making them a less portable option. They’re best for anyone who enjoys a smooth hit, needs a super durable rig, or enjoys the look of intricate glass design. These pieces tend to be hand blown and a bit pricey, but it’s worth the investment for the smoothest hit possible. Unfortunately, not many accessories are compatible with these more complex designs and you do lose some flavor with the longer pull of the vapor. Stoners who like to savor the flavor of their concentrates might want to consider other options.
Mini Dab Rigs
Mini dab rigs combine some of the best features of glass rigs and recycler rigs in a more compact form. They’re made of the same borosilicate glass as other glass rigs and have the intricate designs of recyclers to allow for more percolation and a smoother hit. Mini rigs are best for anyone who wants a smaller, more portable set up, more filtration and a smoother hit, or just prefers smaller pieces. One big drawback about these is how difficult it can be to clean them. Because of their intricate designs and small size, cleaning can be a nightmare, so bear that in mind when considering a mini rig.
Electronic Dab Rigs
E-rigs have totally brought dabbing into the 21st century. E-rigs are battery powered and rechargeable. They allow for precise temperature control, don’t require a torch or cooling time, and heat up quickly. They’re the most portable and compact rigs on the market; many of them can be taken apart to fit inside a carrying case and some are even small enough to fit in your pocket. Electronic rigs are best for anyone who wants a durable, convenient and portable set up with maximum temperature control. While dabbing with an e-rig is super convenient, cleaning them is not, so keep that in mind when it comes time to pick your dab set up.
That was a lot of info, so let’s distill it down real quick: If you’re looking for a fast and easy portable rig, get an e-rig. If you prefer something a little lower maintenance but still portable, opt for a silicone rig. If you’re more into glass, you have some great choices too. Traditionalists might enjoy the experience of a glass rig which allows you to taste your concentrates more than other rigs. Artsy stoners will enjoy recyclers and will definitely enjoy those smooth hits. And finally, if you’re looking for a more portable glass rig, then a mini rig might be right for you.
The world of concentrates can be a little overwhelming, so take your time when considering what type of rig to invest in. It might be helpful to try different set ups before deciding on one for yourself. But don’t worry, with so many options in the market, there's a perfect option for you.