What is a Dab Nail?
With “dabbing” quickly growing in popularity amongst the cannabis community, there are constantly new innovations being made to improve the overall dabbing experience. From the early dab rigs using titanium pads, all the way to modern E-rigs and new banger/nail styles that are common amongst consumer collections today. Nowadays there are even highly innovative accessories to improve the dabbing experience like products to measure temperature, or the Stache DigiTül that accurately scales out concentrates with a handy dab tool and digital scale combo design. We’ll discuss more about some options for dab hardware and what may be best for you in this article.
A typical dabbing setup is composed of 3 main pieces: A dab rig, a nail/banger, and a heating element (usually a butane torch, but electronic means have been steadily growing in popularity). The heating element is used to heat the nail to extremely high temperatures. Once the nail has reached the proper temperature, it can be used to vaporize concentrates almost instantly. Different kinds of concentrates (wax, budder, diamonds, rosin, etc.) will vaporize more effectively at varying temperatures, so it can take some practice/research to find the temperature that works for you. The vaporized concentrates flow through the nail and into the rig for the consumer to inhale.
Why You Might be More Fit for Dabbing
Cannabis oils were more commonly used in the past for coating flower to improve its potency. This method of consumption was highly effective in taking users to new heights, but it still posed the issue of inhaling unhealthy plant matter. For those with more sensitive lungs that still enjoy a high-level of consumption, vaping concentrates may be the best option for you!
The main benefit of dabbing comes not only from the stronger effects, but also from the cleaner method of consumption through vaporization. Various rollups like joints and blunts are harsher and contain more plant matter, while also taking longer to consume. The effects of concentrates are fast acting and typically stronger, meaning they can be used to treat several symptoms for medical marijuana patients that are seeking immediate relief from their conditions.
This means that patients seeking higher doses for more severe conditions can achieve the results they need without taxing their lungs heavily through traditional smoking. For patients that rely on their medicine to manage their everyday conditions, this is an invaluable trait of dabbing.
Purity is the biggest difference between traditional flower smoking and vaping concentrates. The best flower on the market rarely reaches consistent numbers over 30% THC. This means that the other various elements that make up the flower like chlorophyll, inactive metabolites, and more are burning and being inhaled along with the medicinal compounds. These substances are harmful to your body's overall health and can place unnecessary stress on the lungs. By removing these elements that cause smoke, we can vaporize the beneficial components more cleanly.
Titanium, Glass, Ceramic, & Quarts Dab Nails
To keep vapor and flying oil contained, the glass dome attachment was created as one of the first dabbing/dab nail accessories. The glass dome will usually have a design that is open-ended at the top to allow users to reach their dab-tools inside to the heated nail. This serves to prevent the user from accidentally touching the hot nail, and the dome also helps catch some of the escaping vapor so you get as much out of the dab as you can.
Nails/Bangers can be made from several different materials, with each having its own advantages and disadvantages. Glass nails for instance are very economically favorable as they are low-cost, but they are also weak to regular high temperatures, and are almost guaranteed to break after some time. Titanium nails were created to provide a more durable choice that could withstand regular use without breaking or giving off gases that can be harmful to your lungs. When low-quality metal options hit the market that did in fact contain these harmful gases, Quartz nails were made to replace the weak and harmful options that had become all too common in the market. These new Quartz nails were made to handle high temperatures with the durability to last for hundreds, if not thousands of sessions (when maintained properly). More recently, Ceramic nails have gained popularity as a low-cost alternative to Quartz. These Ceramic models are more durable than Glass but can still be cracked if heated to more extreme temperatures. They are more susceptible to damage if dropped, but if used correctly a Ceramic nail can be just as good as a Quartz nail for a much lower cost.
Modern designs have moved away from “domes” and now most nails could be classified as dome-less. These dome-less designs now typically rely on what is known as a “carb cap” to hold the vapor after the concentrate has been applied to the nail. Many carb caps these days are designed specifically so that the air flow can be manipulated to some extent to better vape your concentrates.
Stache has many different dome-less nail options and carb caps available on our website! Check out the assorted styles and see which is best suited to your tastes.
The Modern-Day Dabber’s Choice (E-Nails)
As dabbing and legalization have become more common, people with serious medical conditions are looking more and more at vaping as a source of relief. As you can expect, handling a torch poses serious risks and requires a certain level of dexterity to use safely. This can be especially difficult for consumers with impaired motor skills.
Basically, the E-Nail serves to replace the standard butane torch as the heating element for the nail. E-Nails are designed to supply consistent heat to the nail using some form of electric coil connected to an electronic controller box. This controller box is used to set precise temperatures so that consumers can properly vaporize their concentrates without burning or wasting any excess due to inexact temperatures.
If you’re looking to take your dabbing experience to the next level with this high-tech solution, check out our available E-Nails and E-Nail Bundle.
The Terp Slurper is the latest in innovations in the dab nail market. This new style of quartz banger is an extremely effective twist on an old concept that ensures less wasted oil, regardless of dab size. As the concentrate drips down to the dish, precision slits at the bottom allow air in creating a vacuum to push your concentrate back into the middle region. The airflow helps percolate the concentrates as the bubbles flow upwards and then cycle through the process again. Terp slurpers can also be accompanied by terp marbles and other inserts to improve the overall vaporization and efficiency of the process.
Nectar Collector & Dab Straws
If you’re looking for a more unique, low cost, and efficient way to enjoy dabbing it may be worth it to consider getting a nectar collector. Nectar collectors are portable dab rigs made with efficiency in mind. Most nectar collectors and dab straws are equipped with a straw style mouthpiece, a body (sometimes featuring a small addition for percolation), and a titanium or quartz tip.
“The Nectar Collector was conceived in the backwoods of Oregon as a tool to simplify the process of using concentrates in the rugged conditions of mountain life. In its most humble beginnings, the first Nectar Collectors were simple straws; glass pipettes purchased from the chemistry supply shop.” - Nectar Collector 2021
Check out the ConNectar by Stache! An electronic nectar collector compatible with any 510 thread battery!
What Nail Should You Use?
There are a few things to consider when making your decision:
Joint Size: No, we aren’t talking about joints for smoking! We mean the glass fitting that is used for attaching your bowl to your bong which is known as the joint. Glass joints range in sizes depending on what your piece was designed to do. Most pieces for smoking flower are made with 14mm or 18mm female joints, which is the size compatible with most flower bowls. Dab rigs on the other hand either feature a male joint or a female joint but more often they come in the smaller 10mm or 14mm size which are better suited for small oil rigs.
If your bong features a male joint and you are looking for an inexpensive solution, purchasing a glass dome and a glass or ceramic nail may be the most cost-effective method for you!
If you have a bit more in your budget and your piece has a female joint, a dome-less nail with a carb cap (quartz or titanium) might be the best choice.
If money is no issue, and you’re looking to seriously invest in your dabbing experience, a high-quality thick quartz banger or terp slurper will not only have you enjoying more terp-filled dabs, but also use your cannabis concentrates more efficiently due to their ability to vape effectively at lower temperatures.
If you have issues using a dab torch, or you simply want to ensure you are always dabbing at the same temperature and not burning your dabs; an E-Nail might be the best way to go!
The Modern E-Nail
E-Nails are a great option for those that are uncomfortable or incapable of operating a butane torch! The E-Nail is a product that allows for controlled and precise temperatures when consuming concentrates. The E-Nail usually consists of 3 parts: The Heating Coil with the Nail, The Controller Pack/Box, and a power source. Heat is delivered to the Nail through the heating cable, and typically the heat will be controlled through a dial or digital control for consumers to choose their preferred temperature.
While more expensive than a traditional torch and nail combo, an E-Nail can relieve much of the difficulty and potential risk that comes from operating a butane torch. The E-Nail Kit from Stache offers an easy-to-use digital controller box and convenient carrying case.
Other Dabbing Accessories
Dabber: If you are using something not specifically made for dabbing you should seriously consider buying a dabber made of glass, quartz, ceramic, or titanium. As mentioned previously in the article, a lot of metals produce harmful fumes when heated to high temperatures. We understand that in a pinch you might want to use something you can find around the house, however your health comes first!
DigiTül: If you are especially consumption conscious, then the Digital Scale dabber from Stache is the perfect accessory that you need for your collection. Able to accurately scale out your concentrates as you prepare them, it is perfect for taking the perfect size hit every time.
Silicone Mat / Dab Pad: Cannabis concentrates are often hard to manage, purchasing a silicone dab mat can mitigate those potentially “sticky” situations.
Quartz Swabs: Quartz swabs aren’t a necessity, but we highly recommend them if you want to prolong the life of your banger and enjoy the fresh flavor of your concentrates long after the banger has been used for the first time.