How To Dab On A Budget
Once you see all the tools you need for dabbing, it’s easy to believe that it’s out of reach for the common smoker. You’d be wrong; dabbing is more than affordable if you know what to look for. Let us help you get the best bargains on dab equipment.
If you already have a dry herb bong, you can convert it into a dab rig. All you need to do is switch out the herb bowl for a nail of the appropriate size and gender. Ideally, the bong’s joint should be 90 degrees or close to it, as that’s the safest and easiest angle to heat the nail and place concentrates. A 45 degree joint bong would be difficult to use effectively, though that can be alleviated by buying a reclaim catcher (as explained below). In addition, smoking concentrates tends to leave lots of oil resin in bongs, especially if they have lots of percolators. The oil resin will change the flavor of dry herbs and vice versa, meaning that it’s best to have a separate bong for concentrates. Thankfully, there are plenty of inexpensive rigs made specifically for dabbing.
Mini dab rigs, which are usually around 4-6”, make the best bargain as not only are they affordable, they can be travelled with easily. DankStop’s Nano Inline Perc Oil Rig measures in at 5” and is made of discrete clear glass that doesn’t catch too much attention. It’s inline perc downstem provides just enough percolation, as the smoothness of concentrates makes having multiple/complex percs less important. If you want a flashier 5” rig, the Nano Bubbler Dab Rig features blue colored glass, a coral reef pattern on the base, and a sidecar-style neck. Premium glass producers like Grav Labs and Alien Flower Monkey (AFM for short) also make affordable mini rigs; including Grav’s Snic Style Beaker Rig and AFM’s Showerhead Perc Dab Rig Puck. While mini dab rigs are great for travel and storage, some of you probably want a vapor bong and the size that comes with that title. In that case DankStop’s 4 Arm Tree Perc Beaker, which has a nail and dome option, comes in at 11.5” and has all of the things associated with a high quality bong (percolator, splashguard, ice-catcher, etc) at a cheap price.
Aside from the rig, the nail is the most important tool in your dabbing set. The nail can sit in your bong for years or months depending on its composition and quality. The most basic (and inexpensive) nail is the glass nail, which comes standard with most commercial dab rigs. Like the rest of your bong, glass can resist high temperatures and can be easily cleaned. At under $10 for a nail, glass nails are a cheap bargain (Like this 14mm Glass Nail). If you plan on dabbing regularly, however, quartz nails might be a reasonable upgrade. Quartz is denser than glass, which allows it to withstand heat and pressure better. Their clear color also allows them to look aesthetically consistent with most scientific glass rigs and domes. For about $5-$10 more than a glass nail, you can get a piece that lasts significantly longer (Like this Domeless Quartz Nail). If you want to stretch the life of your rig as well, DankStop has a 4mm Thick Quartz Banger Nail (a nail that has a small bridge between the plate and the joint) which will keep some of the heat from your torch away from the oil rig.
The good thing about torches is that no matter how much they cost, they’ll get the job done. The big difference in torch quality is heat-up time (more expensive = faster), which isn’t much of a concern when it comes to dabbing. As long as the nail’s heated in 20 seconds or so, you should be good. The most affordable torch you’ll find online is DankStop’s 7” Butane Cigar Torch, which will be sufficient for your dabbing needs with a gas flow regulator to control flame size and airflow control valve.
Given that the dabber gets much less exposure to heat than the rest of your set, there’s less of a need to worry about they’re made of. Like nails, they come in glass, titanium, quartz and ceramic. A glass dabber isn’t a bad option if that’s what best fits your budget (Chameleon Glass’ Clear Dabber is very affordable), though they lack the array of tool options you’ll get from titanium dabbers.
Most dabbers are titanium, but thankfully cost much less than a titanium nail. While shopping, you’ll see an array of dabbers with different tools, including a ballpoint, spatula, and a pick. These tools are designed for different forms of concentrate (spatula for wax, scoops for crumble, etc). Assuming that you’ll primarily be dabbing shatter (the most common concentrate form), you only really need a pointed or skinny tip dabber. Skilletools - the most prominent name in dabbers - have a reasonably priced Sharpy Tool that will work fine with your shatter. If you smoke more wax or crumble (or just want another dabber just in case), Skilletools’ Mini Flexy is another inexpensive choice.
In order to maximize your dabbing, dabbers like C2 Custom Creations’ Quartz Carb Cap/Dabber combine your dabber with a carb cap, which is a dish you can put over your dome and nail after dabbing the concentrate. With a carb cap, you can make sure that you’ll be able to inhale as much vapor as possible.
Reclaim Catcher & Concentrate Container
Aside from the necessary tools, it’s also important to consider how to maximize the value of your concentrate. Many dabbers end up wasting oil that could be re-used for later use by allowing dabs to drip into the rig. That’s where the reclaim catcher becomes a godsend; it attaches to the joint of your rig and, while you’re dabbing, it collects excess oil as it drips down. Not only will you be saving concentrate for later use, you’ll also be keeping the bong cleaner by keeping oil from clogging it. DankStop carries an affordable Male Reclaim Catcher and Female Reclaim Catcher in 14mm and 18mm. For those who want to convert their 45 degree joint bong into a dab rig, there’s also a 45 Degree Angled Reclaim Catcher that makes dabbing with them more comfortable. Once the reclaim catcher is removed from rig, you’ll need somewhere to put the captured concentrate. A Silicon Jar, like those you’ll find at DankStop.com, provides a safe way to collect that leftover wax without it sticking to the material.