What is a Banger Nail?
Nails are a crucial component of any dab rig. They’re the heated element of the whole contraption, the conduit through which action happens. Without them, the whole setup is just a regular old bong-in-waiting.
What is a Dab Nail?
In less dramatic and more practical terms, a dab nail is the part of the rig that is inserted into the water pipe and gets heated up. Obviously it’s important to choose the right nail when developing your whole setup, meaning it’s worth the time to get to know the surprising variety of options for this part of the dab rig. Luckily for people overwhelmed by choice, one option stands out clearly amongst the others—especially when it comes to beginners: banger nails.
Introducing Banger Nails
All dab nails are available in a wide variety of both materials and shapes, but one of the most popular and enduring of them all is the swan-necked, flat-bottomed banger design. Named perhaps for its visual similarity to a hammer, bangers are a common go-to for amateur dabbers because of their low price point and the relative ease with which they can be used.
Banger nails can be made from anything from titanium and glass to quartz crystal. The flat bottom feature of banger nails makes it easy to get an evenly heated surface using sustained, slowly moving contact with a torch lighter. The tubing of the banger, which leads to the water pipe, helps make the most of controlled air intake leading into the body of the rig, helping keep an even pull. You can see this style of tubing on most banger nails, such as the 2mm Thick Quartz Banger Nail.
Bangers are versatile when it comes to being used with or without a carb cap (“domeless dabbing”). The caps allow for dabbing at a lower temperature, which helps to maintain a clearer-tasting pull. High-temperature dabbers or those who are super concerned about torching their nail might want to consider even getting an adapter piece for the banger in order to space it a little further away from the rig itself, as heat can cause stress fractures in the piece. Check out the benefits of both low-temp and high-temp dabbing.
Pros & Cons
Each type of banger has its own pros and cons, so it really comes down to a matter of personal preference. Some people lament that titanium banger nails leave behind a metallic taste, making the quartz (which helps provide a cleaner, more concentrated flavor) a more commonly seen choice among banger-using dabbers. Quartz crystal is also more durable than glass or ceramic, heats up faster (in almost 10 seconds) and is less likely to shatter or crack under sustained high heat, making it ideal for withstanding a butane or propane torch flame. Titanium, on the other hand, can swell, getting stuck in a rig’s joint and even breaking it. Quartz bangers can maintain the necessary temperature well and for a long period of time, making it easier to take your time with the whole setup instead of feeling rushed, which is a common problem with standard dabbing nails that cool down quickly. If you are a consistent dabber however and want something that will last longest, titanium nails are the most durable option and great to pair with electric nails.
Newest Fad: Thermal Banger Nails
Recently thermal banger nails have caught on with dabbing fans, a new design that features a double-walled concentrate chamber. This design helps to prevent everyone’s least favorite problem: a plug-up of unused concentrate in the neck of the banger. Thermal bangers are a solid new choice for low-temperature dabbers, providing a tighter and more enclosed space for the concentrate to vaporize in and helping to maintain heat for even longer than a typical nail. Thermal bangers can also be used with a carb cap, which is actually recommended in this instance over the open-air method, especially at lower temperatures where the vapor can otherwise just trail off. Learn all about how carb caps can help you here.
Cleaning Your Banger Nail
For neat freaks, bangers in general are luckily known for how easy they are to keep fresh: just a few goes with a cotton swab dipped in 90% alcohol and, well, bang! Clean as new. Some people argue that it’s best to leave the nail “seasoned,” as in not entirely cleaned (think of a cast-iron skillet), in order to keep the quartz lasting longer, so the choice is up to you.
Pairing Your Banger Nail to Your Dab Rig
As with anything, when buying a banger nail be sure to take note of the size of the joints between the pieces you have and the ones you’re buying so that they fit together snugly and form a secure seal. This goes for whether you’re using extra attachments on a rig or just plugging the nail directly into a bong.
It’s clear why bangers, thermal or not, are a solid choice for people looking for a simple and consistent dabbing nail. Whether titanium, quartz, or ceramic, banger nails are renowned for how easy they are to use. For novice dabbers especially, a banger is an easy way to get onto dabbing and experience what all the fuss is about. And for professionals who love a low temperature, nothing is better than the slow and steady pull of a banger topped off with a carb cap.