Why Use a Ball Carb Cap?
It’s clear why using a carb cap is better than domeless dabbing. No matter whether you’re a low- or high-temp dabber (or somewhere in the middle), capping a dab results in a steadier, more full pull. Carb caps stabilize the temperature on and within the heated nail and help control airflow, meaning that there’s less fussing around with a torch or smoldering concentrate and more time spent just dabbing. It’s an easier way to get a worry-free dab every time.
Carb caps come in all sorts of designs now and are no longer simply restricted to the thin, wobbly titanium banger caps that used to make up the market. There are a range of choices out there for every type of setup, and certainly everyone has their own preferences. But when it comes to popularity, one nail-and-cap combo takes the cake for both advanced dabbers and complete novices: banger nails paired with bubble carb caps.
Titanium is No Longer
Nowadays titanium has fallen out of favor and borosilicate glass has stepped up to be the more preferable carb cap material, especially when paired with a quartz nail (ceramic carb caps are also available). Glass is preferred to titanium because the latter can often leave behind an aftertaste that can affect the flavor profile, and possibly even chemical content, of the dab. Titanium can also heat up too much, making it frustrating to have to remove the cap while managing to not get singed. Glass carb caps, on the other hand, cool down much more quickly and evenly.
Carb Caps Evolve with Dab Nails
It’s not only the materials used to make the caps that have changed; the basic designs of carb caps have evolved over the years as well. As glass carb caps began to gain popularity design options exploded, resulting in carb caps specially made for honey buckets, hinged caps that attach to a nail, and sidearm caps. But one design has emerged as the reigning champion when it comes to capping your dab, and it’s the perfect partner to the popular banger-style nail: ball carb caps.
Directional Carb Caps
Most ball carb caps look like if a hollow 8-ball got bisected by a pipe, one end longer than the other. The shorter end is meant to go inside of the banger while the ball rests on the sides of the dish and creates an airtight seal. The top end of the tube is a bit longer and sticks out opposite the banger, functioning as an air intake as well as a little handle for moving the ball carb cap. Ball carb caps are directional carb caps (like the Puddle Pusher Carb Cap), meaning that they give you the chance to alter the airflow within the banger nail unlike an unmoving, regular carb cap. Stagnant air can result in concentrate that just puddles rather than boiling, so directional carb caps like these are great for making sure that all of the concentrate gets vaporized evenly. Read the full rundown on directional carb caps here.
With the option to change the airflow, directional carb caps give you more control over the rig in general. Like regular carb caps, ball carb caps can also cut down the amount of air let into the system—a function which achieves two things. For one, it keeps the banger dish or nail warm and at an even temperature, meaning that the concentrate is less likely to have issues with either burning (at too high a temperature) or pooling and sticking (at too low a temperature). The second benefit is clear, and will definitely excite the lazy set: using a ball carb cap uses up concentrate, which means less cleaning is necessary and your quartz banger is less likely to devitrify (build up extra crystal layers) and break. You should still get in the habit of cleaning your banger nail anyway.
There are alternative ball carb cap designs also available now, options including handle-less marble-style caps that just sit right in a banger and can be nudged around with a finger. Granted, this version doesn’t have the stem that can be used to push around puddles of concentrate that have gotten too cool and need more heated air, so the functionality ends up being different from the pipe-based design.
Best Paired with Bangers
Ball carb caps are specifically made to work with thermal and flat-top bangers, which are the preferred nails for low temperature and beginner dabbers. They’re easy to clean, and when it comes to directional carb caps it’s hard to find an option that’s simpler to maneuver. Ball carb caps create a reliable seal on their paired bangers and give dabbers the option to push the concentrate around while also maintaining airflow within the nail, unlike hitting a rig while using only a domeless nail and a dabbing tool. Looking at the benefits of this kind of accessory, it’s clear why ball carb caps are so popular among dabbers of all temperatures—and that they’re certainly not disappearing off the market any time soon.