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How to Use a Dab Rig


Step-By-Step Guide on How to Use a Dab Rig

What is a Dab Rig?

Dab rigs are devices, typically made from glass, designed for cannabis concentrates instead of cannabis flower.

There is a vast variety of styles of dab rigs. They range from the simple "dab straws" (a glass or quartz tube, heated at one end and used to smoke concentrates with) to electronic dab rigs. Most dab setups have a main "rig" and use attachment known as a "nail."

big glass water pipe

How a Dab Rig Works.

Rather than use combustion such as with a bong, dab rigs are designed to vaporize cannabis concentrates. The nail is heated up to a specific temperature, often using a butane torch. The hot nail will cause your concentrate to vaporize when it comes into contact with it. This releases the cannabinoids into a vapor, which you draw through the dab rig as you inhale. The vapor will usually pass through a water chamber to cool it before being taken into the lungs via the mouthpiece of the bab rig, similar to how you would use a water bong with dry herb or flower. 

purple glass dab rig

While the technique may vary with equipment, the main dabbing fundamentals remain constant.

Here is a simple step-by-step guide for dabbing cannabis concentrates from a dab rig or water pipe:



  1. Check that your nail is secured to your dab rig

Using a dab rig is all about preparation. Before it's heated, your nail must be secured to the dab rig without even a little wobble. If not, you could be causing a world of pain later. 

cool water pipe

  1. Use the torch to heat your nail.

Uniformly heat your nail with a butane torch or heating element. Do this by applying the flame or element directly to the nail for 20-30 seconds. The exact timing to get the proper heat will depend on the power of your torch, and the thickness of the nail when its fully heated the nail may give off a reddish glow.

heating a nail on a dab rig

  1. Let the nail cool

By allowing the nail to cool, you let the heat disperse throughout the nail. 

It's good to let the nail cool for at least twice as long as you heated it as a rule of thumb. 

Even after a minute or two, the nail will retain a lot of the heat,so keep it well away from your skin to avoid nasty burns. For higher flavor dabs that are less harsh on the lungs, low-temperature dabs are perfect. 

  1. Use the dabber or dab tool to apply a dab of concentrate to the nail.

Place a small amount of your dabbing concentrate on the end of your dab tool (dabber) and transfer it to the end of the nail, inside the dome. 

If the nail was appropriately heated, the dab should evaporate very quickly. Pivot and roll the tip of the dabber on the nail until all of the concentrate has evaporated.

puttin wax into a dab rig nail

  1. Cover the nail with the carb cab then inhale

Slowly inhale the dab. To avoid irritating your throat and lungs, take care not to inhale too quickly. If you start to cough, it could indicate that the nail temperature was too high before when you applied the dab. 

If the dab is at the right temperature for you, then you shouldn't experience any coughing.

Within a few seconds of exhaling, you may start to experience the effects of the dab.

caping a nail on a dab rig

  1. Clean the nail

Once you have finished dabbing, use a Q-tip to remove any excess residual concentrate from the nail.

cleaning a dab rig


Precautions of Dabbing

Dabbing is one of the most potent forms of cannabis consumption. It should be treated with respect and caution. Start small with pin-sized dabs. Then, as you become accustomed to it, you can gradually adjust your dab size to meet your needs. 

Take care with your dab nail and torch.

Butane torches and nails get exceptionally hot. The temperature of a nail can be 900° Fahrenheit. This is more than enough to inflict third-degree burns if you're not cautious. 

The dab torches are designed to produce intense heat. Always use them fare away from flammable substances and surfaces. Always err on the side of caution when dealing with torches and high-temperature nails.