From shatter and crumble to wax and sauce, concentrate dabs are a totally alternative experience. Yet, as a newbie just stepping into the world of dabs, you may feel a little overwhelmed with all the lingo and equipment used. Here’s a quick start guide on different ways to take a dab and the different tools you may need in the process.
First, About the Different Dab Equipment
Dabbing is not anything like smoking; the product is different, so the equipment is unique. In order to get the most from a dab, you’ll need one of the built-for-purpose setups, like:
- Dab Rigs
- Nectar Collectors
- Electric Nails
The setup you use can be a matter of what you like. For example, some prefer the ability to control temps with an e-nail, while others like the fact that manual dab rigs with a banger and good carb cap let them enjoy the best cold-start dabs. Now, let’s move into the different dabbing methods.
Different Dab Methods
There are primarily three dabbing methods even though there are quite a few variables that can come along with each one.
Standard Dabbing Method
The standard dabbing method involves heating your nail until it gets hot or reaches a certain temperature. You then apply the dab right to the nail with a dabber tool, begin inhaling, and then pop on a carb cap to finish off the hit. Standard dabbing is still the most popular way of vaping dabs. The process is pretty straightforward and quick, but can be improved with experience and with the use of temperature gauges.
Cold Start Method (Reverse Dabbing)
Cold start dabbing is all about adding whatever concentrate you’re using to a nail or surface while that surface is still cold. Normally, you would heat the surface, add the concentrate, and inhale. Cold start means loading, heating, and then inhaling. The purpose of cold start is to protect the terpenes and cannabinoids, which may be compromised when you drop your dab directly on a pre-heated surface. In the end, you get good-quality hits with a lot of added flavor. This technique makes it easier to avoid overheating your oil, but it requires attention and care. Don’t be careless and just keep torching, as eventually you can ignite your oil! Watch for the bubbles in the oil to slow down and stop, then cut the flame, cap and inhale!
The slurper method, also called the terp slurper method, involves using a special banger invented by Toro called the “TerpSlurper” which has a modified design from a standard banger. The bucket itself is essentially the same, but the banger has a middle cylinder that extends from the base of the bucket that has slits to control airflow flow the bottom instead of the top. This causes the air to flow THROUGH the oil rather than over the surface of the oil. Terp slurpers are gaining popularity because they give you a more controlled hit once you know how to use them. Plus, they allow you to use bigger dabs at a time. They also feature a unique airflow characteristic, making a pleasant rattling sound as they are hit. Very much worth a try!
What’s a Banger?
A banger is essentially a small quartz bucket, dish, or vessel on a dab rig where you heat your dab. Bangers attach to the main dab rig via a joint, but these things come in a plethora of shapes and sizes. Quartz is a high temperature resistance material which can resist damage when heated by a blowtorch. Regular borosilicate glass, like your bongs and slides are made of, will crack or shatter under such conditions.
Getting the Right Banger
The main thing to look for when picking a banger is how it joins to the rig. Bangers can have varied joint sizes and angles, so make sure the connection will actually fit on your rig before you make a purchase.
What Are Dab Pearls?
Also sometimes called terp pearls, banger beads, or terp balls, dab pearls are little solid balls made of either quartz or glass that move around in a banger when you take a dab. Even though dab pearls are not necessarily a must-have, they can be helpful to keep heat distributed evenly and move around whatever concentrate you are dabbing for an even hit. As a bonus, dab pearls may help keep concentrate residue from accumulating inside the banger.
Getting the Right Pearls
Dab pearls come in different sizes, so that is the primary option you will face when trying to buy the right ones. In short, make sure the pearls are small enough to fit inside your banger and have room to move around. You may prefer smaller 6mm pearls, for example, if your banger is not that big.
All About Carb Caps
What’s a carb cap? You’re definitely going to need to know this when you step into the world of dabbing. Carb caps are a simple concept; they go over the top of your banger or dab nail after dropping a dab on it. The role of the carb cab is to trap the heat inside the bucket or bowl kind of like a lid would do on a hot pan. This allows you to get the most vapor from your dab through convection action, and to lower the temperature needed for proper evaporation. The right temperature dab can mean a smoother hit, better flavor and much improved banger lifetime.
Carb caps are kind of a big deal among collectors because they are small, interesting, made from a ton of different materials, and available in all kinds of shapes, sizes, and colors. Most carb caps do fall into one of four categories.
Regular carb caps are the most rudimentary in shape and design. You essentially have a cover that traps heat and a small handle or protruding piece to maneuver the cap. Infrequently made/found in shops these days, as they have been replaced with upgraded designs.
The precursor to Spinner Caps, directional caps feature an angled airflow inlet allowing the user to twist the cap, thus changing the direction of the airflow and moving the oil around the nail.
Spinner caps have a series of airflow channels in a swirled or “spinning” formation that wraps around the carb itself. Once a dab is heated, you simply add the spinner cap and twirl it around and control both heat and airflow. “Automatic” directional caps. These are the most popular design on the market right now.
Bubble caps have a spherical shape, almost like a marble, but they have a hollow stem that extends from the bottom and out through the top. This hollow stem allows you precise control over the heat and air pressure simply by tapping the top of the stem while inhaling. These are similar to directional caps, but are simpler to use and require less manipulation. A simple swirl of the cap with one finger will spin the oil in the nail.
What’s the Right Carb Cap for You?
Carb caps are all about preference. Some people swear by spinners and bubblers because they give you optimal airflow control. However, some people are just as happy with a standard cap.
You don’t necessarily have to have a cap; the cap simply helps you get the most from the heat applied. Without it however, it is likely you will either burn your oil by taking hot dabs, or waste oil by taking medium temp dabs with no extra airflow. A carb cap is very much recommended for the ideal dabbing experience.
Find Dab Necessities and Artsy Dabbing Collectibles
Once you get into dabbing, you will find so many cool parts and pieces that you can play around with, interchange, and collect. If you’re looking for some of the most unique pieces to use with your dabbing experiences, be sure to check out our collection at Bern Gallery.