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Friday November 6, 2020

By Erin Hiatt


In the past few years, consumption of cannabis concentrates like wax, shatter, live resin, and rosin have taken the industry by storm. In fact, since cannabis has become more legal nationwide, sales of concentrates have exploded. For example, from 2016-2019 sales of concentrate in Colorado increased by approximately 128%, while sales of flower rose by a mere 4.4 percent. 

Even though dabbing is a very efficient and potent way to consume cannabis, for the most part, it is not the most convenient or discreet. It can also be a bit challenging for beginner consumers to know exactly what they need to get started. To get the most out of the experience, you’ll need several components. Of course, there are more elaborate dabbing setups, however, this piece intends to show people who are new to dabbing what they need to get started.

Here’s a round-up of some of the most essential dabbing accessories needed to consume concentrates.

Dab Rig

A rig is the most important part of your dabbing setup as it is the vessel in which you’ll inhale the concentrate’s vapor once heated. Dab rigs come in all shapes and sizes, however, a general rule of thumb to look for is a smaller chamber for better flavor.

Dab rig
Your dab rig is the most essential piece for your setup.

As with any smoking device, the price range of a dab rig can be low or high depending what you’re looking for. There are plenty of rigs blown by local glass artists too that are affordable so check around if you’re keen on supporting your community. 

Quartz Banger or Titanium Nail

While quartz is definitely the preferred medium for connoisseurs and low-temp dabbers, as long as you have some sort of nail or banger to heat up you will be able to take a proper dab. There are many affordable options when it comes to quartz bangers or metal nails. For anyone who is just starting out in their dabbing career, check out your local head shop!

Dabber aka Dab Tool

To get your concentrate into a banger or nail head without badly burning your fingers, you’ve got to get a durable dab tool. Many consumers go the utilitarian route and get tools made of titanium or stainless steel because they are durable and heat-resistant. However, there are plenty of dab tools out there that feature more intricate designs.

dab tool
A dab tool is necessary for transporting your concentrates into the nail.

Dabbers can really range in price, from $5 to hundreds of dollars, but unless you are the consumer interested in a unique or creative dab tool, your basic titanium dabber at the lower end of the price scale will get the job done just fine.

Dab Torches

In order to properly vaporize concentrates, aka dab, heat must be applied to the banger or nail connected to your dab rig. Dabbers accomplish this most commonly via a dab torch. It’s important to find a torch that won’t ruin the flavor or potency of your dab by overheating. Look for an easy-to-refill, dependable, quality torch that can be used many times before refilling.

Torches are fueled by either propane or butane, but those made for butane are typically easier to find and cheaper than those made for propane.

More and more companies are making butane torches specifically for dabbers, giving consumers more options than ever. Use those options to find a torch with a compact design that can be taken on-the-go. Torches usually cost around $15-$80, while a butane refill will put you out about $5.

Cleaning Gear (Isopropyl alcohol, Q-tips, etc.)

To get the best flavor from your concentrates, you’ve got to keep that dab rig clean (and nobody likes dirty rigs). Cleaning caps can be useful for sealing off openings and come in a wide variety of colors, shapes, and sizes, but be sure to get one that stretches, fits well, and doesn’t come off easily. 

Immediately after taking a dab, use a Q-Tip to wipe out the oily liquid from the dish of your nail in order to extend your equipment’s lifespan and preserve the flavor as well.

Other important cleaning items to have on hand are cotton swabs, pipe cleaners, sealable plastic bags, and a cleaning solution like isopropyl alcohol or other cleanser made for glass. 

Reclaim Catcher

Many beginners enjoy collecting reclaim for economical reasons. If you want to conserve dab concentrate and keep your rig cleaner over its lifetime, you should definitely consider getting a reclaim catcher. This handy tool lets you take the extra concentrate that pools in the nail and reuse it later. 

Most reclaim catchers are very affordable and attach to most dab rigs. When you reclaim your concentrate, you reclaim your money since you end up buying less product over time. Cleaning your rig less frequently is an added bonus. 

Storage Gear

To keep your dab rig and accessories organized and in one place, consider getting a storage piece. Find a sturdy case with padding and space cut out for each piece, especially important when traveling with your rig. Another option to consider in an odor-proof storage box or bag, many of which include holders for storing dabbers and other tools.

Assembling a Dab Kit

While proper dabbing can require a bit more equipment than other consumption methods, many of the items can be found at reasonable prices, and don’t always need to be purchased at the same time. Assembling the right combo of dab gear is heavily influenced by personal preference, but small additions can often go a long way. 

What are your favorite accessories in your dab kit? Share in the comments!


Erin Hiatt Erin Hiatt

Erin Hiatt is a New York City-based writer who has been covering the cannabis industry for more than six years. Her work - which has appeared in Hemp Connoisseur Magazine, PotGuide, Civilized, Vice, Freedom Leaf, MERRY JANE, Alternet, and CannaInvestor - covers a broad range of topics, including cannabis policy and law, CBD, hemp law and applications, science and technology, beauty, and psychedelics.

Erin's work and industry insights have been featured on the podcasts The Let's Go Eat Show, In the Know 420, and she has appeared as a featured panelist on the topic of hemp media. Erin has interviewed top industry experts such as Dr. Carl Hart, Ethan Nadelmann, Amanda Feilding, Mark A.R. Kleiman, Dr. James Fadiman, and culture icons Governor Jesse Ventura, and author Tom Robbins. You can follow her work on LinkedInWordpress, @erinhiatt on Twitter, and @erinisred on Instagram.

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