LUXURY LIFTED BLOG POST: What is a dab rig?

Dab Rigs 101: Breaking down the dab rig

Dabs are concentrated doses of cannabis, made by extracting THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) and other cannabinoids, like CBD, to produce a wax or oil that you can smoke or vaporize. There are a few different ways you can consume a dab, but one of the most popular is with a dab rig.

What’s a dab rig?

Dab rigs are a type of water pipe, or bong, that’s used to consume legal concentrates, also known as dabbing. These pipes are usually smaller in size and use a banger, or a nail, rather than a bowl to heat up your concentrates.

There are two different methods to heating up your banger and getting it ready for your dab. The first is with a butane or propane torch (like this xxx by Blazer and Higher Standards). You can heat the nail until it turns red hot, but this is usually overkill and tends to wear your banger down over time. Typically, holding your torch to your nail for around 30-40 seconds, followed by a cool down of around 20-45 seconds, should do the trick. Ideally, when using a torch, it’s a good idea to test out the timing and see what works best for your preference and your banger.

The second method is with electricity, or an e-nail. Electronic nails have their advantages over torches. For one, their safer. You don’t have to wield a giant flame to get your nail to your desired temperature. Which brings us to the second advantage, temperature control. With an e-nail you can control the temperature of your dab for the ultimate dabbing experience.

The longer you let your nail cool down, the more flavorful your hit will be. Alternatively, the shorter time you let your nail cool down and the hotter your nail is, the more potent your hit will be.

Parts of a dab rig

  1. Mouthpiece –The mouthpiece is located at the top of the neck and is where you inhale from. There are many different mouthpiece styles and shapes on different types of rigs. You can also use the mouthpiece to add water to your pipe.
  2. Banger – A banger, or nail, is similar to a glass bowl and is inserted into the pipe and heated up to vaporize your concentrates. Bangers come in many different forms, shapes and sizes. Make sure to measure the joint on your pipe and take note of the angle when purchasing your banger.
  3. Downstem – The downstem is the long tube that connects the banger to the dab rig and directs the flow of smoke into the water chamber. Usually downstems are "fixed" (welded permanently into place) to the pipe, however, there are some that have "removable" ones. Most downstems a diffusion element, which works like a percolator to break the smoke up into smaller bubbles as it enters the water for a smoother hit.
  4. Carb Cap – A carb cap is a tool that is used to maximize airflow to your banger by trapping heat around domeless nails or bangers. This allows the concentrate to vaporize at a lower temperature, preserving the quality and flavor. There are a number of different types of carb caps. The one pictured is a standard carb cap.
  5. Percolator - Most downstems have a diffusion element, called a percolator that breaks the vapor up into smaller bubbles as it enters the water making for a smoother hit.
  6. Joint – It isn’t shown on this image, but a joint is the connection, or opening, on a dab rig where the banger is placed. Standard joints are usually 8, 10, or 14 mm. You'll notice certain products refer to "joint sizes" and "joint genders" which tells you if the other components, like the downstem and the banger, are compatible sizes to create an airtight connection. 

And what’s the difference between a dab rig and a bong?

The simple answer; not much. Technically, a dab rig is used to consume concentrates like shatter, wax or budder and a bong is used to consume flower, tobacco, or dry herbs. A dab rig uses heat to vaporize your legal concentrates, providing a more flavorful and potent high. A bong uses combustion to ignite your dry herb, producing a smoke that’s filtered through water and inhaled. Technically, a bong can be a dab rig and a dab rig can be a bong, but if you’re really looking to get the best of both experiences, you should consider keeping them separate. The biggest difference between the two is size. Yes, size DOES matter, especially when it comes to consuming your dry herbs and concentrates.

A bong is usually larger in size and contains a number of percolators that help filter and cool down the smoke before you inhale it. When you combust dry herb in a bong, the smoke can travel long distances without losing its potency. In fact, the larger the bong and the more percs it has, the smoother your hit will be. Dab rigs, however, are smaller in size and have less percs so the vapor from your concentrate is inhaled as quickly as possible ensuring it maintains its flavor and potency.

Looking for help with your next dab rig purchase?

Don’t hesitate to reach out to us at and we’ll help you find something special that you’ll love.


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