The first dab rig was created somewhere in the mid-2000s and has been soaring in popularity since. While dab rigs have become much more advance the basic components have remained the same: a nail, a glass piece and a torch lighter. Dab rigs start at around $50 but can be above $300 for the more premium models for example the Puffco Peak Smart Rig. Smoke Cartel offer a huge range of dab rigs which you can view here at this collection over at the Smoke Cartel


The dab rig was designed for cannabis concentrates, rather than cannabis flower, however some electric dab rigs allow you to use both. The main difference when inhaling from a dab rig compared to a bong or a joint, is in the amount of THC they contain.

THC and Cannabis Concentrates

The amount of THC in typical marijuana a person would smoke is in between the 15-25% range. With cannabis concentrates it is within the 65-80% range, which is a considerably larger amount.

It also provides a completely different experience, as well as not producing any ash or the pungent smell of a pipe or bong. To dab, the concentrate is placed on a nail, after the nail has been heated up for a certain amount of time using a torch lighter, it is then inhaled as vapor which is drawn through the rig.

The Rig

Choosing the correct rig depends on your dabbing tendencies and lifestyle. A glass rig is recommended for those who are new to dabbing and are generally considered to be the best. They provide a clean hit and are much easier to maintain. The silicone rig provides the advantage of not being easy to break, if by chance it falls to the ground. The mini rig allows for easy transportation due to its portable size. The e-rig is designed for simplicity; simply press a button to heat up the nail, wait about 20 seconds before applying the concentrate or flower and then inhale.

Feature - How to Properly Set Up a Dab Rig

The Nail

The nail is the most crucial part of the hand fired dab rig. Although it might not affect the flavor of concentrates, it is responsible for what temperature the concentrates can be heated to and how long the heat is held for. Nails come in a variety of materials such as glass, ceramic, quartz, titanium and E-nails. Glass nails are standard however they don’t hold heat for very long, break easily and must be replaced often which means more money will be spent in the long run. Ceramic holds heat a little better than glass, but they also break easily. Quartz nails are preferred as they don’t break very easily, it is next to impossible to overheat them, but a lot of vapor isn’t produced since it doesn’t hold onto heat for very long.


Titanium is considered to be the best as it holds onto heat extremely well and it is pretty much indestructibly. The only drawback is that the concentrate might burn due to being relatively easy to overheat, so the torch should be used cautiously. E-nails remove the need for a torch entirely as the coil heats up like an e-cigarette and come with a PID that gauges the temperature. The only downside is that they are expensive.

2 - How to Properly Set Up a Dab Rig

The Dabber

This is the tool that you will be using to transfer the concentrate to your nail. It is preferred to use a titanium or glass dabber, as stainless steel could melt over time which will result in a bad taste and is harmful.

The Torch

How to Properly Set Up a Dab Rig - 1


The choice for a torch is either butane or propane. It is better to use a butane torch as it does not affect the taste of the concentrate. Propane torches are prone to burning too hot, which is not only dangerous to the user, but might also lead to the concentrate being burned before it can produce vapor. Usually the torch needs to be bought separately, however they are included in some dab kits on the market.

When it comes to choosing your rig, it is ultimately about personal preference. One thing to consider is the size of the rig. Smaller rigs provide more flavor as they keep the vapor condensed and potent. If you’re a newcomer, most standard glass rigs will do, and it is advised to spend most of the budget on the nail. More affordable nails become expensive over time since they have to be replaced more often. With trial and error, you will build a rig that is perfect for you.