What’s in a Nail?

If you’re in the market for a new dab rig, you should take into consideration what type of nail you want to use.  This day and age, there are all sorts of options that offer a variety of experiences.  For all rigs, take note of the size of the stem of the rig & note whether or not it is a male or female stem.  Meaning, will the nail fit inside the stem or cover the stem piece?  Secondly, you want to decide what material you want the nail to be. 

There are 3 basic types of nails to choose from:

  1. Titanium
    The OG nail, it is the most durable material for a nail and will heat the quickest.  It can heat to temperatures away above sublimation (change of solid to a vapor without going to liquid first) within 30 seconds, and then dabber must wait for the temperature to drop after 30 seconds or so.  If the dab is placed on the nail too quickly, the smoke may be too hot and irritate the lungs.  Additionally, more fragile elements of the wax, resin, or shatter can be destroyed at high temperatures.  For example, when dabbing at high temperatures, many of the terpenes (the flavor elements) of the wax will burn and will not offer a full flavor profile.  One major issue with titanium nails is the quality of the metal.  Titanium is an industrial material, not food grade, so it is important to purchase Grade A titanium to avoid the degradation of the metal.  One it begins to degrade after recurring exposure to high temperatures, it could potentially have carcinogenic byproducts.
  2. Ceramic
    While Ceramic nails are not as durable as titanium nails, they offer their own advantages.  Ceramic nails are more safely manufactured as food grade material.  Ceramic nails also do not heat as quickly as titanium nails do.  Once a ceramic nail has reached a certain heat, they are able to retain heat for longer than titanium and provide more sustained heat in cooler temperatures.  Repeated heating of the nail can cause it to become more fragile and it can break with rapid temperature change or can crack with drastic temperatures.  These nails also shatter very easily if they’re dropped.  With ceramic nails, the flavor profile is a bit better than titanium due to the more steady heating of the nail, but is not as great as quartz.
  3. Quartz
    This is the best bang for your buck if you’re looking for a true flavor profile from your extract.  While this banger will shatter if tapped too hard, it is less expensive than a titanium nail.  The quartz nail is the quickest to heat, taking only about 10 seconds, and also cooling very quickly.  The slightly more expensive quartz nails are typically made with thicker quartz and are less likely to break.

What is your preference when dabbing your DabsLabs shatter, wax, distillate, budder, resin, or True Spectrum?  Do you want to use a titanium nail with an e-nail heater?  Or use a torch to light up your quartz banger?  There’s no true right or wrong when it comes to dabbing!  It’s a personal preference.