It’s almost the end of the year, and that means it’s time to declare dab rigs as the best accessory of an active smoking lifestyle in 2018. Joints and blunts are still fine and dandy, but who wants to wait for the rotation? The fire and forget style of a properly temp-ed dab will leave the toker elevated for a hot minute. While the rig has undergone many different iterations and advancements in the time since it became mainstream, the basic functionality has remained the same. Heat up the nail, wait for the cool down, and ride the smoke to Terp Town. But more than other smoking accessories like e-nails, dab pens, and Q-Tip holders, it’s time to thank the rig itself. The permutations are endless. Colored glass or clear, fixed downstem or removable, not to mention the nails to choose from. No matter what your style, there’s a rig for you. At the end of the day, it’s still getting you medicated. For that, we have the dab rig to thank.
Top Five Dab Accessories
With the holiday season past us, and the dawning of the new year, it means that now is the time to list off our favorite accessories of the year.
Dab rigs are wonderful and there is something out there for everyone. Whether you have a discerning opinion about what the chug on your piece should feel like, or you appreciate the artistry from the best in the business, there’s a rig for everyone. For people looking to get their first rigs, the most important thing is to not go too big. I recommend looking for something simple and functional. A minitube with a three holed downstem, or a stand up bubbler are both great places to start. Once you are on your way and realize the methodology of using the rig and maintaining it, it’s time to see if you want to get fancy. For those willing and able to spend the money on something visually captivating, the world is your dab dish. But it isn’t for the faint of heart. High-end pieces of functional glass art by big names such as N8 Miers, Eusheen, Punty, Quave, and Mothership can easily sell for prices in the tens of thousands of dollars, depending.
The most important part of any Rig is the nail, where you apply the concentrates. There are three materials that most nails are made of. Titanium, Ceramic, and Quartz. Each one has their upsides and downsides and there’s options for every budget. Titanium is a popular choice with people that also tend to prefer silicone rigs. It is just about indestructible, needs only to be heated sufficiently to be cleaned and can be made very small for mini-rigs. However, it isn’t known for conveying great flavors. Real titanium nails, such as those made by Highly Educated, can be a bit pricey, but are usually worth it as knock offs can contain harmful residual chemicals from production. Next is ceramic, which is popular for its ability to retain heat quite well and be not as fragile as quartz. While ceramic also only needs to be heated to clean, it benefits from using cotton swabs to clean between each use. It provides a medium trade off between flavor and durability. Lastly, is my preference, the quartz nail. The majority of daily dabbers that I know prefer quartz as a medium due to its ability to bring out the flavor in the concentrate. People that tend to enjoy more of the artistry sides of glass tend to go for Toro, Highly Educated, Quave Bangers, or Joel Halen buckets. I personally use a Highly Educated Gavel v2. Standing squarely in the middle of the pack as far as price goes, there is much to be praised about the Gavel. With a flat top and quartz frit, the medium retains heat for a long time, while maximizing the surface area in contact with the concentrate, ensuring none of the precious terps go to waste. Ultimately, the choice of nail is pure preference, so try and shop around for opinions and options. There’s something for everyone.
After you have chosen a nail, comes the choice of carb cap. A carb cap is placed on top of the nail after the concentrate is applied to restrict airflow, allowing for the cumulation of more smoke per breath inhaled. While there are many options for which type of nail is preferred, there are even more options for carb caps. Brands such as Hover, Gordo Scientific are popular among the collectors. But there are many different styles of carb caps, ranging from a simple ball with a tube coming from either end, all the way to fully worked glass with opal encasements. Instagram and Facebook glass groups are your best friend for finding something that suits your tastes.
When It comes to torches, it all depends on your commitment. The “keep it simple” camp would be the first to recommend the propane tank top torches. At around $20 bucks and available at any Home Depot, these tanks last forever and are very durable, but also have been known to tip and destroy glass or dabs. Should you be willing to invest in a torch, there is really only one option in my humble opinion. The Blazer Big Shot. At around $60 – $80 depending on the model, this torch is the truth. Conveniently designed to be used with one hand by a practiced user, this is the torch I have seen fail the least, over all others. Despite having to be filled with butane more often, The Big Shot is backed by a lifetime warranty from the manufacturer, making it well worth the extra cash spent. Of course, no one wants to be left without a way to heat their nail, so take that with a grain of salt.
Lastly I present the all in one solution, the PuffCo Peak. Manufactured by famously reliable dab pen company PuffCo, this electric dab rig sent waves through the scene when it came to market. Consisting of a spill-resistant glass top and a battery with an attached heating element, not only does this product make dabbing in any locale a breeze, it is also easy to clean and disassemble. Further adding to the cool-factor of the Peak, there are quite a few high-end glass artists creating their own stylized tops for the Peaks, such as Phil Siegel and E-Box, to name just a couple. So if you want to be free of your coffee table dab-station, make sure you snag a Peak.