This article is not a paid sponsorship, however, it was written with the help of my friends over at DankGeek.com, a terrific online headshop.
If you’re new to the dab scene then browsing around may have you feeling like you need an advanced degree in mechanical engineering to understand all the different dab rig options available. Don’t worry – it’s not as complicated as it seems and I’m going to break it all down for you in this article. First, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page and know what a dab rig even does.
What is a Dab Rig?
Put simply, a dab rig is a specific type of smoking device used for oils, extracts, wax etc. Many dab rigs are water filtered, however, you will see some rigs on this list that do not hold water.
There are 2 main parts to a rig. You have the body of the rig and you have the nail. The nail is the hot part that vaporizes your concentrates. The body is the main part of the rig that holds smoke and water if applicable.
Types of Dab Rigs
When it comes to choosing a dab rig the choices seem near endless. This is why some people get overwhelmed when it comes to choosing a rig. To make things easy, I’m going to list out some of the most popular types of dab rigs plus give you some pros and cons of each.
The Quintessential Dab Rig
This may not be the technical term, but it’s the term I use for the dab rig pictured above. I’d say the average height on these rigs is 9 inches, but don’t be surprised to see them in a huge variety of sizes. Typically, this style rig is going to be smaller than your average bong.
These rigs excel in both function and style, which is why these have become immensely popular. The water filtration is going to help deliver nice smooth hits. Depending on the size it may fit well in your hand or it may be better suited to sit on a table as you use it.
Lastly, this quintessential style dab rig is made by many different glass artists giving you lots of options at a variety of price points. The competition between glass blowers makes these rigs very affordable.
If you’re just starting out and looking for a good all around rig then I highly recommend this style. One drawback to these is the size. If you’re looking for something that’s easy to travel with then this is not the way to go. No worries, there’s still plenty of options left on this list.
People who are used to smoking out of big bongs tend to chuckle a bit when they see mini rigs. What’s a mini rig? It’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like. These are extra small rigs that can typically sit in the palm of your hand.
What is so great about having an extra small rig? There are two main advantages. The first advantage is the fact that it’s travel size. If you want a rig that’s easy to take to a friends house or on vacation then these are great.
The second advantage is when it comes to flavor. Many smokers prefer a really small rig as it preserves the flavors of the terpenes better.
One downside to these rigs is they hold less water so the smoke/vapor tend to be hotter on your throat.
Recycler dab rigs get their name because water is moved (recycled) through 2 different chambers. They’re pretty much a science experience that you can use to take dabs.
These style dab rigs have become popular for 2 main reasons. The first reason is the recycling function provides terrific water filtration and delivers super smooth hits. The second reason is because it looks awesome. It looks awesome when it’s sitting still or in use with water swirling around. It also sounds awesome when you’re taking hits.
What’s the downside? They’re going to cost a bit more. That isn’t to say there aren’t any affordable recyclers to be found, but they are typically going to cost you a bit more than rigs with simpler functions. If you’re willing to spend the extra money it’s well worth it.
Recyclers are usually on the larger side so they don’t travel as easy as some of the other options.
These go by several names. You may have heard them referred to as nectar collectors. I typically don’t use this terms as it refers to a specific brand. Over time, this brand name has inadvertently become synonymous with the product. It’s just like when people call all flying discs Frisbees. Technically, a Frisbee is a brand – not an overall product category.
Semantics aside, honey straws work differently than any other type of dab rig. Usually you use a dabber to place your concentrates on a nail. With a honey straw you are placing the nail directly to your concentrates on a glass dish.
These rigs are super portable. Not only is the rig itself small, but you can also use smaller torches to heat them up. They are also really affordable. If you’re looking to get started with the smallest amount of money then a honey straw is your best bet.
There are two major downsides. The first is most hold little or no water so you’re not going to get the filtration you would on a typical rig or recycler.
The second downside is if they aren’t used properly then it’s possible to lose concentrates. Newbies will all too often dive right in with the honey straw without starting to inhale and send a huge cloud into the air. You can lessen this possibility by only putting a small amount of concentrates on your dish at a time.
All the other rigs mentioned are going to need a heat source to get the nail hot. Most often people use a torch for this. You can also use an e-nail that connects to your existing rig.
An e-rig, on the other hand, is a battery-operated rig that stands as an all in one solution. You simply push a button and drop your dab on the built-in nail (atomizer).
Being all in one makes this rig very portable, but the battery limits how much it can be used. Another downside is these tend to deliver smaller hits than a traditional nail. If you aren’t looking to take big rips anyway then this may be a great choice for you.
Convert Any Bong
Finally, I wanted to mention the fact that you can turn any glass on glass bong into a rig. Large bongs aren’t ideal for dab rigs, but they’ll work – trust me, I’ve done plenty of personal research.
All you need to do is buy a nail that fits the downstem of your bong (likely 14mm or 18mm). Again, this is not the ideal setup, but it works great if you already have a bong. Plus, you can always swap the nail over if you decide to buy a rig instead.
If you’re looking to buy a rig or nail then consider check out my friends over at dankgeek.com.