Dabbing For The First Time: The Basics


It’s time to put away your rolling papers, as ‘dabbing’ has become one of the most popular forms of smoking. Doing a ‘dab’ is a stronger and more efficient way to relax. There are now many products on the market, making it easy to dab on the go. This is our introduction to dabbing.

What Is Dabbing?

Dabbing is the act of inhaling concentrated oils at high temperatures. This method results in a smooth, long-lasting high. Dabbing is an alternative to rolling a joint, smoking a bowl, a pipe, eating edibles, etc. The effect is stronger than smoking flower, because concentrates are more powerful.

Ways To Dab

Before you do a dab, you need something to do a dab with. There are various ways to dab, but we’ll go over three ways; dab Rigs, eNails and vape pens. Each product has pros and cons, but it’s up to each individual to learn what works best for them and what they prefer.

There are many ways to do a 'dab'; dab rigs, eNails and vape pens
Dabbing can be done in many ways: dab rigs, eNails and vape pens.

What Is a Dab Rig?

Dab rigs (also referred to as oil rigs) remain the most common method for dabbing. A standard dab rig consists of a nail, typically made of titanium, quartz, or ceramic. The nail is set in the glass body of the dab rig.

Components needed for Dab Rig; glass piece, nail, dabber wand, torch
Components needed for dabbing with a Dab Rig; glass piece, nail, dab tool, torch

A butane torch is then used to heat up the nail and concentrates are loaded onto the hot nail using a dabber. Unlike a bong or pipe, a dab rig is designed to melt down concentrates and turn them to vapor. Once the extracts release the vapor, you inhale. Most often a glass dome is also used to make sure no vapor seeps out.

Using dab rigs is still the most common method, but vape pens and eNails are becoming more popular. They are a little easier and some say safer. There have been instances where lower quality butane torches have exploded in people’s hands.

eNails For Dabs: Easier Than Torched Nails

There are two types of eNail; desktop and portable.

Desktop eNails plug into the wall and work in conjunction with a dab rig. Typically titanium, these eNails simply replace the regular nail on the dab rig. Instead of using a butane torch, eNails are heated through electricity. Not only is this safer; it allows for temperature control, letting you take high and low temp dabs without guessing where it is at.

Desktop eNail is used in combination with a dab rig
A standard desktop eNail you might see being used inside a dispensary.

Dispensaries often use desktop eNails for customer dabs if they have a dab lounge and offer that sort of service. They also work great at home, or any other place that offers a wall plug and a fixed location. The image above shows what a standard desktop eNail looks like.

Portable eNails switch from plug to battery. They can come with box mods, albeit usually smaller than the box you see in the desktop eNail image above. Portable eNails can also come without the box mod, though some sort of temperature control is desirable. Portable eNails may also use small attachments like a vape pen, or larger ones like a split-glass bubbler.

The Vape Life Portable eNail
Example of a portable eNail by Vape Life.

Vape Pens For Dabs: Easiest Dabbing Of All

When it comes to fast easy dabs on the go, nothing works better than a vape pen. The trouble with vape pens? There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of vape pens on the market and companies don’t create them equally. Because there’s such a huge and new demand for vape pens, more than a couple companies out there shoot for the quick buck. You can spend anywhere from $10, up to $200 or more, and still not get a quality vape pen.

Quality might not be such a big issue if all you want is a cheap pen. If your looking for a nice vape pen, you’ll want a quality product that will serve you time and time again. A note to the wise: There are some high value vape pens available for very cheap, so don’t give up your search due to a low budget.

Vape pens are even better than portable eNails for dabbing on the run. The main reason being their size, which is smaller in stature and easier to conceal. Vape pens use batteries for power just like portable eNails. The differences lie in the mouth piece and the heating device. Instead of using a nail with glass attachment, vape pens turn to atomizers with heating coils. The attachments (mouth pieces) may be glass, but more commonly take a metal or plastic form. Vape pens come as separate units or you can purchase them as kits.

Man Holding On To A Vape Pen
Example of one type of vape pen.
Photo Credit: ecigarettereviewed.com

Final Thoughts On Dabbing For The First Time

Torch, eNail, or vape pen. That is the question before you once you decide to start dabbing for the first time. If you are ready to make a full commitment, there’s nothing wrong with having a rig like a desktop eNail at home. They can be a bit pricey though. Most dabbers like using a nail, be it with a torch or eNail. A forewarning about nails though, they can give off some lung crushing hits. Vape pens offer a back up dab unit for when you’re on the go, and they’re softer on the lungs as well. Have fun dabbing for the first time. You gotta let us know how it goes!