Since cannabis was legalized for recreational use in US states Colorado and Washington back in 2014, dabbing and the consumption of cannabis concentrates like rosin and butane hash oil (BHO) has risen exponentially!
Whereas in the past concentrates were consumed via hot knives, a mesh-screened pipe or a traditional tobacco joint or spliff, these days there’s an absolute plethora of dabbing utensils that are expertly crafted to serve all your concentrate needs!
Concentrates are highly-concentrated forms of cannabis resin that are extracted via a medium such as heat, extreme cold, or solvents such as isopropyl or butane.
These concentrates vary in terms of viscosity, ranging from liquid to hard solids like the Skunk #1 sugar wax I’m holding above.
Dabbing involves placing a small amount of concentrate on a heat resistant piece of material, which you subsequently drag along a heated ‘nail’ connected to a water pipe.
Nails are cone or cup-shaped pieces of heat resistant material, generally constructed from ceramic, titanium or quartz, that serve the purpose of combusting your concentrates to generate a vapor.
On a recent trip to Southern California, I got to experience the dabbing culture first hand and purchased a number of potent concentrates from a local dispensary.
Armed with a generic glass piece with a 14mm quartz banger and a Dr. Dabber Boost eRig, I tested my way through a number of varieties of pressed rosin, full melt hash, and BHO.
My aim was to test out the latest dabbing gadgets and come to a decision on what was better for consuming concentrates: a common dab rig, or an eNail.
Vaping with eNails vs Dabbing: Concentrated Review
When it comes to concentrates, the high price of the waxy substance you’re consuming means that you’re wanting to get the most out of your mix.
While joints are a favorable consumption method for many cannabis enthusiasts, it’s an extremely uneconomic way to consume your cannabis concentrates due to the lack of an isolated air path.
Dab rigs and eNails or eRigs serve the purpose of providing the concentrate user with an isolated air path that is free of airborne carcinogens and usually filled with water to cool the vapor that’s generated.
eNails and eRigs differ from traditional dab rigs in the way that they generate their own source of heat. Devices like the CloudV ElectroMini and Dr. Dabber Boost pictured above have inbuilt batteries that provide heat to the nail.
The reason I chose the Boost for my trip was the removable and replaceable Samsung battery, which was a must-have for my road trip through California.
Back home, I’ve got an ElectroMini sitting on my desk and love the full-spectrum temp control. You can check out my full review of the eRig’s here.
These devices need extremely powerful batteries to reach the high temps they’re required to in order to vaporize cannabis concentrates.
The ideal temperature for dabbing falls between 290°C (550°F) and 450°C (850°F) depending on the thickness of the wax or oil that you’re vaping.
Looking at the two devices above, the CloudV ElectroMini features an inbuilt 5500mAh battery that screws into the bottom of the included quartz or titanium nails.
Dr. Dabber’s eRig, the Boost, features a ceramic heating rod that sits tightly inside the included quartz, titanium, and ceramic nails which effectively heats the surface material enough to take huge dabs.
Interchangeable nails are a feature of most eRigs and eNails. You can switch up the nails to delay cleaning or fit your personal vaping preference!
Resin build-up can be a hassle, but this can be solved by wiping the nail between dabs with a bamboo Qtip, or following our expert maintenance guide!
I prefer the quartz nail the most due to its quick heating time and simple cleaning procedure. Also, I much prefer the taste of concentrates when I’m hitting low temp dabs off of a quartz nail.
The all-glass vapor path is an awesome feature of most water pipes, most eRigs go for the same style which is great if you’re a connoisseur vaper like me.
To use an eRig, simply turn the device on and set it to the required temperature for your dab. While the device is heating up, use the included tool to scoop up a little concentrate.
When the device indicates that it’s heating up, wipe the concentrate gently over the nail with the end of the tool and watch as your blob of golden wax drips onto the plate and turns into vapor.
Both the CloudV ElectroMini and Dr. Dabber Boost eRig come with dual dab tools/carb caps for capping your dab in between hits.
This helps to generate the second round of vapor and gives you a chance to catch your breath.
When you’re ready, hit the rest of your dab and then remove the carb cap to clear the air path.
Carb caps are usually the first of your tools to develop a resin build-up, so make sure you have some alcohol wipes on hand!
With an eRig you can generally expect up to 15 dabs worth of concentrate vapor off a single charge. This is fine for home use, but can definitely be tedious when you’re on the go and out of ways to charge your device.
Traditional dab rigs are basically small bongs or water pipes that have been fitted with a nail for consuming concentrates.
To heat the nail to the desired temperature requires the use of a butane torch or large jet-lighter that’s capable of blasting a blue flame.
With a traditional dab rig, there are a number of benefits relative to an eRig. You’re able to have a lot more water in the vapor path and can use a small torch session to generate ultra-low-temperature full flavor dabs.
This method is notably more dangerous than using an eRig due to the extremely high temperature of the torch and the relatively larger portion of heated surface material.
To ensure proper safety measures are in place, never light your torch too close to curtains, a bed, or any flammable fabric, and make sure your dab rig is sitting on a solid surface to avoid knocking it over and burning yourself.
After you’ve checked you’re all safe, you’re all sweet to dab! Grab your torch, turn it on and hold it a couple of centimeters (1 inch) from the nail. Make sure to heat it all over for even vaporization!
Quartz bangers are the most effective way to consume your concentrates due to the cup-shaped chamber where the concentrate will sit during the vaping process.
They come in 9mm, 14mm, and 18mm, however, 14mm is the standard size for most quartz bangers. These pieces can range from $20 to $5,000, but if you’re just starting out with dabbing I wouldn’t recommend taking out a loan just yet…
Personally, I couldn’t decide between the two and will always roll with both a dab rig and an eNail. Whenever I’m going round to a mate’s place and don’t want to have to worry about emptying out my piece, I chuck the eRig in my bag.
If I’m writing articles at home and want to hit a quick dab, I’ll grab my torch and heat the nail up to a low temp so I can get the full flavor profile of my concentrate.
So which method is for you? There is any number of reasons to get into dabbing, including the health benefits associated with vaping, the lack of heated carbon and plant matter, and the discreet and concealable nature of the substance.
eRigs and eNails are awesome alternatives to dabbing your concentrates as they take the blowtorch out of the equation and are a far more portable alternative to getting your dab on.
Traditional dab rigs are great for at home use, and connoisseur-grade concentrate users will appreciate the highly variable temperature range and excess space for water that’ll help to cool the vapor down.