how to take a dab

How To Take a Dab

How To Take a Dab the Right Way

A dab usually refers to a dose of concentrate that is heated on a hot surface, usually a nail, and then inhaled through a dab rig or similar smoking device. There are many components and steps needed to learn how to take a dab, which we will discuss in this guide.

Dab Rigs

The first item you’ll need is a smoking device, commonly known as a “dab rig.” A dab rig could be any pipe you choose that has the proper setup including water filtration and a nail. Stay away from bongs that diffuse and cool down the vapor too much as this creates reclaim which sticks to the inside of your glass and can be very difficult to clean.


As previously mentioned, you need a nail to take a dab. A nail acts as the surface upon which you heat up your substance. These nails are made of ceramic, quartz or metal (mainly high-grade titanium). Some prefer the durability of titanium, which makes it ideal for beginners. Quartz nails heat up quickly where ceramic nails hold their temperature much longer. The latter two require greater attention but tend to yield cleaner and smoother results. Electric nails are controlled with electricity and allow the user to control temperature using a digital interface.

Electric Nails

The most common mistake made by dabbers is to overheat their nail which will ruin the experience. A blood-red glow indicates a dab temperature of 1075°F, while a faint-red glow indicates 930°F. High-temperature dabbing occurs at any temperature higher than 900°F and is just as wasteful as dabbing at too low a temperature. Aside from ruining the taste of the concentrate, which starts happening when nails are heated above 720°F, excessive heat will waste concentrates by causing it to splatter all over the place. Taking a hit off a red-hot nail can also damage the throat and lungs.
An electric nail is a digital display that controls the temperature of a nail by wrapping it with a heated coil. These metal rings can either be flat or stacked vertically in both 16 and 20 mm circumferences. After many uses considering checking/replacing your’ heating coils as they do the important work. The interface of the box controls the temperature and power to the coil. This usually displays the chosen and actual temperature of the nail for safety. If this is your first time using an e-nail, titanium is recommended as they are the most durable and efficient. Once you are experienced and comfortable, quartz nails offer a wider range of flavor at the cost of being more fragile than titanium.

Low Temperature Dabbing

Electric nails are primarily used for low-temperature dabbing, a process almost unachievable using a standard rig and torch. Low-temp dabs offer a greater range of flavor because they heat the dab enough to vaporize it without burning away essential components in your substance. By ditching butane you now rely on electricity to heat your nail, which is far less convenient that the portable blowtorch. By setting the exact temperature every time, users can find the ideal temperature to best enjoy their concentrate.
The actual temperature at which you take your dab is a unique combination of nail material, thickness, and the specific heating element used. As you might imagine, there are different models of electric units available, each different in its own way. Dabbing temperatures range from 550°F-900°F with low-temp dabs being commonly between 600°F-710°F. As a beginner, it is advised to use the internet/forums to see what types of settings others have used and enjoyed on your specific hardware. Low-temperature dabbing is a trial and error process, often taking several attempts to determine the perfect temperature for your dabbing style.


Lastly, you need a dabber to move your concentrate to the nail once it is hot. The most common materials for a dabber are glass, ceramic or titanium. Stainless steel dabbers do exist. However, they are reported by users to add a distinct flavor to the concentrate which may be undesirable.

Taking the Dab

To begin taking your dab, you must first heat your nail. Using a blowtorch heat your nail until it is visibly red hot. If you use a dome or a carb cap, cover the nail immediately after torching it. You want to wait 10 seconds for a titanium nail to cool down to dab-appropriate temperatures (45 seconds for quartz nails). When using a blowtorch to heat your nail, it is important always to be cautious with your hands and your tools. Keeping a clear “workspace” takes only a minute and prevents any accidents from ruining your experience. Always be sure your nail and dabber are clean of any reclaim so that your dab goes as planned.

While your nail is cooling down is the perfect window to prep your concentrate. Apply an appropriate amount of substance to your dabbing tool and wait for the nail to be ready. Next, touch your dabber to your nail, ensuring that your substance directly contacts the nail. As your nail and dabber meet, begin a slow and deep inhale so that you can manage the entire hit as you apply it to the nail. Upon exhaling, re-cover your nail to retain any of its remaining heat.