What is a Dab Nail?

Dabbing is an increasingly popular technique for consuming concentrates and provides consumers with more potent effects than traditional methods. An essential part of this technique is the dab nail. While the best nail option is always up for debate, here is the information you will need to understand this vital component and to make an informed decision when making your purchase.

Dab Nail Intro

Dab Nail Introduction

When you look at a typical dab rig, it is made up of three basic components - the mouthpiece, a chamber, and the dab nail. The dab nail is placed in the joint of the rig and is the component that is heated to extremely high temperatures. Once it reaches the proper temperature, a dab nail can vaporize a small amount of concentrate instantly. Think of the dab nail like the bowl for a bong. While they are heated at different points in the process, both are used to place your concentrate and to feed the vapor (smoke for a bong) into the rig for the user to inhale.

Dab Nail vs Domeless Nail

Technically, domeless nails are a type of dab nail. Compared to a domed nail, domeless nails have no sides and allow for larger dabs and faster heating. Domed nails, on the other hand, feature a dome piece that fits securely over the nail to help prevent heat loss and capture the vapor. However, as time goes on, more and more nails are domeless. Due to this, users tend to interchange the terms dab nail and domeless nail with one another.

Dab Nail Types

Dab Nail Types

Due to the extreme temperatures, a dab nail must come into contact with, nails can only be made from specific materials. The best types of dab nails are broken down into four major categories. These include ceramic, quartz, titanium, and e-nails. While each has its own benefits and disadvantages, they all have the same purpose. It heats up to transform your concentrate into vapor for you to consume.

Ceramic Dab Nails

Ceramic nails offer more durability than glass or quartz but do not last as long as metal nail options. This type of dab nail is a great choice for slower dabbers because it is very adept at retaining heat. Many users also prefer this form of dab nail due to its inexpensive nature. Although it is slower to heat up than other alternatives, ceramic nails can offer great temperature options for wax users. Many ceramic dab nail enthusiasts prefer a more versatile nail selection like the interchangeable ceramic domeless nail that can fit both 14mm and 19mm rigs.

Titanium Dab Nails

Titanium dab nails are comprised of a titanium composite known for its durability. These nails are available in male, female, and universal options. They are a common choice for those looking for a long-lasting nail. Titanium dab nails are non-toxic when heated, extremely resistant to corrosion, and never break. These nails are quick to heat up and easily retain their heat for long periods of time. An interchangeable titanium nail is a great choice for enthusiasts with multiple rigs, as you can easily use the nail with a variety of different dab rigs.

Quartz Dab Nails

Quartz nails provide all the same benefits of glass, but with more durability. However, despite being more fragile than other dab nail alternatives, they offer an unaltered flavor to your wax concentrate not found in other options. A common reason users choose quartz nails is due to how quickly the nail can heat up. (On average it takes about 5 seconds to heat up.) You can find quartz dab nails available in multiple styles from the 14mm male birdhouse quartz nail to the 19mm female quartz nail.



As the name implies, e-nails are an electronic version of a dab nail.  The nail itself is usually comprised of either titanium or quartz and has a built-in heating device. Since e-nails do not use a butane torch, there is no guesswork for finding the right temperatures. E-nails will automatically heat up to the correct temperature. This alternative to traditional dab nails is convenient and a great investment for more frequent smokers.

Male vs Female Dab Nails

Once you decide on the type of dab nail you want to purchase, you need to determine whether you need a male or female nail. Although there are universal options available for purchase, it is still important to understand the difference between the two forms of dab nails. Male nails go inside of the glass joint, while female dab nails fit around the joint.

14mm vs 19mm Dab Nail

Regardless of the material you decide on or whether it is a male or female joint, dab nails come in multiple sizes. The most common sizes are 14mm and 19mm because they provide the best option for airflow. While one size is not better or worse than the other, it is important to understand what size will fit your rig. If you are unsure of the size, there are interchangeable dab nails available which provide nail options for both 14mm and 19mm.

What is the Best Dab Nail?

Dab nails are available in many different styles, sizes, and materials. Due to the variations, there is much debate on which option is the best. Each feature from size to material has its own advantages and restrictions for users. For example, ceramic nails offer longer heat retention, while titanium options provide the ultimate durability for a dab nail.

When it comes down to it, the best dab nail is all about personal needs and preferences. For instance, some users are looking for the most economical choices. Others may want a more universal option they can use in multiple rigs or something that does not require the use of a torch. No matter what nail you choose, as long as it is used properly, it can offer an enjoyable dabbing experience. 

How to Use a Dab Nail

How to Use a Dab Nail?

Once you get the hang of it, dab nails are very simple to use.  To begin, simply place the nail into the joint of your dab rig. Once it is secure, use a butane torch (unless using an e-nail) to heat up the nail. To help prevent breakage, always make sure to have the flame situated to where the flame is at the top of the nail. After it is properly heated, remove the flame. 

Let the nail cool down (times will vary depending upon the type of nail material you have) for a few seconds to avoid overheating. Then using a dab tool, slowly place a small amount of wax concentrate onto the nail, inhaling the vapor as you go until you reach your desired hit.

While e-nails offer a precise temperature gauge, other dab nail materials are a trial and error for finding the perfect temperature for your concentrate. The temperature of your nail is very important to your dabbing experience. If the nail is too hot, you will waste a lot of your wax. However, if your nail is too cold, the vapor (and thus the hit) will not occur. 

How to Clean a Dab Nail

How to Clean a Dab Nail?

While dab nails do not require regular cleanings for use, there are ways to clean or salvage the reclaim (or wax residue) if you desire to. There are several things you can use depending upon the severity of the buildup. If you prefer to salvage the reclaim, use a dabber tool or something metal to lightly scrape and gather the sticky residue. However, if you just want to effectively remove the buildup from your nail, simply use your torch to burn off the reclaim from your nail.

Where can I buy Dab Nails?

Between the type of material used to the specific style, there is a wide variety of dab nails to choose from. The specific selection can vary from store to store. However, you can fulfill all your dab nail needs both at your local head shop or smoke shop or online at stores like vapevetstore.com where you can find FREE domestic shipping and no minimum orders. 

Related Blog Posts

Domeless Nails and Why Dab Rigs are Used With Them

How to use Domeless Nails

What is a Ceramic Dab Nail?

What is a Quartz Dab Nail?

A List of The Best Ceramic Dab Nails 

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