A dab rig appears to be a basic water bong until you take a closer look at the “bowl” attached to these pieces. Instead of a traditional dry herb bowl, dab rigs are equipped with a part commonly known as a “nail”. Nails are specifically designed to withstand a whole lot of heat without breaking so that wax can melt easily and evenly. However, not all dab rig nails are made in the same way or with the same materials. So, what matters when it comes to picking out a nail? Should you opt for a ceramic, titanium, quartz, or glass nail? Does it really make a difference in your dabbing experience?
The nail on a dab rig is equivalent to the bowl on a bong. This piece of the dab rig is where wax is placed to melt so that the resulting vapor can be pulled through water and inhaled via the mouthpiece. It is basically a shallow, heat-resistant dish that attaches to the downstem of a dab rig. A nail is essential to allow a dab rig to work properly, or work at all.
A nail typically comes in one of two different shapes, including a nail with a dome or a domeless dab nail. A dab rig nail that works with a dome will require an extra piece that acts as a cap over the nail, trapping in heat and retaining vapor. To use this type of nail, you simply heat the nail and slide the dome over the top of it when ready. Then drop your wax into the hot nail and inhale through the mouthpiece of the dab rig.
The other type of popular dab nail is a domeless nail, and works without the extra piece. These nails tend to be a bit larger in design and have an opening in the middle that the vapor can pass through. They also are a popular choice when equipping a dab rig because of the larger surface to drop dabs onto. It is also a whole lot easier to use a domeless nail since there are no extra parts to mess with. You can also opt to use a carb cap with a domeless nail, which allows you even more control over the airflow during the inhale.
Now that you know what part of the dab rig we are discussing, we can get into the details of the different types of nails available. Outside of design, there are a few different options to choose from when looking at nails. They are either made of titanium, ceramic, quartz, or glass, all of which are proven to withstand the heat of a blowtorch flame. All these materials also hold and consult heat as well, to melt the wax applied to a hot nail. However, there are some advantages and disadvantages to using one nail over another.
Your first option to consider when it comes to nails are those that are made with ceramic. These nails tend to take the longest to heat with a blowtorch, but they retain heat the best. It can take some skill and experience to heat a ceramic nail properly, but when done right this type of nail offers a tasty and smooth dabbing experience. Ceramic nails are also often considered to be food and medical grade, so they also offer little risk of contaminants leaking into your vapor.
However, ceramic nails are subject to breaking easily from heat stress or being dropped. To prevent heat stress, you want to heat a ceramic nail evenly and not for too long. This can be tricky since a ceramic nail will not change color when hot, like a titanium or quartz nail. On the flip side though, ceramic nails do not need any seasoning like titanium nails, since they are made with a non-porous material.
On the opposite end of the spectrum from ceramic nails are titanium nails since these types of nails are the most durable of them all. Titanium can heat quickly and retain heat well over the course of a session. They are virtually impossible to break, however they are subject to titanium oxide build up with extended use. They can also give off a metallic taste for the first few days, if not seasoned properly. When using a titanium nail, you’ll want to be sure to not overheat it, since it can reach high temperatures and cause the wax to burn easily.
Although titanium nails are incredibly popular and abundant, you’ll want to be sure that the nail you are using is made with medical-grade 2 titanium. This type of titanium is medical- or food-grade and considered safer to use over many other versions of this same material. Be sure to do your research into the manufacturing methods used when making a titanium nail, to ensure you are not inhaling harmful toxins.
Another type of nail that is medical- and food-grade by nature are quartz nails, sometimes referred to as quartz bangers. These types of nails heat very quickly, but also lose heat quickly as well. Despite that slight drawback though, they are still one of the most popular kinds of nails on the market. A quartz nail offers pure, great tasting vapor, and comes in a wide variety of shapes and sizes.
It is recommended to use a carb cap with a quartz nail though, in order to help retain and distribute the heat evenly across your dab. A carb cap will also allow you to dab at lower temperatures and heat your nail for less time. You’ll still want to be sure to apply heat evenly to a quartz banger though since it is subject to heat stress.
The final option available when it comes to nail materials is glass. These types of nails match most glass dab rigs perfectly and are incredibly affordable, but at a price in the long run. Glass nails are known to break easily if dropped, or even shatter when exposed to high temperatures. They may not last the longest, but they do offer pure tasting vapor and easy cleaning.
In the end, the best nail for you will depend on your personal preferences and dab rig. If you tend to drop things often, then a titanium nail might work best for you. But if you are looking for the purest or best-tasting dabs, then you might want to opt for the more fragile quartz or ceramic nail. However, the most important factor is what type of nail will fit and work on your dab rig. Nails come in various styles, sizes, angles, joint sizes, and sexes. Be sure to do your research into what kind of nail will fit your dab rig and don’t skimp when it comes to quality.
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