If you've been using marijuana for a while, you probably already know what dabs are, but it's less likely that you've actually tried them. A 2018 nationwide survey found that roughly 58% of respondents had tried dabs, and only 36% endorsed regular use at least once a month. But dabs are increasing in popularity, and more users are curious about dabbing than ever.
That's why we wrote this handy guide! We'll show you how to use your dab tools if you're a novice and how to pick the best dab tools for your particular product. We'll also dispel some of the more common myths about dabbing in general.
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A dab tool is a long, pointed scoop or blade used to pick up marijuana concentrate. Dab tools make it easier to handle sticky, resonous THC concentrates and apply them to a heated nail.
Dab tools vary from simple and straightforward to very detailed. Why are they so different? Because they're designed to handle different types of concentrates. For instance, budder will stick to your implements and can be handled by any flat blade, but crumble needs a small scoop or it will fall off before you can add the concentrate to your heated nail.
Dab tools, while similar, need to be used differently depending on their exact type. You also may need to use the same tool differently depending on the kind of concentrate. This can be a little confusing for first-time dabbers. So, here’s a quick overview of how to use basic dab tools for each of the five main types of dabs:
The original method of dabbing, most tools are designed with wax in mind. Use the tip of your dab tool to scoop up a small amount of wax, and carefully apply it to your heated nail.
So long as the oil is viscous enough (chances are it will be), you can use the tip of your tool to scoop up and wrap the dab oil around the tip as you would with a fork in a plate of spaghetti. From there, you can apply the dab tooltip to your nail to vaporize all the oil.
Shatter may be harder to work with than other forms of concentrates. Nevertheless, many shatters are not completely hard and still have some stickiness and flexibility. You may find it’s easiest to use the sharp point of your dab tool to stick a piece of shatter like a skewer and place it within the nail. Otherwise, you can push at the dab to stick it to your tool and drop on the nail.
Crumble is usually very easy to work with and manipulate. It also tends to have some stickiness to it, making it easier to scoop onto the tool. Usually, your crumble dab will adhere directly to the tool, allowing you to easily place it in the nail when you're ready.
Rosins tend to be viscous and sticky, like taffy, meaning you can usually attach your rosin dab right to the pointed tip of your dab tool, scoop a bit, and then stretch and swirl it till it comes clean. Then just apply it to the nail as usual.
As we mentioned, no dab tool can be considered "the best." There are many different options, and each is suited to specific types of concentrates. When selecting your dab tool, you should consider:
Although this is a lot to consider for something as simple as a dab tool, these are still the essential things to think about. After all, you don't want to waste your money by re-purchasing new dab tools because you didn't choose the right one the first time.
As you can imagine, the extreme temperatures and heat fluctuations that your dab nail needs to undergo put a lot of stress on the rig and the tool. You can easily find dab rigs and tools for a range of prices, some cheap and some expensive. Cheap tools aren't made using the same high-quality materials as expensive ones.
While it's perfectly understandable to want to avoid spending hundreds on fancy equipment, you should still consider spending enough to ensure you get a high-quality product. You're looking for well-designed dab tools that have handles with a good grip so you won't slip and drop your concentrates. You'll also want them to be well-made so the components don't fall apart on you while you're trying to pick up your concentrate. Given the routine temperature stresses, cheaper dab tools and rigs won't last as long and will need to be replaced more frequently, thus costing you more in the long run.
There are five main kinds of dab tools:
Quartz nails and dab tools are widely considered the best material available to preserve the flavor of your dabs. This is why quartz is one of the most commonly used materials for dab tools. Quartz also heats up exceptionally well and cools off faster than other materials. The faster cooling time results in fewer accidental burns.
Toker Supply carries a Quartz Banger Carb Cap Side Dabber that's the perfect multi-use tool. The carb cap fits any quartz nail, and the other tip is a pick dab tool. This elegant quartz carb cap combo is just $19.99.
Ceramic is another popular material for dab tools because of its capacity for heat retention over time. This means these tools are best for dabbing with groups. It doesn't retain flavor as well as quartz, but still tastes better than metal options.
This dual tipped ceramic dab tool from Cali Connected is elegant and easy to use. It will last longer because of its sturdy, thick build, so it's well worth it at $11.99.
Glass is the most fragile material used for dab tools, but it's popular because it allows for more creative end products. Given the versatility of glass blowing, you won't find more aesthetically pleasing or interesting-looking dab tools made of any other material. There are dozens of hand-blown designs that make them as artistic as they are functional. However, as we mentioned, they are fragile and can easily break if you aren't careful.
This Toadstool Mushroom Dab Tool from Smoke Cartel is as decorative as it is useful. It only costs $12.95 so you could even buy a set of all five colors at that price.
Titanium is another popular material for dab tools. In fact, chances are the majority of dab tools you will come across will be made out of titanium. This is because it's the most durable material available. Often, titanium dab tools are made using medical-grade titanium, which is both durable and lightweight.
Titanium dab tools can still be found at a very affordable price despite the expense of medical-grade titanium. This 5 piece set of Titanium Dabbers with Glass Handles can be scooped up from Mary Jane's Headquarters for just $9.99.
Stainless steel is very similar to titanium, but it's usually cheaper. It's also durable. Not as much as titanium, but still more durable than quartz and glass. The claim to fame for stainless steel is its heat retention. Stainless steel dab tools stay the hottest out of any of the previously mentioned materials.
420 Packaging has a fantastic 10 piece set of stainless steel dab tools with a case for just $33.95. That's a serious bargain!
Now that we've covered what most tools are made of, let's take a look at the most popular dab tool designs. When it comes down to it, there are just five major designs you'll come across. This, of course, simply refers to the shape of the dab tool tips.
The different tip designs offer their own set of pros and cons depending on your preferred type of THC extract. As you'll soon see, the names of each are pretty self-explanatory.
The paddle is the most versatile of the bunch and allows for the widest range of concentrates. Usually, it's flat and rectangular in shape with a solid amount of surface area. It's also one of the easiest to use, considering you can easily scoop your extract onto the tip.
VaporNL has a very basic, sleek metal paddle dabber that works very well for a variety of concentrates, with the Arrow Dab Tool for just $5.00.
There are many dab tools designs out there with a shovel tip. As the name would suggest, these kinds of tools all have raised edges on their tips to resemble actual shovels. These kinds of dab tools are best for larger-sized dabs.
The MiniNail Glass Shovel Dabber is a bit pricey at $24.99, but well worth it for those hard-to-handle crumbles and large dabs. It's also beautiful.
You'll find that scoop-style dab tools, otherwise known as dab spoons, are shaped just like they sound...somewhat like a small spoon. These are another crowd favorite for taking larger-sized dabs. They also come in handy when taking dabs from thinner concentrates like THC oil, for example.
These Double Sided Dab Spoons from humble + fume come with small and large spoons to handle sauces with different viscosities. At $2.99 it's a steal.
Pick dab tools come to a fine point at the end, like an ice pick. These are most useful for thicker concentrates like wax. Be warned, though, that pick-style dab tools aren't very useful for thinner concentrates.
This Glass Mushroom Poker Pack from Mary Jane Headquarters gives you 4 dab pics for just $18.99.
Last but not least is the most fascinating dab tool of all. These are silicone tools. They're perfect for THC oils and other liquid concentrates. This is because the liquid dabs can be sucked into the suction tip to be placed onto the dab nail whenever you're ready. And they're non-stick!
The Ooze Non-Stick Silicone Dabber is tops in this category and costs $6.99. Like most silicone dab tools, it's double ended to handle waxes and oozy oils.
Double-ended dab tools are some of the most common styles on the market today. They're perfect for versatility as you get two tips in one tool. So, if you and your friends were dabbing two different kinds of concentrates you can use one tip for each without needing to mix the two.
This Cannabox Double Sided Dab Tool is simple to use and easy to clean. It's an essential for any dab toolkit. It's one of the most affordable dab tools at just $2.39.
If you're looking for versatility, dab tools with changeable tips are probably the most ideal for you. They usually come with all five types of tips and can be used for any type of concentrate. Fans of the Mini Nail Dab Tool love their Dabber Tip Pack because it comes with all five dabber styles;
The full set of five tips costs $28.99.
Another dab tool similar to the double-ended dab tool is the carb cab combo. You can use a carb tip to control concentration of vapor as you inhale. With a carb cap combo, one tip is used to apply the dab to the nail, and then the tool is flipped to cover the dab and control the air flow while inhaling. This both preserves vapor and controls vapor concentration and you inhale if done properly. Carb cap combos are perfect for experienced dabbers.
Daily High Club has a whimsical carb cap combo that looks like an olive on a martini stick. It's a little pricey at $19.99, but it's easy to clean because it's made of glass, and it's the classiest looking dab tool on this list!
Now that you know about the different types of dab tools and how to use them, be sure to sign up for Nugg Club so you have plenty of new, top shelf concentrates to practice with!