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A Beginner's Guide to Dab Rigs

Posted by Jamie Pope on May 28, 2021

A Beginner's Guide to Dab Rigs

Beginner's Guide to Dab Rigs

What’s up Cloud 9 Fam! Whether you’re an avid bud enthusiast, or if you’re looking to learn a thing or two about dabbing and dab rigs, you’ve come to the right place. We’re going to cover all you need to know about dabbing, dab rigs, and other fun tips and tricks to make your dabbing experience the best it can be!

So, here’s Cloud 9 Smoke Co’s beginner’s guide to dab rigs… and dabbing! You ready?

Let’s boogie in!

A Beginner's Guide to Dab Rigs - Cloud 9 Smoke Co

What is dabbing?

Not to be confused with the cringey trend that surfaced in the 2010s, dabbing is the consumption of concentrates, whether its oil, wax, etc. by dropping the concentrate onto a heated surface (banger) to vaporize. Dabbing allows us to get the most benefits out of dry herb, meaning a happier and successful sesh for us smokers!

How are concentrates made?

Concentrates can be made through various scientific processes. The most common form of concentrates are made by using the polarity of the pressurized butane and the very cold temperatures to chemically separate oils from plant matter as the butane is introduced to dry herb. The liquefied butane and its associated fumes are very toxic and VERY flammable, making this process quite dangerous when not done properly. So always leave it to the industry pros to create your concentrate! Do not try it at home.

If the process is done correctly, without any accidents, incidents, or injuries, and all the leftover butane is successfully purged out of the extracted oil from the plant, the oil can take on the form of many of our favorite, sticky concentrates. Proper concentrate production should give you an amplified version of the potency, smell, taste, and effects of the dry herb used in extraction.

Pretty amazing, right?

What are the benefits of dabbing?

Opposed to smoking dry herb, dabbing offers a lot of benefits that will make our smoking experience all the more awesome than it was with dry herb! Since you are heating concentrates to very high temperatures, your concentrates will vaporize, which is what you will inhale.

Inhaling vapor, in contrast to smoke with dry herb, is a lot easier on the lungs and throat. Sure, you may cough a ton after taking a dab, but it’s mainly due to the high temperatures your concentrates were vaporized at. With less throat and lung irritation, you can savor knowing that any illnesses and diseases may stay at bay for the long run, but it’s never impossible! Always consult your doctor if you’re experiencing significant pain or discomfort after dabbing or smoking, just to make sure your body is in tip-top shape.

Dabbing also offers a lot more discretion than smoking dry herb. In comparison to dry herb smoke, concentrate vapor doesn’t stick to our walls, clothes, skin, and other surface areas around us. So if you’re ever worried about your homely smells telling others about your extracurricular activities, dabbing may be the way out!

Let’s talk about benefits for a second. When you consume dry herb, you’re receiving anywhere from 10% to 20% (sometimes a little higher) of the benefits from the herb. Smoking dry herb will definitely get the job done, but if you’re looking to ramp up the effects a bit, consider dabbing. Concentrates allow us to receive 70% or more of the benefits from the dry herb the concentrate was extracted from. This is perfect if you’re not feeling the magic with dry herb anymore, or if you’re looking to have a quick dose of something super effective.

What do I need to start dabbing?

When you’re ready to venture into the world of concentrates, like the wise toker you are, you’re going to need a few essentials to make sure that your dabbing experience starts off on the right foot and remains consistent throughout all seshes!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Dab Rig - Opposed to traditional water pipes, dab rigs are one of the best ways to consume concentrates. Dab rigs are a special kind of water pipe used to consume concentrates, but we’ll dive into the specifics in just a few.
  • Banger - Just like the slide, or bowl, in your water pipe, you’re going to need a special bucket do load your concentrates into for consumption. Unlike slides, bangers have the ability to ramp up to super high temperatures without cracking or breaking, which is key for dabbing.
  • Torch - Your OG Bic lighter won’t make the cut for dabbing, unfortunately! You’re going to need a solid butane torch to heat your banger to effectively vaporize your concentrates.
  • Carb Cap - To make the most out of an dab, or sesh, carb caps are a must! Carb caps are used to create an air-tight seal on our bangers, so we can consume as much concentrate vapor as humanly possible.
  • Dab Tool - If you’ve every tried to handle concentrates with your hands, you’ll know that dab tools are an absolute must. Dab tools are specially designed to remove concentrates from storage and transport them to the heated surface of your banger. This means no sticky hands, or burns, for you!
  • Dab Mat - Remember that rolling tray you were obsessed with when you were all about the paper game? Dab mats provide the same benefits! To keep all your essentials securely in place, dab mats have gripped-like surfaces for your glass dab rig to remain strong and sturdy on top of during a sesh. Plus, if you accidentally make any messes, they’ll just land on the mat instead of your table top!
  • Storage - Taking the sticky claim to another level. If you’ve ever tried to remove concentrate from a plastic or glass container, you know that the concentrates do a stupid good job at sticking to their walls. Always invest in a silicone container for your concentrates, it’ll make your storage and retrieval way easier.
  • Cleaning Supplies - Keeping your dab rig and accessories clean will help to ensure that every sesh is phenomenal and full of terpenes and flavor! Plus, who doesn’t like to look at clean glass all the time?

What is a Dab Rig?

As of recent years, dab rigs have become all the rave in the smoking community due to concentrates' potency, effectiveness, and terpene profiles. Dab rigs have become a top choice due to their ability to be a safer smoking method. This is because concentrates produce vapor instead of smoke! Since concentrates require higher temperatures to be heated than dry herbs, traditional water pipes don’t have the right filtration power to cool concentrate vapor quickly enough. That’s why we have dab rigs today!

Think of dab rigs as water pipes’ little sister, who’s way ahead of her time! Make sense?

How Do Dab Rigs Work?

Dab rigs are a type of water pipe, so they use water and bubbles to diffuse, filtrate, and cool vapor to a smooth consistency. Dab rigs are smaller in size than water pipes and feature unique shapes and designs that allow more water to flow through to cool the vapor. These features will protect your lungs and throat!

In comparison to water pipes, dab rigs take on unique shapes to properly contain and diffuse your concentrate vapor without sacrificing terpenes, potency, and effectiveness in the process! Think about taking a dab from a 14” water pipe… What do you think would happen?

Probably a mega loss in potency and flavor, right? That’s exactly what would happen! Because water pipes offer more space and surface area for smoke to diffuse, concentrate vapor wouldn’t make the cut inside large water pipes, whatsoever. It would be a huge disappointment for most of us!

What Kind of Dab Rigs Can I Choose From?

When choosing the style, design, and functionality of a dab rig, it’s all about what you’re looking to get out of your dabbing experience and the budget that you’re working with. Remember, any dab rig will get the “job” done, but there are additional features and specifications that will definitely make some dab rigs stand out to you opposed to others.

Recycler Dab Rigs

Recycler Dab Rigs - Cloud 9 Smoke Co

Sourced from: Pretty Pipe Shop

Recycler dab rigs offer a lot of filtration and power with their function! As you can see in the image above, recycler dab rigs work to push your vapor and water through an upper chamber of the dab rig, into a vortex-style motion, and travels back down into the base of the dab rig for additional percolation and diffusion. If you’re looking for a dab rig that’s all about filtration power and smooth rips, recycler dab rigs are definitely the way to go. Plus, do you see how sick the recycler functionality is? It’s impossible to look away from.

Let’s Consider Budget

If you’re totally sold on recycler dab rigs, we absolutely agree with you! Most of us here at Cloud 9 Smoke Co cannot get enough of recycler dab rigs. There are many types of recycler dab rigs that we have to choose from, and we’ll place them in price categories to help you find a recycler dab rig that suits your budget!

Affordable Recycler Dab Rig

Gambino Cyclone Recycler Dab Rig

If you don’t want to break the bank on a recycler dab rig, we’ve got you covered with one of our favorite affordable recycler dab rig! The Gambino Cyclone Recycler Dab Rig is an affordable mini high end dab rig that only costs $49.99. With this mini recycler dab rig, you’ll have a sesh full of raw power, potency, and thick vapor! Standing at an adorable height of 4”, this dab rig has a lot of potential to bring your dabbing experience to the next level, with discretion and affordability in mind.


High End Recycler Dab Rigs

Let’s say you want to invest in a high end recycler dab rig for your first-ever dab sesh. It’s totally valid to want to have a better dab rig for long-term seshes. Who wouldn’t? High end dab rigs have a lot of work behind their architecture and design to provide you a piece with symmetrical tubing and premium functionality. Here are two of our favorite high end dab rigs at Cloud 9 Smoke Co.

MOB Glass The Queen Recycler Dab Rig

The MOB Glass The Queen Recycler Dab Rig is a high end recycler dab rig that features two external arms going through, and around, the spherical center of the dab rig. Not only do the arms work to filter and diffuse your vapor, but this dab rig features a showerhead percolator as well to ensure all hits are smooth upon the final inhale. Priced at $149.99, this high end recycler dab rig knows what to do to give you remarkable dabs, time after time!

MOB Glass Zenith Recycler Dab Rig

An oldie, but a goodie, the MOB Glass Zenith Recycler Dab Rig is one of the first ever dab rigs showcased by MOB Glass. This high end recycler dab rig flexes an hourglass body with an external recycler to filter and diffuse your vapor. Remember the water test you saw earlier? The Zenith recycler works very similar to that water test! It’s without a doubt, one of the most jaw-dropping recycler dab rigs to see in performance. Priced at $119.99, you’ll have a high end recycler dab rig that will absolutely “wow” the homies!

Heady Recycler Dab Rigs

If you’re ready to splurge, and we mean really splurge, on a heady recycler dab rig, we salute you! Heady dab rigs are popular in the dabbing community because of their intricate design, stellar performance, and are truly “one-of-a-kind.” It’s very rare that you’ll find a heady dab rig that’s been duplicated to look exactly like the one that came before it, so if you’re ready to be the owner of a unique, one of a kind heady recycler dab rig, you should definitely send it!

Here are some of our favorite heady recycler dab rigs.

Andy G Double Klein Heady Recycler Dab Rig

The Andy G Double Klein Heady Recycler Dab Rig ($3K) is made from the heady artist, Andy G and flaunts mind blowing wig wag design throughout the dab rig! With it’s double disc recycler body and internal disc percolator, this heady recycler dab rig is bound to give you blissful rips from a beautiful dab rig. Think about the hours of work this heady artist put into making this dab rig. It’s pretty amazing to create a dab rig that looks as immaculate and impressive as this one, right?

Etai Rahmil The French Heady Recycler Dab Rig

The Etai Rahmil The “French” Heady Recycler Dab Rig ($3K) is made from the legendary heady artist Etai Rahmil in Portland, Oregon. The “French” Heady Recycler Dab Rig has amazing detail and is fully worked with Red Elvis and Yellow glass. The joint and disc of this heady recycler dab rig features a reticello design and works to push your water and vapor through a spiral-design chamber for ultimate filtration and diffusion. Plus, this dab rig just looks absolutely sick!

Banger Hanger Dab Rigs

Banger Hanger Dab Rigs feature female joints set at a 90 degree angle which provides the perfect platform for domeless quartz bangers– both in terms of function and aesthetic appeal! A Banger Hanger Dab Rig with a fresh quartz banger is undoubtedly one of the cleanest looks you can get from functional glass. Not only are banger hanger dab rigs clean in design and visual appeal, banger hangers do a great job at keeping your concentrate vapor well contained in a can-style chamber. The can-style chamber allows for your concentrate vapor to diffuse and filter, while keeping the terpenes and concentration of the vapor in tact.

Let’s Break it Down for Budget

Affordable Banger Hanger Dab Rigs

MOB Glass Flavor Saver Banger Hanger Dab Rig

The MOB Glass Flavor Saver Dab Rig ($49.99) takes on the classic banger hanger style to give you smooth dabs packed full of flavor and potency! This affordable banger hanger dab rig features symmetrical tubing and a diffused downstem to ensure that performance and functionality takes precedence in your dab seshes. When we say that the style and filtration system is all about keeping your vapor full of scrumptious terpenes, we mean it! That’s why this banger hanger dab rig has its name.

High End Banger Hanger Dab Rigs

AFM Power Can Banger Hanger Dab Rig

The AFM Power Can (Inline Perc) Banger Hanger Dab Rig ($149.99) is an American-made banger hanger crafted by the alien masterminds in sunny California. This high end banger hanger dab rig flaunts and impressive gridded inline percolator with the quintessential can-style body to ensure that milky smooth hits are exactly what you’ll receive from this dab rig! Not only is this dab rig guaranteed to take your dabbing experience to intergalactic realms, but its wide base will ensure that once you return back to planet Earth, you’ll have this high end dab waiting for you right where you left it.

Gambino Matrix Banger Hanger Dab Rig

The Gamino Matrix Banger Hanger Dab Rig ($84.99) has all the essential banger hanger features you’ve been looking for, except with one major detail that will make this high end banger hanger stand out from the rest. This major feature is its matrix percolator ready to ensure that filtration and diffusion is key for your dabbing experience! Matrix percolators are known for creating many tiny little bubbles that will provide the powerhouse of filtration for smooth sailing and unforgettable dab seshes.

Heady Banger Hanger Dab Rigs

Wisco Kid - Agents of Chaos 3 Banger Hanger Heady Dab Rig

If you’re looking for a heady banger hanger dab rig that will absolutely blow your mind, the Wisco Kid - Agents of Chaos 3 Banger Hanger Dab Rig ($749.99) will definitely do the trick! This heady banger hanger dab rig features trippy, mind blowing wig wag design on its can-shaped base and lined cane work on its neck. Inside this heady dab rig is a diffy percolator that will ensure that your hits are potent, full of flavor, and are absolutely perfect in delivery! With its marble implosion on the base of this dab rig, there’s no doubt that anyone can turn away from this one-of-a-kind dab rig.

Other Styles of Dab Rigs

These two styles of dab rigs cover the most classic and popular styles of dab rigs for you to choose from. However, there are many other styles of dab rigs for you to choose from for your dabbing experience.

Unique Dab Rigs

MOB Glass Trapeze Dab Rig

If you’re looking for a unique dab rig that’s simply unconventional in design, the MOB Glass Trapeze Dab Rig ($109.99) is one of our favorite unique, high end dab rigs that sets a whole new standard for dab seshes. With the joint for the banger taking place of the neck, and the neck taking the place of where the joint would usually go, the Trapeze Dab Rig is all about giving you an extraordinary dabbing experience!

Upside Down Beaker Dab Rigs

Gambino Studios Style 4 Dab Rig

The Gambino Studios Style 4 Upside Down Beaker Dab Rig ($39.99) takes on the cone, inverted beaker, upside down beaker, and all other nicknames related to the style to ensure that the consistency and potency of your concentrate vapor are well in-tact. Not only are upside down beaker dab rigs great at balancing filtration and potency, but they’re incredibly easy to pull from! If you’re looking for a dab rig that’s a bit easier on the draw, definitely consider using an upside down beaker dab rig.

If affordability is your jive, make sure to check out our buying guide for dab rigs under $100! We’ve covered the best dab rigs that are affordable, yet still amazing in functionality.

How Do I Take a Dab?

Knowing how to take a dab is crucial in consuming concentrates, the right way! Unfortunately, dabbing is more of a science than smoking herb from a water pipe, so you’ll have to know the right steps and measures to take to make sure you don’t char your concentrates inside your banger, or receive a hit that’s super disappointing.

Here’s how you take a dab, the right way!

  1. Fill the base of your dab rig with water.
    1. You don’t have to fill your entire dab rig with water, but you definitely need to make sure that any slits or holes in your percolator(s) are well submerged.
  2. Do a water test.
    1. Before you start throwing in a banger, torch, and concentrate, you definitely want to make sure that your dab rig will pull properly! You can do this by lightly sucking on the mouthpiece of your dab rig and grasp a feel on how your dab rig will pull during a hit. From there, you can add more water or pour our water, depending on your preferences.
  3. Place the banger into/onto the joint of your dab rig.
    1. Depending on whether your dab rig’s joint is female or male, you’re going to insert your banger into or onto the joint of your dab rig.
  4. Take your torch and turn the flame gauge counterclockwise until you hear a “hissing” sound.
    1. This will let you know that butane is coming out of your torch.
  5. Once you hear the torch “hiss,” press the button above the flame gauge to ignite the flame.
  6. When the flame of the torch is at a length that you feel comfortable handling, use your torch to heat the bottom of the banger.
    1. This can take anywhere from 30 seconds to 1 minute. You want to avoid letting your banger glow in any way. This will affect the integrity and performance of your banger over the span of time.
  7. After you’ve heated your banger, let the banger rest and cool anywhere from 15 seconds to 30 seconds.
    1. You can use your hand to gauge how hot the banger is. If you can feel the heat from your banger when your hand is 5” away from the banger, it’s way too hot. You should be able to place your hand 2” to 3” away from the banger and feel the heat when it’s time to take a dab.
  8. While your banger is cooling, take your dab tool and retrieve your concentrates from storage.
  9. When you’re ready to take a dab, use one hand to use the dab tool to insert your concentrate into the banger and use the other hand to hold and use your carb cap.
  10. Your concentrates should begin to bubble and vaporize once it makes contact with the heated surface of your banger.
    1. As soon as you see your concentrates begin to vaporize, it’s time to seal the banger with your carb cap.
  11. Take your carb cap and place it directly on top of your banger.
    1. Keep your thumb, or index finger, over the hole at the top of the carb cap as you direct the carp cap in a rotational motion to manipulate the airflow inside your banger.
  12. When you’re ready to inhale, remove your thumb from the carb cap and begin to inhale.
    1. The tiny hole at the nose (top) of your carb cap is responsible for any airflow entering inside your banger. Releasing your finger from the carb cap during this step will increase the amount of airflow into your banger and dab rig, allowing you to receive full, potent dab!

How Do I Clean My Dab Rig?

Cleaning your dab rig is actually easier than cleaning a dirty water pipe. Are you surprised? It’s pretty fast, simple, and you only need a few cleaning supplies to get the job done.

Here’s what you’ll need

  1. Remove the banger and carb cap from your dab rig and place them into their own Ziploc bag. 
    1. Pour Resinate Cleaning Solution (Blue) into each back and let them soak for 15 to 20 minutes. You can give them a good shake if you need to loosen up any resin, if needed.
  2. Pour the used water out of your dab rig and add Resinate Blue into the base of the dab rig.
    1. Let it soak for 15 to 20 minutes, just like your carb cap and banger, and swirl the solution around to make sure that all parts of your dab rig are being cleaned.
    2. Once you’ve swirled Resinate around, give your dab rig a few shakes (while covering the joint and the mouthpiece of course!).
  3. Rinse all pieces, dab rig included, with hot water. 
    1. You should rinse everything at least 5 times to make sure all of the Resinate Cleaning Solution has left your dab rig.
  4. Use Glob Mops soaked in Resinate to get inside any crevices and hard-to-reach places. Rinse well and use the dry side of the Glob Mop to dry.
  5. If your banger is totally charred, you may have to do a heat treat on the banger with a handheld torch to loosen the resin.
    1. You do this by heating the bottom of the banger with your torch until the resin begins to loosen. Use a Glob Mop soaked in Resinate to clean out the stuck resin, repeat, and then soak until your banger is sparkly clean!

Dab Beginner to Dab Expert!

Now that you have a complete guide on all you need to know about dab rigs and dabbing, you’ve easily transitioned from a beginner to a dabbing expert! Congratulations! You can take all that you’ve learned to have the best dabbing experience around, and impress the homies with your mad skills and knowledge. Who would’ve thought today was the day you’d become a dabbing connoisseur? … We did! ;)

Happy Dabbing - and Toking!