What is a carb cap?
A carb cap is placed on top of your domeless nail so that your banger becomes a mini convection oven. The dab carb cap has a small hole that regulates airflow and pressure which lowers the boiling point.
This lets you dab at lower temps and maximize the flavor of your concentrates. But you may be wondering, do carb caps make a difference?
Is a carb cap needed?
The mechanics behind how a carb cap works is simple. Without one, cool air flows uninhibited into your banger which leads to two kinds of waste. First, you have to heat at higher temps which scorches terpenes and alters the flavor, an essential part of the dabbing experience. Second, if you dab at lower temperature without one, you run the risk of your concentrates cooling too quickly and coating the side of your banger.
While a dab carb cap may seem like a secondary smoking accessory to first-timers, for daily dabbers they make all the difference.
How to use a carb cap
After heating the nail and dropping in the dab, place the dab carb cap directly on top of the banger. This traps the heat so that your dabs can vaporize at lower temps. Swirl the cap gently as you inhale to distribute the concentrate evenly.
Low temp dabs (350°F to 450°F)
Low temp dabs offer the most flavorful experience by preserving terpenes which are the compounds within cannabis responsible for aroma and flavor. Although technically anything under 450°F is generally considered a low temp dab, the range is normally from 350°F to 450°F. To achieve dab at these temperatures, cold-start dabbing was born.
Also known as reverse dabbing, this is the method used to dab at low temperatures. Essentially, instead of heating up the nail and then applying the dab, cold-start dabbing is when the concentrates are added to the banger and then heated up.
Are low temp dabs healthy?
Dabbing at lower temperatures is healthier because it doesn’t release nearly as many harmful toxins. Dabbing at higher temperatures releases more carcinogenic compounds like benzene, toluene, and naphthalene.
DIY carb cap
If you find yourself in a pinch and in need of a carb cap dabber (like now), a silicone container, herb grinder, bowl slide or glass jar are good short-term solutions.
Carb cap types
You may be wondering which dab rig carb cap is best and it can be confusing because there are so many different styles. While it really comes down to personal preference let this be your guide.
Bubble carb cap
Given its bubble-like shape, ball carb caps work best with flat top bangers by forming a seal along its edge. It has a hollow stem that extends from top to bottom through the middle to direct airflow. The bulbous shape makes it easy to grab and rotate which helps the dabs vaporize more evenly.
Directional carb cap
With the look of a spinning top, directional carb caps feature an angled stem that extends through the base like a short straw. When swirled, the carb cap dabber helps to vaporize the dab faster (known as chasing).
UFO carb cap
This style of directional carb cap is shaped like a UFO with a bulbous end that makes it easy to hold when chasing dabs.
Vortex carb cap (cyclone)
Also called a cyclone carb cap, the vortex was designed with airflow and spin in mind. The angled channels at the base of the vortex carb cap rotate air so that your terp pearl spins on its own. It’s a style of spinning carb cap.
Terp spinner carb cap (channel or flat)
Another spinning carb cap, the flat carb cap style stands out among the rest given its unique disk shape. Similar to the vortex carb cap, the angled slits are designed to create a vortex to get your terp pearls spinning. Just place the disk on top of your flat top banger with channels facing down and watch the magic. The best part is that the channel carb cap can fit nearly any size banger so you don’t need to worry about getting one that fits precisely.
Carb Cap Materials
Most carb caps for dab rigs are made from heat resistant borosilicate glass, quartz or titanium. Some are made from food grade silicone although it’s much less common. Titanium or quartz carb caps are designed more for functionality than the aesthetics. Heady carb caps are normally made from borosilicate glass since the glass can be fumed or stained in a wider range of colors and patterns. Handcrafted borosilicate glass carb caps with colorful spun glass or marbled texture tend to be on the pricier end but are becoming extremely popular.
Whether you go for a traditional quartz carb cap or handblown work of art, capping off your banger with a carb cap will take you to the next level by unlocking the full flavor of your favorite strains. And the next best part is that you can get a piece that really speaks to you. Whether it’s a cool Rick and Morty carb cap or a cute mushroom carb cap that matches your rig, there’s something for everyone.