Dabbing and dab pens have become increasingly popular over the last few years and is preferred among stoners who have high tolerance since it can get you much higher than herb. The most potent herb has around 25-30% THC, while dabs have between 60% to 90%. Imagine the highest you’ve ever been and multiplying that by a factor of three.

In other words, this isn’t a beginners game. Since dabbing is three to four times as potent as smoking bud, you’re most likely not going to dab on your lunch break. That is, unless your tolerance is through the roof. For stoners who have never tried there is a lot of curiosity, especially among those who want to level up. This dab pens and dabbing guide breaks down the basics.

unicorn dabbing dabs
Dabbing Unicorn not quite dabbing (Source: Texas Vinyl Dispensary)

What is dabbing?

how to dab
Dabbing (Source: Herb photographer Connor Fyfe)

Dabs are marijuana concentrates derived from extracting THC and cannabinoids using butane, C02, ethanol or propane. There are many types of cannabis concentrates with varying textures and consistency which you’ve probably already heard of including butane hash oil (BHO), shatter, wax, crumble, budder, sap, kief, hash or rosin.

Concentrates must be heated at temperatures of 300+ degrees using a dab nail and torch and are subsequently inhaled through a tabletop dab rig. Dab pens, also known as wax pens and e-rigs are becoming a popular alternative to tabletop rigs among daily dabbers. They eliminate a lot of the mess, are portable, heat up faster and are less dangerous to use since they have an internal heating source vs a scorch torch.  

What is a dab rig?

buy gpen vaporizer
G Pen Connect Vaporizer (Source: Merry Jane)

If you’ve ever used a bong, you already know the basics to how a dab rig would work. A dab rig is basically a water pipe that uses a nail instead of a bowl. The nail is where you place concentrates and heat with the dab torch. Similar to a water bong, the dab rig filters out contaminants and cools down vapors before the hit gets to you. 

If you’re looking for a cheap dab rig and already have a glass bong, most water pipes can be converted into dab rigs. Simply add a quartz banger or titanium nail which run around $5-$25. 

There are even silicone dab rigs which are generally much cheaper than their glass counterparts. These are made from food-grade silicone, are BPA free and heat safe. They are also virtually unbreakable and travel friendly if you’re planning a camping trip and less expensive than dab pens.

How do you smoke dabs?

dab rig essentials
Tools for dab rig  (Source: Daily Dabs 420)

Your first time dabbing can be a bit intimidating because the high is much more powerful than smoking bud. We suggest making sure you’re with a friend, start small and have nothing scheduled the rest of the day.

For beginners, shatter is the easiest concentrate to start with. You can also try badder or budder which are easier to section than crumbles or waxes. You’ll need to make sure you have the following: dab rig, titanium nail or quartz banger, butane torch, dab tool, carb cap and cannabis concentrate of your choice. 

  1. Fill dab rig with water
  2. Use butane torch to heat nail directly until the nail turns red hot
  3. Let nail cool for 45 seconds
  4. Place concentrates on nail using a dab tool (start small)
  5. Place carb cap to seal nail and airflow
  6. Inhale!

What is the average dab size?

what is the average dab size
Average dab size (Source: High Times)

One dab is about the size of a couscous so start with this and go slow before trying another dab. A gram that’s 60% THC can be sectioned out into six pieces of 100mg each. 

What is a dab pen?

what is a dab pen
Dab pen (Source: Marijuana Investors Summit)

As mentioned, dab pens made dabbing on-the-go a reality and are essentially a cross between a dab rig and vape pen. These are for avid dabbers who want a portable dabbing option. Dab pens let you set up your heating preferences automatically for flavorful dabs every time. Probably the most important factor to consider is dab pen battery life, preferably one that lasts more than 48 hours on a single charge. Overall, dab pens cut out the mess of heating up concentrates, are easier to clean and take with you wherever you go.

Difference between dab pen vs vape pen

Dab pens also known as wax pens are exclusively for smoking dabs, while vape pens allow you to vape e-juice with THC, hemp and CBD oil. Generally, vape pens are used with liquid forms of THC but some are also specialized to vape dry herb and wax. If you like to switch between herb and concentrates, a vape pen is a better investment.

Instead of loading the oil cartridge as with a vape pen, with dab pens you just load a dab into the coil. It’s also worth noting that the dabs used in dab pens are normally thinner in consistency (like butane hash oil) than what you can heat up with a normal dab rig (like shatter, budder or crumble). 

Dab pen types

There are three main types of dab pens: chamber dab pens, cartridge dab pens and 510 batteries.

Chamber dab pens

The most common type are chamber dab pens which have a single chamber to load your cannabis concentrates. 

Dab cartridges

Dab carts are pre-filled so you don’t have to carry wax separately as with chamber dab pens. Most carts for dab pens are disposable so they were made for ultimate convenience and ease.

510 batteries

This style of dab pen is shorter, shaped like a box and works much like cartridge pens. Just insert the dab cartridge and dab on-the-go. 

Best dab pens and electric dab rigs

best electric dab rigs
Utillian 5 Dab (Source: Utillian)

1. Utillian 5

The Utillian 5 wax pen takes larger loads of wax and will be sure to melt your face off. We suggest getting the water bubbler attachment to cool vapor down even more.

2. Focus V Carta

The Focus V Carta is the king of enails. One of the best e-rigs on the market, it’s got four temperature settings, a deep bucket and is super user friendly.

3. Kandypens Crystal

The Kandypens Crystal was awarded the best dab pen of 2020 with a 900 mAh battery, 2 click sesh mode and lifetime warranty.

4. Focus V Carta Tourist

The Focus V Tourist is a great 2-in-1 electric dab rig for flower and concentrate. It has two separate attachments for each option. The temperature range changes with each attachment so you have a much wider range and can really crank up the heat for wax. 

5. Ares Honey Straw

The sleek Ares Honey Straw features a honey straw heating element which you dip into your wax and inhale. The only con is that the magnetic pieces are great if you’re trying to be stealth but bothersome when using your device.

Are you ready to dab?

The real question is who will have the last dab, you or Squidward! Hope you enjoyed this dab pens and dabbing guide. More Stoner Guides to come!

dabbing squidward spongebob
Squidward Dabbing (Source: Wallpaper Cave)

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