The Best Dab Nail: Your Guide to Mastering Dab Nails
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Remember the days when you just put a little bit of weed in a pipe and lit it up?
Well, those are long gone.
Today, if you want to get the best high, you need to upgrade to concentrates.
There’s just one huge problem.
It’s not as easy as just lighting up.
No, you need a dab torch, rig, nails, bangers and domes.
The list goes on so long, in fact, that most people are too intimidated even to get started.
Well, today in dab class we're going to take a deep dive into the dab nail.
What’s the best dab nail?
What style should you get?
These are some of the questions we’ll be answering, so keep reading if you want to find out.
Quick Top 4 Dab Nails
*Keep reading for the full reviews
Table of Contents
The Best Dab Nail Types
The first thing we need to look at is all the different dab nail types that there are.
At my last count, there were five different types of nails, and they can come in multiple styles too.
So, which one is the best? Let’s find out.
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What’s The Difference? Glass vs Titanium vs Quartz Nails
Oil dab rigs are still relatively new to a lot of smokers, so we get asked all the time what the difference between a glass, titanium and a quartz nail is.
Like everything, everyone is going to have their personal preference, but keep reading for our recommendation and what you need to know about each type
If you bought a basic dab rig, most likely it came with a standard glass nail.
Glass nails heat up very fast, but they get VERY hot too.
You’ll be heating the nail up until it’s glowing red, before letting it briefly cool back down before smoking.
This heat can quickly wear out a glass nail, causing them to break very easily.
I recommend that you move up from a glass nail as soon as you can—trust me, it’s well worth it.
If you want to pick up a new glass nail, you can get the best one there is right here.
The next step up from a glass nail is the ceramic dab nail.
Ceramic nails take longer than most nails to heat up—over 30+ seconds, but it also retains the heat better than any other nail.
Ceramic nails are still prone to breaking from the heat.
If you want to upgrade over your starter dab nail, but aren’t looking to spend a bunch of money doing it, then a ceramic nail is what you need.
If you want to take your dabbing to the next level, however, you need one of the final three types of nail.
- Ceramic Nails take an average of 30+ seconds to heat up
- Repeated use can cause stress fractures
- Retains heat longer than any other type of nail
- Doesn’t need to be seasoned
- Cheaper price point
Click here if you want to browse from one of the biggest selections of ceramic nails.
People love quartz dab nails.
They are a ton stronger than glass, so you don’t have to worry about them breaking from the heat.
Plus, they’re plenty more durable too when it comes to being dropped.
Quartz also has a cleaner taste than the ceramic nail.
The only downside is that quartz nails cool down quickly.
So, make sure to have you dab ready!
The biggest reason people love quartz nails is how quickly they heat up.
It only takes about 5 seconds, so no more sitting there forever waiting for the nail to be ready.
It’s also a huge upgrade over glass, without the huge increase in price that accompanies the other types of nails.
It is breakable, but since it’s a mineral, it’s a lot more durable than glass.
Quartz bangers are arguably just as good as titanium nails, thanks to their clean taste and durability.
- Quartz nails heat up the fastest; it only takes 5-10 seconds!
- Heat retention is poor
- Weaker material than titanium, but stronger than glass
- Ready to go from the shop, no need to season
- Can break from overheating and dropping, but less likely to when compared to glass
- Mid-range price
Check out quartz bangers here.
And if you do go with a quartz banger, you’ll want to get a carb cap to make the experience that much better.
Unless you plan on getting an electric nail (more on these later), titanium is going to be the best dab nail type you can find.
Virtually indestructible, these are an investment.
The upfront cost may be steep for a titanium dab nail, but if you look at how much longer they last compared to the other types, the price seems negligible.
How do they smoke, though?
They heat up quickly (15-25 seconds), and hold the heat well.
So, you can let the nail cool off a big and hit a cooler, smoother dab.
If you get a titanium nail, though, be sure to season it before you use it.
Titanium nails have some funky stuff you’ll want to burn off before inhaling anything from them.
- Titanium nails take about 15-25 seconds to heat up
- Heat retention is excellent
- Almost impossible to break
- Needs to be properly seasoned before use
- Most expensive type of nail
How to Season the Dab Nail
- Heat the nail up with the torch until it’s red hot and hold it.
- Now, rub some wax on the hot nail. You need to really try and coat the nail with the wax here.
- Repeat the last two steps 3-5 times, and you’ll be good to go.
You also might experience a metallic taste with a titanium nail.
Unlike most metals, titanium has an almost non-existent outgas rate, so it’s not going to produce any harmful gasses when you heat it up.
If you want to enjoy the flavors of your wax, you’ll appreciate the clean taste of a quartz nail more.
If you want to shop the from a wide selection of ti dab nails, you can find them here.
The Best Titanium Nail
The Black Leaf Oil Pan Domeless Ti Nail
This Black Leaf grade 2 titanium nail is one of the best titanium nails for dabbing.
It has heat sink ridges that help keep the vapor cool, and its oil pan removes for easy cleaning.
It’s domeless, so just heat it up and inhale through its seven vapor inlets.
The nail fits both a 14.5mm joint and an 18.8mm joint making it very versatile.
With the cone shape design, your reclaim wax collects nicely on the bottom making it easy to get to.
Domeless vs. Domed Nails
Now, once you’ve mastered the different types of dab nails, you then can start looking at the different styles of nails.
Domed, domeless, bangers and honeypots.
You’ll come across a bunch of different looking nails on your search for the best dab nail, and they all hit differently.
How fast they cool down, the rigs that they’ll fit and how they collect reclaim are all affected by their shape.
The most prominent difference in nails that you’ll find, though, is domeless vs. domed nails.
Domed nails are the basic nails that most starter rigs come with.
They require you to not only have the nail, but a separate piece of glass called a dome to collect the vapor as it burns off the nail.
I find that domed nails tend to waste more wax, plus, they are easier to break.
Since you’ll be dealing with two pieces of glass instead of just one, you’re chances of breaking it double.
Domeless nails are easier to use, and I think that they hit better too.
Instead of placing the dome over the nail after you heat it, you just apply the wax and hit it.
Less work is always better 🙂
How to Use a Dab Rig with a Glass Nail
I wanted to go over how to use a dab nail with you.
I’ll start with a domed nail, because, most beginners are going to start by using a domed nail since that is what comes with 99% of dab rigs that you’ll buy.
If you want a quick visual, you can watch the video below, or you can read the instructions immediately following it.
- Start by placing the nail inside the male joint of your dab rig.
- Using a torch, heat the nail up until it starts to turn red. Make sure to face the flame at just the top of the nail to help from breaking the nail.
- Now, remove the flame and place the dome on the nail.
- Let the nail cool down 10-30 seconds. It will vary from nail to nail, so make sure to figure your particular nail.
- Get a small amount of wax on a dab tool and slowing put it on the nail as you slowly inhale.
Once you get the hang of it, it’s very easy.
You just need to be sure to find the right cool down period for your nail.
If you hit the wax while the nail is too hot, you will burn and waste a lot of your wax, and if it’s too cool, it won’t hit.
If you have already upgraded to a domeless nail, you’ll go through a slightly different process to smoke it.
You heat it up and cool it the same, but you don’t have to worry about a dome.
You can just heat up the nail and hit it.
Or, instead, you can use a carb cap with your domeless nail to get a better rip.
The Arrival of the E-Nail
Don’t you want smoother and thicker hits?
See, wax comes with a bit of a Goldilocks complex.
The temperature needs to be juuust right.
If the dab is too cold, then the wax will pool at the nail’s base, giving you less vapor.
Not to mention it gives off the scent of scorched plastic behind.
Goldilocks says, "No thank you!"
Look, you NEED the best eNail for dabs or you’re leaving wax on the rig.
Butane Torch vs an E-Nail
In its infancy, the best way to control the heat for smoking wax was with the use of a butane torch.
While this is far more efficient than our forefathers rubbing two sticks together, we’ve come a long way since the invention of the torch.
Using butane or propane is perfectly fine for enjoying wax, but it’s very limited.
The problem with butane is that its temperature doesn’t change.
Therefore, to get the highest quality smoke, you’d have to torch the nail for the perfect amount each time.
That’s why e-nails are far better for someone who plans on smoking wax at least a few times per week.
It allows you a consistency in temperature that you can’t get with butane.
The Role of the E-Nail
The e-nail became a pivotal mechanism in cannabis consumption shortly after the advent of smoking wax.
It essentially allows you to enjoy dabbing without having to stockpile butane and gives you a more customized experience with your concentrates.
E-nails to the naked eye are essentially metal boxes.
However, inside these boxes, there is typically a PID controller inside.
PID controllers allow for three settings.
This is typically why most e-nails have three temperatures preset into their mechanism.
The controller delivers heat through a coil that can be manipulated to release consistent temperature.
How to Use an E-Nail
First, unscrew the top of the nail that you attach to your rig.
Insert the top onto a coil.
Now screw the coil with the top attached back onto the base of the nail.
Insert the opposite end of the coil into the control box, and plug the box into an outlet if it’s not battery powered.
From there, you can control the temperature on the control box to ensure the perfect temperature.
Once the desired temp is reached, you’re free to dab an unlimited number of times without any variation in the heat.
Some do have limits to their lifespan and battery life, though.
Why Use an E-Nail?
First and foremost, they are butane-free.
That makes for a safer smoking experience and prevents you from inhaling butane.
This is huge.
And, not only is it healthier for you, but it actually can end up making your wax taste better too.
I mean, if we cough up the money for some live resin, you don’t want to ruin the taste with gas!
While the e-nail still gets hot, you’re not coming into direct contact with an open flame that can burn the house down.
And this also helps to prevent injuries.
Plus, the biggest reason is portability.
E-nails let you take your wax rig with you on the go and not having to worry about lugging around a torch.
With the continued growth of marijuana legalization, dabbing’s popularity has grown.
In turn, the e-nail business has blossomed, allowing them to innovate and create a wonderful stoner tool!
The Best E-Nails
Brought to you by one of the biggest names in functional glass art, the Fire Button is the gold standard of e-nails.
Unlike most that chain you to the wall with a power cord, the Fire Button charges, and then you can take it on the go with you!
It will work with any dab rig—10mm, 14mm and 18mm.
It’s made from a heat-resistant silicone that feels good in your hand and is easy to use.
The heating elements do go bad, but they will last for up to 1500 hits.
That’s a lot of dabs.
Once they do go bad, though, they’re easily replaced for around $10.
Yocan Torch E-Nail
While high temps yield large clouds of vape, some people prefer lower temperature dabs.
If you’re in that category, then the Yocan Torch E-Nail is the ideal e-nail for you.
The Yocan’s temperatures reach anywhere between the random temperatures of 482° F and 356° F.
The Yocan's quartz nail can deliver consistent result, but its inflexible temps are without a doubt the e-nail's biggest drawback.
While lower temps make for smaller clouds, you can still draw longer to make for bigger clouds.
Once the e-nail is done heating up, tap the button to draw more.
In turn, your cloud size will grow.
While temp and cloud size are not the most desirable, the flavor is never compromised.
Each hit draws in a robust flavor from wax that doesn’t vary by temperature or how long you inhale.
The Yocan Torch E-Nail is ideal for those on-the-go.
However, its lack of customization doesn’t allow this e-nail to measure up to the others on this list.
Source Nail XL Vaporizer
This is more than just an e-nail because the Source Nail XL Vaporizer is a whole kit.
When you purchase this e-nail, it comes along with a bubbler and wax glass pen attachment.
The most glowing feature of this e-nail is the bucket design where the wax sits.
The biggest drawback of smoking wax is how sticky it is.
With the design of the Source Nail XL Vaporizer’s bucket, it makes the sticky residue easier to clean and leaves the e-nail clog-free.
This e-nail also comes with three different types of nail atomizers.
You don’t have to choose between titanium, quartz, and ceramic.
This allows you to personalize your experience.
However, while this customization is awesome, it’s lack of temperature controls that serves as its biggest negative.
There are only three pre-saved temperatures that you can heat the e-nail up to.
While this is a drawback, the extremes are covered nicely for dabbers.
The lowest setting allows for a consistent flavor while the highest setting makes for some of the biggest clouds out there.
Magic Flight JaK D’Rippa E-Nail
JaK Da’Rippa is an apropos name for this device because this e-nail is killing it.
While it’s not portable, this desktop e-nail comes with a unique wooden power box engraved with the words, “Possibilities Connect People, Fear Separates Them.”
This powerful little box makes up for this tool’s lack of portability.
The reason being is that the turn dial on the power box allows for complete temperature customizability.
With just a turn of the wheel, you can find the ideal temperature that will create your perfect compromise of intense flavor and puffy clouds.
It also works perfectly with whip-style vapes or water pipes.
JaK D’Rippa comes with two individual heating elements.
The Rip-Receiver is ideal for dabs.
This allows you to place your wax onto the heating surface before hitting the piece.
The rip-receiver lets you control the amount of wax that you use.
All you need to do is place your concentrate on the screen with the tool provided with the Jak D’Rippa.
The other heating element allows for dipstick vaping.
This attachment plugs directly into the e-nail’s heating component with its two-prong connection.
Dipstick vaping is much easier for those who have trouble moving the wax directly onto the heating surface.
You can just leave the wax in a bowl or jar and vape it up without wasting any of your dabs.
So, do you understand a bit more about the dab nail?
We learned that the four main types of nails are glass, ceramic, quartz, titanium and electric nails.
With the best dab nail being an electric nail, with the titanium nail coming in a close second.
Make sure no matter which dab nail type you go with that you heat it up to the right temperature.
If you don’t want to waste wax, then you want to heat your nails up right.
What’s your favorite type nail? Let’s smoke over it in the comments below or on our Facebook page.