What Is A Dabber?

In terms of vaporization, a dabber is usually a long, pointed tool that is used to pick up a dab of wax, shatter, or oil for use in a smoking device. There are many types and variations of a dabbers out there, and it is not as easy as just picking out any dabber and lighting up your rig. Here, we will be looking at the different types of dabbers, how they are used, and why you should be using one.

Different Dabbers

Different Dabbers

Just like an eating utensil, you will need the right tool for the job. Whether you are looking for glass, ceramic, titanium, or quartz, picking out the proper means for your rig is paramount to a successful rip. Let us take a closer look at these essential tools individually:

Glass Dabber

Aesthetically pleasing, and perfect for resins and sugar crystals, glass will not scrape against your quartz nails the way titanium can. Smooth and easy to clean, a glass dabber is usually rounded out making it harder to work with other forms of concentrate. However, some of these are designed with bladed edges or scoops to make them more versatile. The downside to a glass dabber is its durability, prone to breakage much faster than the other types.

Titanium Dabber

Durable and lightweight, this versatile tool can come with detachable add-ons such as arrowheads, scoops, hooks, paddles, and flat tips. If you can acquire a medical grade 2 titanium, all the better. Most concentrates can be handled with ease with a titanium dabber. Just like any other metal however, titanium can be a bit harder to clean once your material cools down on the surface. Metal can scrape against smoother materials like glass and quartz over time, which can weaken the integrity of a nail.

Ceramic Dabber

Like glass, ceramic offers simplicity in aesthetics, though limited in its versatility compared to titanium. Unlike metals however, ceramic offers the luxury of delivering a clean concentrate. Most ceramic dabbers come in scoops and ballpoints, making them ideal for crumble and shatter. Easy to clean, though just like glass, the more fragile the dabber, the more experienced the user should reasonably be when handling it.

Carb Cap Dabber

Featured in quartz, glass, titanium or ceramic, a carb cap differs from the rest as a specialized dabber with a carburetor, which regulates air flow & pressure.  The cap serves to trap heat within the nail which allows the essence of your concentrates to deliver a fuller rip. This unique design also allows for a lower heating temperature, which can further enhance the vapor and flavor profile. The cap comes equipped with a short dabber to move around your concentrate while covering the nail. There are many different types of carb caps on the market, some being strictly functional while others are more elaborate and artistic.

Sharp and Flat Dabbers

For coiled vaporizers, you will want a dabber with a pointed tip for accurately loading concentrates such as wax onto the atomizer. The pointed tip is also made for a delicate apparatus that requires precision, like the coil. Flat-ended dabbers are used when pinpoint precision is not the priority. These can be made to gently scrape, load more concentrate, and move around heavier material inside the atomizer. When it comes to determining which dabber, you need for a coil, the concentrate you use should come into consideration for your needs.

How to Use a Dabber

How to Use a Dabber

Whether you choose a ballpoint dabber, scoop, hook, or flat tip, the intent remains the same. You want to move around your concentrate to efficiently gather as much of the essence and vapor profile of your material. First determine what kind of concentrate you will be working with. For wax and crumble, a flat or scoop design is best to pick up and even combine to make a fine dab. Pull and snap taffies require a hooked or pointed dabber to be able to effectively poke and break off the intended dab size. Shatter is sticky and does well with ballpoint or bladed dabber which can cut into it. For sugar crystals you want a scoop or shovel styled dabber. Any sappy or runny concentrate like oil also does best with a scoop dabber.

Once you determine the right tool you will be needing with your concentrate, simply apply your material within the nail inside the dome of the torch and draw in the vapor as you rotate the dabber. Using a carb cap utilizes a lower temperature which can be tricky if you are used to heat up your nail until it gets red hot. Thus, the benefit here is that you do not lose the vapor as the nail cools down. Unless you are using a traditional rig, dab and carb cap combinations are mainly used for e-nails.

How to Clean a Dabber

How to Clean a Dabber

The number one rule of cleaning a dabber is to always wait until it is cooled down! The reason you may not want to wait until it is warm to clean it off is because while your dabber might be simpler to clean that way, unless you know what you are doing you will be throwing away valuable concentrates. Always scrape off and reclaim any remaining concentrate on your tools to ensure you are getting the most out of your material. Since concentrate is easily cleaned with rubbing alcohol, you may want to consider taking off as much as possible before the alcohol turns your concentrate into mush. Simply wipe your tools with a soaked cotton or paper towel. Concentrate that ends up in a cotton ball can no longer be safely reclaimed, however.

Dabber Tips

Never touch your dabber’s tip! Even if it is cool to the touch, the dirt and oils in your hands can inadvertently transfer to an otherwise pure and clean concentrate. Another thing to consider using non-stick silicone tips for your dabbers when not in use. This will ensure your tools are always kept clean and ready to use without the worry of contamination from the environment. Finally, your dabbers can actually be used as scrapers for your dry herb vaporizers, bong bowls and glass pipes!

Domeless Nails and Dabbers

Domeless Dab Nails and Dabbers

A domeless nail defeats the issue of having to quickly cover the nail with a dome in order to retain heat. The hassle of having an extra piece that essentially covers the entire nail can lessen the experience by averting your attention from the joy of drawing in and positioning your concentrate. The benefit of having a domeless nail with your dabber is that you can use a carb cap dabber that will function to retain heat at a lower temperature and distribute your concentrate evenly, all while effectively maintaining the airflow. As you maintain the stability of your smoking device in one hand while rotating your concentrate with the other, you can efficiently cover the dome with the dabber and take advantage of the lower heating temperature. It is more resourceful and much simpler than using a standard dome.

The important thing to remember is that while there are so many options to choose from in the world of dabbers, make sure you get the right tool for the job! The purpose of using a dabber is to ensure your safety by putting distance between you and the heating elements, while utilizing specific attributes like a pointed tip or a scoop style to best handle the concentrate without it going to waste. Always remember to keep your tools clean and ready to use to ensure the best possible experience. Happy dabbing!


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