How to Take a Dab the Right Way

Posted by Tom Richardson on

If you're wondering how to take a dab, you've come to the right place.

Don't worry...

It's not as complicated as you might think!

There are a number of different ways to learn how to dab, but there's only one way to get the perfect dab.

Let's jump right in.

how to take a dab shatter

What Dab Tools are Needed?

With dabbing technology changing constantly, it can feel a bit overwhelming for beginners to learn how to dab properly. There are so many options available when it comes to your dab rig, banger, and other accessories.

We'll focus on the essential tools needed and mention some optional items that can enhance your session as well.

For a traditional dab setup, you'll need the following tools:

  • Dab rig - Your water pipe with a nail fitting. Not sure how to use it? Check out our how to use a dab rig guide!
  • Nail - This is equivalent to the flower bowl on a water pipe. Instead of a bowl, your dab rig will have a fitting for a dab nail or banger. Quartz bangers in the shape of a bucket are most common. You can find other types of nails made from titanium and ceramic. Even e-nails are becoming popular these days!
  • Dabber - This tool is used to apply your concentrate to the nail on your dab rig. They are often made of glass, metal, or ceramic, and come in a variety of shapes, including spoons, paddles, and scoops.
  • Carb cap - This tool helps to control the airflow during the session, so it's an essential part of dabbing.
  • Torch - Butane torches are widely popular among beginner and expert dabbers. You will need one to heat your dab nail. E-nails don't require torches as they will heat to your desired temperature electronically.
  • Cannabis extract - There are a few different types of extract, but the most common are shatter, wax, BHO, and rosin.
  • Dab mat (optional) - To keep your dabbing surface clean and residue-free, consider buying a dab mat.
  • Dab timer (optional) - Once you're a seasoned dabber, timing becomes an important part of your session. Consider investing in a dab timer to get the perfect heat up and cool down periods when dabbing.

Recommended dosage

how to take a dab dosage

Here's the thing..

Finding the right measurements for your dabs can be just as difficult as deciding what tools to use.

THC concentrations will vary depending on the type of extract you use, so be sure to understand your extracts potency beforehand.

We recommend starting small and slowly increasing your dosage over time as you gain experience.

A good starting dose should be about the size of a crumb.

Don't let the size fool you, though.

Even in such a small size, there's still a high concentration of THC that you'll be feeling soon.

Dabbing is much more intense than traditional bongs and water pipes, so starting small is best.

Understanding portions

To understand portioning, you should first understand how potency is labeled on concentrate packaging.

Potency is usually displayed as a percentage. This percentage lets you know the total amount of cannabinoids in your concentrate.

For example, 1 gram of hash containing 70% total THC contains 700mg of cannabinoids.

In comparison...

Most edibles start from 5-10mg of THC. For reference, a 20mg dab with 70% total THC cannabinoids would be smaller than a couple grains of couscous.

Hopefully this helps you understand that dabbing is not for inexperienced marijuana users.

While you likely won't be able to get a 5mg dab out of your concentrate, you can split your concentrate into equal bits to get a smaller dose.

Remember that the potency of your concentrate sample will dictate how you should split it for the right dosage, so it's important to read the label.

Now that we've covered potency, let's quickly discuss why small doses work best for beginners.

Starting with small doses

We encourage new dabbers to start with the smallest dab your tool and dab rig will allow. Micro-dabbing offers a number of different benefits.


You can always take another dab!

As you've probably heard before, different people experience different effects from dabs even if the size or cannabinoid ratios are the same.

If a 25mg dab of THC gives you intense psychoactive effects, it's not guaranteed to have the same effect on your friends.

This is why starting small is the preferred way to find the right dosage for you.

5 Steps to Take the Perfect Dab

With your dab rig ready and concentrate on your dabber, you're ready to get started.

Before we jump into the 5 steps, take a seat and place your dab rig on a stable surface. Your first dab can hit like a truck, so you want to be prepared.

Step 1 - Heat your nail

Light your torch and aim the flame directly at the nail. Apply heat to the nail until it's red hot.

For e-nails, you can skip to Step 3.

Step 2 - Allow your nail to cool

After your nail is red hot, turn off the torch and allow the nail to cool for around 45 seconds if it's made of quartz.

For titanium nails, allow 10 seconds for it to cool down.

You want to get your nail at just the right temperature so it's not too hot and not too cold.

This is where a dab timer comes in handy.

Step 3 - Apply your dab

Using your dabber, apply the concentrate to your nail and spin the dabber a bit to avoid wasting any concentrate.

Begin to slowly inhale as your concentrate hits the bucket of your nail.

Step 4 - Inhale

Use your carb cap to cover the dab as you continue to inhale. This will help regulate airflow.

Always keep your dabs capped.

Step 5 - Exhale

Exhale and enjoy your dab!

How to clean your nail

After dabbing, you'll notice oils and other particulates building up on your nail. Many people clean their nails after each dab, but cleaning it after the session works too.

Here are a few methods for cleaning your nail or banger:

Torch. A quick and easy way to clean your dab nail is using your torch to burn off the remaining residue.

Make sure your nail has cooled completely before using the torch again to avoid breaking it. Sudden changes in temperature can cause stress fractures in ceramic and quartz bangers.

Scrape. Using your dabber tool, gently scrape residue off your nail. Avoid being too rough or you may break the dab rig.

Wash. Soak your nail for 10 minutes in 91% isopropyl alcohol.

Expert Dab Tips

After dabbing a few times, you'll probably be wondering how you can take the experience to another level.

Let's review some expert tips to improve your session overall.

Carb caps are a must

After applying your dab, place your carb cap over the nail or banger to extract the full flavor profile of your dab with thick vapor consistency.

You can find carb caps available in all kinds of different styles and sizes, but they all work to trap heat and evenly distribute it around your nail or banger.

Use an insert for your banger

Quartz inserts help keep your banger clean while extending its shelf-life and prevent dabbing a hot nail.

Inserts are just small buckets made of quartz or other materials like ruby. They fit into your banger and keep an even dab temperature.

To use an insert, just drop it in your banger and place the carb cap on top when it's red hot, then wait a few seconds for the vapor to reach the insert.

Try reverse dabbing

One way to get the perfect hit is to try a cold start dab.

Also known as reverse dabbing, cold start dabbing involves applying your cannabis concentrates to the banger before you start to heat your nail.

Then, begin to heat the nail with your banger capped to reach the desired temperature.

This method allows you more control over the temperature and is great for avoiding dabbing on a hot banger.

Apply heat evenly

how to take a dab torch

Get a balanced dabbing temperature by heating your banger or nail evenly.

While this seems like an obvious tip, it has a big impact on how consistent your hits are.

Heat the bottom of your banger first and carefully work your way up the sides, focusing on areas where cannabis concentrates usually splash.

Whenever using your torch you should avoid heating the spine and joint of your banger as these spots are likely to crack.

Use a dab timer

how to take a dab timer

Dab timers help you track the cool down and heat up of your dabs to get a consistent temperature.

Using a timer on your phone works well for hitting the same temperature with each dab.

As nails can vary in material, your heat and cool times will vary with each nail as well depending on what it's made of.

Generally, a good starting point is 30 seconds for heating and a minute for cooling. You can adjust both times as you gain more experience.

Clean after every dab

To fully preserve the flavor of your vapor, clean your banger after each dab.

Follow the steps outlined above to quickly clean your nail after a dab.

You can also use a cotton swab soaked in isopropyl alcohol to remove any leftover residue between hits.

First, After each dab, clean your banger to ensure a smooth, flavorful dab.

Final Note

how to take a dab wax

The most important rule when it comes to taking the perfect dab is starting small. Nothing ruins a session like dabbing more than you can handle and tapping out after the first hit.

If you're new to concentrates, start with small doses and slowly build up to bigger dabs over time. As you become more comfortable with the process, you can try more advanced dabbing techniques.

With the right tools, you can completely personalize the entire setup from your rig to the carb cap you control airflow with.

For the best dab nails, carb caps, and any other dab accessories, shop at OG Trays!

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