Dabbing is arguably one of the best and most effective ways to enjoy cannabis concentrates, but choosing the best setup for your dab sessions can be tricky.
Choosing between all the different types of dab nails will be one of your biggest hurdles, especially for beginners. But getting the best type of dab nail, or “banger,” is essential for getting the most out of your dabs.
Dab nails (also known as Bangers) are the part of your setup that you heat and it is where you place your concentrate in order for it to vaporize.
Choosing between the different types of dab nails on the market can be overwhelming. You will find that there are numerous options available to use as a banger.
Fortunately, understanding the differences between the different types of bangers out there can make your decision a little easier.
In this article, we will take a look at the various types of dab nails, compare domed and domeless nails, and offer some tips that can help you find the right one.
Different Types of Bangers for Dab Rigs
When you start your search for the best dab nails, you will quickly find that there are multiple types available.
Each type of banger will have its own pros and cons.
Here, we will go over the current types of dab nails that are available going into 2022.
Best Dab Nail Types: Quartz Dab Nail
A quartz dab nail (also called a quartz banger) is one of the most popular options.
Quartz is an excellent conductor of heat, typically reaching ideal dabbing temperatures in under ten seconds.
Quartz dab nails are our most recommended type of dab nail, and it is what we chose to pair with our world-class dab rig setup with The HAMR.
The material is very durable. It can withstand higher temperatures than a glass dabbing nail, and it's less likely to shatter if you accidentally drop it.
Quartz is a neutral material. It won’t alter the flavor of your concentrate in any way.
You get maximum, untainted flavors from your favorite concentrates. It’s safe, too, so you don’t have to worry about it releasing (and you subsequently inhaling) any harmful contaminants. The addition of a carb cap makes for the best overall experience every time.
However, it does lose heat quickly. You will want to make sure you have your concentrate on your dab tool ready to go. Any delay could lead to heat loss, which makes for a subpar hit.
Despite this, quartz bangers are still some of the best dab nails you wil find on the market.
Glass Nails for Dabs
Glass dabbing nails are the most affordable (and the easiest to use) option on this list, and they hold heat relatively well.
However, glass is very fragile. Dropping it or exposing it to too-high temperatures could result in cracking or shattering.
Another drawback to a glass dab nail is that it accumulates residue, which can be difficult to clean away completely. Eventually, that residue can affect how well your nail functions.
In short, if you’re looking for the least-expensive banger, glass is it.
If you don’t dab a lot, they’re a decent choice. However, if you’re a frequent dabber, you will want to be prepared to replace your nail often. Or you might want to consider something more durable.
Even though other bangers might cost more upfront, their longer lifespans may make them worth the initial investment.
Metal Dab Nails
Metal bangers are quite popular. They’re usually made out of titanium, so they're lightweight and incredibly durable.
The material is practically indestructible. There's very little chance that it will break if you accidentally drop it. You also won't need to worry about it if you toss it in your bag when you travel.
Titanium heats quickly, typically in 15 to 25 seconds, and holds that heat well.
While you will still want to work quickly to get your dabs on your nail, it won't be a race against time. There's less of a chance you will have to reheat your nail if you accidentally fumble your dab tool or forget to prepare your concentrate ahead of time.
Titanium is also corrosion-resistant and withstands temperatures hotter than you can achieve with a torch.
Despite these incredible benefits, titanium also has its drawbacks.
For one thing, these types of bangers tend to be the most expensive. Titanium may impart a metallic taste to your hits. Frequent and long-term use could also result in the material releasing harmful chemicals.
If you do decide to buy a titanium dab nail, don’t settle for the first one you find. Make sure that it’s medical grade 2 or better, which is the type of titanium used in food and medical industries. It's a safe metal to heat up and use.
Lower quality titanium often has other metals (or fillers) mixed in, which creates a couple of significant issues.
First, it can affect the flavor even more than higher-quality titanium can. Second, the other metals and fillers might not be as heat-resistant, and they can produce harmful toxins when you heat the nail — not exactly anything you want to be inhaling. The lower cost isn't worth the health risks.
Of all the options, ceramic takes the longest to reach the best temperatures for dabbing (approximately 30 seconds).
It does, however, retain that heat better than most other materials once it’s at temp, to the point that it can be too hot to touch after it's been used.
Like quartz, ceramic nails don’t release harmful chemicals when heated, nor do they impart any flavors that could affect the taste of your concentrates.
Ceramic is more durable than glass, but it isn’t nearly as strong as quartz or titanium. It can chip or break if you drop it or overheat it. Since it's more expensive than glass, that means you will be spending even more money if you have to replace your nail.
It can be difficult to tell when ceramic is at the proper temperature, too. Unlike quartz or titanium, which change color when heated, ceramic stays the same.
As such, it’s easier to overheat the material, which can weaken your banger and make it more susceptible to damage.
If you do choose to use a ceramic dab nail, it may take a bit of trial and error to get the timing right. If you'd rather not risk it, you should choose a different material.
Dab Nail Types: Dome vs. Domeless
When comparing dab nail types, you will have to choose whether you want a domed or domeless banger. You will find that this is a topic of hot debate among concentrate users, but like anything else, it's about personal choice.
Domed nails require a piece called a “dome” (hence their name), which goes over the nail after you heat it. It distributes heat more evenly and keeps the vapor contained.
Once you get the rhythm of the process, it’s pretty simple. However, it does require an extra step and gives you an additional piece to keep clean.
Your other option is a domeless nail. Instead of a dome, it features a larger dish and an opening in the center that allows the vapor to travel into your rig.
One of the main draws of a domeless nail is that the larger dish allows for bigger hits. The process is a lot simpler than a domed banger.
You can also add a carb cap to a domeless rig. The carb cap sits over your concentrate as it bubbles, creating a chamber of heat. You then lift it off to clear the vapor.
Carb caps are most helpful when it comes to lower temperature dabbing, helping you to heat your dabs more effectively and giving you cleaner-tasting hits.
Choosing the Best Banger for Dabs
You will need to know if your rig has a male or female joint. If it has a male joint, you will need a female nail and vice versa.
You will also need to know the size of the joint, usually one of three sizes – 10mm, 14mm, and 19mm. You will want to match the size of the banger to the joint’s size.
After you have the specifics of your rig, the rest of your decision is what material you want. Weigh the pros and cons of each material, consider your preferences, and keep your budget in mind.
You will also want to keep your dabbing habits in mind. Remember, while some materials are cheaper, they might not last as long, which means you will have to replace them frequently if you dab often.
At the end of the day, the decision as to your personal best banger for dabs is what works best for you.
Different Types of Bangers – Bottom Line
Like other methods of cannabis consumption, dabbing is a highly personal experience. The type of banger you choose allows you to personalize that experience even further.
Ultimately, only you can determine what is the best type of banger for your dab setup.
While you might be overwhelmed by the different types of dab nails at first, you will find that understanding their strengths and weaknesses can help make your decision a little easier.
You might even find that trying a few options to see which one (or ones) you prefer. If you have friends who dab, you might be able to test their nails instead of having to buy a few different ones.
Whether you choose glass nails for dabs, a quartz dab nail, or something else, make sure that you keep what works best for you at the front of your mind. From there, make sure that it will fit your specific dab rig. With the right nail, every hit will be an enjoyable experience.