Dab Rig

A dab rig, also called an oil rig or wax rig, is the main tool you will need to dab or consume cannabis concentrates, or dabs. A relation of the bong family, dab rigs share many similar features of your everyday water pipe. However, these water pipes, typically made of silicone or glass, are designed for consuming, heating, and filtering these types of plant concentrates.

What is a dab rig? 

Recycler rigs, e-rigs, and vapor rigs are all just different versions of dab rigs—usually with different features. For example, an e-rig is an electronic version with no need for a torch.

[See what is dabbing here.]

Temperature is important to dabbing feel, flavor, and safety, because the hot dab nail is the melting point for the concentrate. The user inhales and the vapor passes through the downstem into the dab rig, where the water quickly cools the vapor. This way when you actually inhale, the vapor is pretty cool.

Most dab rigs also use some form of diffusion to further cool the vapor. This means the design or structure of the dab rig itself will force the vapor through underwater holes as the user inhales, causing many tiny bubbles. This forces more contact with the water, more cooling, and actually means less concentrate waste.

Dab Rig: Usage and Meaning


  • “I rewarded myself with a new dab rig, and this time it’s an e-rig!”
  • “Michelathon brought a new Puffco Peak Medusa dab rig over and we were all using it all night! It was so cool.”
  • “When it comes to dab rigs, I like using a good old fashioned torch.”

What Are the Main Parts of a Dab Rig?

Here are the main parts of a standard dab rig:

  • Mouthpiece. This is where you inhale, and you need an airtight seal that is the right style to be comfortable.
  • Dab nail. Melt your concentrate, usually with a dab torch, here.
  • Joint. This is where the dab rig and dab nail connect. Joints have both 10mm, 14mm, and 18mm sizes and male and female genders, so be sure whatever you buy is compatible.
  • Diffusion/Percolator. This refers to any part of the structure that causes the bubbles and diffusion.

Dab Rig Styles

Classic or direct inject. The simplest, most basic design with the bowl supported by the nail column near the top. Load dabs there, and the vapor moves into the rig. Because of its structure, there is no dome.

Standard. This is usually a budget option, but you have to collect the vapor with a dome to use it. You heat the nail, place the dab, and it melts and flows over the nail.

Daisy or castle. The nail itself turns into a bowl which means you don’t need a dome, but using a carb cap is difficult.

Angled cut. Also free of the dome, these can be unique and appealing looking and can provide a larger surface area for more vapor.

What is the Difference Between a Dab Rig and a Bong?

Dab rigs are like a bong, in that they are a kind of water pipe. However, dab rigs are specifically designed to consume dabs, waxes, oils, and other concentrates. They don’t work without a dab nail, whereas a bong will work independently.

Another difference is size and portability; bongs tend to be larger and less portable. Furthermore, dabbing doesn’t use combustion; you are really vaping with careful temperature control. This also points to the final difference. Dab rigs that are the wrong size, shape, or temperature mean wasted product lost and stuck inside them, unlike bongs.

How Do I Clean My Dab Rig?

It is crucial to keep your dab rig clean. To clean the banger nail, use cotton swabs and 99% isopropyl alcohol to remove residue after each dab.

Change the water in your dab rig after every use. Use 99% isopropyl alcohol to remove any built up resin coating on the walls of the dab rig.

How Do I Choose the Best Dab Rig For Me?

Here are some of the important factors:

  • How much recycling and filtration you need and want.
  • Where you will be using your dab rig.
  • Analog or digital. Do you want to ditch butane torches?
  • Shape, joint size, and dab rig size.
  • Style, customizability.
  • Durability: high-quality dab rigs are borosilicate glass or silicone so they won’t fracture or crack, even when used and heated repeatedly.
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