What is a Dab Torch?

With the ever-growing popularity of vaping and other similar smoking alternatives, it’s hard to keep all of the new terminology straight. Especially if you’re a beginner, you may be scratching your head trying to determine what a vape is, what a JUUL is, and what constitutes an e-cigarette. Dab torches are no exception. While these rigs are gaining a lot of traction in the alternative smoker communities, many smokers still wonder what they are. If you’re looking into dabbing and aren’t quite sure where to start, here’s what to keep in mind.

Dab torch basics

Dab torches are surprisingly similar to bongs, at least in their looks. However, instead of a traditional bowl, a dab torch typically uses a metal nail. That nail is effectively the heating component of the torch. Most dab smokers use a handheld blowtorch to heat up the nail to a suitable temperature before they swirl the dab—also commonly known as shatter, wax, or concentrate—on the nail until it dissolves. Then, the smoker slowly inhales the vapor that the melting dab produces. This process is known as dabbing.

While metal nails are still very popular for dabbing initiates, there are numerous technological advancements that have helped develop electronic nails, sometimes referred to as e-nails, in case the idea of wielding a blowtorch sounds off-putting. Not only does it increase the safety of using a dab torch, but it also affords more precise temperature control to avoid improper heating. While electronic nails aren’t as widespread as their metal counterparts, new dabbers are growing increasingly interested in the convenience they afford.

Dabbing or vaping?

So if dabbing involves inhaling the vapor produced by heating up the concentrate, you may be wondering what the difference between dabbing and vaping is. The biggest difference lies in the heating method. Whereas many vapes use one touch buttons to control the vapor pull, the active heating required to operate a dab torch is a little more involved. But if a smoker uses an e-nail for their dab rig, what’s the difference there?

The primary difference between the two electronic methods comes down to the materials you smoke. More often than not, dab torches are used to smoke THC products or marijuana concentrates. While many vape pens can accommodate marijuana e-liquids, they’re more often used for nicotine-based liquids and juices. Also, dab rigs use THC concentrates with much higher percentages. If you’re not used to smoking dabs, it’s best to avoid higher concentrations when selecting shatter or wax to ensure that you’re having a more comfortable experience.

Where to buy

Depending on how large of a city you live in, you’re may be able to purchase such products in person. Many metropolitan areas are full of both specialty shops as well as all-in-one smoke shops. If you’re looking to use a dab rig to smoke a marijuana concentrate, however, and you don’t live in a legal medical or recreational marijuana state, you may be out of luck. While online shopping is an option, some digital retailers won’t ship to states where marijuana consumption is illegal.

While customer service is a large motivator to purchasing products in typical brick-and-mortar stores, online shops are growing in popularity. Not only do these online shops offer quality products, but they offer a larger variety of supplies not normally found in stores. If you are in close vicinity to a retailer, visiting your local smoke shop might not be an issue. However, if there aren’t nearby shops or if you can’t find what you are looking for nearby, you should make use of online smoke shops.

A growing interest

Dabbing popularity is likely to keep growing in the months to come, especially with the introduction of electronic nails which make the process much more intuitive for newer smokers. If you’re new to dab rigs, make sure to do an adequate amount of research before you commit to a purchase. It’ll make your smoking experience that much more enjoyable. No matter what you enjoy smoking, make sure to enjoy in moderation and always put your personal safety first.


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