You’ve picked out some glass, you’ve decided on a style of nail, you’ve got a torch and some high-quality concentrate… but how are you going to get that concentrate on to the rig? Though its often overlooked, choosing the right dab tool can mean the difference between a pleasant and unpleasant dabbing experience. A good dab tool should be thermally insulated, make it easy to handle your preference of concentrate, and should carry little residue upon delivering the concentrate to the rig. Let’s take a look at the most popular styles of dab tools below:
These incorporate the stainless steel dental picks everyone is familiar with as well as small flexible spatulas (like Skillet Tools Flexy) and glass (borosilicate) dabbers pulled to a point. These tools are excellent for traditional “shatter” type concentrates because of their ability to cut individual hits away from a larger piece of shatter and the very small amount of residue that gets left behind on the tool itself (thanks to its low surface area). The small spatula is particularly useful because it can also be used for more “sugary” concentrates as well so long as the concentrate is not too dry… then it’s like trying to eat soup with a fork. It’s also not a great choice for very hard, stable shatter which can create hash shrapnel upon piercing with such a fine tip.
Good for: Shatter, Sap, Sugar, Oil
Bad for: Crumble / honeycomb, harder shatter
These are the second most common type of concentrate tools on the market and are particularly useful for harder, dryer concentrates that don’t stick as well to the dabber tool. If you tend to prefer crumbles, the scoop is an essential part of the arsenal… especially if you’ve opted for a “banger” or “side-car” style nail— just scoop and go. The spatula is most useful for waxy concentrates which can be pressed into a hit though these tend to create the most “holdup” residue with their large surface area and require regular cleaning to avoid getting that stale “recycled” flavor. They also make a spatula with a sharpened edge that is the perfect tool for breaking apart small hits from stubborn harder shatter.
Good for: Crumbles, wax, harder shatter, sugar
Bad for: Sappy shatter, less viscous concentrates
Sometimes (for whatever reason) you just don’t heat your rig up enough and end up creating a pool of concentrate that vaporizes weakly and slowly… too slow to take-in in one hit. In the old days, this “cold hit” would be weak, hurried, unpleasant, and you would have to watch your expensive concentrate literally go up in smoke. The carb cap fixed this problem by covering the nail (or whatever) and allowing vapor to collect so it can be consumed in a second or third hit. These are a must-have for everyone with a nail. Some of them even come attached to the nail itself.
Wether you’re considering a new rig or just looking for a way to make life easier, we hope you’ll use these considerations when buying your next dab tool! Since most dabbers work as 2-in-1 tools (using both ends), you should try to choose something that best fits your preference of concentrate. Remember, the dab tool is an essential part of your rig!