What is the Best Type of Dab Nail? [We Review 5 Types]

choosing the best dab rig nail
May 27, 2019 By Stoner

So you’re looking for the best dab nail for your bong or rig, but you want to know what to look for before shopping around. You also want to know:

At HelpingPot, we have smoked a dab or two, and have gone through our fair share of rigs, quartz bangers, dab rig nails, and torches. So, we wanted to share our knowledge and experience in this guide, in order to help you choose the best dab rig nail

In this guide, you will also find general buyer’s information, frequently asked questions, and our top picks for the best dab rig nail attachments in 2019. Let’s get started!

what to look for in the best dab nails

5 Things to Look for in a Dab Rig Nail

When looking for a new dab rig, there are a few things you want to make sure you check for before making a purchase. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What is your joint size and gender?
  • What are your heat requirements?
  • What dab nail size do you need?
  • Do you want a dab nail you have to season?
  • Are you looking for a domeless or a domed dab nail?

From here, you should also take into account how much you are willing to pay for a new dab rig nail, along with how large you want it to be. Lastly, you should take into account how durable you want your dab nail to be. Knowing how clumsy us Stoners are, chances are you want one that is damn near bulletproof.  

1. Joint Size – Will it Fit?

The first thing to look at is your joint size. This is the size of the joint on your bong or dab rig. These can either be male, or female, and come in many different sizes, but there are 3 predominant joint sizes for male and female rigs: 10mm, 14mm, and 18mm.

Because most dab rigs have female joints, a majority of the merchandise you come across will be male dab nails. However, there are a few male dab rigs out there which accept female dab nails.

Measuring the joint size and gender is an entire subject on its own so we won’t get too into it here, but if you want to learn more, we did write about it in this epic guide. Basically, you want to make sure that you know the size of your dab rig joint, in order to buy the right size nail.  

2. Heat Requirements – What Are You Looking For?

When it comes to heat requirements for a dab rig, we really are looking for 3 things:

  • How long does it take for the nail to heat up?
  • How long does the nail hold its heat?
  • How hot can the nail get before it breaks or burns wax?

Depending on what temperature dabs you prefer, a different type of dab nail may be best for you. Some nails get too hot too quickly and cause dabs to burn. Others become damaged over time if they are exposed to high temperatures.

Each type of dab rig nail heats up at a different speed, holds heat for a different amount of time, and can be exposed to certain temperatures.  

This is something we will get into later in this guide when we break down each type of dab nail individually and compare them. Knowing what temperature preferences you have for dabbing can really help you find the best dab nail.

3. Dab Nail Size – Is it Big Enough for Your Dabs?

We’ve all seen those people on Instagram that just can’t seem to take big enough dabs. They get their globs ready and pile on that sticky substance until it looks like they are smoking a damn AirHead.

If you are one of these big-time dabbers, you should keep that in mind while picking out the right dab nail for your rig. You will want to find something that can handle your dab sizes easily without clogging, overflowing, or just flat out burning them.

For those who prefer massive dabs, we often recommend domed nails, or even quartz bangers because of the splash control, and larger platform to put dabs.

4. Season Your Dab Nail – Can it Handle the Heat?

One of the biggest mistakes that first-time dabbers make when getting a new nail for their rig is that they get so excited to smoke it, they break it out of the box, light the torch, and take a fat dab.

We understand your excitement, but when you purchase a new dab rig nail, make sure it comes seasoned. Otherwise, you will want to take some time to season your dab nail before putting it to full use in order to ensure it lasts long and does not get damaged.

Why do you have to season a dab nail? Well, technically you don’t have to do it, and it’s only necessary on titanium dab nails. The reason it is important to season your titanium nails is that when they first come from the factory, they give off a strong titanium taste. By burning a small amount of oil or wax to the top of it (where the hole is) and letting it burn out, you replace the taste with the taste of sweet dabs.

Other types of dab nails do not have to be seasoned, but it is still recommended, and all you need to do is follow the same process. Be sure to heat the nail to become red hot, and then be sure to not smoke your rig in the seasoning process. Typically, you repeat this a few times until a solid layer of resin builds up, sealing in flavor similar to an old pan.

5. Domeless Nail or Domed Nail – Which One?  

The last thing you must consider before buying a new nail for your dab rig is whether you want a domed or a domeless nail. To be honest, both are great.

Domed nails tend to be a bit larger, allowing you to take larger dabs, but are typically only made from quartz or glass, which limits the type of dab nail you can use. They also act as a bit of a splash guard while dabbing, collecting any excess extracts that may splash off while smoking. Lastly, the dome shape helps to keep in more vapors, helping you get even more out of your dabbing experience.

Domeless nails are typically cheaper and smaller than domed nails. They are still quite nice to use, and are usually more durable because they are smaller and less fragile.

Overall, the argument of domed vs. domeless nails really depends on your own preferences. As you will learn in the next section, a lot of smokers prefer titanium nails, which limits their options to domeless nails. Other people who prefer ceramic nails often run into the same problem.

what types of dab rig nails are there

5 Types of Dab Rig Nails – Which is Best for Me?

Now that you know exactly what to look for in a new dab rig nail, it is time to explore the different types that are available to you. There are 5 main types of dab nails:

  • Quartz nails
  • Titanium nails
  • Ceramic nails
  • Glass nails
  • E-nails

For the purpose of this guide, in the sections below, we give our honest reviews of each type of dab rig nail, complete with our overall rating, which considers these factors:   

  • Heating Time
  • Heat Tolerance
  • Holding Heat  
  • Durability
  • Price
  • Flavor
  • Health

On top of that, we also give you information on how to season each type of dab nail, and our pick for the best dab nail in each category.  

titanium dab nail review 3

1. Titanium Nails

Titanium nails heat up extremely fast, with only quartz beating it out for the fastest heating time of all the types of dab rig nails. They have a mid-range heat tolerance, but anything upwards of 600F is not recommended, as it can begin to burn oils and concentrates. This is not safe for your health, and also can easily clog your rig, and just taste awful.

Overall, titanium nails hold heat well and are the most durable type of dab nail. However, they do have the worst flavor out of the bunch and also the worst health outlook. But, by making sure you purchase Grade 2 Titanium nails, you can drastically reduce or extinguish your exposure to health risks.

ProsCons
Very durable Health risks
Affordable prices Poor flavor
Quick heating time Low heat tolerance
Holds heat well
Lots of sizes

Is a titanium dab nail best for me?

We don’t mind titanium dab nails. They are not the best (we personally prefer quartz), but they get the job done well, and are extremely durable. They also have a very modest price point and come in a wide variety of sizes. This makes them preferable for a lot of Stoners.

On top of that, they have some of the best temperature control besides e-nails, as you can easily tell how hot they are by the color of the nail. Not to mention, they hold heat better than glass or quartz nails. You should be aware that titanium does have an effect on flavor, and the metallic taste you sometimes get does come from fumes of the metal, which can be dangerous to inhale.

What is the best titanium nail?

Personally, we love the Universal Titanium Nail because of how affordable it is, how many sizes it is available in for both male and female joints, and also how well it heats up and stays hot.

Are titanium nails safe?

Titanium nails are on the borderline of being safe. The thing is, many titanium nails are not just made with pure titanium, but alloys which can include Carbon, Iron, Oxygen, Nitrogen, and Hydrogen. When these atoms are stripped from the allow and turn to gas, the Iron, in particular, can cause health issues and raise health concerns.

Grade 2 Titanium products are made with very minimal amounts of iron, which reduces this health risk substantially, though there is still some risk when comparing titanium nails to quartz, glass, or ceramic. Be sure that any dab rig attachment you purchase that is made from titanium is made with Grade 2.

Which are better, quartz or titanium nails?

At Best Gifts for Stoners, we prefer quartz nails. Sure, they are a bit less durable, and also do not hold heat as long, but the flavor makes all the difference. With quartz nails, you can taste the dab completely without the aftertaste or burnt dabs or metal. On top of that, they do not have any of the same health concerns you have to worry about when purchasing from unknown sources.

Do you have to season a titanium nail?

Technically you don’t have to, but you should. The reason for this is that when you first purchase a titanium nail if you do not season it, you will experience a metallic taste. By seasoning your titanium nail, you allow resin to build up over the hole, which enhances taste and reduces exposure to these fumes.

quartz dab nail review 3

2. Quartz Nails

Quartz nails heat faster than ceramic and titanium nails. They are a bit less durable than their ceramic counterparts, but not by much.

Perhaps what quartz dab nails are best known for is delivering a high-quality taste every single time. While they don’t hold heat long, they can be heated in about 10 seconds, making them extremely convenient.

On top of that, what also makes them convenient is that they come in a wide variety of sizes, and can also be made to have domes, and even reclaims which allow you to prevent splashback, harness more vapor, and re-use resin.

ProsCons
Affordable prices Fragile
Heats in 10 seconds Lose heat quickly
Many varieties

Is a quartz dab nail best for me?

If you focus intently on the flavor of your dab smoking experience, quartz is the best type of dab nail for you without question. They can handle a wide variety of temperature ranges, heat up extremely quickly, and come in many varieties. They do break fairly easily, however, so if you are a clumsy Stoner, be sure to keep them out of harm’s way.

What is the best quartz nail?

Personally, we prefer the ELEV8 Quartz Domeless Nail for our dabbing experience. It comes in a wide range of sizes and is made with thick, durable quartz. On top of that, ELEV8 is one of the best companies known for their dab rig and bong accessories so you can trust their quality every time.

Do you have to season a quartz nail?

No, however, some people do. This just adds to the taste but is ultimately something that will happen naturally over time. The only time you will notice a difference from seasoning a quartz nail is within the first dozen times you smoke it until the resin builds up. After that, it is all the same.

ceramic dab nail review 3

3. Ceramic Nails

Ceramic nails are known for their ability to retain heat for long periods of time, often staying hot enough for dabs for well over a minute at certain temperatures. They do, however, take longer to heat up than titanium or quartz dab nails.

However, they are prone to breaking easier than quartz dab nails because when ceramic materials experience rapid changes in temperature, they can fracture or crack over time.

On top of that, their flavor is slightly worse than quartz but still better than titanium. Overall, they are still affordable, and if you season them right, they can last you a long time.

ProsCons
Hold heat the longestTake the longest to heat
Affordable prices Fracture/break easily
Decent flavor profile

Is a ceramic dab nail best for me?

If you like smoking multiple dabs at once or frequently enjoy smoking dabs with your friends, ceramic dab nails are probably best for you because they stay warm the longest. If flavor or speed is what you aim for, you are probably best going with a quartz nail. If you are looking for durability, quartz or titanium nails may serve you best over ceramic.

What is the best ceramic nail?

In our humble opinion, the Universal Ceramic Nail is the best ceramic nail on the market because once again, it is made by ELEV8, and is also extremely high in quality. It is also made from food safe materials and comes in just about every joint size for both male and female dab nails.

Are ceramic nails good for dabbing?

Yes. At the end of the day, they get the job done with solid flavor, affordable prices, lots of varieties, and they hold heat longer than the other types of dab nails. However, they are the most fragile.

Do you have to season a ceramic nail?

You do not have to season a ceramic dab nail, however, it is recommended that you do. In this case, the seasoning process is not so much necessary for improving flavor, but for improving temperature tolerance. By heating your ceramic nail and cooling it rapidly a few times, you can make it more durable. But be sure not to go overboard and cause fractures.

glass dab nail review 3

4. Glass Nails

Glass nails are becoming less and less popular in the dabbing scene. The main reason for this is that they are essentially the same thing as quartz nails, but less durable.

Overall, they are still great to have around, with a quick heat up time, and affordable prices. However, they are the most fragile type of nail, and often have poor heat tolerance, fracturing just as easy as ceramic nails, and easier in some cases.

Lastly, they have decent flavor, but are about the same as the quality of quartz, leaving little reason to choose them over their counterparts. People who do prefer glass dab nails usually like them best because they come in a wide variety, including reclaims and domed nails.

ProsCons
Quick heating time Fragile
Affordable prices Low heat tolerance
Wide variety

Is a glass dab nail best for me?

To be honest, there is a good reason why glass nails for dab rigs are becoming less prevalent day by day. The main reason is that even if you like the features they offer, quartz nails offer the same features at the same price point, with a higher heat tolerance, and more durability. Overall, glass nails are probably the worst type of dab rig nail attachment because they do not shine in any one area compared to the others.

What is the best glass nail?

Honestly, we have never owned a glass dab nail. We have used them a few times, and have not noticed any difference between them and quartz nails, besides the complaints from friends that they break too easily. So, for these reasons, we will not recommend one.

Do you have to season a glass nail?

No. The problem with glass nails is that they have such a low-temperature tolerance that even seasoning them doesn’t really help to improve their durability.

e-nail review 3

5. Electronic (E-)Nails

So what’s an e-nail? Electronic dab rig nails are becoming a hit sensation in the Stoner community because they are extremely convenient for some of the more hardcore dabbers.

What I mean by this is that they are not restricted to the eye-balling temperature measuring of other dab nails. Instead, e-nails can be fine-tuned to the exact temperature you want. This allows you to experiment and find the best dab temperature for each strain of concentrates.

Finding the right temperature allows you to get the best flavor. Most e-nails are made of titanium, however, there are a few that simply heat a rig, which attaches to the type of nail of your choice. With these, you need to be careful to heat ceramic and quartz nails slowly in order to not fracture them. In some cases, if you try to heat ceramic too high too quickly, it can flat out explode.

The other concern with e-nails is that they can be easy to forget about once you are faded, and leaving them on creates some serious fire hazards. The best electronic dab rig nails have safety precautions that prevent this.

Overall, this type of dab nail is very expensive. On top of that, because they are usually made of titanium, even with

ProsCons
Stay heated as long as you want Made of titanium – mediocre flavor
Complete temperature control Very expensive
Heat very fast Can be dangerous to health
Decent heat tolerance Can be a fire hazard

Is a electronic dab nail best for me?

An e-nail is best for you if you are a serious dabber. If you dab enough to use a lot of fuel, or if you are the type of person who likes to have full control over your flavor and heat, e-nails are best for you. You should also expect to drop much more money on one of these bad boys than the other types of dab nails.

What is the best e-nail for dabs?

There are a few options for electronic dab nails out there, but we personally prefer the Dab Ninja E-Nail. It is affordable, comes in a neat carrying case, is relatively small, and offers superior temperature control. It also has several safety features for forgetful Stoners.

Do you have to season an e-nail?

You do not have to, but you should. As titanium nails, you want to take all of the same precautions when purchasing and seasoning an electronic nail for your dab rig.

buy best dab nails

Where Can I Buy the Best Dab Rig Nails?

If you are looking for the best prices on some of the best dab nails on the market, check out our selection of dab nails at Best Gifts for Stoners:

Or, if you are looking into learning more about dabbing, dab rigs, and dab rig accessories, be sure to check out these helpful resources:

If you found this blog helpful, please leave us a comment. You can also join the Stoner community and never miss a beat by subscribing to our email newsletter and checking out more from our blog.

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