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The Evolution of Dab Rigs: From Basic to Cutting-Edge

Dab rigs are an essential accessory for the concentrate enthusiast. They filter smoke through water, making it a much more pleasant experience than smoking with a traditional bong. The first dab rigs were one-off DIY contraptions called swing skillets or vapor curves. They had a titanium plate hanging underneath a borosilicate tube that was heated to the right temperature.

Standard Rigs

As dabbing gained popularity, forward-thinking glassblowers began designing unique and innovative rigs incorporating a female joint and a downstream. These rigs offer a more potent smoking experience and are an excellent option for concentrate lovers. As time went on, more advanced filtration methods were added to designs. One famous example is the recycler, which features two chambers that redirect smoke before it exits the rig. This design offers additional cooling and filtration for a smoother high.

Another feature that has become a staple is the percolator. These devices rest in the water and diffuse smoke by breaking it into smaller bubbles. It creates a cooler and smoother hit and is available in many styles, including the honeycomb, disc, circ, showerhead, and more. Some rigs come with an integrated butane torch for the ultimate practicality. This feature allows users to quickly heat a banger or nail without keeping an eye on a flame or waiting for it to heat up.

Smart Rigs

Invented by Roger Volodarsky, the “Steve Jobs of Cannabis,” this innovative electric dab rig eliminates the need for a torch by using an electronic nail that heats automatically. It’s the perfect choice for dabbers looking for ease of use and hassle-free, tasty dabbing. The first dab rigs were homemade stoops or bowls on which you would put your concentrate and inhale the vapors. Information about the first glassmakers who adopted a functional approach to the piece could be more precise.  The latest intelligent rigs remove the need for an external heating element by using induction to vaporize your concentrate without a torch. They can offer more precise temperature control; some also come with a dab mat that helps protect a surface from dripping wax. 

Basic Rigs

Getting started with dabbing is easy enough with a basic rig. These pieces typically feature a glass, or more commonly, titanium skillet, which you heat with your butane torch until it’s hot and ready to apply your concentrate. From there, your vapors will be drawn through the vapor curve, a rounded glass tube with a glass-on-glass female joint on one end and a flared, bell-shaped opening on the other. Some of the first dabs rigs were homemade, but eventually, forward-thinking glassblowers began to make professionally designed rigs specifically for concentrates. The conductive material they superheated to vaporize wax quickly became the banger and carb cap that we know as the concentrate nail, and the tube placed over the heated nail to control the vapors became the dome. Some rigs also incorporate water to provide added filtration and to help with comfort. These pieces have a showerhead or matrix percolator installed on their down stems or an angled sidecar mouthpiece that lets you inhale in a more comfortable position.

Electric Rigs

When dabs were first introduced to the masses, dab enthusiasts started with homemade rigs known as skillets. These rigs featured a metal nail that you heated with a butane torch until it reached the desired temperature for your concentrate. Glass domes eventually replaced these homemade rigs with titanium or quartz nails. Soon after, dishes and bangers appeared on the market to allow dabbers to enjoy low-temperature dabs that didn’t require the nail to reach such high temperatures. But the most significant advancement in dabbing came from electric rigs that eliminated the need for butane torches. These new rigs use battery or plug-in power to heat the concentrate nail to your preferred setting. It allows you to avoid buying butane regularly and prevents fire hazards when smoking in your home or other public places. Many of these rigs also come with water filtration for an even more pleasant experience. Often, the rigs have LED displays to help you accurately select your preferred temperature.

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