Everything You Need to Know About Quartz Bangers and Dab Nails

Posted by Seth Styles on

So you’ve got your dab mat, your pick-style dabber, your favorite rig and your brand new quartz banger. Or is it a quartz dab nail? Don’t know for sure? Is there even a difference? Don’t worry, you’re not alone in your confusion. Fortunately, you don’t really need to know to get where you’re going. But since knowledge is power (or at the very least, can keep a conversation moving along) we’re going to answer all your questions today regarding bangers. Or dab nails? Read on to know for sure! 


Banger vs Dab Nail: What’s the Difference?

In the 710 community, you’ve heard the terms “banger” and “nail” thrown around as if they were one and the same. Technically, they’re not. But time and use have done their dirty work so that most people won’t second guess you if you use the terms interchangeably. If we dig back into our old world knowledge, we’ll find that a dab nail features a completely different design than a banger, though they’re meant to produce a similar result. In most cases, a dab nail is crafted from rugged titanium and is shaped very similarly to the kind of nail you’d use in carpentry, hence the name. You may find a glass dab nail, especially if you buy a dab rig that comes already equipped with a nail, but these aren’t meant to last, cracking or tarnishing under the frequent blasts of intense heat. Titanium is really the only material rugged enough to withstand the focused abuse aimed at a dab nail. While the nail has a fairly uniform design, some also offer a universal fit while others are designed for a specific joint size. You’ll also find minor stylistic differences based on the natural evolution of the dab nail, such as the old school domed varieties, domeless nails and even some that extend to greater heights for more comfort. 

A banger features a neck that pivots away from the rig, culminating in a bucket that cradles a larger amount of wax than the limited platform offered by a dab nail. The long neck of a banger is particularly useful for rookies who are still getting used to wielding a dab torch or even vets who don’t want to risk accidentally scorching their prized heady glass piece. While bangers may seem like a specific enough term, you’ll find some brands that refuse the word “banger” in favor of “bucket” or simply “quartz.” But we’re willing to bet if you’ve got your wallet out, they won’t care what you’re calling it. While any dab rig nail worth mentioning will be crafted from titanium, a quality banger could come in a variety of materials, though most connoisseurs agree that quartz is where it’s at. 


The Most Common Banger Materials

If you’re looking for a sturdy, reliable banger that won’t only last but will also deliver you plenty of undiluted flavor, quartz is the way to go. The average quartz banger heats up in about 10 seconds, but loses this heat somewhat rapidly which has resulted in some people seeking out bangers crafted from material with better heat retention qualities. Ceramic bangers are a rarer find, mostly due to their brittle nature, but hold heat longer than their quartz banger counterparts while also providing full flavor. Even rarer is the titanium banger which is virtually unbreakable but, like the titanium dab nail, drastically compromises flavor. Titanium also requires a bit more patience during heating when compared to ceramic, while retaining heat about as effectively. 

So why is the quartz banger the fan favorite if ceramic holds heat longer and titanium is virtually unbreakable? We’ll call it the Super Mario Bros. 2 effect. If you’re a child of the ‘80s or older, you likely remember 1988’s Super Mario Bros. 2; a true oddity even in a franchise themed around plumbers who travel through transdimensional pipes battling plants and turtles while chomping on mushrooms. Super Mario Bros. 2 featured wildly different game mechanics than its predecessor and allowed you a choice to play as 1 of 4 different characters. There was Luigi, who could leap higher than the others but moved erratically, Toad who was stronger but not as quick, Princess Toadstool who could float but lacked strength and then there was Mario, who was somewhere in the middle. While all the characters were fun to play in varying degrees, the average player eventually gravitated back to ol’ reliable Mario. And that’s the same with the quartz banger. It’s not as strong as titanium, it lacks ceramic’s heat retention, but it’s just the best well-rounded banger of the bunch. 


Seasoning Your Dab Nail or Banger

No matter which style or material you choose, seasoning your dab nail or banger is an important step that a surprising amount of people overlook. But if flavor is important to you, seasoning is integral! We’ve heard it argued that a quartz banger doesn’t need to be seasoned like a titanium nail, but in our experience, there’s always a reason to season. Seasoning strips your banger or nail of potential factory coatings and polish that not only taste foul but could be harmful. 

So, we’ve sold you on seasoning… how do you do it? It’s simple. As soon as you get your quartz banger, titanium dab nail or anything in between, heat your nail until it gets that nice red glow. Don’t wash it or anything like that beforehand, just immediately bathe it in fire. Then, let the nail cool back down before applying a coat of your favorite wax, oil or other concentrate. Blast it with heat again and voila… you have a perfectly seasoned nail ready to serve up some flavorful results. 


How to Clean a Quartz Banger, Titanium Nail and Anything In Between 

Whether you’ve gone with a quartz banger, titanium nail or you’re one of those ceramic perverts (hey, no judgment!), you should be swabbing your platform down with high percentage isopropyl alcohol at the end of every dab. This will prevent chazzing and keep your banger or nail in pristine condition. We recommend using cleaning tools that have been specially designed for the job, like Dab Nation Dab Swabs or Glob Mops, just because their focused purpose makes the cleaning process easier, but a regular cotton swab and iso can do the trick. Dab nails have a relatively simple platform to clean but with bangers, you’ll really need to get into some tight nooks and crannies with certain models. When you don’t clean your banger or nail after every dab, you will find your piece quickly accumulating stains. Some of these can be lightened by soaking your banger or nail in high percentage isopropyl alcohol and salt overnight before using warm water and a dabber to scrape away whatever you can. If there’s still some residue, try blasting the banger or nail with your torch to see if that frees up any of that tenacious residue. Sounds like a pain? It is. That’s why we recommend showing religious devotion to swabbing down your banger or nail after every single dab… no exceptions! 

When you’re first introduced to the dabbing ritual, dab nails and bangers could seem overwhelming. We’re hoping that you now realize that, even at their most nuanced, they’re actually one of the simpler aspects of dabbing. In most cases, you’ll end up using a quartz banger. If you invest in a higher quality model, regular cleaning will leave you looking forward to years of reliable, flavorful use.If you’re ever in a pinch, cheap borosilicate glass nails and bangers are plentiful if not ideal for long-term use. But, much like it’s recommended that a new guitarist invest in the best instrument they can afford to make those early days as enjoyable and comfortable as possible, we recommend that rookies aim high with their first banger or nail, treating it with care and enjoying full flavored performance right out the gate.  

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