Scoops work best for sauce, sugar, distillate, crystals (isolates), crumble, wax, budder.
Flatheads work best for shatter, pull, snap, taffy.
Points work best for shatter, pull, snap, taffy.
The material of your dabber will depend heavily on your intentions. However, any dab tool you choose should be heat-resistant, durable and made from an inert material that won’t contaminate your concentrates in any way.
Have you ever seen someone grab a chunk of shatter with their fingers and plop it down into a heated banger? It’s not the most graceful way to get a sesh started, especially when we are spoiled with a wealth of options for dab tools. A decent dab tool, often referred to as a dabber, is considered an essential of the ritual. Not only does it provide a safe distance between you and a hazardously hot banger, but also provides enough control for accurate dosing. Plus, it just feels a bit more hygienic to drop a dab from a dab tool than your fingers. But with dab wands coming in an overwhelming amount of shapes and styles, knowing which to choose for your needs can feel a bit daunting. Fear not, we’re here to demystify the dab tool so you get exactly what you need to keep your sesh comfortable, convenient and controlled.
The Universal Virtues of a Dabber
How does one determine the perfect dabber? The answer will be radically different from person to person, depending on a variety of factors. However, there are certain universals to look for when shopping for the best dab tool. You’re always going to want one crafted from heat-resistant material since it will regularly come into contact with scorching hot bangers. You’ll also need a design and material that’s durable, especially when working with some of the more tenacious and stubborn concentrate consistencies. A dabber should also be comprised of an inert material, meaning that it won’t impact the consistency, composition and terpene-rich flavor of your favorite concentrates.
Factors That Change With Your Intention
Then, you’ll need to consider variable factors that will mostly be informed by your personal tastes. Do your dabbing habits find you mostly firing up the torch in the comforts of your own home or are you more likely to hit the road with your trusted e-rig? Do you use a one-of-a-kind heady glass rig or a bare bones daily driver? Are you partial to a specific concentrate consistency? Maybe you like stubborn shatters or prefer gloopy sauces. Even the preferred size of your dabs or a specific dosage is a point worth considering. These are just a few examples of the kinds of questions you should consider when searching for the best dab tool for your specific ritual.
Types of Materials Used for Dab Wands
Dabbers come in a vast variety of materials designed with the dabbing ritual in mind. While handles can come in an even wider variety of materials, the dab tool head itself will most likely be comprised of one of the following materials:
Glass – Your dabber will be coming into regular contact with extreme heat, so a glass dab tool can be a risky choice if you’re expecting long term use. However, a glass dabber can also be worked into psychedelic heady designs. Glass is less likely than the other materials on our list to leave scratches on other pieces of glass making the glass dab tool a wise choice when using heady glass rigs. They’re also easy to clean and, if you’re not investing in a heady model, relatively inexpensive.
Quartz – A quartz dabber is much stronger and more resistant to intense heat than glass, but these benefits come at the sacrifice of workability. Basically, this means artists can’t create the same kind of heady designs possible with glass. But quartz dab tools can still get creative through intricate etching.
Ceramic – The ceramic dabber isn’t very common, having been phased out along with the ceramic dab nail. Ceramic was lauded for a short period of time because of its ability to preserve flavor, but the material was just too brittle to handle the dabbing ritual long-term. While using a ceramic dab tool wouldn’t have impacted the flavor of your dabs much either way, it was aesthetically complimentary to have a dabber that matched the nail. No more ceramic nails meant no more ceramic dabbers.
Titanium – Many people enjoy the nearly indestructible ruggedness of a solid titanium dab tool. However, not all titanium dabbers are created equally! If you’re committed to working with titanium, make sure it’s medical grade 2 titanium and offers a lightweight design that’s easy to handle, allowing you plenty of control.
Stainless-Steel – Another popular metal for dabbers, stainless-steel is valued because it’s hygienic, inert and relatively affordable. While not quite as rugged as titanium, anodized stainless-steel dab tools offer reinforced durability and take on metallic rainbows of color that can appeal to dab enthusiasts looking for a more aesthetically pleasing dabbing utensil.
Different Types of Dab Tool Heads
But the factor that will probably demand most of your deliberation is the type of tool head offered by your dab wand. The options on the market for dabber heads aren’t quite as cut-and-dry as factors like material. We can attempt to vaguely compartmentalize dabber wand heads, but you’ll find some shovels that gradually flatten to blades or flatheads that taper into a pick-style tool. It’s best to consider your preferred consistency of concentrate when searching for the right dabber wand head.
Scoops/Shovels/Spoons – As their name would suggest, these dabber tools end in a scooping shape, capable of cradling and carrying concentrates from a container to a waiting banger or insert. This type of dab tool is perfect for loose, non-sticky concentrates that require a lot of support but not much dexterity or maneuverability.
Best for: sauce, sugar, distillate, crystals (isolates), crumble, wax, budder
Flathead/Blade – Dab tools with a flat, bladed head are almost a necessity for cutting through the crusts of the most stubborn concentrate consistencies. You can try to soldier on with a scoop, but unless it has a bladed edge, the stickiness will find you going through a lot of avoidable work. Flatheads can even work well with gloopy globs of sauce, but you’ll have to be steady with your hand.
Best for: shatter, pull, snap, taffy
Point/Pick/Hook – This family of dabber heads is distinguished by culminating into a sharp point, whether the tool be curved, hooked, or straight. While a simple point may seem inadequate when handling concentrates, it’s actually one of the best options when working with stickier consistencies for its masterful control and maneuverability.
Best for: shatter, pull, snap, taffy
For most of us, the real test of a new dab tool happens on the playing field. If you’re completely new to using dabbers, it may take a bit of practice for you to hone your technique. But these tools were specifically designed with control in mind, so you should master the use of the right dab wand in no time.