Are Cold Start Dabs Better Than Hot Start Dabs

Are Cold Start Dabs Better Than Hot Start Dabs

Posted by Craig Jones on Sep 10, 2021

Dabbing has basically become a way of life, so we keep trying to find better ways to do dabs. We are constantly searching for the best methods to take lower temperature dabs to preserve those delicious terpenes in our concentrates. High temp dabs are the worst and destroy all good flavor, replacing it with a burnt taste and a charred banger. The quest for low temp dabs coincided with the advent of electric dab rigs and led to the rise of the cold start. So, we want to know, are cold start dabs better than hot start dabs?

You can tell the second you’ve put the dab down into the banger and it's too hot. The sizzle of the instant total vaporization and the the thick white huge hit that doesn’t taste quite right. You want to go back in time and do it right, but you can’t. This is a common occurrence with hot start unless you have a thermal gun or a good system for determining optimal temperature.

Cold start dabs are better in many ways. Cold start dabs are when you place the dab in the cold banger and then heat it to the point where you begin to vaporize the concentrates. The delicious terpenes that are vaporized at much lower temperatures can be preserved in the capped banger. I think a lot of people learned this when they started using electronic dab rigs or e rigs, like the Puffco Peak, Focus V Carta, recently the Puffco Peak Pro, and more that always start in cold start. People used these devices and saw how delicious the hits were.

SOC Peak Electric Dab Rig.Puffco Peak Electric Dab Rig.Randy's Grip Portable E-Rig

The most delicious terps are released at very low temperatures, so low that it barely vaporizes any of the other active ingredients. This is why dropping the dab into an already hot banger can be less appealing than a cold start.

Temperature chart for terpenes and cannabinols.

With cold start you get the best of both worlds. You start as low temp as you want thereby consuming all the terps on the way to getting the dab hot enough to more fully vaporize. It’s a small change that can have a large effect on the flavor of your dabs.

Another advantage of cold start is that you don't have to heat the banger as hot or as long. This is safer and also saves you some money on butane. The difference in time it takes to do a dab is extreme and can be like minute to minute and a half with hot start versus as little as 15 seconds on cold start. Of course this is partly because most people that do typically hot start begin by heating the banger up red hot and then let it cool down to the desired temperature.

From my perspective the key is to go slow and be patient. I am the type that prefers a bunch of terp-rich low-temp pulls over a thick, white vapor rip on high temp. For that reason I do prefer cold start dabs over hot start. However sometimes I like to mix things up. Like every experienced dabber, I developed my own approach. It’s halfway between cold start and hot start. Maybe you could call it warm start and re-heat.

I begin by heating the banger up hot, then I let it cool down a bit much until its around 300-350F degrees, so that it liquifies the dab and produces a light vapor. I think that vapor is the most delicious. Then in the next step I treat the pool of oil like a cold start and reheat. That takes the temperature up, but you can take many hits before the dab is fully vaporized and avoid charring.

My personal dabbing method.

When people do cold start dabs, many prefer to use a  cold start banger with a round bottom. I have even seen some bangers with long extended rounded buckets. In reality, any type of banger can be used for cold start, except maybe some specialty bangers like the terp slurp banger. The important point is that some people prefer the rounded bottom so they can heat the dab evenly from all sides. No pooling in the unheated corner like on a flat bottom banger.

Graphic illustrating how material flows to the bottom of a round banger.

One downside to cold start dabs is that the banger can become dirty over time. This is because the banger is not brought to red hot before each dab like hot start. When the banger gets red hot, most of the old residue burns and falls of the banger. With cold start, that residue can have the tendency to build up, so every once in a while make sure you get it red hot so it gets clean.

As a general rule, the more terpy the concentrates, the more benefits you might get from a proper cold start. But it is really a matter of taste and can even depend on the form of concentrate or the specific strain. I really appreciate diverse options and experiences, so I switch back and forth between hot and cold start randomly based on my mood.

14mm male 90 degree cold start banger.14mm male 45 degree cold start banger.Cold start banger with terp pearls and spinner carb cap.

Overall, while cold start dabs may appear to have a few advantages over hot start, they are virtually equal if the person doing the hot start takes care to make sure the banger is cool enough before placing the dab. It is also very possible to screw up a cold start and burn it by leaving the torch on the banger too long. At the end of the day with a good system and care you can get a great hit with either method. To each their own! Which is your favorite method?

At Waterbeds 'n' Stuff, we have round bottom bangers and plenty of other types of quartz bangers so that you can find the one that is perfect for you. If you have any questions, you can reach out to us on our website, Instagram or at one of our 12 retail stores.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the United States Food and Drug Administration.

**The beliefs and opinions expressed in this blog are not those of Waterbeds ‘n’ Stuff.