What is a Nail and What is the Best Type of Nail for Dabs?
In the modern smoking community, the topic of concentrates comes up more and more every day. This is mostly due to the wide-spread advancements in processing cannabis, as well as the proliferation of healthier consumption techniques and technologies. Concentrates are a direct result of this evolution, as it provides a more pure and potent form of the substance that can be vaporized in many ways. These methods allow people to ingest far less tar and carcinogens, which are linked to many health problems.
Innovators have continued to develop more and more tools and technologies to enable and improve these new methods of consumption. The most common method of ingesting concentrates is through a dab rig. A dab rig is very similar to a water pipe except rather than combusting dry herb in a bowl, concentrates are vaporized on a heated apparatus, commonly referred to as a “nail”. "Nail" is a broad term that encompasses a rig attachment designed specifically for the consumption of concentrates that can be made of various materials, in many shapes and sizes.
Common materials for nails
Most commonly, nails are constructed of materials such as glass, ceramic, titanium, and quartz. This is mainly due to the fact that all of these materials have an adept ability to conduct and retain heat and are relatively easy to clean for more flavorful consumption. Each type of nail has its own unique smoking experience, which makes the choice of nail mainly a decision of preference.
Glass nails are the most common nails on the market, however, this doesn't make them the best method. While glass nails do have the ability to retain heat they do not retain heat nearly as well as titanium, ceramic and quartz. In addition to heat retention limitations, repeatedly heating and cooling glass to extremes causes it to become brittle. This means that glass nails tend to require replacement quicker than some of the other options.
Ceramic is regarded as one of the best materials to use for a nail, much like some of the other materials, it retains heat very well. Ceramic nails are also considered to have a superior flavor to titanium and can be comparable in flavor to quartz, which is the most popular material. However, ceramic does come with some downsides such as the fact that it is the most fragile and delicate. Ceramic must be heated more evenly and more meticulously than the other options in order to prevent cracking from uneven heat distribution.
Titanium is the most durable nail material. It also is considered to have the best heat conduction and retention allowing the user to take larger hits at higher temperatures. While titanium nails may be the most durable they are not considered to have the best flavor. This is due to the fact that titanium must be seasoned properly in order to be used in the most effective way, and that can be a rough process for some people. Until recently, titanium was the most popular option for nails, however, with the advent and subsequent development of quartz and ceramic, titanium is no longer the preferred material.
Quartz is the preferred material for most people. This is due to the fact that quartz is considered to have the best combination of flavor, ease of use, durability, and ability to easily be cleaned. Quartz and glass can be easily mistaken for one another, but there are some key characteristics that are noticeably different when using them. Glass will burn much easier and turns red at much lower temperatures than quartz. Quartz nails also retain heat much longer than glass and are much more durable.
There are many different types of nails that are characterized by not only the material but also the shape and function. Recently, the most common type of nail has become a banger due to its superior ability to conserve and retain the concentrates. However, both dome and nail setups and domeless nails are also relatively common and have enjoyed periods of popularity.
The “dome and nail” setup is considered the most wasteful due to the fact that the concentrates can easily miss the nail. However, most inexperienced dabbers use this method since a dome and nail commonly comes included with cheaper rigs. Additionally, the inclusion of a dome can preserve the vapor and prevent the user from losing it.
Domeless nails most often come in ceramic or titanium and feature a much more conservative dish, which means a lot less waste. Domeless nails are often preferred over domed for the experienced dabber. Domeless typically provides bigger hits and faster heating. While the lack of a dome can mean more vapor lost, this can be prevented with the use of a carb cap.
E-nails provide a new more high tech and often safer method. E-nails contain a heating element that heats up automatically, which eliminates the need to use a torch. Much of the recent popularity also comes from the ability to have precise heat control. E-nails come in many different forms but the concept is always consistent. Look for e-nails to grow in popularity as the technology improves and prevalence of concentrates increases.
Bangers are considered the least wasteful and preferred type of nail. Recently bangers have begun to be most commonly made of quartz, with some titanium and ceramic exceptions. Bangers come in convenient male and female attachments to integrate perfectly with an existing waterpipe to turn it functionally into a dab rig. Bangers provide a good convenient option and more control over the hit with the use of carb caps. We will discuss some specific types of quartz bangers, including regular, thermal, reactor, and nucleated on a follow-up blog that will come soon.
*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.