How to Use Carb Caps for Dabs and Science of How They Work

How to Use Carb Caps for Dabs and Science of How They Work

Posted by Craig Jones on Aug 01, 2018

The widespread use of concentrates has spurred a revolution in the methods of smoking concentrates and accessories used for dabbing. Carb caps have become a critical part of every dabber’s arsenal because of the science behind vaporizing wax concentrates. Despite being a relatively new development in the mainstream smoking community, there has been an evolution in the design of carb caps. The evolution has been closely correlated with the development of nails and bangers. We will look at the different types of carb caps, and discuss how to use them and how they work.

Dabbers have progressed from nails to bucket style quartz bangers to gavel style quartz bangers. With this evolution, carb caps have evolved from the straight carb cap. Now, currently, the most popular type is the glass directional airflow carb caps. They make vapor swirl around the banger and make the dab rig all milky white.

Bubble carb caps and trunk carb caps, the two types of directional caps, are now the gold standard in dabbing concentrates. They work perfectly with a gavel banger. Carb caps are not only a cool accessory, they improve the experience by causing wax concentrates to vaporize at a lower temperature. This improves flavor and smoothness greatly.

The cap increases the suction and lowers the ambient air pressure in the banger. Vapor pressure determines the relationship between temperature and pressure necessary to vaporize. As the banger is capped by the carb cap, ambient pressure is decreased and the airflow is directed. Lower pressure allows the excited evaporating oil to vaporize at a temperature that it would otherwise be unable to vaporize. This makes for cooler, smoother, tastier terpene-rich dabs!

The lower pressure causes the oil molecules to bond easier with air, allowing the oil to vaporize with the directional flow of air. Directional airflow from the carb cap also pushes oil around the hot banger finding dry hot spots to continue vaporization as the banger cools further. Depending on the size of the dab and the temperature, you may have just one hit or multiple hits.

Eventually, you will begin to see darkening of the oil after some time. But you shouldn't see immediate total vaporization and charring or you are likely using an excessively high-temperature banger. Certain dab smokers prefer to use swabs to wipe out excess oil, while others reheat until they vaporize and char the remaining oil. This is a question of taste and health versus frugality and economics. But I will let you decide.

There are multiple variations of carb cap, but essentially three style variations: straight (or side), trunk, and bubble carb caps. The second and third examples are directional airflow carb caps while the first generally isn't. Take a look at some pictures below:

Straight (or side) Carb Cap

Straight Glass Carb Cap

Directional Flow Carb Cap

Directional Flow Carb Caps

Bubble Carb Cap

Bubble Carb Caps

Like I said, directional carb caps, such as trunk and bubble caps, with gavel style bangers are preferred amongst experienced dab smokers. Many people who have tried both options lean towards bubble carb caps as their favorite. This is due to ease of use, long reach, and flexible control providing arguably more ideal air pressure and airflow.

Now you have the knowledge necessary to make your own decision. Visit or one of our 13 retail locations to check out our great selection of carb caps and decide for yourself.

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*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.