The future of enjoying concentrates has arrived, in the form of the electric dab rig. Gone are the days of wielding a torch while under the influence of concentrated THC, as now you can have desktop vaporizer performance in the palm of your hand. While glass dab rigs have a place in the concentrate world, the technology associated with dabbing has grown leaps and bounds in the last few years, and electric dab rigs are closing in on the flavor saving and cloud producing capabilities of glass rigs. The debate will rage on till the end of time, but for now, let's check out the best electric dab rigs of 2018.
Prepare yourself, for the Dr. Dabber SWITCH. This striking, monolithic desktop vape is equally adept at vaping concentrates or dry herb wholly and quickly. No matter if you’re using dense herb or the runniest of wax the SWITCH is equipped with 25 (WHAT?!) calibrated heat settings to handle any situation. Dr. Dabber’s design team knows that no two hits are the same, just as no two concentrates of herbs are the same. Given its size, you might think it takes an eternity to charge the SWITCH once it has arrived, well, you’re wrong. A full charge of the SWITCH only takes 1 hour, and once charged is capable of 150 uses on a single charge. Inside the SWITCH’s box is everything you need to get your session started: multiple induction cups, proprietary tools, carb cap, and storage. With a heat up time that averages around 4 seconds (depending on the selected temp) the Dr. Dabber SWITCH does everything better than your current desktop vape and is ready to take its place.
The first entry on the list is from SOURCE, an industry leader in performance and customization. With the SOURCE Nail XL Premium Kit you can harness the power of a desktop rig anywhere you’d like. The Nail XL features a three-temperature battery that’s easy to use and powerful: in less than 30 seconds your choice of low, medium, or high temperature will be ready to take on your hardest draws. SOURCE supplies 3 atomizers with this electric dab rig: ceramic for large clouds that are still flavorful, quartz is for those who put flavor over everything else, and lastly a titanium nail for durability, fast heat up times, and fat fricken clouds. This premium kit is compatible with any 510-threaded glass attachment, so those concerned with smoother hits can enjoy some water filtration with their dab sessions.
Built to take your glass rig out of the flame game the Yocan Torch E Nail brings new technology to old-school dab rigs. Compatible with 14mm and 18mm ground joints this e nail turns your water pipe into a fully functioning electric dab rig. The battery-powered Torch comes with a dual quartz coil atomizer for extra big, extra flavorful dabs. Featuring a spring-loaded carb that when pressed removes smoke in place of air for purer hits, the Yocan Torch does its best to ensure none of your terpenes (the pungent oils that give wax its flavor) are wasted. Battery wise the Torch is a champ, as its compact battery provides up to 45 rips per full charge, more than enough to get you through your day without having to tether your torch with a cord. The Yocan Torch is one of the only battery-operated e nails, allowing you to rip huge dabs without the danger and inconvenience of a torch.
Being the superficial human that I am, I decided to single out the Dr. Dabber Boost Black Edition as opposed to the regular Boost, because I think it looks better. Does it perform the same as the non-black edition? Yes, you have no reason be wary of the original Boost’s performance, and might enjoy the original colorway (which features some subtle blue accents) more. Sleek design aside, the Boost BE is an extremely high performing electric dab rig. Providing you with a premium glass water filtration attachment, the Boost is built for any kind of dab head. Flavor chasers can switch from the included high-grade quartz nail, while those planning for lengthier sessions can opt for the ceramic nail, and if that’s not enough a titanium nail gives enormous cloud production to those who want it.
With such a, how you say “magnifico” name the Vivant Incendio gives a touch of European styling to the electric dab rig world. The Incendio is the only e nail with an all-glass heating element and chamber. By making the heating element and chamber from glass, Vivant delivers the full flavor profile of your wax concentrates. Revolutionary Firecore technology places an electrical trace inside a silica glass cup that vaporizes wax concentrates at the perfect temperatures and a glass bubbler attachment moisture-conditions vapor to tame your rips. A powerful 5000mAh temp controlled battery gives you two modes, e nail (manually adjust your temp) and VW (choose watts rather than a set temperature), giving you ultimate session tailoring capabilities.
Though technically a vape pen, the R2 RiG behaves just like an electric dab rig, as it produces humongous rips thanks to two extra thick ceramic heating rods wrapped in double the average amount of titanium coils. For added convenience, the R2 features a built-in wax jar and adjustable airflow. With the forgetful dabber in mind, there is an added “smart battery” feature, which remembers your last temperature used. To use this feature all you need to do is toggle through the variable temperatures, and take a hit. The next time you power up your RiG, it will automatically revert to that temp. Those used to a more traditional dab rig setup will find the RiG is a nice transition to being able to enjoy on-the-go dabs.
Yes, this is the second SOURCE product on this list, but for a good reason: this thing is the Swiss Army knife of electric dab rigs. The Sig 2 is compatible with over 30 of their atomizers, and since SOURCE never releases new atomizers that aren’t compatible with their older models, you’ll be able to keep upgrading your Sig 2 as new accessories come out. Included with this do-it-all electric dab rig is a glass bubbler attachment for moisture-cooled rips. With a plethora of options for nails, the SOURCE Sig 2 can give you any flavor profile, cloud size, and heat up time that you want.
SOURCE engineered the Nail XL Sig 2 to give you complete control over the temperature so you can zero in on the best heat setting for your preferred clouds. The SOURCE volt Max battery has 2100mAh, which is WAY more juice than the average electric dab rig so that you can expect long sessions coupled with fast heating. If you’re just starting out with an electric dab rig the Sig 2 might be a little advanced, but those who are wax connoisseurs (wax-oisseurs?....no? That's fair) this electric dab rig is for you.
One of the more futuristic looking electric dab rigs out today, the Hyer Big-E has one goal: eliminate torches from your life. The Big-E turns your glass water pipe into a torchless dab rig and is equipped with an adjustable clamping mechanism that makes it compatible with around 90% of all flat base water pipes (comically large water pipes aside). It also doesn’t require a plug while using, so you can easily pass the Big-E around a party if the situation calls for it. While torches cause combustion, the Big-E utilizes an all-ceramic heating element that vaporizes your wax in a combustion-less manner.
No matter the temp you enjoy concentrates at the Big-E will only take 90 seconds to heat up, be it the lowest setting of 320°F or a searing 825°F (which is usually used to burn off excess mess when cleaning), you won’t have to wait long to embrace your new torchless lifestyle.
ELECTRIC VS TORCH
As dabbing has grown in popularity, a debate has been sparked as to whether dabbing with a classic torch heated rig is the best option, or using an electric dab rig. With striking silhouettes, dense cloud potential, and history on their side glass dab rigs fill a massive need in the concentrate world. Dab rigs offer smooth, highly potent rips from your concentrates. Designed explicitly for wax and oils, dab rigs utilize water filtration to hogtie the intensity of your dab rip.
Using a rig is relatively simple: users heat the nail (an attachment that directly vaporizes concentrates) using their torch. Once heated a bit of concentrate is dabbed onto the nail as the user inhales. The water filtration system transforms the smoke in a moistorious, pure vapor. Using a torch is a great way to get your nail heated wholly and quickly, in under a minute your nail will be thoroughly heated and ready to go.
The nail of your dab rig is of utmost importance as it works in unison with the torch to bring out the flavors or intensity of your concentrate. Glass dab rigs tend to do a little better than e nails when it comes to flavor. There are many types of dab nails; some need a dome to be used, others go over glass joints and don’t require one. The most common nail materials are glass, quartz, titanium, and ceramic.
Ceramic nails are the best when it comes to heat retention, so you’ll save a little bit of money on butane with this type of nail. Flavor wise, ceramic nails are above glass, but below quartz regarding “flavor retention ranks.” Being ceramic, these nails are prone to cracking over time, but won’t be as volatile on a use-by-use basis as glass nails.
Quartz nails are the "king of flavor." This type of nail does not need to be heated slowly and will last longer than a basic glass nail. Where quartz nails really shine is in flavor production. If you use your torch and quartz nail in perfect conjunction, you’ll be able to achieve supreme concentrate flavors, to fully appreciate just how versatile quartz can be pop over to our quartz banger guide!
For the clumsier concentrate enthusiasts out there titanium nails can solve your “spending my life savings on glass nails” problem. Titanium nails can hold firm to the constant heating and cooling of your dabbing sessions and have better heat retention that glass or quartz nails, so you can take much larger dabs. The shortcomings of a titanium nail are shown in the flavor department, as a good portion of the concentrates tastes is lost.
Glass nails are inexpensive and usually considered a “beginners nail.” When using a torch on a glass nail, it is important to heat the nail slowly, as it can be susceptible to cracking. The flavor of your concentrate is brought out better by glass nails compared to that of titanium or ceramic.
While a torch heats your nail quickly, the consistency of the temp leaves something to be desired. When it comes to enjoying concentrates the most crucial aspect of your session is just that, temperature consistency. Too cold, and you get not vapor. Too hot, and you’re inhaling something that tastes like burnt plastic, AND your atomizer is scarred from the burned off concentrate residue. For those of us who aren’t blessed with super-human-temp-sensing capabilities, this leaves us in a bind that could end in a wasted dab (gasp).
Thankfully, electric dab rigs take the guessing game out of your nails temperature. The way an electric dab rig heats is pretty simple: units are typically comprised of a controller box which delivers heat through a coil that connects directly with the nail itself. The controller box allows for the controlled manipulation of temperature to the nail, giving you the ability to regulate your temperature with the touch of a button.
Volume wise, torch dab rigs can’t come close to the amount an electric dab rig can handle, making e nails an excellent option for group settings. Designed to expedite and ease the process of dabbing, electronic dab rigs were crafted specifically for the vaporization of wax concentrates.
Portability is another factor that makes electronic dab rigs as popular as desktop units, and wand-style vaporizers are limited in range thanks to their reliance on cords. With no torch needed either, an electric dab rig can be enjoyed pretty much anywhere you wish to dab. As e nails rise in popularity, the price points have started to level out. On the low end, you can find a great electronic dab rig for around $100, with options going all the way up to $300 and up. Higher end models will offer greater temperature control and consistency. Once you’ve gotten over the initial cost, e nails can save you money in the long run as you won’t be spending money on butane.
This list of the best electric dab rigs to keep an eye out for this year does feature the best options available, but if these don’t tickle your fancy check out our other e nails to see if anything peaks your interest.
Charles Mockler is a vaporizer critic and writer at The VaporNation Blog, a leading source for expert opinions and information about vaporizers. His blogs are read by tens of thousands of people each month. He specializes in the latest technology trends including induction heating and decarboxylation.
Charles' goal is to provide readers with reliable, helpful, and balanced opinions on vaping. He does not recommend vaping to those who don't already smoke, but his articles do offer advice for existing vape enthusiasts including reviews and how-tos about the latest vaporizers. Charles has reviewed and tested a myriad of vaporizers and recommends people do as much research as possible before buying any vaporizer.
Charles was introduced to vaping after moving to Los Angeles during the vaporizer boom. A fan of "true vaporization," he prefers convection vapes with ceramic ovens. His articles include What is an Induction Vaporizer?, How to Decarb Dry Herb, and 8 Best Electric Dab Rigs of 2018.
A graduate of the University of Montana, Charles now resides in the Greater Los Angeles area where he reviews vaporizers and hosts a podcast about the Los Angeles Clippers.