To convert your waxy oils and concentrates into usable vapor, you are going to need a heating source. While many rigs and water pipes may come with a simple glass nail to use for concentrates, those who are serious will want to upgrade to a more durable option. The most popular choice for connoisseurs is the quartz banger. But why quartz? What makes quartz so great anyway? Check out this guide to quartz bangers and see if they are the right concentrate heating source for you.
WHAT IS A QUARTZ BANGER?
A quartz banger is a variation of a concentrate nail, which allows the user to heat their concentrates while delivering more flavors and effects than other heating methods. A quartz banger, constructed from single piece quartz, is used in tandem with a waterpipe to heat your concentrates and deliver the vapor through your water pipe to your mouth.
The anatomy of the banger includes the bucket, where your concentrates are heated, and then the joint, which will connect to your water pipe. This simple construction avoids a lot of extra pieces commonly associated with glass nails, which require the use of a dome. The simplistic design of the quartz banger makes for easier maintenance and eliminates small, losable pieces.
Quartz bangers are the standard for those who prefer concentrates. The reason for the prevalence of these types of concentrate accessories is their inert nature, which means that they are chemically inactive. This prevents any unwanted flavors imparting upon your compounds. This inertness also makes it hard for materials to stick to the quartz because it is not porous. This property not only makes it easier to clean but also prevents the loss of precious concentrates that would otherwise be absorbed by ceramic or low-quality glass.
HOW DOES A QUARTZ BANGER WORK?
A quartz banger works by retaining heat, delivered by a high-powered torch, which vaporizes waxy oils and concentrates in the bucket or chamber. The user draws the resulting vapor through the elbow of the quartz banger into your water pipe.
Check out this rig with a quartz banger from Higher Standards.
Quartz boasts unique heat retention properties which make it great for vaping your wax concentrates. Quartz has better heat retention than titanium, especially as usage accumulates. Titanium nails will collect resins and sticky residues as you use them. They will also oxidize naturally as a result of the molecules interacting with the air. As a nail oxidizes, it loses some of its ability to retain heat. With less heat retention, you will have to heat your nail for extended periods of time to achieve the same result, placing your glass water pipes in greater danger of cracking from heat exposure.
Quartz’s heat retention will also remain much more localized. This means that the heat delivered from your torch will not disperse into the joint of your glass water pipe. Titanium has the opposite effect, spreading heat quite readily. Titanium's ability to disperse heat is often used in cooling operations, especially in electronic applications. Think of the body of the MacBook Pro or the heatsink of a CPU; they are used to draw away and disperse heat from essential components. While this is great for keeping electronics safe, it puts your fragile glass at risk of breakage.
Once heated, you’ll need a way to pull the vapor through your water pipe. Quartz bangers achieve this with the use of a joint that directly connects to your water pipe. This solution extends the vapor path, making vapor cooler before reaching your lungs and sinuses. This design allows for different angles to be used, allowing for more comfortable heating or a better fit with your rig. Titanium nails lack an elbow, so they are limited to a vertical position in the joint of your water pipe.
While quartz bangers are “dome-less,” meaning there is no extra piece that must be used to inhale the vapor, the use of a carb cap can help customize your vaping experience. Carb caps can be used to control the airflow coming in through your quartz banger. The carb cap allows the user to regulate the size and density of their hit. No other type of nail has this same functionality.
WHAT SIZE BANGER DO I NEED?
Custom rigs like those from MJ Arsenal feature a custom, mini male banger.
The connection of the quartz banger needs to be airtight to facilitate the passage of vapor. The size and angle of the elbow of your banger will depend on the joint size of your water pipe or bubbler. The chambers of quartz bangers are mostly similar, making it easy for cross-compatibility with concentrate tools, carb cabs, and other banger accessories.
First, it’s important to recognize the type of joint your water pipe has. Is your waterpipe’s joint male or female? Male joints have a bump that enters the female portion of a bowl, banger or other accessories. Female fittings will rely on the bump of a banger to connect securely. You must know the type of joint to ensure a proper fit with your water pipe, seeing as female bangers will only be compatible with male joints. Likewise, female joints pair only with male bangers.
Here is an example of a standard 18mm male banger, intended for a water pipe possessing a female joint.
The most common sizes utilized for water pipe joints are 10mm, 14mm and 18mm. The 10mm joint is seen as a “micro joint,” while the 14mm and 18mm are standard sizes. If you are unaware of the joint size of your water pipe, we recommend either asking the shop where you bought it, measuring the piece or consulting a friend. Your quartz banger will be incompatible with joints of a different size.
HOW TO MAINTAIN A QUARTZ BANGER
Maintaining your quartz banger regularly or after every session is the best way to keep it running at peak efficiency and will decrease the likelihood of encountering any “off” flavors. Sopping up any excess concentrate material after every usage will significantly elongate the amount of time you can go in-between cleanings.
The easiest way to maintain your quartz banger in-between sessions is to use a q-tip, cotton rag, or dedicated swab like these from Higher Standards. Simply swab up any remaining concentrates after each usage. This prevents oxidation and buildup on your quartz banger. This step goes a long way in making sure that you experience the full flavor profile of your concentrates and that your quartz banger is operating at maximum efficiency. If you neglect this step, you may need to do a deep clean, following the procedure below.
HOW TO CLEAN QUARTZ BANGER
If you’ve neglected regular maintenance of your banger or would like to restore it to new condition, a deep cleaning is necessary. To deep clean your banger, the best method is to soak the banger in isopropyl alcohol. This will loosen up any of the grime and built-up resinous material. You can use a swab or rag to clean the chamber of your quartz banger. A pipe cleaner can be used to remove adhesive deposits from hard-to-reach areas.
- Excellent heat retention properties
- Delivers pure flavor of concentrates without imparting unwanted tastes
- Does not spread heat to your glass like titanium nails, preventing damage
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Can break if dropped
- Does require regular maintenance
WHAT ELSE WOULD YOU LIKE TO KNOW ABOUT QUARTZ BANGERS?
We hope that this guide has been a useful primer on the background, function, and maintenance of quartz bangers. If there are still any questions you believe we missed, feel free to leave a comment below. Think that another type of nail is a better option? Tell us why. We love to hear from you and hope that you find these posts educational as well as engaging. VAPORNATION, OUT!
William Updyke is a writer and creator at The VaporNation Blog, an online publication providing the latest news, advice, and opinions on the vaporizer industry. His articles are enjoyed by a monthly readership of over 60,000, while his instructional videos on Vaporizer Education: The Official VaporNation Channel have been watched over 120,000 times.
While he didn't attend vape college, per se, William does know a good vaporizer when he sees it. A vape enthusiast for the past four years, he has a deep understanding of the heating styles, materials, build quality, and functionality that separate decent vaporizers from great ones. You can read his reviews and how-tos for helpful and trustworthy information about the latest devices, trends, and practices in vaping.
William graduated from the University of Montana before moving to Los Angeles, where he writes weekly blogs about vaping and hosts a Clippers podcast. You can read his articles on Leafly, Inked, and more.