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Dabbing 101: Everything You Need to Get Started Dabbing

So you want to explore the world of cannabis concentrates and start taking dabs but not exactly sure what you need? We got you!

We know that dabbing can be kind of intimidating for beginners, so we sat down with Big Island Grown Lead Patient Attendant, Marty, to run down how it’s done.

This Checklist is the perfect starting point to send you safely on your dabbing journey.

Here’s what you will need to start dabbing:

B.I.G. Dabbing Checklist:

  1. Dab Rig
  2. Quartz Banger
  3. Carb Cap
  4. Dab Tool
  5. Torch
  6. Water
  7. Temp Gun
  8. Dab Mat
  9. Q-Tips
  10. Isopropyl Alcohol
  11. Paper Towels


Dab Rig

A dab rig is a type of water pipe, similar to a bong, with smaller chambers to preserve the terpene flavors when vaporizing THC oils and concentrates. They come in many shapes and sizes and are available at most local smoke shops.

Pro Tip: The smaller the rig the more flavor and potency of the dab. Also, remember to always hold your rig from the base to avoid accidents.


The banger is the bucket and stem that hold your dab and connect to your rig. When shopping for your setup, be sure to make sure the joint that goes to your rig is the correct shape and fit (male/female), the correct size (joints are generally 14mm or 10mm), and the correct bend in the neck for your banger (90° or 45°).

Pro Tip: While bangers can come in glass, ceramic, titanium or quartz, we recommend going with quartz. Quartz heats fast, handles quick temperature changes and provides the best taste. While this may go without saying, NEVER grab the banger to clear the carb like you would a bong. Trust us, it happens. Best practice is to hold it by the neck.

Carb Cap (Cap for Banger)

Your cap helps control the flow and direction of air as you inhale which helps to disperse your concentrate evenly among the heated surface of the banger for an even and steady vaporization. Moving the carb cap around helps distribute the oil around the surface area of the banger to give a more flavorful dab.

Pro Tip: Terp Pearls are another accessory to help your dab spread around the surface area of your banger.

Dab Tool

Dab tools are usually a stainless steel or glass tool used to scoop and apply your concentrate to your banger.

Pro Tip: Tools come in different sizes and shapes. Flat, shovel-shaped or scoop tipped tools all serve their purpose for different concentrate consistencies. Make sure you get the right tool for the job.


Your torch is used to heat the banger to the optimum temperature. Using a butane torch is recommended since propane and Nap gas both burn at much higher temperatures which can end up in overheating your nail.

Pro Tip: Put the torch down somewhere safe. The metal on the torch stays hot and can easily burn unsuspecting body parts.


Although some people take dabs without water in their rig, the water helps cool the temperature and filter the vapor making for a much smoother hit.

Pro Tip: Take a “dry” pull from the rig while adding your water to avoid overfilling and sucking in water while taking your actual dab. Use distilled water when possible to avoid leaving any hard water marks in your clean rig.

Temperature Gun

While not totally necessary, a temp gun is used to measure how hot the banger is so that the concentrate is vaporized at ideal temperatures (450°F low temp – 650°F hot temp). Low temp dabs are often smoother and much more flavorful while hot dabs can be more intense and harsh. Dabrite is a super simple tool to get temps perfect but you can also use a regular thermometer gun.

Pro Tip: Try cold starting a dab by adding your concentrate while the banger is room temperature and slowly introduce heat with your torch until you start to see smoke, then add carb cap and take your dab for a really flavorful hit.

Dab Mat

Mats are used to set your rig, cap, dab and tool down on so it doesn’t get damaged or scratched. While not totally necessary, it is helpful in keeping things clean and safe.

Pro Tip: There are lots of really cool and artistic dab mats available on the market. Check out companies like MoodMats who have a great selection of products.

Clean Up

Cleaning up isn’t always the first thing you want to do after taking a dab but keeping your setup clean ensures you are getting the purest and best tasting dab from your concentrates. Here are a few things needed to keep your dab setup clean.


Q-tips are the perfect accessory to clean up the remaining oil from your banger when you’ve finished dabbing. Normal store bought Q-tips work perfect, but there are some brands that are made with bamboo sticks to prevent bending and breaking during the wipe down.

Pro Tip: Using Iso or Ethanol with Q-tips works well to remove stuck on residue.

ISO (Spray Bottle)

Isopropyl alcohol 91% or better is ideally used to clean quartz. The spray bottle is recommended for easily getting into the bucket and bends of your nail.

ISO (container/bath)*optional but recommended

An easy and effective way to keep your banger pristine is to keep some Isopropyl 91% in a spill proof container for dunking your banger in after use. This can be reused again and again. This method is NOT recommended if you are using a glass banger as the temperature change can shatter the piece.

Pro Tip: If you ever plan on “reclaiming” concentrate, consider using ethanol in place of Isopropyl alcohol. Ethanol can be purged fully while Iso will remain in them.

Paper Towels

Pretty basic but absolutely something you want to have on hand to wipe down your banger and cap after spraying with ISO.

Pro Tip: Blue shop towels are recommended since it doesn’t leave too much excess fibers on your quartz.

Now What?

Now that you have all the items you need, check out this video to get some helpful dabbing tips to start dabbing like a pro.

Come visit our Hilo, Kona and Waimea dispensaries where our patient attendants are happy to help you find the cannabis concentrate that is perfect for you.

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