Dab Rig 101: How Does A Dab Rig Work?

Last Updated On November 8, 2023 at 4:54 am
September 30, 2023

A dab rig is a type of water pipe that was designed to be used with concentrates. In this article, we will dive deeper into what a dab rig is, how it is different from a standard water pipe, how to use it, and how to clean it. 

This article goes over everything you should consider and know when learning to dab or getting started in dabbing.

What Is A Dab Rig?

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What is a dab rig? A dab rig is a type of water pipe that was specifically designed for concentrates and or dabbing. These rigs, typically made from glass, can be a water pipe, similar to a bong, a straw, or even electronic.

How Does A Dab Rig Work?

So, how does a Dab Rig work exactly? To begin, you need to fill your base chamber with water. Water can be added through the stem joint opening or the mouthpiece opening. After you add your water, inhale to make sure you have enough and not too much water. 

If the water splashes into your mouth on inhale, you can pour a little out. After that, you add your banger to your joint, heat the banger, drop your dab, cap it, and inhale! As you inhale, the vaporized product filters through the percolator in the base chamber and up through the mouthpiece, delivering a nice milky hit!

Dab Rig Anatomy: Components And Functionality

A dab rig's anatomy is very similar to that of a water pipe; your main difference is going to be the product you choose to smoke out of it. 

A dab rig is going to be made from glass or silicone and will have a base, a type of filter/percolator, a fixed stem, and a straight or bent mouthpiece. You will always have a joint, whether male or female, to connect your dab nail of choice, too.

Learn Everything About Honeybee Herb's Dab Rig With This Anatomy.
  • Base Chamber:  The area of your rig that stores the water.
  • Percolator: The filtration system inside your rig that filters your vapor. 
  • Fixed Stem: A stem that connects to the base chamber that holds your nail.
  • Joint: The joint is connected to the stem and determines if your rig is male or female and what size.
  • Quartz Banger: A nail that you place in the joint of your dab rig.
  • Bent or straight mouthpiece: A bent mouthpiece is connected at the top of the rig and is slightly slanted. A straight mouthpiece stands vertically up.

Things To Consider When Buying A Dab Rig

When it comes to buying a dab rig, you have a ton of options out in the world. Rigs can come in many different sizes, shapes, and materials. They can have male and female joints. Rigs can be pricey depending on how they are made or who made them. Consider all these options before making your decision:

  • Size: Dab rigs come in small, medium, and large sizes, but most commonly, are smaller. 
  • Material: Dab rigs can be made from glass and silicone and can even be electric. 
  • Design and Functionality: Dab rigs were designed to specifically function with concentrates. 
  • Joint Size and Gender: Joints are typically 10, 14, and 18mm and can come male or female.
  • Nail or Banger Compatibility: Be sure to check to make sure your nail fits your joint size for a better seal and function. 
  • Price and Budget: Dab rigs can be cost-effective and expensive. It all depends on the quality and who made it.
  • Brand and Reputation: Buy from a reputable brand; don't be afraid to check reviews.
  • Personal Preferences: Consider your own personal preferences.

Dab Rig Accessories: What Do You Need?

Some people believe dabbing can be more complicated, but we are here to make it easy. Here are all the essentials you need to get started:

  • Dab Nail: Banger of your choice that fits your rig's joint.
  • Torch: Butane torch, with extra refills, just in case.
  • Carb Cap: A carb cap to seal your banger and produce maximum vaporization.
  • Dab Tool: A tool that picks up your concentrate, making it an easy and mess-free dab. 
  • Inserts: Terp pearl or dish for even distribution of heat and air.
  • Cleaning Supplies: ISO Alcohol and Q-tips to clean after each use.
  • Concentrate On Your Choice: Your favorite product of choice.

Differences Between A Dab Rig & A Water Pipe?

Tab your main difference between a dab rig and a water pipe is going to be the product you choose to smoke out of it. A dab rig is specifically designed for concentrates, whereas a water pipe is designed for flowers and herbs. 

Since you can consume these products in different ways, your rig and pipe function in different ways as well; consider the following when choosing what is best for you:

Feature Dab Rig Water Pipe
Purpose Designed specifically for vaporizing concentrates Designed for smoking dry herbs or tobacco
Components Dab nail or banger, carb cap (optional) Bowl, downstem, and slide
Filtration Minimal filtration, focused on flavor and potency Extensive water filtration for smoother hits
Heat Source Torch or electric heating element Lighter or match for igniting the dry herbs
Temperature Higher temperature for vaporization Lower temperature for combustion
Size Often smaller and more compact Varies in size and can range from small to large
Accessories Dab tools, carb caps, e-nails (optional). Screens, ash catchers, percolator attachments
Usage Intended for dabbing concentrates Used for smoking dry herbs or tobacco
Experience Intense flavor and potency, precise dosing Smoother hits with less harshness, larger clouds
Cost It can be more expensive due to the specialized design More affordable, wider range of options available

Dab Rig Clean And Maintenance

Dab rig maintenance is easy peasy. We always recommend that you clean your dab rigs frequently to cut down on bacteria build-up and product build-up in your rig.

To clean your rig, you will need ISO Alcohol, Coarse Salt, or a Cleaning Solution of your choice. Then follow these simple steps:

  • Drain the water from your dab rig.
  • Fill the dab rig with a mixture of iso and salt and or cleaning solution.
  • Cover your open exposed joint and mouthpiece with a cap or a paper towel.
  • Let the cleaning mixture soak.
  • Shake cleaning mixture
  • Rinse with warm water and repeat if necessary.
  • Dry your rig.


There you have everything to know about a Dab Rig! From the components that make up the Dab Rig to how to use and how to clean, we have you covered! 

A Dab Rig is an easy-to-use and easy to take care of dabbing essential. If you would like to learn more about the ins and outs of dabbing, check out some more of our blog posts!


Quartz Bangers & Dab Nails for Dab Rigs, Bongs | Honeybee Herb

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