The Best Dab Nail: How To Choose

Guide: Choosing the Best Dab Nail

Here at 420smokables, our team has spent a lot of time determining which styles of nails to carry. When shopping for your first nail, many factors come into play, such as size (10mm, 14mm, or 19mm), male or female, flat top or core, and the list goes on.

We not only strive to bring you the best nails, but we’re also here to help you decide what’s best for you.

Choosing the best dab nail: Key considerations

After safety, the most important element is functionality. Our quality and development team checks each nail, determining the level of airflow, amount of heat retained, and endurance. It’s important that your nail has good airflow, and that there isn’t significant resistance from the nail when taking a dab. A good nail should hold heat properly and disperse that heat evenly. This ensures that you get the most out of your product and it doesn’t splatter concentrate upon contact. Finally, endurance is important. It’s no fun to spend $50 on a product that you’ll only get to use for a few weeks. A good glass nail for dabs will be able to withstand daily use for a long time.

1. Choose your preferred dab nail material

There are a few different types of dab nails you can use with your oil rig. They each have thermal properties that allow them to absorb and hold extreme heat, as well as a high resistance to heat stress. However, some materials offer certain advantages over others. We’ve outlined the most important information about the different types of nails below.

Quartz nails

Quartz nails are the most popular type of nail on the market today, and for good reason. Quartz nails allow you to retain maximum, untainted flavor from your concentrates, and they usually heat up to the required temperature in less than 10 seconds. Quartz nails are available in a wide variety of styles and sizes to fit any rig or waterpipe.

Using a carb cap is recommended when dabbing with a quartz nail for optimum function.

Preserve your concentrates’ terpenes by using a quartz nail for low-temperature dabs. Torch the bowl evenly to prevent heat stress and double a quartz nail’s lifespan. As a food and medical-grade material, quartz is completely safe to use and doesn’t release any toxic gases when heated.

Titanium (Ti) nails

It is essential that your Ti nail is either grade 2 or grade 3 titanium, as these retain heat well for dabbing and have minimal or no harmful by-products. Through a number of tests, we have determined that grade 2 titanium is the best, so that’s what we offer.

Titanium nails are virtually indestructible. Unlike quartz or ceramic, titanium will survive being dropped onto hard surfaces like tile — multiple times. Most titanium nails are properly heated within 15 to 25 seconds and can retain heat for a decent amount of time. However, titanium is not food and medical grade like ceramic and quartz, so do your research on the manufacturing company before making a purchase to avoid high-iron-level, carcinogenic titanium that’s been cheaply produced. After heavy use, a Ti nail may create a thin layer of titanium oxide which can affect its productivity. Following the water-dipping method, this oxidation is easily removable. Unseasoned titanium nails will add a heavy metallic taste to your concentrates, so make sure to season your titanium nail. Overheating a titanium nail is also possible and will waste concentrates by causing them to burn.

Ceramic nails

Ceramic nails provide great taste and incredible heat retention, although it takes 30 seconds or more to be properly heated. Since ceramic won’t glow orange like titanium and quartz, it can be difficult to tell when the nail is too hot. The ceramic used for nails is food and medical grade, meaning no harmful gases are released after being heated because it’s chemically inert. Being a non-porous material, ceramic doesn’t require seasoning like titanium. However, ceramic isn’t likely to withstand being dropped and is prone to fractures from heat stress caused by daily use. Heat the ceramic nail evenly to prevent cracking or breakage from heat stress. Although a ceramic nail may not look hot, it takes a long time to cool down and could still burn you. Using a carb cap is recommended to maximize hits and reduce leftover concentrates from sticking to the nail.


eNails are a more recent addition to the world of dabbing, serving to make things more convenient and enjoyable. An eNail is a powered dab nail that is heated by a metal coil connected to an electric power box. Turning the power on transfers heat along the metal coil onto your dabbing nail.

Using an eNail instead of a torch comes with numerous benefits. First off, you can say goodbye to the days of buying replacement butane or propane – unless, of course, you like to dab on the move. You can also enjoy a much more accurate level of control over the temperature of your nail. Simply set the display on the box to the desired temperature, and enjoy those sweet-tasting dabs!

2. Find a nail that matches your rig’s joint size and sex

The compatibility of your nail with various accessories like a rig or waterpipe and carb cap is based on the nail’s bucket size and style, angle, joint size, and sex.

Step 1. Identify your dab rig’s joint size.

First, you need to determine the size of your dab rig’s joint. Joints come in three different sizes: 10mm, 14mm, and 19mm, and the dab nails available are made to fit these different sizes. You can use the comparison tool with a measuring tape to identify which size you need.

Step 2. Identify whether your dab rig has a male or female joint

You also need to figure out if your rig has a male or female joint. Male joints go inside female joints. If your rig has a male joint, you must use nails with a female joint, and if your rig’s joint is female, your nail must be male. Visit our Joint Types and Sizes guide for more information.

Step 3. Identify whether your dab rig’s joint is angled at 45° or 90°.

When buying a dab nail, it’s important to ensure the joints are angled correctly to make sure your banger is in the right position when you dab. If your rig’s joint points directly upwards, you need a quartz banger angled at 90°. If your rig’s joint points diagonally, you need a 45° quartz banger.

Identify your rig’s joint size using the comparison tool below. The joints pictured are those of nails, but the comparison applies equally to rig joints.

3. Select your preferred dab nail style

There are so many different dab nail styles to choose from, and each one offers a different experience. Below, you’ll find an outline of the most popular styles of dab nails so you can decide which one might work best for you and your dabbing preferences.

Your main options for dab nail styles are as follows. Each style is fully detailed below.

  • Flat Top
  • Thermal
  • Core
  • Terp Slurp
  • Channel Slurp
  • Round Bottom
  • Opaque Bottom

Flat Top

As a team, we find flat top bangers to be the standard bangers with a flat rim that sits flush with the surface we’re dabbing on. They work best with flat-style carb caps since they improve suction together. Flat top bangers are compatible with both 90° and 45° rig joints and offer straightforward functionality and a nice deep bucket for use with accessories and flat-bottomed carb caps. Importantly, they tend to be a bit thicker than angled nails, so they hold onto heat better.


Unlike flat-top bangers, we discovered that angled nails can only be used with angled carb caps. The angle cut positions your carb cap to push your concentrates back into the nail and towards the neck. They tend to be ideal for smaller dabs since they’re notorious for sucking larger amounts of oils down into the neck, which can be extremely difficult to clean. However, that’s not to say they’re bad. They come standard on many dab rigs since they’re convenient and small.


In our experience, thermal bangers contain two levels of quartz walls inside which creates a distinct separation between the torch flame and the surface you’ll be dabbing on. More or less, they offer indirect heat, making them ideal for lower-temp dabs. The unique design also makes it harder for large dabs to sneak into the neck of your nail, allowing for pretty easy banger cleaning.


Also known as core reactor nails, we found that core bangers offer an extra-thick bucket bottom along with a puck of extra quartz in the center. This extra core acts like a built-in terp pearl, providing better heat retention and distribution that may help improve how well your dabs vaporize.

Terp Slurp

We’ve observed that Terp Slurpers are much different from other nails since you don’t apply the heat directly to the nail. Instead, you apply heat to the bottom dish-like appendage and apply your concentrates to the same spot. They feature a marble valve and a carb cap which allow you to suck your oils into the chamber where they will spin around and give you an extremely flavorful low-temp dab. This design doesn’t leave behind much waste, but it can be a little time-consuming to clean considering it has so many different parts to it.

Channel Slurp

We’ve learned that the channel slurper works a lot like a regular slurper, except the perforated dish at the bottom is replaced with a flat piece with ridges that help direct the concentrates into the chamber through the channels. This allows for better heat distribution compared to the classic slurper, but more importantly, it’s a lot simpler to use and easier to clean.

Round Bottom

In our experience, round bottom bangers are a lot like your classic flat-top bangers, except the bottom is completely rounded out. This is a huge perk since the thick bottom leaves behind little to no residue and is much easier to clean without the angles or hard lines in the standard designs. Its design also allows for more focused and effective heating, so you can save time on heating and cooling.

Opaque Bottom

We’ve found that the material used in an opaque-bottom banger heats more quickly than the classic clear quartz nails. They’re also really good at retaining heat, which is great if you’re wanting to take bigger dabs without wasting them or having to reheat your nail halfway through your glob. 

Summary: Which is the best dab nail for us?

As with most things in life, that depends. We should take our time, shop around, and decide what nail will be the best option for us. We shouldn’t be afraid to spend a little extra money for a quality nail. Though it might not seem like there’s a huge difference, there really is, and the age-old saying comes in handy here: We get what we pay for.
Let’s use this quick guide to identify the best dab nail for us.


If we’re looking for the cleanest, most flavorful hits, let’s choose quartz.
If we want something that will last forever no matter how much we drop or overheat it, let’s choose titanium.

Joint Sex

If our rig has a female joint, we should choose a nail with a male joint, and vice versa.

Joint Size

We’ll need to measure our joint’s size to find the right joint size we need. Let’s use the Joint Size Guide to easily identify the size of our joint.

Joint Angle

If our rig’s joint faces straight up, we should choose a 90° banger. If our rig’s joint faces at a diagonal angle, let’s go for a 45° banger.

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Harriett S. Miller

Meet Harriett S. Miller, the guy who never met a CBD strain he didn't like! He's been researching and experimenting with CBD for years, and it's safe to say he's a bit of an enthusiast. When he's not busy trying out new strains, you can find him scoping out the latest cannabis accessories and gadgets. Harriett is dedicated to spreading the word about the benefits of CBD and helping people discover the perfect products to enhance their cannabis experience. He may be serious about his research, but he's always up for a good laugh (or a good puff).

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