Differences between a Bong and a Dab Rig

Differences between a Bong and a Dab Rig

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The cannabis landscape is intricate, teeming with various tools and accessories, among which bongs and dab rigs stand out as pivotal. Grasping their distinctions and compatible products enriches one's comprehensive knowledge of cannabis.

Bongs and dab rigs might seem similar at first glance, sharing a resemblance in appearance despite minor differences. It's tempting to think they're interchangeable, yet each serves a distinct purpose, underscoring the importance of understanding their unique roles. This guide delves into the nuances between bongs and dab rigs.


Herb vs. Concentrate

Distinguishing between dab rigs and bongs necessitates an understanding of the difference between herbs and concentrates.

Herbs refer to unprocessed cannabis forms, including raw flower, kief, or hash—essentially, anything you might roll into a joint is considered the herbs.

Concentrates, more scarce outside certain regions, undergo a complex production process. Through extraction from the cannabis flower's trichomes, where cannabinoids reside, these substances are concentrated into various forms. Concentrates, varying in consistency, often appear off-white to yellow and can be sticky or hard.

While herbs may contain up to 30% THC, concentrates boast potency levels up to 80% THC or higher, requiring lesser amounts for a potent effect.


 Bongs Vs. Dab Rigs: Design

At their core, dab rigs and bongs share similar functionalities as water filtration devices, yet subtle design differences cater to their specific uses.

Both feature a downstem leading into a water chamber, possibly with one or more percolators for cooling, followed by a neck and mouthpiece for inhalation.

Bongs typically have a straightforward neck design, while dab rigs might include an extended mouthpiece.

Despite their foundational similarities, dab rigs are generally smaller and less varied in design than bongs, which can range widely in shape, size, and materials used. Bongs also may incorporate more accessories like ice catchers and diverse filtration systems, unlike dab rigs, which usually have a simpler setup.


Bowls vs. Nails/Bangers

The key distinction lies in the components for burning or vaporizing cannabis.

Bongs utilize bowls to hold and burn cannabis, drawing smoke through water into the lungs. Bowls, often made of metal, use a lighter for direct combustion.

Dab rigs employ nails or "bangers" for vaporizing concentrates without direct flame application. Made from materials like quartz or titanium, these are heated with a blowtorch before concentrates are applied, resulting in vapor inhalation.


How to Use a Bong

Gaining an understanding of the mechanics behind a bong can enhance your experience. The component known as the bowl is where the cannabis is placed. This part is typically removable to facilitate the necessary airflow for inhaling. Positioned within the bong’s downstem—a conduit that extends into the water— the bowl enables the smoke to be drawn through the liquid. The main body of the bong holds the water, which serves to cool the smoke, providing a smoother intake compared to traditional pipes. It's important to ensure the downstem is adequately submerged in water without overfilling.

The bong's neck is another crucial part; it fills with smoke as you draw in a breath, with the mouthpiece at the top serving as the point of inhalation. Higher-end bongs may include features like an ice-catcher for cooling or a percolator for further smoke filtration, both of which contribute to a gentler inhale.

Using a bong involves igniting the contents of the bowl while inhaling to fill the bong’s neck with smoke, followed by removing the bowl to continue inhaling, aiming to clear the smoke completely.


Practical Tips for an Ideal Experience

- The optimal amount of cannabis depends on the bowl's size and your tolerance. Overpacking may block airflow, while too little can result in a weak experience.

- Avoid placing the lighter too near the bowl to prevent excessive burning.

- Be cautious not to overfill the bong with water to avoid unwanted splashes during use.

- Inhaling too vigorously can result in an unpleasant experience, especially if the water level is high.

- If you're unable to inhale all the smoke in one attempt, cover the mouthpiece with your hand to contain it, either for another try or to pass it on to someone else.

- When sharing a bong, adhere to the one-hit-and-pass rule for courtesy and ease.

These insights and tips aim to refine your bong usage for a more enjoyable and efficient session.


How to Use a Dab Rig

If you're equipped with your setup and eager to explore the world of dabbing, follow these detailed instructions to embark on your dabbing journey. Dabbing may initially appear daunting, but rest assured, we're here to guide you.

Begin by filling your dab rig's chamber with water. To check if the water level is appropriate, draw air through it without the banger inserted in the downstem. Should water splash into your mouth, it's an indication that there's too much water, and you'll need to remove some.

Next, use your torch to heat the banger until it turns red, indicating it's reached a high temperature. Make sure to heat the exterior and bottom of the banger, as this is where the concentrate will be placed.

For those utilizing an e-nail, adjust the temperature to between 311-388 degrees Fahrenheit, tailored to the specific cannabis concentrate you're using.

Once the banger is adequately heated, allow it to cool for 30-45 seconds. Overheating can burn the concentrate, which is not the desired outcome for dabbing. To achieve optimal flavor, consider using a terp timer during this step, although a watch or phone also works well.

Carefully apply the wax onto the banger using a dab tool, then gently inhale through the rig's mouthpiece. Rotate the tool on the heated banger to ensure no wax is left behind. Inhale slowly and steadily, as concentrates typically do not vaporize instantly.

To enhance your dabbing experience, place a carb cap over the dab. This regulates airflow and ensures a more efficient hit, illustrating the proper technique for using a dab rig.

After inhaling the vapor, exhale and if desired, repeat the process. It's important to approach dabbing with caution, especially as a beginner. Due to the high potency of dabs, there's a risk of consuming too much concentrate and experiencing adverse effects. Start slowly to enjoy the experience safely.


How to Use an Electric Dab Rig

Rather than resorting to traditional butane torches, your electric dab rig enables you to utilize electricity to warm your nails. These electric nails (e-nails) remove the necessity for using a hazardous open flame, offering a more compact and inconspicuous option for dabbing.

Electric dab rigs come equipped with adjustable temperature controls, allowing you to precisely extract essential components such as terpenes from your concentrates. The ability to fine-tune the temperature is a key feature of e-rigs, enabling users to vaporize at lower temperatures for specific terpene profiles, while higher settings can be used to unlock cannabinoids. This precise temperature control minimizes the risk of overheating your concentrate, preserving its potency and ensuring a more enjoyable experience.

Operating your e-rig involves setting the temperature to match your desired dabbing experience. For those seeking a low-temperature dab, adjust the temperature to approximately 800°F before lowering it to between 350°F and 400°F. For a dab at a medium temperature, aim for a range of 450°F to 600°F. High-temperature dabbing calls for settings between 600°F and 850°F, although some enthusiasts may push the temperature up to 900°F.


Using cute bongs and dab rigs safely is crucial, especially given the potential hazards of glass breakage or high temperatures. Quality construction and proper handling can mitigate risks, with some users preferring to chill their devices for cooler smoke, though this practice can have drawbacks.



Price points vary, with bongs available in a wide range, making them accessible to many. Dab rigs, starting at higher prices, can also become quite costly, reflecting the diversity in cannabis accessory pricing.



While budget may influence the choice between a dab rig and a bong, access to concentrates and personal preferences also play significant roles. For enthusiasts with access to concentrates, dab rigs offer a unique experience, making them a worthwhile investment. Meanwhile, bongs provide versatility and functionality for those primarily using herbs.