Over the past few years, vaping and dabbing concentrates have surged in popularity. In fact, according to Headset data, in California, vape pens are only second to flower in demand.

That’s because extracts are an excellent way to avoid smoking, taste a strain’s maximum flavor potential, and get super high from an extreme potency.

If you’ve been smoking flower and now you’re ready for cannabis concentrates, here’s some information on why people love vaping and dabbing, and how to choose the method that’s right for you.

Vaping vs dabbing: what’s the difference?

Vaping, short for vaporizing, is a cannabis consumption method that turns your flower and/or extracts into vapor (not smoke).

Due to its smokeless nature, it doesn’t result in potentially harmful smoke byproducts. It is seen as a healthier method of consumption compared to smoking joints and hitting bongs. The same goes for dabbing.

Dabbing is a form of vaporizing that uses a tabletop dab rig (or portable dab pen) to turn your extracts into vapor. You can vaporize dry herb and/or cannabis extracts. With dabs, you only use concentrates.

The difference between vaping and dabbing comes down to the way you consume, and the types of oils used in doing so.

When people talk about vaping, they’re usually talking about prefilled cartridges that you hit with a 510-thread battery or pods that work with specific branded batteries.

Dabbing is a whole process using a rig, torch, and water filtration system. Dabs tend to provide a longer-lasting high than vape pens.

In terms of oils used, with vape pens, you’ll probably be using distillates with added terpenes or live resin. Live rosin cartridges are growing in popularity, but are still far from the standard of vape pens.

With dabs, you’ll probably be choosing between a live resin or rosin product. Live rosin is seen as superior to other types of concentrates because it’s solventless.

Live rosin badder swirls in thick layers and ready to be dabbed.

What's so great about dabbing cannabis concentrates?

Dabs are loved for the well-rounded experience they induce. Put your nose to the cannabis flower and you’ll smell a bunch of different scents.

Dabs are like if someone said, “Hey, what if we just pulled that aroma directly out of the plant and put it on your tongue?”

The reasons people dab are because:

  1. Vapor is healthier than smoke since you aren’t inhaling burned papers and tobacco.
  1. Dabs are the most flavorful way to consume cannabis. Especially if it’s some rosin that leaves the plant’s original profile intact.
  1. The potency gets you high faster and for longer. At a certain point, smoking just flower might not do it anymore. But dabbing extracts will.
  1. Dabs also allow you to do more with less. Just a little spec of cannabis extracts like live resin and live rosin could leave you extremely high for hours on end.

Dabs get you higher than flower because they have a higher percentage of both cannabinoids and terpenes. Trichomes house cannabis compounds that get us high. Extraction systems pull the trichomes from the plant and process them into concentrates.

So basically, when you dab or vaporize concentrates, you’re taking concentrates trichomes straight to the face. That gets you a lot more flavor and a lot higher potency.

There are a wide variety of concentrates that you can dab. They can have various textures, all of which are replete with cannabinoids and terpenes. Dab rigs and pens are your mediums for consuming them.

STIIIZY glass dab rig stands on a black and white mat and is ready for dabbing use.

How to use a dab rig

For dabbing, you need a dab rig or electronic piece, a dab tool, a torch, some extracts, and cotton swabs. Optional luxuries that you should definitely consider include terp pearls and a banger thermometer.

When dabbing, you have two options: a cold start dab and a hot start dab.

Cold start dabs heat the banger at the end of the process, hot start dabs heat the banger at the beginning. Hot start dabs are the most common method. That’s what we’ll advise.

Now that you’ve got your tools, here’s how to dab:

  • Step 1: Heat your banger
  • Step 2: Allow your banger to cool
  • Step 3: Glob up some concentrates
  • Step 4: Drop the dabs into your banger and add your carb cap 
  • Step 5: Inhale vapor 
  • Step 6: Clean your banger

Step 1: Heat your banger

Put a torch to your banger until it glows red with heat. Don’t ever take a dab when it’s in this state. Instead, wait for it to cool to an adequate temperature that won’t kill your oil.

If you prefer to skip the torch, you might consider electronic dab rigs like the Puff Peak Pro and the Carta 2 from Focus V.

Step 2: Allow your bander to cool

This is where a dab thermometer comes in handy. It can tell you the exact temperature of your banger, so you can know when to dab up. For the most part, you can get a perfect dab with temperatures between 450-550 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you’re not using a thermometer, let the banger cool for 30-90 seconds, depending on how hot it is. Then, after that, you can dab effectively. The importance of temperature is about terpene preservation. Too hot and you’ll burn off all the flavor in your dabs.

Step 3: Glob up some cannabis concentrates

Once your banger is cooling, you can open up your dabs and get whatever amount of the dabs you want to hit.

Step 4: Drop the dab into your banger and add your carb cap

Drop that glob into your banger and watch it melt up. Add your carb cap on top of your banger to trap heat and mitigate airflow.

Step 5: Inhale vapor

As your oil melts, inhale the vapor and watch your terp pearls (if you bought them) spin around. You’ll be mind-blown by how many hits you can get out of a single speck of cannabis hash oil. Spin your carb cap around to keep getting the maximum potential of your dabs.

Step 6: Clean your banger

Once your dab is done, there may be residual oil that didn’t melt up. Use a cotton swab immediately once done dabbing concludes to clean this. 

It’s important because leftover residue will harden in your banger, and distort the flavor of your next dabs. Always dab from clean glass. 


STIIIZY dab tools for cleaning dab rigs look like Q-tips.
Easy STIIIZY dab cleaning tools like these will do the trick.

What’s a dabbing pen?

Dab pens are handheld dab rigs, essentially. They use an atomizer with preset temperatures to heat up your extracts.

The difference between dab pens and vape pens is that vape pens work with pre-filled cartridges; you load your dabs into a dab pen.

The reason you’d use a dab pen versus a rig is portability. Dab pens let you dab on the go without lugging around a big carrying case with your rig or e-rig in it.

Consumption-wise, dab rigs will provide an overall better experience because you can choose the temp you dab at, and adjust it to each different type of extract. Plus, the dabs are coming off of glass, whilst most dab pens use ceramic ovens.

How to use a dab pen

The steps to using your dab pen include:

  • Step 1: Put dabs into your atomizer
  • Step 2: Heat up your dab pen
  • Step 3: Inhale vapor and enjoy
  • Step 4: Clean your dab pen

Step 1: Put your dabs in your atomizer

To hit a dab pen, Step 1 is to put your dabs into the atomizer. To do so, simply unscrew your device and load the dabs into the middle chamber.

Step 2: Heat your dab pen

To turn on most dab pens, you hit the power button five times. To change the temperature, you press the pen three times. To activate your device, so it heats and you can dab, press the button twice. The light will start blinking. Once it stabilizes you are ready to hit your dab pen.

Step 3: Inhale vapor and enjoy

Once your pen is heated, inhale the vapor from the mouthpiece. Hit the pen until you’re satisfied. 

Step 4: Clean dab pen over with a cotton swab

Once you’ve gotten high enough, turn your dab pen off by clicking the power button five times. Then use a cotton swab to clean out any residual oil left in the oven after you’re done dabbing.

Dabbing different cannabis concentrates

You can dab pretty much any type of concentrate. However, you’ll probably be more focused on live resin and live rosin sauces and badders these days.

Sauce and badder refer to the consistency of the extract. Sauces are wetter and contain THC diamonds and terpene sauce separately in one mixture.

Live resin diamonds in a glass jar are cannabis concentrates ready for dabbing.

Badders are whipped into a texture that holds both the THC and terpenes together in a solid. This is why people love badders because you’re getting an even distribution of those compounds each and every time.

The choice between live resin and live rosin for most consumers is solely based on price. On the low end, people are dabbing live resin, a solvent-based concentrate. On the high end, people are dabbing live rosin, a solventless concentrate.

Connoisseurs prefer rosin to resin because it has no residual solvents from the extraction process. Resin, while purged to a point of safety for consumption, may still have solvents in a trace amount, thus altering the cannabis plant’s profile.

Thus, it is believed that rosin is the best expression of what a strain’s experience and flavor are expected to be, flavor and experience

If you’re going to be dabbing, treat yourself to both products for knowledge. In the end, you will probably grow to love rosin more than the alternatives. It happens to all of us. 

STIIIZY's live resin diamonds, dab rig tool kit provide for an excellent cannabis experience.
The full dabbing kit with live resin diamonds.

At STIIIZY, we only use premium flowers for all of our cannabis concentrates, including  solventless pods live rosin badder and  jam curated live resin live resin diamonds, and much more. Explore all of STIIIZY's products  here.