Dab Nail Types: Finding the Right One

When buying a dab rig, you’re going to need a dab nail. But, which one? There are seemingly endless dab nail types available. And, for as many types of dab nails out there, there are as many people with stark opinions on which is the best. In this blog, we’re going through the most common types of dab nail styles, their materials, and the pros and cons of each.

What Is a Dab Nail?

A dab nail is something that is used in combination with a dab rig to vaporize oils or wax. The dab rig itself often has a downstem into a water chamber, possibly one or more percolators to help with cooling, then the neck, and a mouthpiece from which you draw the smoke/vapor. A dab nail is the part of the rig that is heated with a torch, and where oil or wax is placed.

Terminology: Nail vs Banger vs Bowl

There are a ton of terms to describe the pieces that are used with various water pipe setups. Nail vs banger vs bowl… what’s the difference? First, let’s talk about the differences between a bong and a dab rig. While they are very similar, they have different uses and parts. A bong uses a bowl and is used for dry herbs, while the dab rig uses a banger or a nail and is used for oils and wax.

dab nail types: anatomy of a water pipe infographic

Dab Nail Types

There are many different styles and kinds of dab nails varying in design and material.

Dab Nail vs Banger

Now to the question of a dab nail vs banger. If you’ve searched the internet for these terms, you may notice that they are often used interchangeably. In this blog, we use the terms to describe items in the same category. However, if you get down to the details — these are two different products.

A dab nail, by its strict definition, is made of metal — most often titanium. Named for their resemblance to the nails you might find in the garage, these usually have a flat top and are often universally fitted. Titanium dab nails are one of the most durable options out there. However, the metal material may add a twinge of metallic taste to your dabs.

Alternatively, bangers can be made from various materials and come in endless shapes and sizes. Bangers have a deep dish and a joint to attach to your downstem at usually either a 90 or 45-degree angle. Bangers also have a larger dabbing surface and allow more airflow into your rig. They are often made of glass, quartz, or ceramic, making them more fragile than the titanium nail.


Choose the material of your nail or banger wisely, as it will have the most to do with the flavor and quality of your dabs. However, flavor isn’t the only thing to consider. Other considerations are how well the material heats up, retains heat, and how durable the material is.


Ceramic nails offer awesome flavor and heat retention. However, they take a longer time to get hot, and they won’t glow orange like titanium or quartz so you can’t visually tell when they’re too hot. Additionally, ceramic nails are not likely to survive falls or drops and are prone to fractures from regular use over time.


Glass bangers are quite fragile, and they do not stand up to high temperatures or sudden temperature changes well. However, they do offer a pure flavor experience. A glass banger will need to be heated slowly to avoid fracturing.


Titanium nails are the sturdiest of the bunch. Being virtually indestructible, a titanium nail is not likely to break or fracture, whether from heat or dropping. On flavor, though, the titanium nail loses some points. The titanium nail will affect your dab with a metallic taste. Additionally, titanium is not food or medical-grade like ceramic, quartz, and glass. So be sure to research where the titanium is coming from (grade 2 titanium is the best).


A quartz banger is quickly becoming the golden standard. These heat up very quickly, retain heat well, and do not alter the flavor of your dabs. As a food and medical-grade material, quartz is completely safe to use and doesn’t release any toxic gases when heated. Quartz is breakable, and susceptible to fractures from repeated heating and cooling.


An E nail is a new addition to the world of dabs, making for a convenient experience. 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. With this method, you don’t need to guess about heating with a torch. Simply set the device at the desired temperature and enjoy your convenient dabs!

Dab Nail Types: Size

When it comes to dab nails and bangers, size does matter! The size of your nail or banger’s bucket size and style, angle, joint size, and sex all need to be compatible with accessories like rigs and carb caps. Follow the steps below to ensure that you get a dab nail that is right for your piece!

  1. Identify your dab rig’s joint size. Joints come in three different sizes, 10mm, 14mm and 19mm, and the dab nails available are made to fit these different sizes.
  2. Identify whether 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.
  3. Identify whether your dab rig’s joint is angled at 45° or 90°. 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.

Find Your Perfect Dab Nail at Mr. Nice Guys

If all of that makes sense, you’re ready to come see us and pick out your perfect dab nail or banger! And if it didn’t all make sense, come see us and one of our Nice Guys will explain all of the details in person. We’ve got a ton of styles to choose from, so you’re sure to find one that’s just right. Stop by any Mr. Nice Guys location and we’ll be happy to assist you!


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