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Temperature Spectrum For Dabs

June 17, 2020

  • Low-Temperature Dabs
  • High-Temperature Dabs
  • Dab Nail Material
  • Dab Tools
  • Cold Dabs

Dabbing is the practice of consuming cannabis concentrates through vaporization. Cannabinoids and terpenes that are inside the cannabis concentrate vaporize at different temperatures and even the concentrate consistency can affect your dabbing experience. There have been over 200 terpenes in the cannabis plant that contribute to the aroma and flavor of the cannabis strain. Cannabinoids such as THC and CBD vaporize at higher temperatures than a majority of terpenes do, which means you may lose out on flavor when you try to vaporize all of the concentrate. Besides wax consistency, the dab nail material, dab temperature, and how the dab is taken can also alter your experience. The temperature at which you take your dabs can be thought of as a scale, low temperatures will provide more flavor and a smoother hit while higher temperatures can provide a more intense effect and a thicker vapor without leaving much of a residue behind as low temperature dabs do. Depending on your dabbing setup, you may have a torch or an electric heating coil to heat up your dab nail. A torch may require a short cooldown time of 10-15 seconds after heating up the dab nail whereas an e-nail will hold the temperature after it is set. Electric nails have been known to have some disparity between the temperature read-out and the actual temperature of the dab nail surface. This could mean an e-nail set at 650F could actually be at 600F on the surface of the nail. Besides dab setups, different tools for dabbing can prove essential to dabbers such as carb caps, terp pearls, and terpometers which allow consumers to get the most of their concentrates.

Low-Temperature Dabs (450°F - 550°F)

Dabs taken at a lower temperature produce less vapor with milder effects, but are more tasteful than higher temperature dabs. A low-temp dab will sometimes leave concentrate behind on the nail. The typical saying for low-temp dabs is that you have to “waste it to taste it”. Any residue left behind can be quickly swabbed with a q-tip dipped in isopropyl alcohol. Low temperature dabs and cold start dabs are great for rosin so that you can get the most flavor.

High-Temperature Dabs (600°F - 750°F)

Dabs taken at a higher temperature produce more vapor and some smoke due to combustion. The flavor will be less intense and the temperature of the dab can be harder on your lungs which is one of the reasons people cough when dabbing. Excessive heat can also be wasteful because concentrates can splatter off the nail before any of the wax can be vaporized and inhaled. High-temperature dabs work well with shatter, crystals, and crumble. Adjust the heat to find your preference with the various concentrate consistencies.

Dab Nail Material

Dab nails are made of different materials such as quartz, ceramic, and titanium. Each of these different types of nails have different properties from how fast they heat up, to how long they retain heat, and to how fast they cool down. Other important properties to consider for dabbers is the flavor quality from the dab nail material used. Titanium has the lowest flavor quality while quartz has the highest flavor quality. The properties are true whether you are using an e-nail or a torch to dab.

Dab Nail Material Pros Cons
Titanium Quick heating and the highest heat retention. Lowest flavor quality. Large variance in titanium quality means not all of these nails are safe for dabbing. Look for type 2 titanium.
Ceramic Durable, retain heat well, and produce some flavor. Takes longest to heat up.
Quartz Heats up quickly and produces the best flavor of the bunch. Cools down quickly.

Dab Tools

The actual temperature at which your dab is taken is due to the combination of nail material, nail thickness, wax consistency, and any dab tools being used. There are different types of e-nails and depending on which one you have, the temperature settings may be different from other models. People find that using a stopwatch app on your phone to time how long it takes to heat the nail and how long it takes for the nail to cool down when dabbing. This helps you find the right temperature when you are using a torch. If you are willing to spend some money, you can buy a terpometer or an infrared thermometer to get an accurate reading.

Dab Tools Use
Carb Caps They have a hole that varies in size that is used to restrict airflow to your nail and increase flavor while retaining heat for longer.
Terpometers Provides you with a precise readout of the actual running temperature of your nails so you can easily know when to dab.
Terp Pearls Tiny quartz spheres can help get more flavor with lower temperature dabs.

Cold Dabs

Cold dabs, cold start dabs, or reverse dabs as they are also known as refers to taking your dabs at lower temperatures using a different method than the traditional method. Normally, dabbing involves heating the nail first with the carb cap off, then dropping your concentrate onto the nail, and finally cap the nail as you inhale. Cold dabs are naturally taken at much lower temperatures and involve loading the concentrate first onto the nail, capping it with the carb cap, then heating up the nail with the torch for a shorter duration than you normally would. Electrical rigs, e-rigs, and vaporizers utilize the cold dab method in a similar manner.


  1. Tommy Joyce. (2019). “Low Temp Dabs VS High: The Perfect Temperature for Dab Potency and Flavor”. Key to Cannabis.

  2. (2020). “The Terpometer - Temperature Sensor”. Cannabox.

  3. (n.d.). “Cold Start Dabs: How To Do A Reverse Dab”. Yo Dabba Dabba.

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