Nails are attachments that fit into or over a rig and are heated using a torch, and concentrates are then “dabbed” onto the nail. Nails are typically made of titanium, ceramic, quartz, or glass. They are available in male and female styles, and range in size from 10mm up to 19mm. There are many different styles of nails as well, the most common being steppers, adjustable, all-in-one, salt shaker, and fixed. Depending on the shape of the nail, dabbing nails can also be used with or without a glass dome (a glass orb that fits over the nail to contain the smoke better). With so much variety, it can be a bit overwhelming to decide what you might like best.
There are pros and cons to each type of material. Titanium can be heated very hot, and retains heat well. This can be both good and bad. It’s easy to heat the nail too hot, but because it retains its heat so well, you can get away with taking more than one dab each time you apply heat, making it perfect for group smoking sessions. Ceramic, quartz, and glass nails do not need to be heated as hot, although these nails are a lot more fragile and need to cool down between dabs. Keep in mind that a lower temperature allows for a better tasting vapor.
Personal preference is a big factor in deciding the style of nail that is best for you. The size of your rig also limits your options. Female nails fit over the rig, and male nails fit into the rig. Because heating causes materials to expand, you must be careful not to allow your male nails to heat too hot for too long! Some styles of nail, such as the adjustable or all-in-one nail, can fit multiple sizes of rigs, allowing you to use the same nail for more than one rig. It is also important to consider if you’ll use a dome or not, as not all nails are compatible with the use of a dome.
The price of a nail depends on its size, the material it’s made of, and the style. Titanium nails tend to be the most expensive, and quartz and ceramic the least expensive. The more intricate a nail is, the more expensive it will be. Prices range from around $12 and go up to around $90, so whether you’re trying dabbing out for the first time or you already know what you like, you’re sure to find something to fit your budget.
With so much variety on offer, it can be a bit overwhelming to decide what you might like best. Read our article, All About Dabbing, for some useful guidance.