What is an e-nail?

the-anatomy-of-a-portable-e-nail

An e-nail is an electronic concentrate vaporizer. Similar to a traditional dab rig, most e-nails attach to a regular waterpipe or vape mod, whereas others function as standalone units. Much like dry herb vapes, e-nails can be broken down into desktop and portable models.

Both types of e-nails utilize some type of electric heating element and power source to achieve optimal temperatures for vaporizing waxy concentrates.

"They're a tastier, more efficient, easier to use and safer alternative to traditional oil rigs."

If you’re looking for a more portable and discreet way to dab, check out our Best Dab/Wax Pens. This page will be focusing on specifically e-nails, e-nail rigs or in other words: electronic dab rigs.

Why use an e-nail?

portable-e-nail-dab-device graphic

E-nail rigs, also called e-rigs, are quickly becoming the preferred daily driver for dabbing within the concentrate community. Until their arrival in the market, typical dab rigs required a torch to heat up the nail before it makes contact with the concentrates. Aside from obvious safety concerns, using a traditional dab rig required a certain level of expertise in order to achieve the perfect dab.

Too much heat can actually combust your concentrates, whereas not enough heat won’t evenly vaporize everything, leaving you with a messy nail to clean. Electric dab nails solve this issue and provide some welcome relief from the scorching hits associated with butane torches. They may also reduce harm to the lungs.

A typical desktop e-nail setup utilizes temperature-sensing technology paired with a heating element that wraps around the bottom of the nail. Once you dial in your preferred setting, it maintains that exact temperature until you turn the unit off, so it’s always ready for a dab whenever you are. With e-rigs, anybody can enjoy a flavorful and effective vape right off the bat, without much experience or a big learning curve.

E-nails vs. traditional dab rigs

With a regular dab rig, a torch is used to heat the nail, which sometimes can instantaneously combust your concentrates, a process known as flash vaporization. If not done properly, you can waste a lot of dabs this way! Hence the reason the e-nail came to be so popular in the cannabis community, especially among serious concentrate enthusiasts.

The biggest problem with using a blowtorch is that it’s hard to know the exact temperature of the nail at any given moment, so using a traditional rig is an art in itself. E-nails can be dialed in at lower temps so you actually get a richer terpene profile, highlighting the individual flavors and psychoactive effects of each strain. You really don’t need to be a dab veteran to operate one.

Types of e-nails

Desktop

Desktop e-nails come in various forms, but they all have the same essential elements. A box that functions as the brain of the entire operation, a cable with a heating element on one end, and an XLR cable on the other, and of course the main stars of the show: the nail and waterpipe.

The heating element cable plugs into the base and the actual coil rests securely at the bottom of the nail, which is then seated into your glass water pipe. The three types of coils used for e-nails are 20 mm and 16 mm round coils, or 10 mm flat coils. (Not the tiny coils found in vape pens.)

The temperature of the heating coil is constantly regulated by way of a PID controller, which is used in many other industrial applications for calculating temperature change. This technology allows the e-nail to maintain your preferred setting, similar to temperature control vaping with e-cig.

Most e-rigs boxes come with an LED screen that will display your temperature in real-time. These boxes typically run on A/C power and plug into your wall, unlike the portable devices.

Portable

Portable e-nails are small, simplified versions of these bigger desktop units. They have a lot in common since they both utilize some type of heating element, glass mouthpiece and a power source, but these rigs are ideal for traveling. Some portable e-nails are powered by either internal or rechargeable batteries like the Dr. Dabber Boost, or attach directly to the 510 connection on your vape mod, such as the Atmos Studio Rig or the Kandypens Icon.

How to use an e-nail

Don’t be intimidated by the LED lights and the wires. Using an electric dab rig is very simple!

Plug your box into the wall and dial in your ideal temperature. If you are using a domed nail, make sure the dome is on first. Dab a small bit of concentrate onto the nail while inhaling from your pipe. If you are using a carb cap, place it on top of the nail while taking a puff. That’s it.

Many domeless nail users prefer using a carb cap instead to cover the nail while taking a hit, because it increases both the overall flavor and vapor production. Most carb caps come attached to a dabber, so there’s one less piece to worry about versus using a domed nail.

Note: Domed nails served their purpose with traditional oil rigs, but are being replaced by carb caps by more users of these electric dab setups each day.

Best E-nail kit (Portable)

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Pros
  • Replaceable 18650 battery (included)
  • Three nail options (ceramic
  • titanium and quartz)
  • All-in-one unit
  • One-year warranty
  • Customer support
  • Carrying case included
  • Cons
  • Not 510 compatible
  • No temperature control
  • No LED screen
  • Specifications

    • No wicks or coils
    • Heats to 600°F in 30 seconds
    • 30-40 Uses on a Single Charge
    • Removable/replaceable battery
    • Ceramic heating core

    The Boost by Dr. Dabber was one of the first of its kind. It’s a completely portable, all-in-one unit that is designed for vaping waxy concentrates anywhere you go. The Boost e-rig draws power from an 18650 rechargeable 2500 mAh battery in order to heat up the nail used for dabbing.

    You receive everything in a nice padded carrying case that includes everything you need to get started, except for the concentrates, of course. Dr. Dabber provides three types of domeless nails so you can experience the subtle differences between Titanium, Ceramic and Quartz.

    Dr. Dabber is already well known for its wax pens and accessories that have been imitated by many, but their customer service is where they excel. Dr. Dabber stands behind all of their products and offers a one-year warranty with customer support, which should make you more confident about spending your money.

    Dr. Dabber also makes a 510 version of this e-nail that attaches to your regular vape mod.

    best_e_nails_for_dabs_2017
    Pros
  • Compatible with wax/dry herb
  • Fits on most 510 vape mods
  • Heats up in three seconds
  • Replaceable coils
  • Very efficient for wax
  • High quality materials
  • Cons
  • The name might turn some people off
  • Works more like an atomizer than a nail
  • Not compatible with temperature control settings on vape mods
  • Specifications

    • Pyrex glass bubbler vape tank
    • For use with sub ohm batteries
    • Ceramic plate for herb
    • Mig B coil system coil for concentrates
    • No exposed coils
    • Baking watts 19-27w mod
    • Ceramic heating technology
    • 3-second heat up time
    • No plastics
    • Stainless steel coated in black
    • Replaceable coils
    • Avoid using with temp control mod
    • Baking style or burn
    • depending on the power you allow
    • Low resistance 0.5 ohm coil inside the baking plate

    Just from the name, you can already be sure that this product is a little bit different from the rest. MigVapor, best known for their Sub Herb and Brain Fogger products, now have their own e-nail. It attaches via your 510 connection and comes with two coils, one for wax and one for dry herb.

    The wax coil is very similar to the one found in the Brain Fogger, which is extremely efficient. La Queef comes with everything you need to dab and vaporize flowers right out of the box. Within three seconds, the coil heats up and is ready to create clouds of tasty vapor anywhere you go.

    best_e_nails_for_dabs_2017
    Pros
  • Temperature controlled
  • Compact and portable
  • LED Screen
  • Good battery life
  • Easy to use
  • One-year warranty
  • Cons
  • Not 510 compatible
  • Non-replaceable battery
  • No micro-USB passthrough charging
  • Specifications

    • Titanium nail
    • Fast heat-Up
    • Temperature controlled
    • Portable & rechargeable
    • 6000mAh battery

    This product caught our attention for being one of the smallest of the portable e-rigs available. The Cloud V Electro Mini is similar to the Dr. Dabber Boost, except that it has a built-in LED screen with temperature control functionality. The glass bubbler is also a bit beefier than the Dr. Dabber.

    It comes with a built-in rechargeable 3300 mAh battery, a carb tool and two nail options made of titanium and quartz. The Cloud V Electro Mini also comes with a one-year warranty, like most of their products, so if anything goes wrong they will repair or replace it without a problem.

    The best part about this unit is that you can dial in your preferred temperature, so you can use it for cloud chasing or flavor. There is nothing in this price range that can offer these type of features especially for such a portable unit, making it one of the best in this category.

    Best Desktop E-nail for under $200

    best_e_nails_for_dabs_2017

    Out of all the desktop e-nail manufacturers, we have found High Five Vapes to be among the most dependable overall. The e-nail world is filled with imitations and companies trying to cash in on this booming trend. High Five Vapes doesn’t just provide quality products, but also excellent customer service. All of High Five’s e-nails are manufactured by them and are reasonably priced compared to the competition. Based on the overwhelming customer feedback we’ve seen, we highly recommend going with this company if you are serious about purchasing a good e-rig.

    The "Slow boat"

    There are other great manufacturers of desktop e-nails such as DNail and Shatterbox, but be prepared to pay a lot more for a similar product. Then there is the China route, You can buy generic versions of these products from DHGate and similar Chinese websites for much less. You might save a few bucks, but they do not provide the same degree of customer service. If you are just looking for a glass piece, this might be a viable option, but for not for your entire e-rig. That is why we recommend only companies that are known for making good products and standing behind them

    best_e_nails_for_dabs_2017
    Pros
  • Comes with everything you need to dab
  • Precise temperature control
  • Heavy duty heating coil/power cord
  • Choice of preferred nail/carb cap
  • Good customer service
  • Fast shipping
  • Cons
  • Not portable
  • Requires A/C power
  • Not very discreet
  • If you are already convinced that e-nails are the future of dabbing, but don’t even know where to begin, this is the perfect package for you. It includes literally everything you are going to need to get started including the temperature control box, a 6 foot long coil, 8 foot long power cord, and your choice of either a quartz e-banger, domeless nail or a titanium domeless nail. You also get a carb cap set and a glass piece with a 14mm female joint.

    High Five e-nails are available in a variety of awesome skins like Benjamin Danklin, Astronaut and Galaxy prints so you can customize it based on your style. Last but not least, all of HIgh Five’s products come with a 7-day return policy and the best customer service available.

    E-nail materials

    Titanium

    The most popular material used for e-nails is titanium because it is relatively inexpensive, durable and safe to inhale (as long as it is Grade 2 or better). The advantage of using Titanium nails, aside from the price, is that they can last a long time if properly taken care of. The downside is that they can sometimes add a metallic taste to your vapor.

    PROS:

    • Durable, short heat-up time, most common material

    CONS:

    • Poor flavor, can get hot

    Ceramic

    best_e_nails_for_dabs_2017

    The flavor chasers of the e nail world have moved away from titanium and discovered that ceramic provides much better flavor despite being more expensive and fragile. Another con about ceramic is that it is harder to restore back to its original clean condition.

    PROS:

    • Great flavor, doesn’t retain heat, easy to use

    CONS:

    • Long heat-up time, breakable

    Quartz

    best_e_nails_for_dabs_2017

    Quartz nails are now becoming the preferred method of dabbing, especially among flavor chasers because quartz is much more durable than ceramic. The jury is still out on which one has better flavor; it may just come down to individual preference. They’re very close.

    PROS:

    • Best flavor, food safe material, low heat-retention

    CONS:

    • Can break, not the fastest heat-up

    Bangers and honey buckets

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    It all might sound like a whole new world at first, but bangers and honey buckets serve the exact same purpose as a regular nail, they’re just different in terms of size and shape. Bangers and honey buckets protrude out of an arm that attaches to your heating element, keeping the heat further away from your face. They also allow for increased surface area to hold more dabs.

    PROS:

    • Cool form factor, works like a nail

    CONS:

    • Handle can get hot, not convenient
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