An e-nail is an electronic concentrate vaporizer. Similar to a traditional dab rig, e-nails either attach to a regular waterpipe or vape mod, whereas some are 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 pens and best wax atomizers. For many, learning how to use a vape pen for the first time is much easier than the larger and more tech-driven devices like those featured on this page. Although these devices are a bit more involved, we’ve provided the best of both worlds for e-nails: portable and desktop electronic dab rigs.
The Session is a versatile dab rig that delivers smooth vaporization and flavorful hits. It features a 1200 mAh internal battery, USB-C charging and a ceramic heating chamber. The Session hooks up to your favorite glass pieces with an included 14 mm male adapter, and can also be used as a standalone device for wax.
The Oura by Kandypens is an intelligently designed portable vaporizer for concentrates. It’s constructed of durable zinc alloy and features a quartz atomizer powered by a 3000 mAh battery that utilizes USB-C fast charging and provides haptic vibrational feedback. The Oura is backed by a lifetime warranty on all parts.
Dr. Dabber Switch
The Dr. Dabber Switch utilizes induction heating. It’s a portable, all-in-one unit that is designed for vaping both waxy concentrates and dry herb. The Switch e-rig draws power from a rechargeable removable battery pack. It comes with a black ceramic cup for wax and a crystal induction cup for dry herb.
The Puffco Peak is the epitome of the modern dab rig. It works with a range of concentrates from crumble to live resin and offers efficient vaporization. Featuring four heat settings and a high-grade ceramic bowl, the Peak heats up in about 20 seconds and has a bright LED light band to display temperature settings.
Pulsar Elite Mini
The Elite Mini is an advanced desktop e-nail by Pulsar. It comes with everything you need to start dabbing (glass sold separately). The kit includes a carb cap, a 20 mm heating coil, a temperature control box with digital display, and a universal-fitting titanium nail. It’s the best desktop rig you can get for under $200.
Why use an e-nail?
E-nail rigs, also called e-rigs, are quickly becoming the preferred daily driver for dabbing within the THC and CBD 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 dabs, 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. Low temperature dabs are also less harsh on your throat and 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.
Portable e-nails are small, simplified versions of the 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 of your vape mod, like the Kandypens Icon.
Desktop e-nails are more complicated and come in various forms. They all have the same essential elements. This includes 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 most popular nails used today are called bangers, or honey buckets and can be made of various materials.
Most desktop 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. They are not ideal for travel, but a great option for at-home use.
How to use an e-nail
Don’t be intimidated by them. Using an electric dab rig is very simple and easy.
Turn your e-nail on and dial in your ideal temperature. Wait for it to reach temperature. Dab a small bit of concentrate onto the nail while simultaneously 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 e-nail users prefer using a carb cap 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 dab tool, so there’s one less piece to worry about. Previously, “domed nails” were popular for this reason, but are becoming phased out by the popularity of carb caps.
Common E-nail materials
- Durable, short heat-up time, most common material
- Not ideal for flavor
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 at least Grade 2). 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 are not the best material for the purest flavor.
- Great flavor, doesn’t retain heat, easy to use
- Long heat-up time, breakable
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.
- Best flavor, food safe material, low heat-retention
- Can break, not the fastest heat-up
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.