Dabbing is catching on as one of the most popular ways to smoke weed. It’s been around for a good few years, but is fast becoming near as commonplace as smoking or vaping weed. Dabbing is especially popular in South Africa since it’s the easiest way to consume a really potent hit of weed without too much effort.
Dabs are made by extracting THC and other cannabinoids, oils and terpenes from cannabis buds and trim, either using solvent or heat / pressure extraction. The different extraction methods produce different types of dabs, such as wax, shatter, budder, rosin or honeycomb. You can read more about dab extraction & types of dabs over here.
In this article, we’ve broken down our top dab rigs into three categories: standard glass dab rigs, dab or concentrate pens, and electronic dab rigs. We’ve reviewed only the best in each category, and tried our best to pick a nice range of price and style options for each.
- Dabbing Explained: a Breakdown
- Best Dab Rigs of 2019 Reviewed (Glass, E-Nail and Dab Pen)
- Our Top 3 Glass Dab Rigs South Africa
- Our Top 3 Electric Vape Dab Rigs / Concentrate Vaporizers South Africa
- Our best Electric Dab Rigs / E-Rigs Available in South Africa
- The Best Dabbing Accessories for South Africans
- South African Dabbing Rigs in Conclusion
When dabbing, you need three things: a dab-ready concentrate or extract (most of which can be used in all rigs), a rig of your choice to smoke out of, and water to fill the rig with. Pretty simple, right?
Well, any dab connoisseur will tell you that there are dozens, if not hundreds, of variables that go into dabbing. There’s a whole science around heating the rig and what constitutes the ideal rig and many different anecdotal guides to extracts. It’s also hard to say which extract is best suited to your needs, and too many reviews and opinions on different types of dab rigs to count.
As such, it’s a pretty simple concept that one can get overly deep into, in terms of terminology and application. While it’s as easy as getting your hands on a rig and some concentrate to try it out, we’d still recommend doing some reading so that you’re well acquainted with dabbing before giving it a try yourself.
Let’s take a closer look at all the dab rigs we’ve chosen to review. They’ve all got their own pros and cons, and by the end of this article we’re sure you’ll be able to choose the right rig for you! We’ve also added a little section at the end of these reviews, with some nifty upgrades you might want to consider if you’ve already got some of the components for your dab rig setup.
We also wrote on article recently, with a section covering how to turn your favourite bong into a dab rig, so be sure to check it out here.
This section is made up of all our standard, bong-shaped, glass dab rigs. Some of these rigs come with bangers/nails and dab tools, and some don’t, so be sure to double check that. Unless otherwise specified, they’re made to fit 14mm size bangers, should you be looking to attach your own.
- Everything you need to start dabbing
- Upgradeable piece-by-piece
- Very reasonable price
If you’re new to dabbing, as many still are in South Africa, you’ll need to get familiar with how to dab. It can be a fair bit more complex than hitting a bong or smoking a joint, but once you’ve tried it once or twice you’ll be more than comfortable with it.
This Dab Rig Starter Kit comes with everything you’ll need to hit your first dab (minus the concentrate itself, of course). The kit includes the following: a 15cm Micro Bubbler, a 14mm Female Glass Dome, a 14mm Glass Nail, a mini stainless steel dab tool, a small jet torch lighter, and a silicone concentrate jar in which to store your dab.
This kit is ready-to-go out of the box, and while it’s nothing fancy, it’s everything you need to hit a dab, all in one place.
- Triple Honeycomb Percolator
- 14mm Compatibility
- Dab / Bong interchangeable
This triple honeycomb-percolator glass dab rig is a great daily driver. It’s a well-priced, high quality rig allowing for all the basics of dabbing. It’s fitted with a 14mm female opening for you to add any banger or add-on you desire, at the given size standard.
It comes with either a premium domeless quartz banger, meaning you’ll still need a carb cab and dab tool of your own. It stands at 29cm tall, which can be a little high for some, but offers a super smooth hit thanks to its large chamber, and triple honeycomb percolator filtration.
This is a great rig for those familiar with dabbing, or even newcomers with a little determination. It’s sturdy and well-made, and will help you hit your first or hundredth dab as smoothly as possible.
- Small and portable
- Comes with a titanium nail
- Hard to break
We all know that one clumsy smoker (it could even be you!), who’s always too scared to hit a bong or a pipe for fear of broken glass and sombre looks all around. That’s what makes this Silicone-built simple dab rig so great.
It’s a 15cm tall dab rig bubbler made from medical grade silicone (which is extremely heat resistant), which has a wide base to prevent easy toppling, and an ergonomic flared mouthpiece design. It also comes with a silicone concentrate tub for storage (which fits snugly in the base of the rig), as well as a high-quality domeless titanium nail and stainless steel dab tool. These also fit in the rig for transportation, so your entire dab kit is ready to hit the road.
This is an all-round great dab rig, being super portable, versatile and durable. It might be a little more difficult to clean than your average glass rig, but it most certainly makes up for this with all its other frills and features.
With electronic cigarettes and vaping fast on the rise in the tobacco industry, it only makes sense that the same would happen with weed. These are our favourite three vape pens for concentrates available locally, from brands we know and trust.
- Dual-use tank for flower and concentrates
- Quartz Bowl with heating element
- 3 Heat settings
Aside from its great functionality, this is hands-down one of the nicest looking, and best designed weed vapes on the market. G Pen is a very familiar name when it comes to vaping weed, and while it took them a few years to get all their kinks ironed out, they’ve nailed it with the G Pen Nova.
Its quartz bowl is dual use for both flower and concentrates, making it the perfect switch-over between a dry herb vape and a dab pen. It’s got three heat settings for different levels of vaporization, and even an extended draw mode for when you want to take a longer, bong-like hit.
It comes in at a fantastic price point, with its main competitor the PAX 3 costing almost five times as much, has an auto-heat mode for thicker concentrates, and a rubber mouthpiece to avoid burnt lips. It’s our outright favourite of all the dab pens we’ve mentioned here, and won’t soon be leaving our collection. It’s hands down one of the best dab pens of 2019.
- Flower Chamber with a Concentrate Option
- Two pricing options (Vape Only / Full Kit)
- Bluetooth Connected Mobile App
PAX is probably the most well-known in the world of weed vaping. Since their creation of JUUL, they’re probably the biggest name in tobacco vaping too – and they’ve earned this merit with consistently great and functional vapes since they arrived on the market.
The PAX 3 is the culmination of all the best parts of its predecessors. It has four temperature settings, as well as degree-by-degree adjustable temps through the mobile app – a must-have for any dabbing nerd. The full kit comes with a cleaning kit, two mouthpieces and some extra nifty tools, offering an all-in-one kit for dabbing on the go.
While not as sleek and subtle in design as the G Pen Nova, it works just as well (if not better), heating up in just 22 seconds, ready to dab. If you’re a dab pen user looking to upgrade, this might just be the portable dab pen for you.
- Flower and Concentrate Ready
- Comes with a Water Pipe Adapter
- Mouthpiece vibrates when device is heated
The Tera V3 from Boundless is a great daily driver if you’re looking for a concentrate-ready vape that can do it all. This vaporizer was designed for performance, using both convection heated air, and a heat transfer panel to vaporize your herb. The bud chamber can hold approx. 0.5g of dry herb, and is made from anodized aluminium.
For concentrates, you simply click the power button three times, and the included concentrate pad starts to heat up to 260 degrees so you can start vaping your dabs. The vape has a few other cool and nifty features, such as a vibrating mouthpiece when your desired temperature is reached, a digital temp. control between 60 and 200 degrees celsius, and two removable 18650 batteries which last around 45-50mins when used continuously.
All in all, this is a great dry herb vape for dabbing, since it requires minimal effort to switch between the two, has great temperature control, and a glass mouthpiece which can be switched out for a water pipe adapter, and fit into most bong joints.
More recent in arrival to the great world of dabs and vaping are these portable, electronic dab rigs. They’re somewhere between a full on dab rig, and a dab pen – offering similar mechanisms to concentrate vape pens in a form factor more similar to a dab rig. They’re also surprisingly reasonably priced locally, when you compare prices to those listed in US stores.
While most of these haven’t really had a chance to prove why they’re ‘better’ than either of the former mentioned, we could see them catching on, thanks to their sleek look and style. They all have quite a ‘Weed Culture in 2020’ look to them. Let’s take a look at some of the best and most popular electric dab nails, and e-rigs of 2019.
- Comes with titanium, quartz and ceramic nails.
- 15-20 dabs per charge
- Water filtration mouthpiece
If you’re looking for an electronic dab rig / e-nail dab rig and you’re prepared to spend a little extra for a quality product, then the Dr Dabber Boost Black is, without a doubt, what you’re looking for. It’s an extensive portable dab rig with loads of tools and cool features, such as arriving with three different nail options (titanium, quartz and ceramic), and a magnetic carb cap and dabbing tool (these are combined as one handy piece).
The Boost Black has a removable heating element, and is powered by 18650 li-ion rechargeable batteries which can power 15-20 sessions from one charge. The mouthpiece is the real magnum opus here, as it has a built-in water filtration system in it, contained in a manner whereby no water is in danger of spilling into the electrical components of this rig.
All in all, it’s a winner if you’re a regular dabber who likes ease, a portable size, and a smooth, cool hit. It also comes in a really dope hexagonal carry case which looks like something from TRON.
- Multiple Modes for Flower and Concentrate
- Additional Crystal mode for other extracts
- Optional Quartz heating cup Sold Separately (Comes with a Ceramic One)
The Switch from Dr. Dabber is a fancy e-nail for sure. With customizable heat times, a self-cleaning mode using a heat cycle, and packaged with a dab tool, wax container and ceramic flower filter, it’s a luxury one. It’s one of the best portable electric dab rigs of 2019.
The Switch offers 25 different settings for Oils and Flower, as well as a crystal mode, making it the ideal option for anyone looking to vape pure CBD crystals. It’s stylish, designed almost like if Samsung made a bubbler, and will fit in your hand comfortably, as well as sit nicely on a tabletop.
While the price tag is quite high on this one, with all the nifty little extra dab rig parts, it’s really a quality dab rig. It isn’t, however, quite easily as portable as the previous Bolt Pro. It stands at around 25 cm tall, making it quite the item to pack in a bag and take around with you. As a desktop rig, however, it’s perfect.
- Crazy futuristic Design
- 4 Heat settings with 20 Second Heat Up Time
- Battery lasts for an average of 30 dabs
The Puffco Peak really looks, and feels like the future of dabbing. It has a Dune-esque pyramidal design and is simple as loading in a dab, pressing heat, and taking a hit. It’s one of the best priced e rigs of 2019.
It’s very, very small, around 15-20 cm in height and around 8 cm in diameter at its largest point. This makes it ideal for portable dabbing. In addition, it comes with a carb cap, two ceramic bowls, a supercharger and a loading tool.
The Puffco Peak also features a sesh-mode for group sessions, a feature which many devices lack, and a style of smoking most others just aren’t made for. Where others get hot and clogged, the Peak just puffs away, dab after dab, looking like some kind of futuristic humidifier.
As many seasoned dabbers know, the glass and quartz bangers South Africa loves only last so long. Quartz is actually pretty damn sturdy compared to glass, which generally doesn’t have a very long lifespan at all when repeatedly heated. That’s why most recommend titanium pieces for dabbing – titanium is a lot more sturdy and durable, and could conceivably be used for years on end, if cleaned and maintained correctly.
If you’re looking to upgrade your dabbing kit to include some durable titanium, we’ve listed three pieces here which will allow you to upgrade most (if not all) of your dab rigs using glass pieces, to a full titanium setup.
All of these pieces are from AmaDab, a proudly South African company specialising in dab technology and tools – everything from dab rigs, to extraction kits and more. We’re really excited to see where they take dabbing in South Africa over the next few years.
This simple titanium dab tool is sphere tipped, and made from Grade 2 Titanium. It’s sturdy and will conceivably last you a lifetime. The sphere tip really helps get that last bit of concentrate into the bowl, making sure you don’t waste any dab in the process.
This sturdy titanium carb cap is also made from Grade 2 Titanium, with an up-cycled African hardwood grip. It’s the perfect carb cap if you’re looking for something near undestroyable, and fits perfectly on the domeless banger we’re about to look at below.
This 14mm female nail is the perfect upgrade to any glass or silicone dab rig. Of course, it’s also made from lab-certified Grade 2 Titanium, and works incredibly well with AmaDab’s other titanium tools like the ones we mentioned above. If you’re looking for one of the best dab bangers of 2019, and a nail that’ll last as a daily driver, then this is the one for you.
You should now be more than well-equipped to choose your own dab rig and begin your adventure into the world of dabbing! If you’re still undecided, we’d suggest the G Pen Nova. It’s a great trade off between quality, functionality and style. It’s great for beginners, and if dabbing isn’t for you, you can simply use it for standard flower. On the dab bong side, the starter kit is a clear winner for beginners.
Since a rhyme is the best way to end an article we’ll leave you with that! May your nails be hot and water be cooled. Otherwise, if you’re looking for more reading on smoking apparatus, be sure to check out our roundup review of the best one hitters and weed pipes.