One of the most essential parts of dabbing is the nail. You use it every time you use concentrates but you might not necessarily think of how the material of the nail affects both your hit and your product.
Nails come in four main types of materials: glass, ceramic, titanium, and quartz. There are some other fringe varieties of nails out there, but these four are what the majority are made of out there.
Here are some of the benefits and drawbacks of each nail material type.
Glass nails are easily the most common out there. Usually the most affordable option of the four, glass is an all-around decent material choice for a nail. They are usually good for most rigs, and if not, there are plenty of different styles out there to suit your piece.
However, it is also the most fragile, as dropping a glass nail could easily result in it breaking. Also, they often retain residue from hits, making the glass less transparent with time and slowly stained with old dabs.
- The nail heats very quickly
- Available at just about every headshop
- Countless varieties of style/design
- Breaks easily
- Doesn’t retain color over time
Ceramic nails are great at retaining their heat and are quite durable. They may break if dropped onto a hard surface from a high height, but you won’t have to worry about accidentally grazing your piece with your hand and destroying your nail. They keep their white color over time when properly used , and are usually meant for bongs and rig setups, as there are not too many varieties of appearance and style.
- Keeps color
- Slightly pricey sometimes
- Can still break when treated roughly or heated un-evenly
- Limited application
Titanium nails are generally considered to be the best option for high-end and expensive rig setups, as they are virtually unbreakable and go well with other specialty products. They are incredibly durable, incredibly heat-retentive, and are perfectly matched with e-nails and similar tools. They tend to be very expensive, but a worthwhile investment for taking your rig to the next level.
- Virtually unbreakable
- Incredibly good at retaining heat
- Works well with other specialty rig products
- Relatively expensive
- Not all head shops stock many varieties
- Heavier than other nails
Quarts nails are one of the lesser-known types of nail out there, but are gaining popularity and are becoming used often more than the other 3 materials on this list over time. A quartz nail acts similarly to a glass nail but are less likely to break suddenly and are much better at not losing heat. They are one of the more “stylish” options out there and can be a cool conversation piece among your friends during a sesh - “this nail is made from crystals!” They are usually mid-range price, but their quality and their easiness to clean are making them the preferred choice of many dabbers.
-Very easy to clean
-Good heat retention properties
-More durable than glass
-Less durable than titanium/ceramic
-Mid-range price point
By Erik Petrovich, Bee-Nails