Are you all stocked up on 710 oil goods and unsure of the best new device to use them in? Maybe you ran out of butane or dropped your hot banger one too many times. With this piece, we discuss the evolution of dab rigs and compare these popular new devices. Prepare to ask yourself: which e-rig is right for me?
Trends are always changing in the nascent industry of legal cannabis. Paraphernalia is ahead of the curve because it has been legal for years for tobacco use. The terms “bong” and “bubbler” are often banned in glass shops in states that aren’t yet legal. Instead, the employee behind the counter will strongly advise you to use the term “water pipe.” Despite the language idiosyncrasies, vaporizer and dab rig technology has grown leaps and bounds.
They utilize the latest technology, beyond the vapor consumption of something like the tabletop Volcano that was considered groundbreaking to consumers during its release. The Volcano was an expensive but long-lasting tool for those who wanted to vaporize dried plant material. It was remarkable, but not portable or concentrate-friendly.
Portable concentrate pens
In the last couple of years, brands like Kandy Pens and Dr. Dabber took a step further and created portable concentrate pens. This differs from C-Cell batteries that connect to a pre-filled oil cartridge. Instead, these products are tailored to the dabber on the go that wants to choose and fill their own extracts into the heating element (or atomizer.) Although useful, they only hold a few dabs at a time, and the atomizer needs to be cleaned often, or the user will find themselves having to replace it. Most of these pens began with coil technology in the heating element, and the spiral shape of a coil can be tough to clean.
Companies saw the need to scale up in device size so the heating element could be larger, but the device could still be portable. Most dabbers have gone through a series of mishaps with their classic torch and tabletop oil rig setup, often burning the concentrate at too hot a temperature or having to set a timer to find the perfect cool-down rate for a smooth hit.
The next step became e-nails, where just the nail portion was electronic and didn’t require butane. The nail was often attached to a cord and plugged into the wall. It would come with a temperature box so the consumer could find a temperature that wasn’t too harsh of an inhale but still produced large smoke clouds. Consumers who still desired an upgrade often did because the cord could cause the user to trip, or some brands didn’t have an automatic shut-off feature for safety precautions. Leaving these devices on could be a dangerous fire hazard.
That being said, these devices are still popular when used properly. Brands like Mini Nail, Pulsar, and Galaxy E-Nail are all listed for their modern advancement of the technology in Smoke Cartel’s Best 10 E-Nails and Electronic Nails for Dabbing of 2021.
The natural next step was for companies to create an entirely electronic device. It was theorized like a bigger version of a dab pen, with a large base for longer battery life and a larger heating element that could consistently hold more oil.
For those who are not yet familiar with e-rigs, VapeActive breaks down the three simple components that make up the device:
“Indeed, e-rigs were not built like the average vaporizer. It’s outfitted with different components you won’t see on other devices and gives the portable e-rig its own unique character.”
The three components that define an e-rig:
- Glass attachments: Glass attachments provide superior hits. The water filtration also adds moisture to the smoke, allowing the inhale to feel smoother. Glass attachments often serve as the mouthpiece of these devices, and allow for the e-rig to produce better flavor. “Glass is known for its inert properties and will not chemically react even when heated. That’s why you can taste the unique flavors and the distinct taste native to your wax concentrates.”
- Heating element: The quality of the heating element within the e-rig is much higher than other vaporizer devices. They are tailored to heating concentrates, and do so with precise heat settings. Heating elements are often made of resilient materials like quartz or ceramic.
- Base: In the typical structure of an e-rig, the base provides the rechargeable battery power, much like other portable vaporizers.
Dr. Dabber was first to market with their Boost edition of an electronic rig. Many other companies were quick to follow: Puffco (who added the first temperature controls on a vaporizer pen for a dialed experience), Carta, Pulsar, and more. Most of these companies have continued to refine their vaporizer manufacturing process as technology develops.
Below is a breakdown of five popular e-rigs of 2020-2021:
- Puffco Peak Pro: With a new atomizer attachment that some consider superior to the regular Peak edition, this new device is compatible with many devices through the Puffco application. You could even set the exact temperature and warm it up right from your phone. The Peak Pro’s new carb cap provides a better seal with a small spot for directional airflow, so you get the most out of your concentrates.
- Dr. Dabber Boost EVO: The Boost EVO comes in a recycled and lockable case, the heating element is protected under the glass and attaches with a magnetic seal to prevent oil leaks, and it holds up to 60 hits on a single charge. The Boost EVO also has a “stealth mode” for sneaky, low vapor inhales.
- Focus CARTA Laser Edition: Like Puffco, Focus V decided to upgrade their CARTA. In addition to the original settings, like how it can run on two 18350 batteries if the user is unable to conveniently recharge it, it also can be paired with an app. It has 4 temperature settings that range from 600°F-940°F, but you can dial it to an exact temp with the Focus V CARTA application. It can also comes with two quartz and two titanium bucket so you can easily switch.
- Kandy Pens’ Oura Odyssey: Most of the aforementioned products come with a 1-year warranty, but the Oura Odyssey comes with a lifetime warranty. It has a "smart touch" power sensor, so it doesn’t require a button, and charges fast with its USB-C feature. It also has a cool futuristic vibe with built-in LED illumination.
- Pulsar RöK: Like the CARTA, the RöK also accepts both dry herb and extracts. HERB CEO lists this device as having some of the highest heat settings, which is good for those who like producing big smoke clouds, but a bit harsh for the low-temperature dabbers. Visually different from the other e-rigs, the RöK stores water in the bottom of the unit.
All of these options range from $200-$400, but they are certainly worth the investment for those that dab on a regular basis. The technology allows for smoother hits and actually preserves your oil, instead of burning the excess off. This is especially great for medical cannabis users who are trying to get more life out of their product. Those who like smaller, lower temperature hits can get multiple out of one rice grain scoop of wax. Although the initial device purchase may be an investment, you are truly saving on the number of concentrates you would need to purchase over time.
For those interested but somewhat new to dabbing, these devices can melt concentrates in any form. That includes any texture—from hard THC-A diamonds to extracts with a softer, “budder” consistency. Dabs with a heavy helping of terpene sauce will melt too, but they will melt slower and smoother on a lower temperature setting than dabs with a thicker consistency.
As we mentioned in a previous post, appreciating cannabis means interpreting the smell and feel of specific terpenes. For concentrate consumers, e-rigs are the best way to preserve those scents, flavors, and long-lasting effects.