There’s a few options when it comes to what kind of dab nail you want to use. Your options include Glass, Titanium, Ceramic, and Quartz. It’s been narrowed down to these 4 materials because of their physical and chemical attributes that affect taste, toxicity levels, and durability.
Each element has its own pros and cons, so it’s a good idea to think about what you’re looking for in a nail before deciding.
Some of you may want your nail to be extremely durable, while others only care about taste, and vice versa.
Of course, price is also a factor in most cases.
An In-depth look at each option;
Glass nails are the most basic – and cheapest pieces you can find. You can most likely pick them up at your local smoke shop for like $5 or $10.
The most generic form is the shape of an actual nail (like the kind you’d hammer into your wall). It works by heating up the nail and adding a “Globe” piece. The globe helps keep your vapor within the globe so you get a more concentrated hit.
My globe’s pretty messy – but you get the idea.
You can clean off the oil in the globe by heating it ever so slightly, and letting the oil drip out.
Glass nails can come in all sorts of different shapes and sizes, since glass can pretty much be molded into any form.
One of the major cons of glass is that it’s malleable when heated. After a few hits you’ll begin to see the top of your nail oxidize and slowly chip away.
Though if you take care of it extremely well, it can last for a while.
Here’s an example of a well-seasoned (and with some lint on it) glass nail to the left, and a brand new one to the right.
The seasoned nail’s been taken care of pretty well, so there’s no cracks on it, but you’ll notice the oxidation at the top where the glass begins to “crystalize”.
Oh, and make sure it’s real!
Careful when dealing with questionable sources – glass naturally contains impurities, some that you don’t want to inhale. Always purchase from *reputable vendors*.
While there’s ways of testing other materials, glass is specifically hard to test (diy tests) for because it’s very fragile and doesn’t hold its shape all too well.
Taste: (6.5 / 10)
Durability: (3 / 10)
Our Top Pick;
We don’t have one :)
Ah, the titanium nail. The most durable of the four vaping materials, it’s perfect for those of you that are prone to breaking your rigs. They’re also perfect for traveling, since bumps and hits won’t crack it.
The most you’ll probably manage to do is chip a small piece of the sidewall or scratch it. Both aren’t very crucial at all and won’t affect performance.
Now, this goes for most products, but it’s extremely crucial for titanium vapor elements. DON’T cheap out on these nails.
Let me explain:
There’s multiple different “kinds” of titanium. There’s commercially pure titanium, and then there’s Titanium Alloy. Furthermore there’s elements like Beta alloys, but we don’t need to worry about those.
We’re only interested in commercially pure titanium.
Now we have to get even more specific.
There’s different “Grades” of CP (commercially pure) Titanium.
Grade 2 Titanium (aka medicinal grade) is strictly the only option for vaporizing!
There’s a few reasons, but the main reason is low toxicity. Other versions of titanium contain a higher amount of mystery metals. Metals that can easily be absorbed into your stream of hot vapor.
Crappy titanium nails will also turn white and oxidize over time.
We don’t have any examples to show you guys, but we found this picture online;
Unfortunately, we’re unable to credit the owner on their shitty nail, but let us know if it’s your pic.
Examples like this are irreversible damage. You can’t just “clean” a nail like this, it’ll continue to leak heavy metals into your vapor stream. If your nail looks like this, throw it out now.
Taste: (5 / 10)
Durability: (9.8 / 10)
Our Top Pick; The Highly Educated DualTi Domless Nail
Their nail’s pretty basic when it comes down to it. It doesn’t have multiple parts or attachments, but it’s a quality dab nail nonetheless.
Highly Educated has built quite a reputable image in the dabbing community over the past few years, and we can personally vouch for their quality. It’s our main go-to for titanium pieces.
Paired Dabtool; Highly Educated’s UniTi Cap
This element, in my opinion, is often misunderstood.
I’ve heard from people who were skeptical of it’s effectiveness, mainly taste and toxicity levels.
Well, it blows glass and titanium out of the water when it comes to taste. And Ceramic (once again, from a reputable vendor) is known for holding a close bond when heated, so there’s no worry of mystery materials escaping into your toke.
Ceramic, like the other elements, has a very high tolerance to heat and won’t lose shape at high temps. It’s actually very similar to glass, with the main difference being that glass has impurities in it that prevent it from crystalizing (naturally)
Ceramic nails are fragile though – they can’t take even half the abuse a titanium nail can.
It’s chemical properties allow it to be one of the strongest materials when heated, but one of the most fragile when at idle temps.
Taste (8.8 / 10)
Durability: (4.3 / 10)
Our Top Picks; The Hive Stinger w/ Carb cap
Quartz, chemically known as Silicon Dioxide (SiO2), is an extremely stable substance. Stable at extreme temps on both ends.
A real “gem” when it comes to vapor elements
Before I get into the perks of quartz, let’s get into authenticity.
There’s also A LOT of glass around there masquerading as quartz. Most commonly you’ll find these at smoke shops and from offshore vendors.
Wanna know an easy method of testing it?
Real quartz has an insanely high thermal shock resistance.
To check if a nail’s real, heat it until red hot, then dunk it in a container of room temp water.
If it instantly shatters (by the way, it’s recommended that you apply common sense and take necessary safety precautions if you decide to attempt it) it’s glass. If it doesn’t you’ve got a legit quartz piece.
Of course, there’s another obvious way of finding out if it’s real – how much is it being sold for?
Decent quartz is expensive to produce and manufacture, so if you’re buying one for a couple bucks, odds are it’s just glass.
Moving on, quartz is one of our favorite nails because of its combination of taste, transparency, and purity.
In our opinion, quartz nails often offer the best taste (of course, it mainly depends on the quality of what’s being vaporized). Quartz offers the smooth, flavorful hit of ceramic – without the scratchy sound you get when you rub two ceramic pieces against each other ;P
Like glass, (most) quartz nails are transparent. The exception being ‘Opaque’ quartz.
Transparent pieces give you a great viewing of your concentrate while it’s being vaporized. It’s an option to consider if you like taking melt shots – or just like seeing your vapor.
Taste: (9.8 / 10)
Durability (7.5 / 10)
Our Top Quartz Picks are; The QX2S from Highly Educated
What’s our favorite dab nail?
Personally, I like to switch off from time to time. We own all the “Top Pick” nails mentioned above, but our most commonly used nail has to be the QX2S. The taste and purity of quartz combined with the durability of titanium, it makes the perfect nail for home and travel use.
Highly educated is known for creating highly customizable and interchangeable pieces.
On the pic above, the part with the (H/E)’s the enail adapter. It’s designed to fit our 20mm coil.
The QX2S can be used with or without the titanium shield, so when we wanna take a nice melt shot we just screw it right off.
I’ve come to prefer ceramic over others when it comes to super low temp dabs. No solid reason why – just a preference.
Pick your favorite.
Hopefully now you’ve got an idea of what you’re looking for in a dab nail. With the information given to you in this article, you should have no trouble finding the perfect nail for yourself!
Have a nail you particularly like that’s not listed above? Want to add on to our article? Leave it in the comments and we’ll check it out.