Manual vs. Electric Dab Rigs: Which Is Better?

Manual vs. Electric Dab Rigs: Which Is Better?

If you want to have an extremely potent vaping experience – one that takes you to the moon in just a few puffs – you’ve got to buy a dab rig. Compared to dry herbs, concentrates are much faster-acting. Dabbing isn’t messy or smelly like smoking, and it’s also much tastier since you’re only inhaling the tasty cannabinoids and terpenes that you love – and not the smoke.

Before you can try dabbing, though, you’ve got to choose the type of dab rig that you want to buy. A dab rig can be manual or electric – and because manual vs. electric dab rigs are so different from one another, the decision isn’t exactly cut and dry. In this article, we’re going to help you through your decision by explaining the things you’ll need to consider before you buy.

What Are Manual and Electric Dab Rigs?

We’ll begin by explaining what manual and electric dab rigs are. A dab rig is an apparatus that’s designed to vaporize thick, waxy herbal concentrates. Because the heating element – often called a nail or a banger – gets extremely hot, a dab rig often has a bubbler that you’ll fill with water before vaping. The vapor passes through the water before you inhale it, and that helps to eliminate any potential harshness from the heat. 

The main difference between an electric dab rig and a manual one is how the nail generates its heat. With a manual dab rig, you heat the nail yourself with a controlled source of high heat such as a butane torch. An electric dab rig, on the other hand, simply uses battery power. 

To use a dab rig, you’ll heat the nail to the desired temperature, add your wax and enjoy. Dabbing isn’t always as simple as it sounds, though – and when comparing manual vs. electric dab rigs, the devil is definitely in the details.


Electric Dab Rigs Are Easier to Transport

Manual dab rigs are usually made almost entirely from glass, and that makes them fairly difficult to transport. You’re not likely to just throw a glass dab rig into the passenger seat of your car when you want to bring it somewhere – you’re going to need a dedicated case if you don’t want to break the glass. Electric dab rigs, on the other hand, are typically much smaller and have fewer glass components. Although a carrying case is nice to have, it’s usually not necessary.

Electric Dab Rigs May Work with a Wider Variety of Concentrates

One of the most interesting types of dab rigs is a device called an electric dab straw. This type of device doesn’t have a nail that you heat and then load with wax. Instead, it has a bottom-facing heating element that you dip directly into your material while inhaling through a mouthpiece at the top. This allows a dab straw to work with concentrates of different consistencies. With many types of dab rigs, you’ll have a huge mess on your hands if you try to vape a runny oil. With a dab straw, there’s no mess because you never have to take your material out of its storage container.

Electric Dab Rigs Are Easier to Use

There’s no question that electric dab rigs are much easier to use than manual ones and are much more user-friendly for beginning vapers. There’s no need to use a torch to heat the nail, and you don’t have to worry about whether the nail has reached the correct temperature because the device will tell you. Also, you can start your vaping session much more quickly with an electric dab rig because the nail will usually get hot enough for vaping in just a few seconds. Heating a nail with a butane torch takes much longer, and having a good experience with a manual dab rig usually requires some experience and finesse.

Electric Dab Rigs May Be Safer

One of the major downsides of using a manual dab rig is the fact that you’re working with an open flame. An electric dab rig also gets very hot, of course, but the elimination of the flame decreases the potential for fire.

Electric Dab Rigs Are More Durable

If you’re going to invest good money into a dab rig, you want it to last as long as possible. Electric dab rigs are likely to last longer than manual ones because they tend to keep glass components to a minimum – and if a glass component of an electric dab rig breaks, replacement parts are usually available. With a manual dab rig, the entire rig is made from glass. Accidents are common, and if the glass breaks, you may need to replace the entire rig.

Manual Dab Rigs May Be Better for Flavor

Now that we’ve discussed the strengths of electric dab rigs, let’s learn why you might prefer dabbing the old-fashioned way. Flavor quality is one of the strengths of manual dab rigs. Many people wouldn’t want to use anything other than a high-heat quartz or titanium nail because they believe nothing produces a purer flavor. It might take a while, though, to learn how to get the best flavor with a manual dab rig because you can’t control the temperature precisely. It’s unlikely that you’ll ever get a harsh hit with an electric dab rig, but that’s a common occurrence with manual setups.

Manual Dab Rigs May Be Cheaper

There’s a great deal of variance in the pricing of both manual and electric dab rigs, but you may find that a manual dab rig is cheaper because a simple glass pipe can be easily and cheaply mass produced. The more elaborate a glass dab rig is, though, the more expensive it will be. Electric dab rigs used to be some of the most expensive vaporizers on the market, but good devices can be found much more cheaply these days.

Manual Dab Rigs May Be Easier to Clean

One of the benefits of using a manual dab rig is that a small, simple glass pipe is incredibly easy to clean. All that you need to do is soak the entire thing in rubbing alcohol for a couple of hours and then rinse the residue away. The dab rig will come out looking almost as good as new. Cleaning an electric dab rig, on the other hand, tends to be a slightly more complicated process.

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