One of the defining features of a dab rig is a component called a “nail,” or alternatively, a “banger.” When you dab, you apply heat to the banger until it gets hot enough to vaporize a cannabis concentrate. At that point, you drop a “dab” of concentrates onto the hot banger and begin inhaling. Without a banger, your dab rig would essentially just be a water pipe—you would have no way to vaporize your dabs.
Given the central role of bangers, it's important to know what types of bangers are available, how to choose the right one, and especially how to maintain your banger to ensure optimal performance. This guide will give you all the information you need.
What are the most common banger materials?
There are four main types of bangers, each defined by what they're made out of:
Titanium: Titanium bangers are extremely durable, heat up rapidly, and retain heat well. However, after heavy use they can sometimes start building up titanium oxide, which can compromise the performance of the nail and in some cases potentially leach harmful substances into the vapor you're inhaling. As a result, do some research before buying and using a titanium banger and make sure you're getting a medical grade product. This will decrease the chance that it will leach harmful contaminants into your dabs.
Ceramic: Ceramic is an inert substance so it will not leach anything into your vapor when it heats up. However, ceramic can break so you need to handle it with a bit more care than a titanium nail. As far as dabbing performance goes, ceramic takes longer to heat up than most other nails, but it also retains heat the best once it's hot.
Quartz: Quartz nails are extremely durable and they retain heat well, making them very versatile for high and low temperature dabs. Like ceramic and glass, quartz is known for being a clean substance that won't leach contaminants.
Glass: Glass has the benefits of being clean, heating quickly, holding heat relatively well, and of being the most affordable option. But they're also the most prone to breaking, in some cases shattering under extreme temperatures.
Why do people choose quartz?
There are several key benefits to choosing a quartz banger. Some of the most important include:
Durability - Quartz is a very rugged material that holds up well under all sorts of conditions. That means you won't have to worry about your quartz banger breaking or getting damaged under extreme temperatures or degrading over time with sustained and heavy use. As long as you keep it clean, you won't really have to worry about anything bad happening to your quartz banger.
Clean vapor - Because quartz is a clean, inert substance it will not leach anything into your dabs. First and foremost, that means you won't have to worry about any potentially harmful contaminants working their way into your vapor. It also means super clean, pure, and tasty dabs.
Handles heat well - Because quartz is so durable, you can heat a quartz nail to very high temperatures with little fear that it will break, shatter, or otherwise deteriorate.
Good for low temp dabbing - Not only can quartz bangers handle extremely high temperatures without any problems, they also retain heat very well. This is important for anyone who likes low temperature dabs. Vaporizing concentrates at lower temperatures tends to produce much more flavorful vapor and really lets you taste the nuances of the terpenes in your concentrate. By retaining heat for a long time, quartz nails make it very easy to do low temp dabs.
Easy to clean - Quartz bangers can definitely get dirty, especially with heavy use. But compared to other types of bangers, quartz is relatively easy to clean—as long as you do it regularly and correctly.
Do different materials require different cleaning methods?
There is no one single cleaning method that works for all types of nails. In fact, cleaning methods that work for some materials can actually be very harmful to other materials. For example, isopropyl alcohol can be an excellent way to clean a glass nail but can damage a titanium nail. That's why it's important to understand the best cleaning method for the specific type of nail you use.
How do you clean a quartz banger?
The best way to keep your quartz banger in like-new condition is to give it a quick clean after every dab and then to give it more thorough cleanings every couple weeks or so. Here's a step-by-step guide for each type of cleaning:
Cleaning method 1: Clean your quartz banger after every dab
When dabbing with your quartz banger it's a good idea to have some Q-tips and isopropyl alcohol on hand. After each dab, when the banger is still warm but not too hot, dip one end of a Q-tip in the alcohol and swab out any residue in the banger. Use the dry end of the Q-tip to wipe up the alcohol and dry the banger. If you do this after each and every dab, your banger will always be in excellent working condition and you won't need to do deep cleans as often.
Cleaning method 2: Deep clean
Even if you do a good job of swabbing out your banger after every dab, you will still need to give it a deep clean every once in a while. Here's what you'll need:
- Isopropyl alcohol
- Kosher salt
- Zip-top plastic bag big
- Warm water
Step 1: Soak your quartz banger in cleaning solution
Pour isopropyl alcohol into the plastic bag. Make sure there's enough to fully submerge your banger. Then add 3-5 tablespoons of kosher salt. Give it a shake to mix up the cleaning solution, then drop the banger into the bag. Let it soak overnight. Every once in a while shake the bag to agitate the solution and start breaking off the bigger chunks of residue.
Step 2: Rinse your quartz banger
After the banger has soaked for 24 hours, carefully remove it from the alcohol-salt solution. Discard the liquid. Rinse the banger in warm water, washing off as much of the dab residue as you can.
Step 3: Swab your banger
Use a Q-tip to swab out the inside of the banger. The alcohol soak should have softened and loosened all the dab residue, so during this step focus on scrubbing off all the stickier, more tenacious gunk.
Step 4: Rinse clean
Give the quartz banger another rinse in warm water. This time, you should be able to get rid of all remaining residue.
Step 5: Let the banger dry
Finally, let your banger dry. Use a clean paper towel to dry it as much as you can, then let it sit out until it's fully dry. At that point, your banger should be as good as new and ready to start dabbing again.