Dabbing accessory that restricts airflow and traps heat around domeless nails or bangers, allowing the cannabis concentrate to vaporize at a lower temperature, preserving the quality and flavor of the concentrate. This carb cap is essential for my set of dab tools.
Before I created a homemade carb cap, all my concentrates tasted the same — but now that I have it, I can really taste the difference.
What is the purpose of carb caps?
The carb cap was invented by Task Rok, founder of dab accessories company Highly Educated, in 2013. The term carb cap comes from the word carburetor. A carb cap is to a dabbing rig what a carburetor is to a car. Just like a carburetor controls the airflow, and, as a result, the pressure around an engine, a carb cab controls the airflow and, as a result, the pressure around a dab.
Different types of carb caps
While the functionality of all carb caps is the same — to trap heat and lower the temperature at which dabs will vaporize — there are a number of different types and styles that are ideal for different dabbing setups.
Some popular types of carb caps include:
Standard carb caps
Standard carb caps are simple, with a rounded end that acts as the cap and a handle to hold during the dabbing process.
Bubble carb caps
Named for their bubble-like shape, bubble carb caps have hollow stems that extend from both the top and bottom of the cap, creating the carb. They were designed to work with the flat-top quartz carb cap, The rounded shape creates a seal against the flat top, which allows the concentrate to vaporize faster. The shape also allows carb cap dabbers to easily rotate the dab cap, which can move the concentrate across the banger faster (known as chasing), making for a more efficient dab.
Directional carb caps
Directional flow carb caps also create a seal on banger-style nails, but a directional flow carb cap features a carb hole and a thin, angled stem that extends from the bottom of the cap. When rotated, the airflow created by the stem will chase the concentrate around the surface of the nail, allowing it to vaporize more quickly.
Why Doesn’t Your Bong Use A Carb Cap?
A bong doesn’t use carb caps for two reasons:
- It has a carb hole built right into the bong itself.
- It comes equipped with a glass-on-glass bowl and slider.
With a built-in carb, you place your finger over the hole while you apply the flame. This prevents the smoke from seeping out of the bong and into the air in your living room.
It essentially creates a vacuum so that the smoke won’t move.
Once you’re ready, remove your finger and inhale. When you do so, you’ll open the closed system and pull fresh air in through the carb hole. This makes it easier to inhale all that delicious smoke.
With a removable bowl and slide, you apply the heat to create the smoke and then remove the bowl from the bong as you inhale so that fresh air can travel in.
Without a carb hole or a removable bowl, it would take A LOT of effort to get all the smoke out of the chamber because you’re trying to transfer air from one closed system (the bong) to another (your lungs).
Trust us, you don’t want to work that hard just to get high.
Why Should You Use A Carb Cap On Your Dab Rig?
Why use a carb cap? Three words: stronger, faster, easier.
A carb cap concentrates the airflow around the nail and reduces the combustion temperature (we’ll discuss that a bit more in the next section). This preserves as many of the cannabinoids and terpenes as possible and creates a stronger hit.
All of that happens faster than it would if you didn’t use a carb cap. That makes the whole process of dabbing easier.
Sure, you can dab without a carb cap. But why would you want to?
Why Is Temperature Important For Dabbing?
Temperature is a crucial variable when you’re dabbing. Cannabinoids and terpenes (the stuff that gets you high or makes you feel better) vaporize at different temperatures.
Too high and a good portion of those molecules will be destroyed. That weakens the strength of your hit (No, not that!) and alters the taste of the concentrate.
Most first-time dabbers will burn their nail until it’s red-hot. This pushes the temperature up toward 1000 degrees Fahrenheit. Yikes!
The optimum dabbing temperature is 300-400 degrees Fahrenheit. The thing is, that Goldilocks range doesn’t last very long.
Once you drop below 300 degrees Fahrenheit, your wax won’t vaporize and you’ll be left with a gooey mess on your nail. A carb cap helps to maintain that optimum temperature so the heat has a chance to vaporize all the concentrate on the nail.
It does this by capturing vapor as it rises off the nail, increasing the pressure under the dome, and creating a microclimate around the head of the dab rig that preserves the ideal temperature for a few seconds longer.
That makes everything more efficient, increases the strength of your hit even more, and improves the enjoyment you experience from just one inhale. Using a carb cap is well worth the effort.
How Do You Use A Carb Cap?
1) Apply Your Dab
Scoop out a pea-sized dab of wax or break off a small piece of shatter and apply it to the hot nail.
2) Cover The Nail
Place the carb cap over the nail to trap the heat and alter the air pressure.
3) Move The Carb Cap If Necessary
There are several ways to modify the environment under the carb cap.
- You can tap the carb cap to create a bit of turbulence under the dome.
- You can lift the carb cap up and down to stoke the heat and pressure around the nail.
Some carb caps, like those for banger nails, have a small nub on the bottom that effectively swirls the smoke when the carb cap is spun or twirled. This creates a jet stream of sorts that spreads the oil around the hot surface and creates more vapor.
4) Remove The Carb Cap And Inhale
When you’re ready to get all the ganja good stuff out of your dab rig, remove the carb cap, inhale, and enjoy. It’s just that simple.
5) Repeat From Step 2
Chances are, there’s still some weed wax left on the nail. And unless you have some monster lungs, you won’t be able to inhale all of it away in one go.
Place the carb cap over the nail again, give it a good jostling, remove the lid, and take another deep breath in. It won’t be as good as the first hit, but even a little marijuana is better than nothing.