Are you staring at your blowtorch heating your nail, wondering if there’s an easier and safer way to do this? Heating your rig in preparation for a dab shouldn’t have to be like conducting a science experiment.
Sure, we get it; the allure of heating that nail with your torch is a ritual that many stoners love doing. Although, when you’re a few hits deep, keeping that blowtorch on point is a bit of a challenge.
Landing yourself a third-degree burn due to a slip-up is a rare occurrence, but it happens, and plenty of people end up in the emergency room because of an accidental burn.
Cannabis culture loves dabbing due to its potency and immediate effects when compared to smoking or vaping flowers. For the best dabbing experience, you need a variety of equipment. There’s the torch, the rig, the nail, the wand, and let’s not forget the concentrate.
Traveling with all this equipment is not advisable; the last thing you need is your glass rig shattering inside your bag during transit. Sure, you have your handy live resin cartridge vape pen, and sure you could grind up some flower and bring your trusty Pax vaporizer everywhere with you, but sometimes, sometimes there’s no substitute for a fat dab.
If you want to dab on-the-go, you’ll need to consider investing in a portable e-rig for your concentrate. E-rigs offer you the convenience and portability you need in your rig, without the need to flame-on every time you want to take a hit.
This post gives you everything you need to know about E-rigs. We’ll also look at a few top models that we feel provide the best value for your dabbing experience.
What are Portable E-Rigs for Dabbing?
With the rise of the e-rig, we find ourselves wondering if the torch and nail are gone forever? While the tech and design around e-rigs dramatically improved in recent years, they weren’t always a great option for dabbing on-the-go.
The first generations of e-rigs were expensive, with issues surrounding the quality and functionality of the devices. However, manufacturers are slowly adopting new technologies. Today’s modern e-rig models work as well as traditional models.
The modern e-rig introduces portability to the dabbing process, making it easy to take your rig on vacation or over to a friend’s house without the concern over it smashing into smithereens.
Today’s e-rigs dial in your dabbing temperature in seconds with a click of a button. While we don’t expect e-rigs to take away from the traditional dabbing experience, we can see how they will gain in popularity in the coming years.
Why Choose a Portable E-Rig?
There are several benefits to choosing an e-rig over your traditional torch and nail setup. Electric rigs allow you to create a stable environment by controlling the temperature to an exact setting designed for the device’s optimal performance.
Most models come with the ability to adjust the temperature setting. It means you can play around with the best temperatures for different extracts.
For example, you might have some shatter than burns optimally at 325F, but the wax you got from your friend prefers a cooler temperature around the 300F mark. An e-rig lets you set the perfect temperature, taking the guesswork out of using a torch.
With e-rigs, you get the benefit of portability, allowing you to take your rig anywhere you want. Some rigs also come in handy carry-cases that protect your gear while you’re moving between venues or hopping on a flight.
E-rigs also have a lot less mess, and that’s important if you have friends over to share a bowl. There’s less waste, and you get a cleaner burn of your concentrate without overheating using the nail and torch.
What are the Pros and Cons of Portable E-Rigs vs. Traditional Torches?
By now, you’re probably thinking about trying an e-rig for yourself. Maybe it’s a step-up on your traditional torch and nail? This is a big decision to make because there’s essentially 3 big camps that people fall into, and once they fall into them they tend to get a bit tribal about their rig preferences (all in good fun of course!).
For example, there are the 100% glass and torch die-hards who prefer the original old school method because, well, it works. However there are pitfalls for the unexperienced, specifically not knowing how hot to heat up their vapor chambers which can result in burnt terps which nobody wants. That said the glass market for traditional dabbers is nuts.
The second camp are the people with one foot in each world, they use traditional glass rigs but instead of hand torches and eyeballing it with the temps they use e-nails, which are digitally controlled heating elements that help you dial in your temperatures perfectly every time for a more consistent vaping experience.
Then lastly there are the 100% electric folks who you may be, preferring an entirely digital experience from start to finish and not wanting the hazards that are associated with open flames and big fragile glass rig setups.
It really is a complicated world, but here are a few pros and cons of portable e-rigs vs. conventional models summarized to help you make an informed decision:
Pros and Cons of Electric vs. Torch Dab Setups
E-rigs may be all the rage at the moment but dabbing was popular long before battery-powered rigs hit the scene so there are a few pros and cons to consider if you are shopping for an e-rig or comparing e-rigs vs. traditional torch heated dab setups.
Pros of Electronic Dab Rigs
Safety – Waving a blowtorch around isn’t very safe, especially when you’re high. The e-rig takes the risk out of the equation.
Precision Heating – The e-rig takes the guesswork out of heating a traditional nail. The result is accurate and efficient heating to the perfect temperature to suit your concentrate.
Design – E-nails sure make life more convenient when you want to blaze a bowl. They also feature ergonomic designs allowing for user-friendly rips.
Portability – Dragging a blowtorch and glass rig around with you could wind up in heartache if you accidentally drop the bag. E-rigs comes with a portable design, allowing you to take them wherever you go.
Cons of Electronic Dab Rigs
Expensive – Investing in a portable e-rig requires a hefty expense on your equipment.
Versatility – Most e-rigs only work with oils; only a few models offer compatibility with oil and flower.
Battery Life – Earlier versions of e-rigs had weak battery life. While manufacturers have tremendous improvements concerning battery life, you’ll still need to ensure your e-rig has a charge.
6 Important Things to Consider When Shopping for Portable E-Rigs
1. Brand Reputation – There are several premium brands offering e-rigs. Make sure you go with a model that has customer reviews and a good reputation. Stay away from unknown brands, it’s probably junk.
2. Features – Your e-rig should have features like variable heat control and easy switching between oil and flower modes. Look for models with ergonomic grips that fit in your hand and special accessories included with your purchase.
3. Battery Life and Performance – The battery determines how many hits you can take in each session. Make sure you’re getting a decent battery life designed for more than 100-hits. Battery life in our opinion is one of the biggest things to consider before purchasing as not being able to dab due to a dead battery will send you running back to your glass rig and torch.
4. Vapor Quality – The e-nail should come with temperature adjustment to let you vape or burn your oil at the perfect temperature. The better the adjustment, the higher the vapor quality.
5. Price – E-rigs are expensive, and you’ll need to do your research into the best rig to suit your smoking or vaping style. Set a budget and stick to it. It’s easy to find yourself carried away with other models, ending in your spending more than you initially wanted. Be aware though that quality comes at a price and you’ll be spending between $200-300 for any top-shelf e-rig brand.
6. Averages of User Reviews – Look for user reviews on your prospective e-rigs. Check to see what other people are saying about your model before committing to it with your hard-earned money. Reddit, cannabis forums, Instagram, YouTube are all great places to find first-hand reviews. You can also try your local headshop and support small businesses! Don’t just believe the reviews on the manufacturers websites, do your research!
Comparing the Best-selling Portable E-Rigs of 2021
We took the time to review our top choices for the best portable e-rig. This involved scouring Twitter, Reddit, and Instagram, reading dozens of long user-review threads and swiping through hundreds of highly-commented Instagram posts. We also probably spent around 10-12 hours of reviewing YouTube videos as well.
The result was the final four e-rigs listed here. Being on the list itself makes any of these a solid purchase as they are the creme-de-la-creme of the e-rig world. Any of these models offer you an enjoyable and user-friendly dabbing experience.
Below we dive into some of the key features of each, key stats (like how many sessions you get) and other product details to help you make an informed shopping decision.
Dr. Dabber Switch
The Dr. Dabber “Switch” model gets our award for the best e-rig available for portable dabbing. This model comes with dual operating modes for flower or oil and an ergonomic, futuristic design.
The Switch comes with variable heat adjustment, letting you dial in the perfect temperature for your flower or concentrate. You get temperature adjustment from 300°F/149°C, to 800°F/427°C, giving you plenty of wiggle-room to dial in the ideal operating temperature for your e-rig.
The Switch doesn’t offer you precise temperature adjustment down to the degree, but you can switch between 25-temperature presets to enjoy any dabbing or vaping experience. The Switch comes with a fast heating time, emitting full flavor from your flower or concentrate.
You get fantastic cloud size, dense vapor, and a good hit that’s more than comparable with a traditional torch and nail. The bubbler does an excellent job of filtering and cooling your hit, offering one of the best dabbing experiences available.
Dr. Dabber claims its battery provides you with 150-hits off a single charge. If you’re vaping flowers, you get that sought-after ashy flavor of smoking, but with the health benefits of vaping. The induction coil heater is similar to what you find on the DynaVap induction vaporizer.
Dr. Dabber also includes a decent list of accessories with your Switch. You get a bubbler, a white and a black ceramic induction-heating dish, wax container, tweezers, and your owner’s manual.
Puffco Peak Pro
This model is a great choice for new users, offering you “no learning curve” with the device. The Puffco Peak Pro is our runner-up to the Dr. Dabber Switch model and another solid choice for your portable e-rig.
You get four built-in temperature settings.
- Blue is low at 254 degrees Celsius or 492 Fahrenheit,
- Green is medium at 510F.
- Red is high at 530F.
- White is “Peak” at 545F.
While the factory settings give you an impressive range, you also have the option of customizing each of the settings to your preferred temperature. The Peak Pro produces some intense vapor clouds, dense, emphasizing flavor and consistency during the hit.
The bowl on the Pro model is 40% larger than the old version of the Peak, with the atomizer handling more concentrate than its predecessor. You get directional airflow with the Peak Pro “oculus carb cap,” providing an even distribution of the heat, with no hot spots.
The Puffco Peak Pro provides you with enough charge for around 30-sessions. Most users state the battery is good enough to survive 25 to 30-sessions. Recharge your device using the included micro-USB charger and it does now have a wireless charging dock, which means whenever you’re not using it your Peak can be topped up on electricity.
We like the unique, slimline carry case included with the Peak Pro. The magnetic design allows for easy closing and secure carrying of your equipment. If you’re not ready to drop top dollar on the PRO model then we recommend checking out the original Puffco Peak which does the same job as the PRO just with less fancy lights or app control.. which isn’t a big deal in our opinion.
Focus V Carta
Using the quartz cup included with this model provides a very similar experience to using a real quartz banger.
We prefer the metal cup with this model for the best vapor density, flavor, and big rips. The Focus V Carta produces better quality vapor than the Puffco Peak (the original, not the Pro version), making it a solid choice for your new e-rig.
You get amazing battery life from this model, with a single charge accommodating between 40 to 50-sessions. The type-C USB charging makes for a fast and user-friendly charge time, and one of the best battery lives in its category.
This model is slightly larger than the Puffco Peak Pro, but it still manages to fit in the palm of your hand, providing a comfortable fit when dabbing. We also like the options for cold or hot-loading your dab.
Our final choice for a portable e-rig is the Pulsar ROK. This device is affordable and compact, but it lacks the same performance and reliability as the other three models in this review. The Pulsar ROK accepts hot or cold loads, producing impressive vapor quality and big clouds.
You only have three temperature settings at 3.4v, 3.6v, and 3.8v. It’s somewhat disappointing as these wattages create temperatures scales of 900F, 950F, and 1,000F, respectively. You can forget about vaping flowers at these temperatures, and it might be too hot for many extracts.
However, with some mastery over the fire button, you’ll quickly learn how long you need to depress the trigger button to produce the perfect hit. The ROK isn’t as user-friendly as the other three options in this review. However, experienced users will get the hang of it quickly.
Pulsar state the battery life on the ROK is around 25 to 30-sessions, but user reviews state you can expect half of that on a full charge.
The Best Portable E-Rigs for your Money – The Verdict
If you’re looking for the best all-around portable e-rig, we suggest going with the Dr. Dabber “Switch.” This model has everything you need to enjoy dabbing concentrate and vaping flower. You get a fantastic range of temperature adjustments, with plenty of battery life and plenty of accessories.
However, if the Switch’s sticker price is too steep for your budget, the Puffco Peak Pro makes an excellent runner-up. It’s a remarkable improvement over the previous model, with customizable temperature adjustment and a large bowl and is also a best seller among dab enthusiasts.
Common E-Rigs FAQs:
Below we answer some of the most common questions shared among prospective e-rig shoppers, regardless of which model they’re looking at. If you have any questions not answered in this article let us know in the comments below and we’ll make sure to update it!
How can I smoke dabs on the move?
A portable e-rig allows you to enjoy your flower o0r concentrate anywhere you go. Unlike traditional models unsuitable for carrying, the e-rig has a compact size, less glass, and consistent use in any environment.
How much do e-rigs for dabbing cost?
Typically, e-rigs vary in price from $70 to $250 or more, depending on the brand and model you choose.
How big is the average e-rig?
Most portable e-rigs are around 6 to 9″ tall, with a 1 to 2″ diameter. Most e-rigs can hold around 0.25-grams to 0.6-grams of concentrate in the bowl.
Will my portable e-rig smell?
Your e-rig will smell a bit after a session, but it won’t stink like a water bong. Most models come with carrying cases featuring airtight seals that make the package smell-proof.
How do I clean my portable e-rig?
Consult your owner’s manual for cleaning information. Most models come apart easily and allow for cleaning with alcohol to get rid of any residues.