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Low Temp Dabs VS High: The Perfect Temperature for Dab Potency and Flavor

By Tommy Joyce | July 27, 2019 | Dabbing

When dabbing, a small dose of cannabis concentrate is dropped onto a hot “nail” to vaporize the cannabinoids and terpenes contained within – all the good stuff. Cannabinoids are chemicals like THC, CBD, and other beneficial compounds found in cannabis (and concentrates), while terpenes are the aromatic compounds that give cannabis products their taste and smell.

For example, limonene is a terpene that’s also found in citrus fruits like lemons and limes (as well as “lemon” varieties of garden herbs, such as lemon thyme or lemon basil). These compounds (the primary constituents of cannabis concentrates) boil — or vaporize — between 315-440°F (157-227°C).

That threshold, therefore, is the minimum temperature range required to fully vaporize the cannabinoids and terpenes in your concentrate. THC dabs are, of course, ever-popular, but there’s something to be said for dabbing CBD isolate or concentrates, especially for medicinal purposes. The best part about dabbing CBD is the ability to achieve fast-acting symptom relief, even for intense symptoms. Keep in mind, a quality dab rig and a reliable dabbing torch makes a big difference in your experience.

The Temperature Trade-Off

With regards to dabbing, the temperature should be looked as a continuum from too low to too high — it’s a spectrum, after all.

Why you should Low-Temp Dab: You’ll get more flavor from your concentrate, which is especially nice if you’ve got your hands on a particularly tasty terpene-forward dab. You’ll also be able to take smoother, longer hits.

The downside: The vapor produced at lower temperatures isn’t as dense, produces milder effects, and may leave some concentrate behind (as opposed to fully vaporizing the concentrate as intended).

Why you should High-Temp Dab: You’ll create a deliciously thick vapor that’s dense and satisfying, you’ll feel the effects of your concentrate more intensely (due to more complete vaporization), and all concentrate will be consumed, leaving behind no traces or residue that can muddy the taste of future dabs.

The downside: At higher temperatures, you’ll lose some of the flavor intensity, especially the sweeter notes. The vapor becomes more bitter and, therefore, harsher on the lungs and throat. This, in turn, means it’s harder to take large hits without being reduced to a coughing fit.

Please bear in mind that this guide pertains to dabbing surface temperature, NOT the set temperature on an electric nail (which is likely higher).

0-300°F: Too low

This will result in minimal vaporization of available cannabinoids and terpenes, but not much – you will not be consuming anywhere near all the concentrate dropped on the nail. Expect the concentrate to leave a puddle of oil on the dabbing surface that produces little vapor (colloquially, “waste it to taste it”).

315-450°F: Low temp dab

This is the “sweet spot” for vaporization of all cannabinoids and terpenes while retaining maximum flavor. Dabbing at this temperature will produce a smooth hit that is relatively easy on the lungs and very terpene-forward in flavor. The effects will be pleasant, though milder than they would be at hotter temperatures.

450-600°F: Medium temp dab

This is a good middle ground for those seeking a balance of flavor and intensity. At this temperature, a mix of vaporization and combustion occurs, meaning that what you’re inhaling with your hit is a mixture of vapor and smoke. This means that a dab at this temperature may be harder on your lungs, especially if you tend to cough easily.

600-900°F: High temp dab

At this temperature, the nail may still be glowingly hot and combustion is certain to occur. This will produce a harsh, intense hit with thick smoke — a little vapor, but not much. At this temperature, you’re more burning your dab than flash-vaporizing it. Most of the flavor will be lost at this temperature, resulting in a dab that tastes bitter, harsh, and rather burnt. It’s effective, sure, but it probably won’t be the smoothest dab you’ve taken.

900+°F: Burning the dab

We don’t recommend taking dabs at this temperature – it is not pleasant. Even the tastiest of concentrates are rendered acrid and charred-tasting at this temperature. This level of heat is better suited to a kiln than to a dab rig.

Torch vs Electric Nail for Dabbing at the Perfect Temperature

Depending on your specific dabbing setup, you will either be using a torch or an electric heating element to heat up your nail.

With a torch, you can heat your nail anywhere from 0-1,000+°F (0-538°C). The same holds true for electric nails, or e-nail, which uses an electric coil to heat the dabbing surface – most coils can be set to temperatures ranging from 0-900°F (0-482°C).

The important thing to note with e-nails, in particular, is this: there is a consistent disparity between the temperature setting on the unit and the actual dabbing surface temperature across models. Meaning, although the heating unit is set to 680°F, the dabbing surface may only be 600°F. Click here to see the full study.

Furthermore, not all nail materials (electric or otherwise) are the same – each has different heating and cooling properties. The following properties hold true regardless of whether the nail is heated with a torch or an electric coil.

Titanium*: Boasts a quick heating and high heat retention, but provides the lowest flavor quality of the bunch

Ceramic: While it takes the longest to heat up, ceramic nails are durable, retain heat well, and produce good flavor.

Quartz (depending on thickness): Heats up reasonably quickly, cools down quickly and produces high-quality, delicious vapor.

*Not all titanium nails are safe for dabbing – there is a large variance in titanium quality and purity. Stick to manufacturers who utilize tested type 2 titanium.

As you might have surmised, the actual temperature at which you take your dab is the result of a unique combination of nail material, thickness, and the specific heating element used.

As you might imagine, there are different models of torches and electric units available – the 700°F setting may be too hot on one e-nail but just right on another. That said, a certain level of trial and error has to occur in order to find the perfect temperature for you.

Tips for Perfect Temperature Dabs Using a Torch

Given the manual element of heating a nail with a torch on traditional rigs, our recommendation is to focus on the variables you can control with each dab – how long you heat the nail for and how long you let it cool.

Using a timer during heat up and cool down will help ensure an accurate count with each dab. Try heating the nail for 30 seconds, letting it cool for 20, and then taking your dab. If it’s too hot, let it cool a few extra seconds; if it’s too cool, wait less time before dabbing.

Alternatively, you can use a heat gun to try and get a more accurate temperature reading of the dabbing surface. If you go this route, be aware that there will likely be a range of surface temperatures on the nail depending on which part of the nail the torch was aimed at.

The Perfect Temperature for Dabs on an E-nail

Don’t stress about the specific temperature setting on the heating element – what matters is the temperature of the nail surface. It is not unusual for a quartz e-nail to have a surface temperature that is 100°F lower than the set temperature on the unit.

With this in mind, you have to get to know your e-nail in particular, as your friend’s suggested dabbing temperature may be significantly too hot/cold for you. Most e-nails adjust the temperature in 10°F intervals, so making several small adjustments of 10-20°F at a time can help you find your preferred temperature.

What about vape pens?

The same temperature rules apply when using a vaporizer pen. In fact, many new vaporizer pens have adjustable heat settings for this very reason. On pen-style vapes, the increments by which you can adjust the temperature tend to be more precise, making them ideal for the dab connoisseur. Experiment with different settings to find the perfect temperature for you.

If you’re like us and always take your vaporizer pen on the go, we suggest transporting it in a discreet and protective stash box like a safety case. It has room for your all your stoner kit essentials like a vaporizer pen, dabber, concentrates, and more. Now that TSA released guidelines for how to take your vape pen on a plane, you can travel safely.

When dabbing, a small dose of cannabis concentrate is dropped onto a hot "nail" to vaporize the cannabinoids and terpenes contained within – all the good

UPDATED 2020: Finding the Perfect Temperature For Your E-Nail or Vape

It’s a little known fact among dab users that if you know how to control the temperature of your vape or e-nail properly, you waste a whole lot less of your concentrates and can taste a lot more of your cannabis terpenes.

The temperature of your e-nail or vaporizer should adjust based on a couple of factors, being how much vapor you want to consum, the type of cannabis concentrate, and what type of materials you are using to consume the concentrate.

In general, you want to have your e-nail or vaporizer set somewhere in the 500°F to 800°F range, but as this guide will show, there is plenty of room to find your own preference. The Bee-Nail v2 E-Nail is preset to 710°F to give users a nice starting point to dial in their preference.

Large Hit or Prolonged Flavor?

The main and most noticeable difference between higher and lower temperatures is the harshness and strength of the hit. This is the first factor to consider in getting the hit you are looking for, as it has the biggest effect on where you should set your vape or e-nail.

Higher temperature dabs, at around 600°F to 800°F, produce more vapor but may burn off certain terpenes, sacrificing some flavor.

Lower temperature dabs, at around 500°F to 600°F, do not produce as much vapor but these low temp dabs preserve terpene profile a little bit longer contributing to better flavor.

Remember high temp dabs equal more vapor but less flavor and low temp dabs give you less vapor but more flavor. Choose the right temperature that works best for you!

Different Dabs Need Different Heats

Various heats work better or worse for various concentrates. Generally, if the concentrate tends to be really viscous and it liquefies and pools in the bottom of your nail or atomizer, such as with shatter or distillates, it requires a higher heat to be able to fully vaporize without collecting and being hard to consume.

If you find that your concentrates are being incinerated or leaving behind un-smokable black residue consistently, as may happen with some dry cannabis concentrates like your waxes and crumbles at very high temperatures, you will want to turn it down.

The more viscous the concentrate, the more likely you will need a higher temperature to ensure that it has all been consumed. Below is a short list of suggestions for some different concentrate styles and what temperatures work best for them. Use this as a way to compare your concentrate to some of the more well-known varieties out there, and play around with the highs and lows of each section to figure out what works for you.

Low Heat (400°F to 500°F): Wax, Crumble
Mid Heat (500°F to 700°F): PHO, BHO
High Heat (700°F to 800°F): Shatter, Oil

Atomizer or Nail Material

Most vaporizers and e-nails are equipped with safe materials but not all vaporizers are safe. Safety is a top priority at Bee-Nails and that is why you will only find medical and food grade materials with the highest boiling points to avoid the potential of inhaling any toxic fumes. The three most trusted materials are titanium, quartz and ceramic.

The Bee-Nails GoBee Portable Vaporizer comes equipped with a dual quartz coiled atomizer in a ceramic chamber with titanium coils, including the three top rated vaporizer materials.

There are other good materials out there that other vaporizers may have like aluminum and stainless steel but with higher heat capabilities with an e-nail the three mentioned materials are most recommended.

As an example, the boiling point of aluminum is only 1220°F compared to the higher boiling points of quartz at 2192 °F, ceramic at 3000°F, and titanium at 3034 °F. Higher boiling points means less probability of toxic fumes in your lungs.

You also have to keep heat retention in mind because it’s not all about heat resistance. Glass nails have a very high melting point but they can easily break at very high temperatures and don’t retain heat very well.

Instead, opt for titanium, ceramic or quartz nails to go with your e-nail. Not only do they retain heat more effectively, but they can reach much higher temperatures without danger of damage.

Choose safe vaporizers. Be sure to check for suggested temperature specifications to make sure you are not going to fry any circuitry. Usually, vaporizers can handle all temperatures suggested in this list, but some models may only support specific wattage and therefore restrict your temperature options. Happy vaping!

This article highlights the key things to consider when finding the perfect temperature for your e-Nail or vape. ]]>