MAIN REASONS TO CHOOSE AN ELECTRIC NAIL (E-NAIL) DABBER OVER A PROPANE OR BUTANE TORCH DAB RIG SETUP:
- E-NAILS ARE MUCH MORE EFFICIENT THAN BUTANE TORCHES –
In a butane torch, only a fraction of the total energy in the flame goes directly toward heating the nail, while an e-nail heats much more directly. Heating a dab nail using a butane torch requires using gas combustion to create large amounts of heat-energy that is blown towards the nail by pressurized gases directed through a nozzle. The rest simply heats up the air in the room. After a year of regular propane torch use, our household had dozens of empty cans sitting in our house that could not be recycled or reused in any way. These massive chunks of metal & machine oil sat as a reminder to our consumption habits and the footprint our love of dabs had created. It was time to look into buying an e-nail and ditch the cans.
Admittedly, even e-nails still have some room left for improvement in efficiency in energy use, but the improvement from a butane torch is significantly high. The flat coil has been popular recently because of it’s efficiency in heat distribution. A flat coil sits directly underneath the dish, instead of covering the side walls of the nail. With the flat coil (used in a standard domeless Ti/quartz hybrid nail and some universal Ti nails), most of the heat travels directly upwards to the bottom of the dish, which is where most of the concentrate glob will end up as it melts downward. Another improvement worth noting is in the new Liger nail, which encases it’s heating coil fully inside of the nail. Some heat still is directed towards the outer side walls, but that wall/barrier does trap, retain, and direct a lot of that heat back towards the center of the piece. It is definitely a huge improvement over butane torch flame rushing every-which-way around the nail.
- STEADY HEAT CONTROL AND SUSTAINED TEMPERATURE FOR LARGER “GLOBS”-
Electronically controlled dab nails are the best way to provide steady and precise temperatures that allow you to tailor the experience– given that certain variables are accounted for (see coming blog post on temperature accuracy). Some wax may require a higher temperature for complete combustion, but a lower temperature to deliver a smooth hit that is less irritating and “burnt” than smooth and “vaporized”. If you press your own fresh “terp sauce” at home, you will be amazed at the difference when turning the nail down into the mid-600’s (F) and using a carp cap. The difference in flavor alone is night and day, let alone the buzz. Some users may opt to raise the temps to minimize pooling, crusting, and waste. Some may want to lower the temps to leave some lipids (waxes) and less-desirable plant matter behind.
Flavor aside, for those of you who pride yourselves on taking massive gram-sized globs, the e-nail is the clear choice since the heat remains on even as you are taking the dab. So instead of torching the nail red hot then letting it plunge down in temp as you dab, the e-nail makes sure the temps don’t drop more than about 30 degrees (F) even when doing the most epic of globs.
Also, a “carb cap” is a must-have tool for raising the temperature in a semi-controllable way. The introduction and exclusion of air is a way to manually fine-tune the taste experience without sacrificing as much wasted dabs, or using as much energy from the electric grid.
- OPERATES IN COMPLETE SILENCE –
Ever been trying to heat up your nail and realize it has completely stopped or slowed all activity in the room? It’s just so obnoxious and loud…plus, fire! Fire is a captivating thing, and it can be needlessly distracting when someone decides to go for a dab with a butane torch in a room with more than a few people. Plus, it looks a little cracked-out. Dabs should not be associated/confused with dangerous hard drugs, and having to light with a butane torch may visually strengthen this negative association– especially if you have kids in the house that will be curious as to what those loud rumbling sounds are in your room. They may associate it in the wrong way upon discovering the source of the sound.
- THE LESS TOXICITY, THE BETTER –
No one like toxic “gick”, but we all tolerate a base-line amount that pervades our modern environment. Now that electric nails are abundant and cheap, there is no need to spray combustion gases all over your home, unless your room or area outside doesn’t have access to an electric outlet. Make your home a place of sanctuary.
When camping, if you have a vehicle you can usually use a cheap inverter to power an e-nail using the cigarette lighter socket. There are also “portable e-nail” products available, but they just don’t deliver heat as well as a “real” nail, and aren’t nearly as reliable in the long-run (probably because of the battery load slowly becoming uneven or just plain slow over-heating. I have yet to read a review from someone who is satisfied with these “portable e-nails” after more than a year’s use. There are e-pens, and there are e-nails. Let’s just say there are e-nails and there is everything else. There is a big difference in heating power and taste with dabs dropped straight onto a small coil and dabs dropped onto a proper nail with an e-nail coil heating around it.