GUIDE TO PURCHASING THE BEST E-NAIL OVERALL FOR YOUR $
- SAFETY FIRST!
Fuse protection is a critical feature. Without a fuse there is no safeguard to prevent dangerous and life-threatening events involving high-amp “mains” power from potentially damaging your electronic dab nail (or your health). The best e-nail models come equipped with fast-blow fuse that could potentially save your life if any of these events were to occur. Fuses are actually dirt-cheap, take up very little space inside the controller casing, and are relatively easy to install. Surprisingly, some online retailers are still selling e-nails that are not fuse-protected. It’s a good idea to check before purchasing for the sake of your safety (and of others). The best e-nail models have a small accessible fuse-port that even allows for easy replacements.
One way to check is to look at the power receptacle itself, which is normally located on the back side of the unit. Some sellers include pictures of this with their product pages. If the receptacle has some space next to the power cord port and there is a fuse symbol where that space is, it’s almost certain there is a fuse installed. If this type of receptacle did not include the fuse, the unit would fail to power-up. This is not to say that the fuse could not be located somewhere else in the case, but if you see the fuse symbol it’s probably there (see picture below). Check the pics and read the specs. If still in doubt, ask the seller to be sure. Also it would be good to make sure that the USB port is properly regulated so it does not end up damaging your phone/device from over or under-current draw.
- IS THE HEATING COIL STANDARD OR PROPRIETARY?
Aside from some exclusive proprietary heat coils, there are two major wiring configurations for e-nail heat coils. Both of these typically use XLR 5-pin connectors; or less commonly mini-XLR. It is important to consider future replacements if you intend on using your electric nail for years to come. When purchasing a replacement heater coil for your digital dab rig controller, you will want to contact both the seller of the e-nail and the heat coil to find out if the 5 wires will match on the male and female ends. If not, you will probably damage your gear (at the very least). It is important to make sure your e-nail controller will be compatible with a heating coil that is standard 5-pin XLR (not mini), and therefore easily obtained in the future.
- MECHANICAL OR SOLID STATE RELAY?
Some PID controllers (such as the MyPin TA4 RNR) use a mechanical relay to send energy/heat in pulses to the heating coil. These are fairly reliable, but the best e-nail models use a solid-state relay (SSR)– which is less prone to mechanical failure in the long run. Instead of an electromagnet making a switch click on and off, the SSR uses a small LED light and a photo-sensitive resistor to make the switch. They also have the advantage of being totally silent while functioning, compared to the constant clicking of the mechanical relay (which could be a plus if you need a reminder to switch it off every now and then). An easy way to tell if your electronic nail uses an SSR is to look for the shorter PID controllers with one display line use a SSR to pulse energy to the heating coil.
- WILL YOUR OIL RIG WORK WELL WITH THE NAIL & HEATING COIL THAT COMES WITH YOUR E-NAIL SET?
I’ve found that the well-known “universal fit” Ti nail does not fit very well on the 10mm dab rigs that have a male connection. It works on 10mm female rig joint just fine; but with a male connection on the rig and female on the nail, it wobbles a bit– leaving slight air gaps. The connection isn’t too bad if you have reclaim built up; but I would highly recommend picking up a glass adapter that will widen the dab rig’s joint from 10mm to 14mm, since the female end on the Ti nail just sits better there. I had an adapter shipped in about 2-3 days from eBay for less than $10. Caution: be careful when removing the adapter later on, they tend to stick themselves on tight inside the bottom of the Ti nail
*TIP FOR SMALL RIGS- try angling the heat coil’s arm toward the center of the rig, which will give more balance to the setup and prevent your glass from tipping over.
- DISTANCE FROM SELLER TO YOU
Chinese manufacturers deserve some credit. Even though a lot of intellectual property has been taken without permission, they are able to coordinate massive labor efforts, and therefore are the electronics manufacturing center of today. However, unless you are planning on purchasing bulk electronic components to DIY, the best e-nail company is the closest one that also has the electric and electronics experience needed coupled with the ability to provide reasonable pricing.
The first reason why closer is better is that shipping times can be up to 4x as fast– especially when some holidays in China are taking place. Second, there is a higher chance that customer service will be able to meet your needs much more quickly. Third, in the event that you need to return a unit that was damaged in shipping or not properly inspected, it can be difficult to impossible to ensure that your return package is tracked & accounted-for after it crosses the border. This can lead to high costs trying to track the package, and can leave room for dishonest sellers to disappear after your money is received. Filling out a customs form for an electric dab nail is also a sensitive maneuver, in addition to spending extra time at the post office.
- IS THERE A WARRANTY? WHICH PARTS ARE COVERED AND HOW LONG FOR EACH ONE?
A warranty is good for peace-of-mind– covering your e-nail controller from being sent off without proper inspection. The average time on an e-nail warranty is 1-year, and covers the controller only (or has a separate warranty time on the other parts/accessories). The electronics in an electric dab nail are not relatively complex and not especially difficult to manufacture, but mistakes are possible in the mass manufacturing process. This is why RCCtools covers the controller electronics so you don’t have to worry about your purchase. I strive to provide the best e-nail product possible!