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Smoke or Dab? The Guide to Smoking vs Dabbing

smoke or dab guide

What is best, smoking or dabbing? Below we will go in depth about the pros and cons that are associated with both dabbing and smoking. 

Smoke or Dab Overview

Consuming material has come a long way over the past couple of years. Whether you like essential oils or herb or tobacco, the way to smoke those has changed drastically. Back in the day, straight beaker bongs and spoon pipes were the standard for smoking. Flash forwards a couple years and now you have dab rigs with quartz bangers, high functioning recycler bongs, electric dab rigs, and more.

The point is the way we smoke now has changed and there are many options available now. Users now have the option to dab essential oil or straight smoke their herb or tobacco. With that being said, we are going in depth about the differences between smoking and dabbing, and in particular what will work best for the you.


Smoking is the traditional way to go. People have been smoking since the beginning of time and this method of consuming herbs and tobacco will be around for quite a while. Smoking involves putting direct heat, whether it be a torch or flame, to your herbs or tobacco to burn the leaves into a smoke. You then inhale the smoke produced either through a bong or hand pipe. History shows smoking different types of herbs has been around for over 2000 years.

When smoking you get the direct flavor and effects of your product. It is also easily accessible and can be done out of many different smoking accessories. If you want something small and cheap to smoke out of, you can choose a hand pipe, chillum, or bubbler pipe. These are handheld pipes that you can travel with easily and enjoy a nice smoke with. If you want something else, you can also choose between bongs and other water pipes. These have a bigger air chamber and give users a quicker effect with less time. Water pipes utilize a water chamber to help filter the smoke and make the experience less harsh.
Different Smoking Pipes

Hand Pipes

Glass Hand Spoon Pipe

Hand pipes are the smallest accessory to smoke from and are the simplest to use. With hand pipes you inhale the smoke directly and get full flavor from your product. Hand pipes are convenient when you want a quick smoke and are a standard among smokers.


Chillum Smoking Pipe

A Chillum pipe is considered as a “one hitter pipe” because they typically do not hold much material in the bowl. They are perfect little travel companions when you are on the move or out and about.

Bubbler Pipes

Bubbler Pipe

Bubbler Pipes combine the convenience of a hand pipe with the water filtration of a traditional bong. There are many different styles and designs of bubblers that vary a lot. Most typically though, bubblers sit upright with a water chamber on the bottom and a bent neck mouthpiece. There are a lot of other styles though that include hammer bubblers, hybrid bong bubblers, and a more. Bubblers are a timeless piece for smoking and are preferred by many.


Most people who dab are more experienced smokers. Although it takes a little more time and equipment to dab, for many it is their preferred method over traditional smoking. You get a different taste than traditional smoking and it can be less harsh. There are many different methods for dabbing but the most standard is to use a dab rig with either a quartz banger or dab nail.

Dabbing is the new way of intaking essential oils. Essential oils are more concentrated, so it typically takes less material and time than smoking. Most people who dab use dab rigs or nectar collectors, but bongs can also be used for dabbing. Dab rigs are a type of water pipe that are used well for this because they are small, use a quartz banger, and are hybrid water pipes. Nectar collectors can be dry pipes or water pipes and utilize a dab nail to heat up and directly touch to the oils.

Dab Rigs

dab rig

As it implies in the name, “dab rigs” are the most popular pipe for dabbing. They are generally little water pipes with a filtration system that are accompanied by a quartz banger or dab nail. There are easy to use and the most favorited among users. If you want more information about dab rigs, you can see our list here of the top 10 best dab rigs.

Nectar Collectors

nectar collector

Nectar Collectors give you the most direct dab possible. You inhale the vapor or smoke through a dab nail that is funneled like a straw, and it goes straight through a glass tube. Nectar collectors can be either dry pipes or water pipes depending on which option you choose. Since nectar collectors are generally small and sleek, there are not too many dual chamber water pipe collectors, which means you typically only get one water chamber for filtration. These are always good for traveling with.


Empire Glassworks Bong


Bongs can be used for tobacco and herbs, or for dabbing. Typically, bigger size bongs are best for herbs while smaller bongs are more desired for those looking to dab. Bongs have a bigger air chamber for smoking and dabbing and can provide bigger hits. If you want a bong for dabbing, we recommend something smaller in height that ranges between 6-12 inches tall.


Smoking and dabbing both have their benefits. Smoking is a more traditional way of consuming herbs or tobacco and gives you direct flavor of your product. You can easily do this with hand pipes, chillums, and bubbler pipes. Dabbing on the other hand is newer to the community and is the best way to consume essential oils. It is best to use a dab rig, nectar collector, or bong when dabbing as these are the best tools. Overall, if you want to just stick with tobacco, then smoking is the best way to go, but if you want to do essential oils, we recommend going the dabbing route.

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Sake Bottle Dab Rig
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A Dab will do ya

Great little rig, would highly recommend.

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