How to Cold Start Dab and
Why You Should Make the Switch 2023

(The Ultimate Guide For Total Noobs On Reverse Dabbing)

What the heck is cold start dabbing?


The name itself can be quite confusing as there is actually nothing cold about the process.


Standard dabbing is typically done by heating up your nail to an ember orange and then placing your concentrates in with a dab wand.


Reverse dabbing is simply a simple switch in steps as you would place your concentrates in first and heat the nail with your wax, shatter, budder, live rosin, etc.


The magic of cold start dabs is that you can enhance tremendously the flavor profile (Terpenes) of your concentrates, and this method can help you conserve your dabs which in turn saves money. Another benefit is this is the best method for sensitive lungs.


If you are looking for the best device to cold dab with check out our list of best e rigs as the top two recommendations are cold start dab.

What's so special about cold start dabbing?

cold start dabs

Also referred to as cold dabs or reverse dabs, cold start dabbing is the process of first loading the concentrate into the nail, ideally a banger, and heating it into vapor.

You can cold start with either an electric dab rig or a analog dab rig.

Reverse dabs heats up gradually, which ensures all your cannabinoids vaporize efficiently.

This process differs from the traditional dabbing (hot dabs) where you first heat the nail and subsequently add the cannabis concentrate.

Reverse dabs are commonly pursued by cannabis enthusiasts who is looking to enhance terpene flavor profiles.

Cold dabbing is also widely used for DMT (learn how to smoke DMT)

In reality, though, we find that cold start dabbing is actually the best way for beginners to start learning how to dab because it’s much easier to overburn and waste your concentrates with standard dabbing methods.

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Is Cold Dabs Better than Hot Dabs?

So is cold dabs better than the traditional method of dabbing in 2023?


Both methods actually will give you great results, it just depends on your skill level with traditional dabbing.


Cold start dabs are a much easier way to begin learning how to dab with a ton of added benefits.


The traditional dabbing techniques (hot dabs) can be a bit time-sensitive and if done wrong you can waste a large percentage of concentrates that you have in your banger.


With traditional dabbing, the temperatures of the banger can get exceedingly high, because it’s widely accepted to heat your banger until you see your banger has an orange glow.


This is actually a bit too hot.


As a result, when you place your dabs in with your wand, you will see all your precious concentrates evaporate without getting a quality hit.


On top of that, hot dabbing has more downsides because it destroys the terpenes and produces toxic compounds such as benzene and naphthalene. 


There are pros and cons of both, but when it comes to the easiest way to dab without wasting any concentrates, you are going to want to stick to cold start dabbing.


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Step-By-Step Process To Reverse Dabs

Now that you understand what exactly cold start dabbing is it’s time to talk about how to actually do it!


We highly recommend that you invest in a quality rig that can support the cold and hot functions such as a HAMR Cold start dab rig, or my personal favorite the Ispire which is one of the best cold start rigs on the market -hands down. The next thing is knowing the process you should follow.


But before doing this, you’ll need to assemble a couple of handy tools and items that can help you make cold start dabbing possible, including:


  1. Dab rig for holding the nail 
  2. Dabber for reducing loss during the transfer of dabs from the storage container to the banger
  3. Quartz banger or nail that acts as the vaporization chamber
  4. Butane torch, which is the heat source
  5. Carb cap to confine and retain the heat within the nail
  6. Q-tips for cleaning the nail


You should note that it’s best to work with the banger because its bucket design enables improved heat distribution, and this is crucial when looking to heat the concentrate.


With that said, here’s an overview of the cold start dabbing process you should follow:


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Step 1: Clean and Prepare the Quartz Banger

To fully experience the advantages of cold start dabbing, you must clean the quartz banger.


Cleaning these bucket-shaped nails is essential to allow you to see the evaporation while it’s taking place.


With a clear view of how the vapors are forming, you’ll certainly have an idea when’s the best time to inhale.


On top of that, leftover concentrates in your banger can cause burning which will not only create a harsh taste but also singe into your banger.


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Step 2: Heat Your THC Concentrate

Once you’ve made sure the nail is clean, go ahead and place the cannabis concentrate inside the cold banger (a nail that is not heated).


After that, place a cap over the nail and ignite your torch to heat the side beneath the nail.


Ideally, you should position the flame a distance away from the quartz surface to avoid destroying the concentrate before you even get a chance to dab.


Likewise, the flame shouldn’t be positioned too far from the quartz banger; otherwise, the concentrate won’t be heated. 

If the flame is positioned strategically, temperatures inside the nail will increase, causing the concentrate to melt, start bubbling, and turn into vapor. This process shouldn’t take more than 10 seconds with the sight of bubbles, which is the perfect indicator it’s time to start inhaling.


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Step 3: Inhale Your Cold Start Dabs

Once the vapor starts rising, you should start inhaling or dabbing right away.


You should continuously do this as long as the boiling is ongoing and the concentrate is yet to be charred.


A good indicator to know it’s time to stop dabbing is when the concentrate turns black or stops boiling altogether.


The easiest way to tell also is that no more vapor is produced. You can usually get about 2-3 hits from a cold dab session especially with a carb cap.


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Step 4: Clean The Nail

The final step is using a plan, dry cotton swap to wipe the banger’s interior to remove any of the concentrate leftovers.


This shouldn’t take you a lot of time, and one cotton swab is more than adequate to get the job done. Don’t bother rubbing the nail while it’s still warm with any alcohol or any other type of solvent at this step.


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Benefits Of Cold Start Dabbing

Now that you understand what reverse dabbing is and how to do it, the next thing you need to know is the advantages and benefits.


Because if there are no benefits that speak to you, then why make the switch, right?


Here are the main advantages of cold start dabbing you need to know:


  1. It’s an easy and fast way to enjoy cannabis concentrate, and this comes in handy when you’re short of time.
  2. The concentrate doesn’t lose any flavor because you can enjoy all the smoke, which isn’t the case with traditional dabs. This is because the low temperature does a better job preserving terpenes responsible for the dab’s smell and taste. 
  3. The hits when cold start dabbing are a lot smoother, unlike with traditional dabbing. Therefore, your lungs and throats shouldn’t experience any negative reaction caused by the concentrate producing toxins due to being exposed to exceedingly high temperatures. Check out our article on coughing from weed for more expert tips on smoking with sensitive lungs.
  4. Cold start dabbing, unlike traditional dabbing, helps ensure your equipment lasts longer. This happens because the nail doesn’t get exposed to excessive heat, triggering it to break. This is the last thing you want because the quartz and borosilicate are quite fragile, and replacing them is expensive.
  5. The cannabis concentrate doesn’t get wasted due to excessive heat. This means you retain over 75% of THC when smoking – check out our article on how to get higher.


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Cold Start Dab - Checklist

The cannabis culture is known for continuously thinking of newer ways and tools of using cannabis extracts, with cold start dabbing as one of the popularly known trends.


But because this process is fairly new, it’s easy to be confused about what needs to be done and whether it’s any good compared to the other existing techniques for smoking shatter, wax, budder, resin, and live rosin.


We hope this guide has shed light on this matter by detailing the steps to follow when cold start dabbing and highlighting its benefits.

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