What is the Difference Between Dab Rigs and Bongs?

11 mins read

Dab rigs and bongs (water pipes) share quite a few similarities, and it is understandable why someone who is not experienced with one as with the other would think that they are the same device.

Although they are similar in nature, the dab rig and the bong are two very different tools. To better understand each of these tools and how they are designed to function, here is a brief guide that will cover dab rigs, bong water pipes, and the differences between them.

Depends What You’re Smoking?

Dab rigs and water bongs are designed to handle two very different substances. If you want to smoke wax and oil concentrates, you are going to need to use a dab rig. CBD wax are great for this, especially when you use an e-Nail. If you want to smoke marijuana in its herbal form, you are going to need to purchase a bong water pipe. We’ll go into more detail on each of these devices as we go through the article.

What is a Dab Rig?

dab rigs, What is the Difference Between Dab Rigs and Bongs?
Some of the dab rigs available on Mary Jane Glass

A dab rig is a special type of water pipe that is designed to handle wax concentrates and wax concentrates. Compared to bongs, dab rigs are generally smaller devices that feature complex water filtration systems to filter and cool your wax vapors before they reach your mouth. Unlike the bong, they will also feature a special nail that heats up the concentrates, rather than the bowl that you will encounter in water pipes.


When using a dab rig to vaporize your CBD wax concentrates, there are several benefits that you can expect to experience. Here are a few of the biggest.

  • Because dab rigs are designed specifically for wax concentrates, you are guaranteed to get a great flavour and smoking experience when you use your dab rig when compared to using other devices or trying to modify a bong for dab use.
  • Dab hits are very intense and when taken from devices that have you close to the heat source, hits can be harsh. With a dab rig, the filtration process that the vapour goes through helps to cool down the vapour and make sure that each of your hits is smooth.
  • If you are looking to save a bit of money in the long run, you may want to do some research into dab rigs. Although the initial investment can be hefty, dabs provide you with hits that contain higher concentrations of THC. This means that you can get as high as you want without having to pay a ton of money for ounces of weed that you will most likely power through faster than you would wax concentrate.
  • Dab rigs are known for their smaller sizes, meaning that they are easier to travel with and use on the go. If you are someone who enjoys a dab no matter where they are, it might be time to purchase a dab rig.
  • Dab rigs are much better for you because your vaping rather than smoking herbal marijuana. This is due to the fact that wax concentrates are turned into vapors rather than smoke. This eliminates the health problems that accompany smoking. In addition, the water and the glass of the pipe pick up any tar that is built up in the hits!

How to use an Oil Rig

dab rigs, What is the Difference Between Dab Rigs and Bongs?Using a rig for concentrates are very similar to nectar collectors. To begin using your oil rig, you first need to locate your nail. Your nail is the piece that heats up your wax concentrates. If you have a regular nail or quartz banger, the next step is to prepare your torch. If you have an e-nail, turn on the device connected to your e-nail to begin the heating process.

If you have a regular nail, turn on your torch and begin heating your nail until it glows red hot. Once it’s properly heated, wait for 15 seconds before you begin attempting to smoke your concentrates. After the waiting period, take your dabber with your wax concentrates and apply it to the surface of the nail.

When your wax concentrates have made contact with your nail, begin inhaling and stop once there is no more vapour being produced. You can repeat this process as many times as you would like until you reach your desired high.

If you have an e-nail, it handles the heating and maintaining temperature part for you, so a torch is not needed.

What’s a Bong?

dab rigs, What is the Difference Between Dab Rigs and Bongs?
Chongz Widow Maker Bong available on the ISMOKE Shop

While an oil rig is focused on giving users the ability to vaporise wax concentrates, a bong is focused on providing a great experience for those who prefer herbal marijuana over other forms. A bong is typically a long, tall device with a small bowl on the side and water in the center to cool down hits as they travel down and through the device (although like dab rigs, bongs can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes).

Note: For those who can’t afford a dab rig, a bong can be modified to function in a similar way, as it features the same joint sizes (10mm, 14mm 18mm male or female).


Bongs are very useful pieces of equipment that create a unique and powerful smoking experience that is highly different from smoking from a pipe, blunt, or joint. Here are some of the benefits you can expect to see when using a bong.

  • Smoking has obviously been proven to be unhealthy. Although you are not going to eliminate all of the negative side effects that accompany smoking, you can eliminate some. The bong’s water filtration system helps to get rid of the tar and other harmful contaminants that are contained in the smoke.
  • Bongs are very simple devices and require minimal effort in order to operate them. All you have to do is fill them, pack the bowl, and you’re ready to go! If you’re looking for a simple device that is easy to use and easy to clean, then a bong is the way to go.
  • While not the most discreet piece of smoking equipment, the bong is fairly easy to bring around and use. If you want something that is a step up from a pipe to smoke on the go, the bong is the next best option.
  • Pipe, blunt, and joint hits are often harsh. This is due to the fact that the smoke does not have enough time to cool down before it reaches your mouth. A bong, on the other hand, has a long body and a water cooling system that keeps each hit cool, smooth, enjoyable.
  • If you choose to get a glass bong, you are always going to get high-quality hits. Glass is one of the best materials to preserve flavour quality and will ensure that the only taste you’re getting is that coming from your bud – providing you keep a clean bong and bowl.

Note: Bongs can get dirty quickly, so rinse with warm water after every session and clean with isopropyl 99% once per week minimum.

Bongs are also designed to smoke pure cannabis, not to mix it with tobacco.

How to Use a Bong?

A bong is very simple to use. To begin, grind your weed down to a medium size and set this weed aside. Fill the bong with water up to the point where it begins entering the stem but make sure that no water splashes at you when you take a hit. Next, fill the bowl with your pre-ground flowers and place it into the stem.

Take your lighter and gently go over the surface of your weed, inhaling at the top to make sure that smoke is filling your device. Keep inhaling until you are almost done with your hit and then remove your bowl to clear out the device. Repeat this process as many times as you see fit.

Although bongs and dab rigs are both water pieces, they serve very different purposes and it is important not to confuse the two devices. If you are just learning about one of these pieces of equipment or if you are still experiencing some confusion, use the guide above to better learn about the differences between dab rigs and bong water pipes.

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