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Reverse Dabbing: Hot Start vs. Cold Start Dabs

Hot Start vs. Cold Start Dabbing

Dabbing is the process of vaporizing a type of THC or CBD concentrate, which are different types of hash, rosin, and wax. Over the past ten years, dabbing and concentrate consumption gained popularity because it is considered the nectar of the flower and contains fewer contaminants.

Dabs are also popular because users can feel the effects after a single hit rather than having to smoke an entire joint, so it can be seen as healthier for your lungs if consumed safely. Due to these reasons and increased access to different types of concentrates, dabbing has become almost as popular as smoking flower.

Concentrates can be vaporized in numerous ways. The most common and well-known way to consume concentrates is hot dabbing, which consists of heating a quartz banger or glass nail until it reaches very high temperatures and then dropping in your wax.

Hot Start vs. Cold Start Dabbing

Another newer method is cold start dabbing, also known as reverse dabbing. Cold start dabbing is achieved by dropping the dab into a banger at room temperature, placing a carb cap on the top, then slowly and evenly heating the banger until the concentrate liquifies and starts to bubble before inhaling.

Cold start dabbing started picking up steam as people began using Electric Dab Nails (E-Nails) or Electric Dab Rigs (E-Rigs) to vaporize concentrates. E-Rigs and e-nails achieve more accurate temperatures and better flavors than using a torch with a quartz banger. Let’s discuss the pros and cons of hot dabbing and cold dabbing using a traditional banger and dab rig.

How to take Hot Start Dabs

Hot dabbing was the standard for many years and until recently, you didn’t need to use the word “hot” when discussing dabbing methods.

In order to take a hot start dab, you will need a butane torch and an oil rig with a glass or titanium nail. If you are using a titanium nail, hot dabbing is definitely recommended as there usually is no carb cap to contain the vapor of your concentrates.

First, scoop up your dab to a size of your preference, and then torch your banger for around 30 seconds. After the banger turns red hot, turn off the torch flame, count to about 15 seconds, and drop in your concentrates with a dab tool while simultaneously inhaling and placing a carb cap on top of your banger.

The heat-up times for hot dabbing will vary depending on the thickness of your banger, so be aware that thinner bangers will only require a 15-20 second heat-up, and a thicker banger may take as long as 30-40 seconds with a cooldown of about half that time.

If your dab leaves a black stain behind in your banger, then you might be hitting it a little too hot. You should then adjust the heat-up and cooldown times accordingly.

Hot Start vs. Cold Start Dabbing

Pros of Hot Start Dabbing

The pros of hot dabbing mostly relate to it being a more convenient and simple method of dabbing. As previously mentioned, hot dabbing can be done with both a titanium or glass banger and doesn’t require a carb cap because once the wax is dropped into the banger, it will quickly vaporize into a large cloud and should be inhaled immediately.

You won’t have to worry about wasting any wax, and a hot dab will always result in thick clouds and a nice head rush. While hot dabbing may stain your nail black from hitting it too hot, the black stains can be burned away by torching your banger for a minute.

Cons of Hot Start Dabbing

Other than dirtying your banger, hot dabbing does have its downsides. The biggest downside is that a large and very hot dab will have you wheezing and completely out of breath. If it’s really hot, it can be unsafe for your lungs and can cause discomfort in your throat after a coughing fit.

Hot start dabbing also can detract from the true flavor of your expensive concentrates and if not taken at the right temperature, ends up tasting more burnt than terpy.

Heating a glass banger for longer periods of time will use more of your butane and degrade the quality of the quartz as well, meaning you will have to refill your butane and replace your banger more often.

Hot Start vs. Cold Start Dabbing

How to take Cold Start Dabs

Cold dabbing is also called reverse dabbing because you place your concentrates in the banger before heating it. It is highly recommended to use a carb cap when cold dabbing as it traps the vapor in the banger while it is heating up.

Cold start dabbing is simple and just requires you to drop a small dab in your banger, put the carb cap on top, and evenly heat the banger for about 15 seconds on a low flame.

You’ll know your reverse dab is ready when a cloud of vapor begins to form in your banger, and the wax begins to melt and simmer with small bubbles. At that time, you can put down your torch and hit the dab while spinning or rotating your carb cap.

If there is still some wax remaining, you can reheat it using the same process. While the banger is still hot, use a Q-Tip with Isopropyl alcohol to clean out any residue so your banger will be ready for round 2!

Hot Start vs. Cold Start Dabbing

Pros of Cold Start Dabbing

The most important benefit of cold dabbing is tasting the full terpy flavor of your concentrates. In addition, cold dabbing is less harsh on your throat and lungs, which means fewer coughing fits.

Less heat applied to your banger means that there will be less wear and tear, and it will last longer than usual. Cold dabbing makes it easier to keep your banger clean as you won’t have the burnt stains that hot dabbing leaves, and it's simple to clean residue by wiping your nail with a Q-Tip after your dab rip.

Cons of Cold Start Dabbing

Cold start dabbing is hard to perfect when it comes to heating your banger to the correct temperature. Cold dabbers may find themselves reheating their nail to vaporize the last of their concentrates. The flavor isn’t as good after reheating each dab and most of the THC has already melted away after the first hit. 

Cold dabbing, as mentioned earlier, requires a carb cap to keep your vapor contained, meaning you are usually limited to hitting cold dabs from a flat top quartz banger.

Finally, you may not get those large clouds of vapor and the head high while reverse dabbing that you get from hot dabbing. However, if you are looking for a more mild experience this could be considered a benefit of cold start dabs. 

Hot Start vs. Cold Start Dabbing


Each consumer of concentrates has their preference when it comes to dabbing. Cold start dabbing offers a more flavorful experience, while hot dabbing can get you higher. Now is the time for you to buy some of the best concentrates you can find and try both methods to see what suits your dabbing style best!

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