Do not settle! Stoners often will take the first method they see and run with it, never asking any questions. You have options kids! You can make that dab taste better and be healthier by switching over, or perhaps you’d rather stay with the more durable metal. Let’s briefly look over all the options. Make sure you are getting quality and stay away from sketchy sources which have literally blown up in other stoners faces. Knockoffs will turn weird colors to give you an early warning while sending off harmful byproducts. Watch out especially on Etsy. Your biggest danger is buying knock off metal nails, though glass and quartz of a cheaper quality are obviously a hindrance.
You can get your nails with domes attached that will catch all the rising escaping smoke, or you can get a homeless nail and then buy the carb cap separately to catch rising smoke and conceal heat. You can also get nails that heat up on their own sometimes called E-nails. This is perfect for everyone because you know exactly what temperature your nail is and you do not have to worry about it cooling down. These are pretty simple to make at home as well with some know how.
You can try just heating up your glass/quartz/ceramic bowl you already have and then dropping the concentrate onto that, which of course will be more efficient if the hole is not on the bottom where the wax will fall right through, and is set up more like a banger instead. This is a healthier method that will avoid metals and is cheaper since you do not have to buy anything new. Apart from nails, there are also tons of other methods to exercise.
I mentioned the banger above, which is a popular glass or quartz dab nail shaped like a bowl with the hole higher up so that the concentrate can not melt in. A nail similar to this would be a trough, which really is just the same thing.
Skillets are basically nails in reverse. You will see a bell shape facing downward to catch rising smoke and under it is a metal piece that you will heat up and shove under the bell when ready before putting your concentrate on it. These seem kind of inconvenient to me right now.There are some dab rigs called noodles or something similar. These are pretty hard to find and are basically the same thing as the skillet, where you heat the quartz piece (in this case shaped like a macaroni noodle) then you spin it under a bell that will catch the smoke.
Ladles are super convenient for someone trying to not spend a lot of money. With these you have a little bowl on a stick you heat up and then place into your regular bowl , placing the concentrate on top. You can get bowls that have these attached to them automatically as well, usually made completely of metal. In the long run, you would rather be taking your dab hits and flower hits from two separate rigs since they give off two completely different flavors, which combining can hinder.
You can get inserts put inside an existing nail to increase the efficiency without spending a lot of money! For example, sapphire is a popular choice for evenly heating the concentrates better than other materials. As far as taste, it is similar to ceramic but better than titanium. These are pretty durable as long as you keep them in the nail and don’t drop it. Removal can be tricky; you usually have to heat the nail really hot and try to carefully tap the insert out. I would have a buddy present. The sapphire and ceramic inserts are both self cleaning for the most part and can take pretty high temperatures beyond what you will ever use.
Unless you have endless funds, this is probably not a great idea. You can often get these for free when you buy the new rigs, but they break very easily because they are well glass and glass does not transfer heat well across itself, leaving it to concentrate in one area making the nail explode from pressure. These do not give off any sort of after taste though, even if you have not seasoned it, which I do not think is necessary. Glass is great for the environmentally friendly because you know your nail will indefinitely be able to be recycled. Since glass is not very good at spreading heat across the nail, you have to be constantly moving the heat around, being sure not to dwindle anywhere. Once the heat is in the nail, however, it is hard to lose, which will allow you to take longer and smoother hits with tinier particle sizes. You can usually reduce the amount of wax you have to use.
These nails should not require seasoning and are more durable than glass as well as better at retaining heat than metal. Ceramic is more more pours than glass and less heavy, which means there is a higher chance of your wax absorbing into the nail, though this will work as natural seasoning for you and prevent further wax from soaking in. They also cool down pretty quickly, making them much more stable in extreme heat conditions. These nails are technically food grade and chemically inert, so you really do not need to season them. If you care about the environment, you should know that ceramic really can not be recycled… The only thing they can do is grind it and recombine into a weaker material.
Quartz takes less time to heat up than metal and is better at holding the temperature, giving you more time to put the carb cap on before you lose any precious vapors. It has the added benefit of being stronger than glass though still not having to be unhealthy metal, though quartz is susceptible to oxidizing as well if not properly seasoned. If you dab a lot though, metal could be a better more durable option for you. Since quartz retains heat pretty well, you may even be able to take back to back hits with practice.
Be sure that the quality is grade 2 or higher to lower the chances of oxidation and increase heat retention. If your nail pops when heated for an extended period, changes to the color green, flakes or has heavy white powder all over, it is a bad quality nail. These are great nails because they will not break, but there are health concerns involved with inhaling metal particles. Some titanium nails have been making the dish out of silicon carbon, which has better thermal properties and less flavor interference as well as being more durable than others.
For the most part that should be all the different materials and features that you will run in to today, but stoners are some of the most creative people in the world and surely this list will be added to.