What is Reverse Dabbing (Cold Start Dabbing)?

Concentrate users are all too familiar with the benefits of taking low-temperature dabs. Lower temperatures preserve the terpenes in extracts and produce a smoother hit compared with higher temperature dabs. While traditional low-temp dabs require heating a nail or banger before adding concentrates, a new and more exciting way to dab is starting to take hold. Cold start or reverse dabbing involves starting with a room-temperature nail with pre-loaded concentrates.

This way of dabbing gives incredibly flavorful hits due to the low temperature the concentrates are vaporized at, letting you taste the range of terpenes in the flower. Now low-temperature dabs are nothing new in the community, but Cold Dabbing is done so to not overheat and “chazz” the nail. Not only is it more flavorful, but it’s less harsh on the lungs than high heat and huge vape clouds. 

How to cold start dab

To achieve a proper cold start dab, you’ll need a nail, preferably a banger. The bucket design of bangers allows for a more even distribution of heat, which is imperative when trying to warm concentrates on a cold surface. A standard quartz or ceramic banger will do, or even a thermal nail.

Once you have your dab gear, load your concentrate into the banger or nail. The nail must be clean, as you don’t want to torch any residuals that have caked onto the surface from previous dabs.

Once loaded with concentrate, apply the carb or bubble cap to the nail. Ignite your torch and slowly heat the underside of the nail with the flame several inches away. The idea is to bring the heat up to a temperature where the concentrate begins to bubble and turn into a vapor. Typically, this takes less than 10 seconds.

At this point, power down the torch, rotate the cap to create convection, and inhale. Depending on the amount and type of concentrate loaded, you should get 1-2 pulls, with a more flavorful initial pull.

Pros of cold-start dabbing


Cold start dabbing is great for people who wish to achieve a flavorful low-temperature pull without having to wait for the nail to heat and cool after each hit. It’s great if you’re pressed for time.

Dabbing cold will also preserve your hardware better than traditional dabbing techniques. By subjecting your nail to less heat, you reduce the potential for breakage and residual buildup. Quality quartz nails and borosilicate directional caps aren’t cheap and can break easily.

The cons of dabbing cold

Dabbing cold can waste concentrates, as some material can be left in the nail after a hit. This char and residue should be removed and disposed of, so that you start your next dab on a clean surface and can get its authentic flavor profile.


Cold start or reverse dabs enable users to slowly heat nails to vaporize as many terpenes as possible. Instead of heating a banger beforehand and rushing to hit the dab before it cools down, cold start dabs give concentrate users more control over how hot a nail is and how much flavor they are getting. That’s all there is to Cold Start Dabs. A lot of smokers are really taking to this new method due to the time saved in preparing. It’s 2-3x faster, but you have to keep your materials clean or this won’t be a pleasant experience.

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