We ride a very fine line every time we heat up our nails and dab from vaporization to combustion. Combustion not only affects the flavor of the concentrate bastardizing the original taste but it destroys most of the cannabinoids giving us a fleeting head-high compared to a long lasting, sustainable, distinct high vaporization gives us. We all have different surfaces we are dabbing on from titanium, ceramic, to the most frequently used quartz. Some people also often use electronic forms of dabbing rather than using a torch that range from a vape pen that contains a dish with rods wrapped in coils to a large heating coil wrapped around the outside of your nail to keep the dish at a consistent temperature. Either way the end goal is still the same, and you can achieve that both ways.
People often laugh at other using q-tips to wipe up excess oil from the nail after they dab, but this practice keeps your nail in pristine condition which helps it maintain its heat retention. If you torch or burn off the excess oil from your nail rather than q-tipping it, you’re fusing organic matter to the nail causing it to be less pure. Over time this makes it hold less heat and causes the nail to lose it ability to take a good flavor dab. Companies have popped up these days making specialty q-tips just for mopping up cannabis concentrate, Glob Mops being one of them. The benefit this has is that one q tip of these specialty brands will clean more efficiently, rather than having to use up to three regular q-tips to get the same clean(and not leave any little cotton threads behind).
With this in mind, I look for a nail that has a large surface that is cleaned with ease in between dabs with a q-tip. Quartz bangers have been found to have the best nails because of their great surface area. More and more nails are being developed with a precision design to hold heat longer and with a large surface area to vaporize any size dabs with minimal combustion, but they are often more expensive. If you were to take a regular size dab (0.01mg or bigger) at 338* this will rapidly cool down the nail and cause you to lose some product. The bigger your dab, the hotter it requires you to take it to effectively use all of the oil, which is why some people have developed Thermal Insulated Quartz Bangers that have an inner and outer wall of quartz so it can retain heat even after the oil and the environment have taken the heat from it. A laser thermometer is one of the best tools one can have in their smoking arsenal because they can isolate the time it takes a nail to reach its perfect temperature. Most average size dabs people do have ranged from between 500* and 600*(You can dab at a lower temperature just make sure you keep in mind the size of the dab, so you don’t waste or combust any!). Taking your dabs in this manner can give you a small portion of combustion but a much larger threshold of vaporization and still produce a good cloud of vapor. Depending on the size of the dab you did and what temperature you did it at you will have a pool of remainder oil on your nail. Take a q-tip and wipe up the remainder or if its substantial you can take it and pour it into a separate container to keep for edibles later. The most effective way to get a vaporized dab is to do smaller dabs and not to worry about the oil pooling up because this represents that you were at a low enough temperature.
When we take lower temperature dabs, we are inhaling activated THC rather than combusting it which in turn destroys most beneficial compounds and leave broken half-molecules in your receptors which leave you with a short lived head high from all the hot air. When we inhale vaporized activated THC, we match our receptors with complete cannabinoids like a lock and a key which makes them function at peak performance which, in turn, keeps us higher for longer and allows us to tell the difference between different strains.