Dabbing is an increasingly-popular way to use concentrates, but it’s safe to say it requires a lot more equipment than something like a vape pen. While glass pieces and bangers are important too, you can’t make dabbing work without a capable dab torch. Most of the time you’ll need to pick up a butane torch that gives you some control over the heat it’s putting out and the size of the flame. If you’ve never bought one before, though, working through all the options and finding the best dab torch for your needs can seem difficult. We’ve put together this list of recommendations and a brief guide to help you along.
Best Butane Dab Torches
If you're looking for a dab torch to heat your nail or banger efficiently and reliably every time, here are some good options to consider.
If you’re just looking for a small dab torch and especially if you’re on a budget, the Windproof Torch Lighter from Hemper is surprisingly powerful for something so small. One of the biggest selling-points for the handheld butane torch is the very low price, but it’s more than just a cheap option, with a steady flame that’s windproof and works really well for heating up your dab nail. Admittedly, it doesn’t give you much control over the size of the flame, but it works well enough to take a dab and if you’re looking for a portable torch, it’s a great option.
The second version of the Hemper Windproof Torch has a lot of similarities to the first version, but they added a cap (which is attached to the main body by a chain) so you can keep it in a pocket or a bag without the nozzle getting clogged up. The chain also doubles as a keychain loop, so you can keep it attached to your keys easily. The torch also comes pre-filled with butane, but you can also refill it like the other options on this dab rig torch list.
The Errlybird from Torch Art is a straightforward enough offering and affordable, but it works really well and – as the name suggests – features some artwork to make it really pop visually. In terms of structure it’s just what you expect, a cylindrical body with a rectangular base and a horizontal nozzle for the flame, along with an activation button on the back and a switch that lets you either lock the torch or have it stay on continuously after activation. It also has two flame settings, one for a lower and wider flame and one for a thinner, more concentrated area of heat.
The Errlybird butane torch for dabs has a maximum temperature of 2,700 °F (1,482 °C), which is more than enough for most dabbing needs. All of this is good, and it works perfectly well for the purpose (although there are more feature-packed options out there), but it really comes into its own if you’re looking for cool torch lighters because of the artwork. There are 17 options in total, including Sacred Geometry, plenty of animal designs, a “Puff Puff Pass” design and more generic options like Forest Scenery, although only 11 are still available at the time of writing.
Blazer is one of the biggest names in the dab torch business, with a range of dependable and high-performance options out there. The Big Buddy is one of the simpler models, with a straightforward design but all of the features you need for some efficient heating. It has a wider, stable base with a cylindrical body and a horizontal top section for the nozzle and controls. It has a single flame, and of course runs on butane, with a refillable tank on board.
The Big Buddy butane torch features an adjustable flame, so you have some control over the size and strength, and it also has a flame lock so you can leave it activated without having to keep holding down the button. This makes it perfect for heating a banger, and this is basically what it was designed to do. The torch reaches a maximum of 2,500 °F (1371°C), which is more than enough to prepare for dabbing.
The mid-range Newport hand held torch looks like a fairly straightforward offering, but it has lots of handy features hiding behind that unassuming appearance. The torch has the usual cylindrical body, with a stable base and a straight horizontal upper section containing the nozzle and everything you need to adjust the flame. It comes in tons of different colors, with the base and control section both either black or white.
The medium has an adjustable flame, with two different settings so you can have some control over the flame, and it can reach up to 2,372 °F (1,300 °C), although this is a limit and it’s usually a little cooler. It has piezoelectric ignition, which gives it near-instant and reliable self-ignition. It also has a safety lock system, with a simple catch on the side you can flick on or off to protect against accidents (especially around kids). It’s also easy to refill thanks to a dedicated port at the bottom.
The Big Butane dab torch from Sondiko is primarily intended as a heavy-duty cooking torch, with a double-jet flame that makes it a great choice for dabbing for people with thicker bangers or who want a broader coverage. It’s really easy to use: you open the airflow, press the button to activate the piezoelectric ignition, and then continue adjusting to change the intensity of the flame. You can also close it off easily, with a clockwise turn of the dial. This gives you a good degree of control over the temperature, with it reaching a maximum of 2,372 °F (1,300 °C).
The torch is pretty big, with the central cylinder being a little wider than most, and with a slight upward tilt on the nozzle and top section, with a stainless steel outer section containing two separate brass nozzles for the flame. It has a 24.4 g capacity for butane gas, and you simply open up the bottom section and insert the long tip of the canister into the valve. It’s also much more affordable than many of the best dab torch options out there.
The Premium Culinary Torch from EurKitchen is a well-designed and powerful butane torch, and another option that’s designed for cooking but has features and capabilities that make it a great dab torch. There are a couple of design features that stand out straight away: firstly, it has a curved guard that blocks off the nozzle from the central section you’ll be holding on to and secondly, there’s a gauge on the side so you can see how much butane is left in the unit. It’s small enough to be easily portable, but it’s a little larger than many of the hand held torches out there.
The Premium Culinary Torch has a simple dial system on the opposite side to the nozzle, which gives you full control over the size of the flame and the temperature, with the flame reaching a maximum of 6 inches long and 2,372 °F (1,300 °C). This is ideal for dabbing, because it’s flexible enough to be able to find the right temperature for a range of bangers. It also has a safety lock to prevent accidents, and the ability to keep it locked on so you don’t have to continually press while you’re heating your banger.
The Hercules Dab Torch from Skunk Labs was designed as a no-nonsense dab torch, with a simple design but an impressive heat output. It’s pretty chunky, but as the name suggests, power is the name of the game here. The body is solid aluminum, and has one of the biggest butane tanks for any hand held torch on the market, meaning you won’t have to refill as much and giving it a bit of extra punch. It has the standard dial for adjusting the strength of the flame and a button to ignite it. At the highest setting it can reach temperatures up to 2,600 °F (1,427 °C).
It might not have some of the bells and whistles the other portable torch lighters out there boast about, but it works reliably in basically any situation, including outdoors and at high elevations. The flame reaches out impressively long and can operate at any angle, making it perfect for getting all the spots on the bottom of a banger. It also comes with a one-year warranty, so you’re protected if anything goes wrong with it.
The Big Shot was made in collaboration between dab torch experts Blazer and Higher Standard, putting all the things everyone loved about the Big Shot into an awesome, limited edition package. It has the classic design and form, with the logos on the front and an upwards-angled brass nozzle and a simple dial adjustment system for the flame. The adjustment system is precise, giving you fine control over the flame size and heat, with a maximum output of around 2,500 °F (1,371 °C).
The Big Shot was made in Japan, with care and precision going into every aspect of the torch, and it packs a lot of power into a relatively compact space. It uses a piezo crystal igniter, which means you just have to press a button on the back after starting the gas flow to ignite it. It works at any angle – even upside down – and has an anti-flare design. There’s a sturdy, well-designed base, but it’s also removable for if you need a bit more maneuverability in your torch.
Guide to Buying the Best Dab Torches
If you’re new to dabbing, considering the pros and cons of the various dab torches out there might seem a little bit excessive. But the torch is one of the most important parts of your dab rig, and if you don’t have a good one, you’ll run into issues with uneven heating or inconsistent performance soon enough. Really, though, it’s a source of flame, much like many similar torches used for cooking, and there isn’t too much you need to understand to find the right one for your needs.
What is a Dab Torch?
A dab torch is a small, handheld propane or (more commonly) butane torch that people use to heat the quartz (or other) banger on their dab rig before taking a hit. In practice, these are basically the small handheld torches people use for cooking, or alternatively something designed explicitly for dabbing but essentially the same in design.
They can reach incredible temperatures, up to 2,600 °F / 1,427 °C and beyond, but they need to heat the glass to the point it’s glowing red, so having a bit of power is crucial. But if you over-heat your banger, you can burn the concentrate and ruin the experience. This is why high-quality dab torches are important.
In terms of appearance, they generally have cylindrical handles, a study round base, an angled nozzle for the flame and either a trigger or button to turn it on or off. Some have heat guards for your hand, but this is more common in repurposed cooking torches than purpose-made butane torch for dabs.
Types of Dab Torch
There aren’t many strictly defined “types” of dab torch, but there are a couple of ways you can classify them that helps you decide what to buy.
1. Butane dab torch
Most of the options out there – especially the ones marketed for dabs – use butane as the fuel. There is more detail below, but butane torches are generally smaller and don’t get as hot as propane ones, which is better suited for dabbing concentrates.
2. Propane dab torch
Propane torches are bigger than butane ones, and burn hotter, which can work but risks burning your material if your banger gets too hot as a result. This is why they’re much less common.
3. Single jet
Most dab torches on the market just have a single flame, because this works for most applications (especially for cooking) and is generally cheaper. There is more information below, but basically this will work for the vast majority of bangers.
4. Multiple jets
There are multiple jet dab torches available as well, but unless you’re very serious about getting even heating more quickly or you have a very thick glass piece that will be difficult to heat up otherwise.
Propane Dab Torch vs. Butane Dab Torch
If you’re looking for the best dab torch, one of the main decisions you have to make is between torches that use propane and those that use butane. Although views do differ, there is a general consensus that butane is a superior fuel to propane for a dab torch.
People hold this view for two major reasons: butane is cleaner and propane burns a lot hotter. It’s cleaner because butane is refined before use, whereas propane isn’t, so you’re much less likely to have an issue with impurities when you dab. Propane torches can also get much hotter, at around 3,600 °F (1,982 °C), which can cause problems for your material if you get it too hot, and may also do some damage to simpler banger materials like titanium.
The differences aren’t huge, but with most people preferring butane, it’s much easier to find than propane anyway. There is another issue in that propane torches tend to be bigger and therefore less practical for use in dabbing.
What to Look for When Buying the Best Dab Torch
If you’re shopping for the best dab torches, it’s important to learn about the most important features you need to keep an eye out for when you buy. While there are many different design choices and tons of options out there, here are the main things to focus on.
Precise temperature control: Since having your banger, nail or dab straw heated to a precise temperature is the key to dabbing, it’s important that you get something that allows you control over the strength of the flame. Most of the hand held torch options on the market give you some control, but the better options give you free control over the intensity rather than restricting you to a few specific settings.
Safety features: Since you’re basically buying a powerful source of fire when you shop for a hand held dab torch, it’s important to make sure the one you buy has sufficient safety features. The most important is some type of locking feature to prevent you from accidentally lighting the flame. It’s also crucial that the torch is well-made, with a strong nozzle and a generally sturdy design – this is worth checking reviews for before buying. Some devices also have a guard for your hand, which isn’t needed but is a nice extra.
Ease of use: Especially if this is your first time dabbing, you should think about ease of use when you’re making a purchase. The main thing to think about is how easy it is to refill or replace the butane tank. This isn’t always clear from online store pages, so again it’s often worth checking reviews before making your purchase.
Butane or propane: We’ve covered this above, but another main decision you’ll need to make is whether to go with a butane or propane torch. Generally speaking, it’s better to stick with butane for dabbing.
Think about the jet(s): For most purposes, a single jet is more than enough to heat a quartz banger evenly. If you have a banger with a 4 mm glass thickness, it’s better to have a torch with a ¼ inch diameter jet and 2 inches or so in length. For thinner bangers, most jets will do the job and smaller is better to avoid overheating. If you have a really thick banger (6 mm) or so, two jets will help to speed things along.
How Hot Does Butane Burn?
Butane torches burn at up to 2,600 °F / 1,427 °C, which is much less than propane and makes it easier to heat your banger or nail without going too far. This is a maximum, though, so many torches will burn at 2,500 °F or lower in practice, and it depends on a lot of other factors too.
What is Butane?
Butane is a liquefied form of a hydrocarbon gas (petroleum gas) with the chemical formula C4H10, very similar to propane which has the formula C3H8. The benefit of butane is that the boiling point is higher, at −2 °C instead of −42 °C for propane. While in both cases the gas needs to be pressurized to remain in its liquid state in ordinary circumstances, it’s much easier to achieve with butane and this is why a butane torch will almost always be smaller than a propane torch.
Can You Use Propane for Dabs?
Despite the general consensus in favor of using butane over propane for dabs, it is indeed possible to use propane if you already have a torch or would rather buy propane. The fact it’s a dirtier burning gas isn’t ideal, but in practice this is unlikely to have a major effect unless you were using it for a very long time and even then it’s unclear whether the risk would be noticeable. The extra heat is a more practical issue, but if you’re careful when heating your banger and remove the flame sooner it won’t cause an issue.
Can I Use a Regular Lighter for Dabs?
A regular lighter won’t produce a hot enough flame for dabs, and the flame isn’t concentrated in the same way so it would be difficult to heat your nail or banger to a sufficient temperature. This is why people invest in torches or even e-nails to take a dab.
Does Butane Go Bad?
Butane doesn’t expire if it’s well sealed and high quality, or at very least will be good for over ten years. If it’s in an open canister, the quality may decrease over time but it will still burn. In a small torch there is no real difference: if it’s securely closed it’s very unlikely you’ll even have to worry about expiration. If you’ve found a really old refill can or torch, it’s still likely to be fine unless it’s heavily rusted, has a damaged seal or is around 10 years old.
Where Can I Buy a Dab Torch?
Although there are many people looking for the best dab torch with only dabbing in mind, many people who want a hand held torch are interested in something for the kitchen. This means while you can still find a butane torch on stores with dabbing equipment, they’re available in many other types of store as well, with tons of options on Amazon, cooking-focused stores and many other places. There’s really not much benefit to shopping at a cannabis-focused store, because many people recommend torches designed for cooking anyway (although you need a higher quality one).
How Much is a Dab Torch on Average?
The price of a dab torch varies quite a lot depending on brand, features, quality and much more, however the average cost overall is somewhere around $40 to $50. You can certainly find cheap torch lighters, especially for torches intended for cooking, but if it has the sort of temperature control, durability and ease of use that you’re looking for in a dab torch, it’s unlikely you’ll find anything up to standard for less than $30. Many dab torch focused options cost $80 or more, but as long as you spend around the average price you’ll likely find a dependable option.
There are many contenders for the title of best dab torch, but even if the very best option out there is debatable, the most important thing is that there are tons of great options spanning quite a wide price range. With things like adjustable flame size, multiple jets and continuous activation being offered by both dab-focused and cooking torches repurposed as dab torches, you’ll have no problem finding something good to heat your dab nail or banger efficiently and reliably every time.
If you're looking for a simpler way to dab, check out our recommendations for the best dab pens on the market right now.