Different Types of Wax Dabs: A Comprehensive Guide for Beginners

If you're brand new to dabbing, it can be a confusing new world for you. There's all sorts of equipment you need to navigate and different types of concentrates you can use.

Concentrates or wax dabs are considered an ideal way to enjoy the many benefits of cannabis in an incredibly effective and cost-effective way.

There are many different names for wax, but it is made using a few specific methods. Each term used indicates the texture, color, and malleability of that particular type of wax.

Knowing the basics helps cannabis users develop a sense of what they are looking for if they want to truly enjoy their personal smoking experience.

In this detailed guide, we'll discuss the different types of wax dabs and their properties, as well as how they can enhance your high for an optimal session.

What is a wax dab?

A wax dab is a concentrated form of cannabis known for its varied texture and enhanced potency.

Wax dabs can vary in texture and come in many types, including shatter, wax, budder or crumble.

These extracts contain all of the cannabinoids and terpenes of cannabis, but without the plant material, so dabs offer a stronger experience per ounce than flower.

How do you make a wax swab?

When it comes to making dabs or wax dabs, they can be produced using a number of solvent-based and solvent-free extraction methods.

Popular solvents used for extraction include CO2, butane, propane and ethanol.

Solvent-based extraction can produce many different consistencies, textures and user experiences depending on how the product is treated.

Typically, solvent-free extracts are more expensive and harder to find.

Different Types of Wax Dabs

Wax dabs are categorized by appearance, texture, and extraction method. Let's look at the most common types of dabs.

1. Smash

Shatter resembles glass and is usually between golden and light amber in color. It is a transparent and solid extract.

It offers a strong experience and is valued for its purity and clean taste.

Shatter is extracted using butane hash oil (BHO) and is often purchased wrapped in parchment paper because of its sticky surface.

Shatter cannot be easily smoked due to its high vaporization point.

Generally, you will need to use either a butane torch or a nail gun that you can heat to 600°F before you can vaporize shatter.

2. Wax

With a consistency similar to earwax or honey, this form of dab is easier to handle than shatter.

It often contains high levels of THC and produces a strong and long-lasting high.

The wax varieties can be crumbly (crumble) or sticky (budder) and each have a slightly different texture and flavor profile.

It is most commonly obtained through a butane extraction process and is very versatile.

In addition to dabbing, waxes can be mixed into joints, blunts or bong bowls to increase their potency.

3. Budder

Budder or Badder is considered the cleanest and most effective concentrate on the market.

On average, you can expect 90% THC and 99% purity.

As the name suggests, this type of wax has the consistency of a piece of butter or cake batter.

It has an oilier or softer texture than the waxes previously discussed and tends to be a bright yellow to orange color.

Because of its consistency, it is easy to handle and spread on a variety of things, including joints, blunts, or dab rig bowls – like frosting on a cake.

Due to the complex manufacturing process and the high THC content, it tends to be at the higher end of the price scale.

4. Streusel cake

Crumble is a type of wax that is looser and drier than other extracts.

Sometimes called “honeycomb,” it breaks down easily, so if you pick it up with a dabbing tool, it will easily break down on contact.

Its color is similar to Badder, somewhere between yellow and orange, but it has a matte finish instead of a shiny, juicy glaze.

It is usually cheaper than other solvent extracts because it is more difficult to handle.

However, the extremely low moisture content guarantees that there is no mold growth.

5. Rosin

Rosin is one of the most popular types of dabs among users looking for a more natural extract.

Rosin is a solvent-free extract made by pressing cannabis flowers, hashish or kief under heat and pressure.

It is very similar to fudge or toffee, has a crumbly consistency and a light brown color.

Rosin has high potency and aroma because it retains more of the natural terpenes and flavonoids of the original plant.

In addition to dabbing, rosin is also used in high-potency vape cartridges, a pipe or bong, and added to edible cannabis products.

6. Living resin

Live Resin is considered one of the highest quality waxes available.

Unlike rosin, live resin is made with the solvent butane.

The reason it is called “Live Resin” is because it is made from freshly frozen cannabis plants rather than dried plant material.

From harvest to production of the finished product, the plants are stored at sub-freezing temperatures.

Due to its thick, wasabi sauce-like consistency, Live Resin is particularly easy to handle.

Additionally, due to the extraction process, the resin has a higher concentration of terpenes and a richer flavor and aroma.

For this reason, Live Resin is considered a high-end concentrate by canna connoisseurs.

7. Terpene sauce

Terp sauce, also known simply as sauce, is a very sticky, viscous cannabinoid extract with an extremely high terpene content.

This happens when the concentrate separates into two layers during the flushing process, with the terpenes rising to the top.

Terpenes give the sauce its taste and smell, so it is usually very aromatic and spicy.

It often contains small granular crystals. The color can range from amber to a soft yellow.

Best used with an electric dab rig. Requires low to medium temperatures.

8. Crystalline

Crystalline is the strongest dab strain. It is pure cannabinoid crystals with a full spectrum of cannabinoids.

The color of the crystals ranges from transparent clear to cloudy yellow.

It can often look like a single lump of crystal that can be broken into smaller pieces for dabbing.

9. Diamonds

When crystals consist of a single cannabinoid such as THC or CBD, they are often referred to as diamonds.

Typically, diamonds alone do not contain many terpenes and do not have a particularly strong flavor.

For this reason, they are often mixed with terp sauce when dabbing.

10. Cannabis oil

Cannabis oil, sometimes called distillate, is a thick, runny, oily liquid. Because it's so liquid, it's not the best material for dabbing.

However, it is commonly used in vape cartridges and is great for cooking edibles. Oils are also a good base for isolating certain cannabinoids.

As you can see, cannabis oils can be consumed in a variety of ways depending on how they are extracted and refined.

Oil is usually made using BHO (butane hash oil). In addition, CO2, alcohol and propane are other forms of solvent extraction.

The benefits of dabbing

The main benefit of dabbing is that it delivers fast and powerful results.

You don't have to wait long to feel the effects of a wax dab, and the effects are usually quite strong and effective.

Cannabis flowers typically range in strength from 15 to 25% THC, but concentrates are usually in the 60 to 90% THC range, meaning you don't need much to get a strong high.

In addition, dabbing is a smoke-free method of consumption that allows THC or CBD to be ingested with fewer toxins produced by burning dry flowers.

The Best Ways to Enjoy Cannabis Wax Dabs

Cannabis enthusiasts have several methods available to enjoy the intensity of wax dabs:

1. Dab Rigs

Dab rigs are specifically designed for concentrates such as wax dabs and offer efficient vaporization.

This method ensures that users experience the full potency and flavor profile of their chosen concentrate.

You simply heat the nail of the dab rig using a torch and then apply your wax to the nail.

The heat causes the wax to vaporize and the user can inhale and experience the benefits.

Electric dab rigs are similar to classic glass dab rigs, but feature a battery-powered electric heat source.

2. Nectar collector

Nectar collectors or honey straws are portable dabbing devices that represent a middle ground between wax pens and a full-fledged dab rig.

A nectar collector makes dabbing easier than ever. Its vertical and portable design allows you to dip the tip into a dab and inhale on the go or at home.

You can opt for an electronic nectar collector that uses battery-powered heating coils instead of a torch, so it heats up at the touch of a button.

3. Stippling pens

Dabs can also be used in certain types of electric vaporizers, such as dab pens or wax pens.

Dab pens tailored for cannabis wax offer a more discreet and convenient option for on-the-go consumption.

These pens heat the wax drops or wax chips and turn them into vapor for inhalation.

4. Vape pens

Vape pens (all-in-ones) and vape cartridge products are specifically designed for vaporizing cannabis oil.

5. Joints or bongs

Enhance your smoking experience by adding wax dabs or crumbled shatter dabs to your joints, hand pipes or bongs.

This process intensifies the effect of the flower and opens up new dimensions of taste.

Overall, the thicker, stickier types of wax are best used with a dab tool and dab rig, but the drier wax or wax that tends to shatter is a little easier to load into a dab pen.

It depends on the consistency, but all types of wax ultimately have the same side effects.


There are many different types of wax dabs, each with its unique flavor profile and potency.

Whether you prefer a solid concentrate or a more liquid, easier to handle concentrate, there is something for everyone.

If you are new to dabbing, be sure to do some research before making your first purchase.

Always start slowly and be cautious with dosage until you know how your body reacts to concentrates.

With time and experimentation, you will find the perfect concentrate for your dabbing needs!

Continue exploring the diverse world of cannabis concentrates and discover new flavors, effects and benefits.

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