Terp Pearls: A Touch of Sophistication for Dabbers
Dabbers are innovative, so when the need arose to get flavorful hits at low temperatures, terp pearls rolled on to the scene.
Dabbing is one of the most popular ways to use cannabis. As it increases in popularity, it also becomes more sophisticated. Dabbers are always looking for new ways to improve their rigs and achieve more potent, palatable dabs that preserve the terpene profile of the concentrate.
It didn’t take seasoned dabbers long to realize that blazing on a red-hot nail was creating a cloud of smoke that was doing the flavor and terpene profile no justice at all. There was a gap in the market for a product allowing you to get a tremendous flavorful hit at a low temperature. It was then that terp pearls were born!
Terp pearls are easily the most favored add-on dab accessory of the moment. Sometimes referred to as dab beads, dab pearls, or terp balls, terp pearls are tiny balls that spin around the banger when you take a dab. The purpose of terp pearls is to spread the heat and concentrate evenly to get a more consistent, potent hit. As the terp pearls spin around, they also move the oil around, ensuring it hits the hottest points on the nail and vaporizes thoroughly. This means less wastage and fewer puddles of concentrate left in your banger.
How to Use Terp Pearls?
Place them in the bottom of your nail at average room temperature. Heat the nail and terp pearls from the bottom. Once heated to the highest temperature, allow the nail to cool down for a few seconds to reach the ideal temperature for the perfect low-temp dab.
Now, use your dab tool to apply the concentrate to the nail, cover it with the carb cap, and inhale. As you inhale, the air flowing through the hole in the carb cap makes the beads spin, distributing heat and the concentrate and giving you the best flavor as well as the smoothest hit.
What is the Ideal Low Temperature for Dabbing?
Between 315-450°F is the sweet spot for cannabinoids where they are vaporized yet retain their terpenes and optimum flavor.
Between 450-600°F is an excellent spot for a balance of intensity and flavor. You inhale a mix of vapor and smoke at this temperature, so it might feel harder on your lungs.
How Many Terp Pearls Should You Use?
One or two terp pearls is enough to be effective. Any more than that, and they may slide around rather than spin. If you use the wrong carb cap, you may also have difficulty getting your terp pearls to spin. A directional airflow carb cab is the best match when using terp pearls.
What Type of Terp Pearl?
There are many different types of terp pearls. Here is a look at the features of each.
Borosilicate Glass — Borosilicate glass is known for being very durable, and so it works as an excellent basis for terp pearls. However, it does not have the best heat-retaining qualities and may risk changing shape or melting under extreme heat. For this reason, you should never torch clean borosilicate terp pearls.
Ceramic — Ceramic dab pearls have better heat retention than borosilicate glass and produce excellent flavor. They are fragile, though, and prone to cracking due to the fierce heat they are repeatedly exposed to. As they are so delicate, do not attempt to torch clean these.
Quartz — Quartz is probably the most popular choice. It is praised for having excellent heat retention and flavor preservation while being available at a reasonable price. As well as that, they are easy to clean and invulnerable to thermal shock.
Ruby and Sapphire — Ruby and sapphire terp pearls are around 10 times more conductive than quartz. These synthetic gems are made in a lab, hold heat amazingly well, and look great. However, they are prone to thermal shock, so do not place them in cleaning alcohol before they are completely cool and do not torch clean them.
SiC — Silicon carbide terp pearls look like they are made of metal and are around 80 times more heat conductive than their quartz counterpart. Like metal, they have a superior level of thermal shock resistance. This makes them easy to clean with a torch flame or be placed in cleaning alcohol before cooling down.
Shinju — A refined high-temperature ceramic material, Shinju ceramic terp pearls offer insane, unrivaled heat retention and the ability to be torch cleaned in seconds. The same material is used to make high-end chef's knives, and that durability carries over to terp pearls. You can clean Shinju terp pearls like SiC without the risk of thermal shock. This includes torch cleaning.
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Cleaning Terp Pearls
You should clean and maintain your terp pearls after every dab. A clean and shiny dab pearl will work better, helping retain more flavor and give a tasty hit. If your terp pearls are not suitable for torch cleaning, follow these steps to get them looking shiny and new.
Once you have finished dabbing, allow the pearls and the nail to cool completely to room temperature. Swirl them gently in some cleaning alcohol, allow residue to melt, and then wipe them clean. Ensure they are completely dry before using them again.
Terp Pearl Sizes
The different sizes relate to all the different types of quartz bangers, nails, and dabbing surfaces on the market. The most common sizes for sphere-shaped terp pearls are 4mm, 6mm, and 9mm. Then some are more of a pill shape.
4mm — Best for all-in-one battery-powered dabbing devices. As these are portable, handheld devices, they are typically smaller. This means they will require a smaller carb cap and smaller terp pearls.
6mm — Generally considered the standard size for quartz bangers. Whether they have a 10mm, 14mm, or 18mm joint, the 6mm terp pearl seems to be the best size. The joint is part of the arm that brings the vapor into the bowl.
9mm & Shaped — These oversized versions are ideal for heavy hitters. Perfect for big 30mm bangers or the recently popularized terp slurper.
If using a terp slurper, you will need a pill-shaped and a 9mm pearl. The pill goes inside the taper, and the pearl sits on top of the taper, like a valve. The pill starts spinning when you take a hit, and the pearls will jump up and down. This is highly effective for vaporizing huge chunks!
What is a Terp Slurper?
In a nutshell, a terp slurper is a style of quartz banger nail with a dish connected to the base. When the concentrate melts, holes in the base of the banger permit oil to ooze out into the dish. This maximizes a concentrate’s flavor and ensures nothing goes to waste
There are so many things to consider when using terp pearls. There are many ways to take a dab, and everyone has their personal preferences. Whether that concerns the ideal dabbing temperature or their set-up, hopefully, this guide will have left you feeling more confident about the best solution for your dabbing tastes and style.
Written by Rich Hamilton | Writer, Consultant, Author of The Growers Guide
Rich Hamilton has been in the hydroponics industry for more than 20 years, working originally as a general manager in a hydroponics retail outlet before becoming an account manager at Century Growsystems. He enjoys working on a daily basis with shop owners, manufacturers, distributors, and end users to develop premium products.