Dabnation Mythbusters: Propane vs Butane Torches

People are always asking us, here at Dabnation, about the different aspects of dabbing.

Even something that seems small, like whether to use a propane or butane torch, has attracted a lot of debate. So let’s set the record straight, which is the best? A butane torch like a Blazer Spitfire  or a propane variant like Bernzomatic Hose Torch? 


The job of a torch is to heat up the titanium nail or quartz banger as quickly and as easily as possible. Whether it’s butane or propane that you’re burning, both will perform that task excellently. In fact, propane and butane are very similar; both are hydrocarbons and are sold in the form of compressed liquid petroleum gas (LPG). Similarly, when burned at room conditions, both achieve almost identical temperatures; with propane at 3,540 degrees F and butane reaching 3,578 F.

The Cleanest Burn

People are always claiming that one of these gases burns “cleaner” than the other, but is any of that true? It turns out, atmospheric conditions play a much greater role in combustion than which hydrocarbon is used. With sufficient oxygen and pressure, both propane and butane will combust completely, leaving behind only water and carbon dioxide. However, in the everyday world with its changing conditions, it’s unlikely either gas will combust 100 percent purely. That’s because, tiny amounts of carbon “soot” and carbon monoxide will be produced when you burn either, especially at higher altitudes.

Ultimately though, this argument is null and void when it comes to dabbing. Where dabbing differs from lighting a joint or traditional bong with a butane lighter is that the heat is applied prior to inhaling. With those nails and bangers retaining the heat for you, your torch is turned off long before you can inhale any harmful by-products.


Which is Safer?

When it comes to overall safety, butane does have the edge. Beyond the obvious fire hazard that both gases represent when ignited, the other safety concern is the risk of explosion. If stored incorrectly or exposed to excessive heat or sunlight, pressurized containers of flammable gases have the potential to explode. With butane under far less pressure than propane, it does represent a less risky option in this regard.

Price and Availability

These will likely be the deciding factors in which gas to go for. After all, what’s the point of buying a nice torch if it’s costly and difficult to refill? Which gas is the cheapest and most accessible to you will depend largely on the climate that you live in. The greatest advantage propane has over butane is that it will still burn in very low temperatures. On the other hand, butane stops igniting altogether when the weather is below freezing. Therefore, if you live in a very cold or rural region, propane will certainly be the cheapest and most accessible gas for you. Conversely, if you live in a more metropolitan or urban area, butane will probably be your best bet.

When all is said and done, the question isn’t which is the best for dabbing. They both do that job identically. The question is simply which is the easiest for you to get your hands on. Lastly, if you want to avoid the dilemma altogether, there’s always E-Nails systems to look into.

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