By RQS Editorial Team

With the expansion of the extract market and the popularity of vaping and dabbing, there are a lot of new pieces of equipment and accessories to get your head around. One of those is “terp pearls”.

The mechanisms and techniques of dabbing are constantly evolving. Consumers strive for the smoothest smoke, a more powerful hit, and the best flavour. It is not as simple as just heating things to the highest temperature and inhaling. There is an expert technique connected to dabbing.

With that in mind, follow along for an explanation, and evaluation, of terp pearls.

What Are Terp Pearls?

Terp pearls are miniature balls of about 4–6mm constructed of borosilicate glass, quartz, or other materials. They are placed in the banger of your dabbing rig to improve the overall experience by evenly distributing heat and the concentrate itself. This, in turn, provides consistent results and optimises flavour at lower temperatures.

Note that terp pearls are sometimes referred to as "banger beads" or "dab beads".

What Are Terp Pearls?

Can Terp Pearls Melt?

Some terp pearls can melt or change shape when exposed to extreme heat for extended periods. Your terp pearls can also be at risk of thermal shock. Thermal shock is when a sudden variation in temperature, either from hot to cold or vice versa, causes tension in the material. It can cause the terp pearls to crack or break abruptly, and is most common with brittle materials like ceramics.

One of the popular ways to clean terp pearls is with a butane torch. So be especially careful during cleaning. Terp pearls, just like bangers, come in various sizes and materials. Additionally, just like bangers, the material they're made of will ultimately dictate their heat retention and durability. We will look at the individual pros and cons of each type of terp pearl in more detail later on.

Can Terp Pearls Melt?

Why Use Terp Pearls for Dabbing?

Once you stop applying heat to your dab nail or quartz banger, it immediately begins to cool down. Even when using a top-quality banger, some parts of the dabbing surface will cool down quicker than others. Terp pearls are the answer to this problem.

Terp pearls push the concentrate around, allowing it to touch the entire surface area of the banger. This means that the concentrate will vaporise at a uniform rate as the banger cools down evenly. Therefore, puddles of concentrate are avoided, and vaporisation is optimised. The concentrate hits the hottest spots on the banger and vaporises much more exhaustively, without burning in any particular hotspot.

Most terpenes have low boiling points and degrade at higher temperatures. This means that flavour is compromised when dabbing at over 216°C (~420°F). You can take big rips at lower temperatures with terp pearls, safe in the knowledge that you are not losing any flavour.

Another incredibly cool and satisfying benefit is watching the beads spinning about.

Why Use Terp Pearls for Dabbing?

Different Types of Terp Pearls

The different materials that terp pearls or dab beads are made from come at various prices and feature various designs. To get an idea of which may be best for you, below we offer a breakdown of what to expect from each type.

Quartz Pearls Most bangers are made of quartz, and for the same reasons, quartz terp pearls are usually a good choice. They offer a good balance of cost, heat retention, and durability. Quartz is also relatively resistant to thermal shock. This means that your pearls can be torch-cleaned or cleaned in isopropyl alcohol with no hesitancy.
Ceramic Pearls
Ceramic terp pearls offer decent heat retention, similar to quartz, and are believed by some to preserve the flavours of your concentrate the best. Similarly to a ceramic dab nail, ceramic pearls can be hard to keep clean and are the most delicate of all the variations. Ceramic pearls are not suitable for torch-cleaning as they will likely break under the direct heat. Letting them cool down completely is the safest way to keep them intact. However, this does make them hard to maintain over time.
Borosilicate Pearls
Borosilicate glass pearls are a reasonably priced all-rounder. They provide adequate surface area and spin for vaporisation. On the other hand, though, borosilicate glass is not known to possess the best heat-retaining capabilities. Borosilicate pearls are at risk of changing shape or melting under intense heat.
Ruby Pearls
To clarify, these are not genuine rubies—they’re simply lab-produced to have the same qualities as natural rubies. These pearls offer superior heat retention for optimal flavour delivery. However, they are prone to thermal shock, so take care when cleaning them. Also, the red colour makes for a great-looking spin. Ruby pearls are also UV-reactive and shine bright under a blacklight.
SIC Pearls
Constructed of silicon carbide, these pearls have superior heat retention and conductivity, making for good flavours. SIC pearls are also incredibly resistant to thermal shock. As such, they are easy to clean via torch or alcohol. Altogether, they are the ideal pearl for any dabbing rig.

How To Use Terp Pearls

Terp pearls are suitable for use with a bucket-style banger. They will distribute any heat originating from the surface they are sitting on as they move around.

You should also use a carb cap with decent airflow to control the hits. Use a bubble cap, directional flow carb cap, or a spinner cap to get the most out of your pearls. Place a couple of pearls inside your banger and heat it with a torch. Allow it to cool down to the ideal temperature, and take your dab as usual.

  • How Many Terp Pearls Should I Use?

We would recommend using 1 or 2 pearls. This seems to generate the best spin. Any more, and they tend to get caught up on each other and spin poorly or slide.

Why Aren't My Terp Pearls Spinning?

You may be using the wrong carb cap. A directional airflow carb cap is required when using terp pearls to achieve a spin. If the carb cap is not the problem, it might be time to give your terp pearls and banger a thorough clean. Residue buildup over time can cause friction, stopping the pearls from spinning freely.

Are Terp Pearls Worth It?

Terp pearls are worth it if you want to get the most out of dabbing, especially if taking huge rips at lower temperatures is your thing. Terp pearls also come in various materials and styles to personalise your setup—another attractive factor.

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