What is a Nectar Collector?
There are always new and exciting tools becoming available to the dabbing community, and one of the latest is a nectar collector. These are used in the dabbing process, a way of smoking that has grown an incredible amount in recent years.
There are many ways to smoke, but dabbing gives a clean taste along with many other benefits for the connoisseur, especially if you already have some experience. A dab is much more intense than traditional smoking and for beginners, it might not be the absolute best method.
You may have seen them in your local shop or online - these mysterious devices that slurp wax and oil up like a straw. They’re called nectar collectors and these unique dab rigs have pushed the limit of portable dabbing since their creation back in 2011, way before anyone had ever heard of an e-rig (Puffco Peak, 2018). These vertical vaporizers are designed to be held and used upright, gaining immediate popularity for their convenience. The original Nectar Collector inspired a wave of similar devices, sometimes called honey straws or dab straws, and through the years they have cemented their place in the dabbing world.
If you don’t know what dabbing is, it involves heating concentrate in a vaporizer to reach the heat required to release trichomes and terpenes. Dabbing gives a fresh and potent high, but it doesn’t suit everyone. Dabbing involves a lot of equipment, including the vaporiser itself, and a dabbing unit called a ‘rig’. Dabbers also tend to use oil with a nail, a wand and tools like alcohol and cotton buds to clean the rig.
Dabbers can also use a nectar collector to enhance their experience. Let’s delve into what a nectar collector does and whether it is something worth bothering with.
What is a Nectar Collector?
Technically, nectar collector is a brand name, but it is one of those brand names that enters the vernacular and terminology. People often say ‘Kleenex’ when they mean a tissue. The same happens with nectar collectors.
These products might also be called “dab straws” or “honey straws” but it all means the same thing, regardless of brand.
Lots of people use the name Nectar Collector to describe any vertical vaporizer, but this is actually incorrect. Nectar Collectors were the first of their kind, made by glass artist Kristian Merwin who patented and trademarked the design. Their name has become the Kleenex of this style of rig, with many other brands with similar designs being referred to as such. The name itself comes from the tip being shaped like a hummingbird's beak as it dips into a flower.
A nectar collector is a dab rig, but a very small and convenient rig. This is a device that lets you consume oil or wax and does the job of the whole rig. Instead of needing to have a lot of large equipment, you can opt for a nectar collector.
A nectar collector is a little like a mini bong. It doesn’t need the large bowl where you would normally put your flower. Instead, you can just use a nail, which is the heat-producing section of the rig. This is usually within the tip of a nectar collector. The product can be incredibly small compared to a lot of other dab bongs.
Nectar collectors tend to be made out of either glass or silicone. These materials can handle the heat, but the material you choose definitely plays a big part in how much you will enjoy your concentrate. For instance, a lot of people think that silicone can taint the flavor of concentrates, but this is a matter of personal opinion. Silicone is incredibly convenient and allows you to take your collector on the go. You don’t have to worry as much about breakages.
The device itself, a nectar collector, will be split into three distinct parts.
- The tip is where the concentrate or dab will sit. This is what heats the product itself. These tips do the job of the nail in a traditional dabbing rig. It needs to be able to handle high temperatures so it is usually made out of something like quartz, ceramic, or titanium.
- The body is where you can choose to either put water or use your rig ‘dry’.
- The neck is effectively the mouthpiece of the device where you can inhale and enjoy your concentrates.
How does a Nectar Collector work?
Dab straws are made of 3 parts: neck, body, and tip. Most of the time, all three parts are detachable and can be switched out with other parts - another factor that attracts glassheads. The neck and body can be made of either glass or silicone, but the tips, similar to a dab nail, can be either titanium, ceramic, or quartz depending on your preference. The pieces connect via their joint and can be assisted with the addition of a keck clip or joint wax.
Honey straws can be used with or without water, but careful not to add water with the tip attached. Water in the tip when heated has the potential to crack the piece. Once you’re ready, with or without water, finish putting the device together and get your concentrate ready. You’ll need to place it in a high temperature tolerant wax dish or on a silicone dab mat.
How to Use The Nectar Collector?
Experienced dabbers will find nectar collectors easy to get to grips with. If you are using a nectar collector or honey straw rather than a full dab rig, the main difference is how the concentrate gets vaporized.
With a nectar collector you place the shatter into a small glass dish that holds all of the oil or concentrate that you need. On a bigger dab, you will use a small “wand” device to move the concentrate into the nail. With a nectar collector, you can use the glass dish and move the collector to the concentrate.
The steps are as follows:
- Place the dab product you want to use onto the glass or ceramic dish.
- Heat up the tip of the nectar collector using a torch. This needs to heat to a high temperature so it can be a hazard if you aren’t careful. Always act with caution.
- Use your nectar collector to inhale the vapor which is produced. If you want to keep your tip submerged for a long time you will create a more concentrated and heavy vapor that can cause a strong hit.
- Repeat the process as required.
Now you can carefully heat the tip of your Nectar Collector - it doesn't need to be red hot. Some don’t like the lack of temperature control that comes with using a dab straw, but you can still do the wrist test and take a safe, lower-temp dab with these devices.
Once heated, simply dip the tip of the straw into the wax and inhale — A great feature of this design is that no material is wasted when using a Nectar Collector. You simply remove the tip from your concentrate when you are done inhaling, saving that precious wax that would have melted away in a normal banger style nail.
Benefits of a Nectar Collector
Do you need a nectar collector? Not necessarily. Of course, it always depends on what you are looking for from your experience, but a lot of people who take to dabbing also love to use a nectar collector.
One of the biggest benefits of this type of product is the fact that it is so small and compact. Whereas a dab rig can be quite large, you may be able to use a nectar collector on the go, placing it in your bag and taking it out and about with you.
Nectar collectors may also be cheaper than full dab rigs, but this depends on the materials and quality.
Dab rigs can be a pain to clean, but a lot of nectar collectors or similar honey straws have a much more simple process for cleaning. You can use a swab that has been dropped in isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol, or you can dip the whole swab in a cleaning solution to clean it thoroughly.
Yet another benefit of a nectar collector is the fact that it can be used more easily by beginners. With a full dab rig it is much easier to spill or waste the concentrate, but nectar collectors make it much harder to do this, so even those brand new to dabbing tend to do a decent job without the help of an experienced user.
In 2015, the Huni Badger debuted - the first electronic dab straw. It features a HOHM High Drain 18650 Battery and upped the game tremendously by removing that open flame aspect. People loved them, but these electronic devices still lacked the addition of water filtration. To remedy this missing piece, Nectar Collector teamed up with Huni Badger to create an official collab water attachment. The result was a perfect symbiosis. Check out 2 Chainz trying it out on his Viceland show.
These rigs, both electronic and not, are still wildly popular today in 2019. Their convenience is still unmatched, save maybe for a complete e-rig, and the flavor they can produce is next level. Reducing the amount of pieces needed to take a dab, and saving precious wax by having more control of your heat source, these dabbing innovations deserve their reputation. They’re in the same price range as a bong too, so it’s not an unreasonable amount to add one of these to your collection. We promise you won’t regret it.
Is a Nectar Collector Better than a Rig?
This is totally down to personal preference, and a case of matching your needs to the ideal product. A lot of people have both. You might have your full rig for use at home, but when you go away for a trip or want to consume concentrates on the go, you might want to use a nectar collector or honey straw to do the job. It's much more portable and discreet for dabbing on the road.
There are many different ways to dab, just like there are multiple ways to consume concentrates. No one is right or wrong, and it is all about getting the ideal solution for you.
What Should I Hit The Nectar Collector Off?
Unlike a dab rig, with a straw like this you need to hit the concentrate off of a surface. This should be a dish that can handle a high heat, such as glass, quartz, or even silicone, though some people choose to avoid silicone as they think it impacts the taste.