Nectar Collectors: What Are They And How to Use Them
If you love dabbing but aren’t too keen on toting or passing a massive rig and all the gear that goes with it, we’ve got the solution for you.
Allow us to introduce you to the next big thing in portable pot paraphernalia: the nectar collector!
In this article, the experts at Honest Marijuana reveal everything you need to know about the nectar collector and how to use this newest marijuana masterpiece.
What Is A Nectar Collector?
A nectar collector (a.k.a. dab straw or honey straw) is a miniature dab rig used to vaporize concentrates like shatter or wax.
We like to think of it as a small, hand-held bubbler, although, as you’ll see, the bubbles aren’t always necessary. You’ll notice that we used the word “vaporize” in the description above. That’s what nectar collectors do — they vaporize the concentrate instead of burning it.
But don’t get the wrong idea; they’re not vaporizers per se. The cannabis community reserves that term for the vape pen (or e-cigarette). Technically speaking, Nectar Collector® is the brand name for the first vertical vaporizer to appear on the market.
As its popularity spread, more and more people used the brand name instead of “dab straw” or “honey straw.”As a result, nectar collectors (lower case and without the trademark symbol) became the go-to words for this new product.
It’s very similar to what happened to the term “facial tissue,” or just “tissue,” after Kleenex® came out. That product became so popular everyone started referring to facial tissues by the brand name Kleenex® instead of the more general term.
To this day, many Americans still say, “Hand me a Kleenex® please,” even if the box on the table is just a generic facial tissue. So if you wanted to be really pedantic and doucheish, you could try correcting everyone’s grammar — all Nectar Collectors® are vertical vaporizers, but not all vertical vaporizers are Nectar Collectors® (sounds like something off the SATs, right?).
We wouldn’t recommend that unless you want to be excluded from the next smoke sesh at your friend’s house. Just let it slide.
Types Of Nectar Collectors;
Nectar collectors, like dab rigs and bongs, come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and materials. Some creative cannaseurs even go the DIY route and build their own homemade products.
Most store-bought nectar collectors are about seven inches long, which makes them super convenient for packing and travel.
They’re also all roughly the same shape, but variations do exist to set one brand apart from the others. Most of these differences are just aesthetic and don’t affect the actual function of the nectar collector.
That said, nectar collectors do fall into two distinct categories — glass or silicone — and these materials have a profound effect on your smoking experience.
Like dab rigs and bongs, most nectar collectors are made out of glass for one very specific reason: glass doesn’t affect the flavor of your vapor.
We won’t get too technical here, but the chemistry of glass means that vapor basically slides along the surface without interacting with the molecules along the way.
That preserves the unique chemical makeup of the vapor and won’t make your fruity pebbles wax taste like anything but Fruity Pebbles.
You can also purchase silicone nectar collectors if that tickles your fancy. The nice thing about a silicone nectar collector is that you can store it in your freezer without damaging the collector itself.
Then when it’s time to toke, the cold silicone cools the vapor to the point that it won’t irritate your throat on the way down. Another benefit of silicone (or other acrylic material) is that it travels better than glass (it won’t break as easily).But silicone isn’t without its drawbacks.
The primary one being that you’ll notice a significant change in flavor when compared to a glass nectar collector.
With a silicone nectar collector, the vapor will have a more “plasticky” taste, which could make the whole experience less than enjoyable.
Anatomy Of A Nectar Collector
Nectar collectors have three main parts:
The neck is the mouthpiece through which you’ll inhale the cannabis vapor. Think of it as the neck of a bong or dab rig.
The body falls between the neck and the tip and is similar to the water chamber in a bong or dab rig. In most nectar collectors, you have the choice to use water in the body or not (wet nectar collector vs. dry nectar collector).Most times, you’ll want to pour some water into the body before toking because the water will remove a lot of the harshness in the vapor before it reaches your throat and lungs.
Finally, the tip of a nectar collector is like the bowl of a bong or the nail of a dab rig — it’s where all the action happens.
Your nectar collector may have a quartz tip, a titanium tip, or allow you to switch back and forth between different tips.
Each type of tip has its own benefits, but try them both and use the one you prefer most.
How To Use A Nectar Collector
Using a nectar collector is really very simple and is actually similar to using a regular dab rig…with a few minor differences. First and foremost, nectar collectors don’t have a nail or banger, so you place the cannabis concentrate in a glass serving dish and vaporize it from there. This is convenient because you can store a large amount of concentrate in the dish (with a lid, of course) and take hits off it at your leisure. The other differences between using a nectar collector and a dab rig appear in the actual process of vaporization. Check out this step-by-step guide for details:
- Get your dish and concentrate ready. That means removing the lid and placing the dish nearby.
- Heat the tip of your nectar collector with a butane torch until it’s red hot, just like you would heat the nail or banger on your regular dab rig.
- Let the tip cool for a minute.
- Put down the butane torch (turn it off first, yo!).
- Pick up the dish holding your concentrate.
- When the tip has cooled to your liking, put your mouth on the neck and tap the hot tip in the dish along the pile of concentrate. The longer you hold the tip in the concentrate, the more vapor you’ll get. Tapping the tip of the nectar collector (like tapping a cigarette against a flat surface) helps you control the amount of vapor you create in the body.
- Repeat as necessary.
As you can see, you don’t need the other tools necessary to operate a regular dab rig. All you need is the nectar collector itself, your dish of concentrate, and an open flame.
Benefits Of A Nectar Collector
- Portable — Nectar collectors are much smaller than your traditional dab rig, which makes them an easy choice for long trips or just a day out on the town.
- Fun — The novelty of a nectar collector makes it a fun option for parties and regular use.
- Self-Contained — Everything you need is right there. No tools necessary. Just wax or shatter and a flame and you’re good to go.
- Easy To Clean — Most nectar collectors break down into three pieces (neck, body, and tip), so you can clean them quickly and easily with just some running water.
- Easy To Use — As we described above, nectar collectors are super easy to use, making them a good alternative to other pieces of cannabis equipment.
Drawbacks Of A Nectar Collector
- Less Temperature Control — Getting the right temperature or maximal vaporization can be difficult if you don’t know what you’re doing.
- Neck Can Fall Out Of Body — If you’re not careful, the neck can fall out of the body and cause all kinds of problems.
- Lower Quality Hit — Because of the lack of accurate temperature control, nectar collectors do sometimes produce a lower quality hit.
- Can Be Unwieldy — Even though nectar collectors are smaller than full-size dab rigs, they can still be awkward to pass.
Should You Try A Nectar Collector?
If you have some experience dabbing with a dab rig, by all means, give a nectar collector a try. They’re great for travel — or just a quick one-hit dip without getting out all the gear associated with a dab rig.We suggest finding a friend or acquaintance who has a nectar collector and asking to try it out. You might even ask them over and supply the wax yourself. That way, they have no reason to decline.
You can take the nectar collector for a spin, see if you like it, and then make the decision to buy one or not.
Ultimately, it might not be your favorite tool of the toking trade, but you can always go back to the dab rig for your regular fix.
At the very least, a nectar collector is a fun alternative to the tried-and-trusted cannabis consumption methods that you’re familiar with. And, really, that’s what marijuana is all about: fun and feeling good.