Nectar Collector vs. Dab Rig: Which One Should You Choose?
There always seems to be new inventions in the dabbing world, from new types of bangers to e-Nails and more. With the plethora of accessories and tools designed for concentrates, it can be hard to keep up! Dabbing involves a lot of variables—the correct temperature to dab at, how much wax to use, and which tools you actually need. Some tools are absolutely necessary for dabbing, while other accessories are not. That said, in this article, we're going to talk about the two most popular glass products used to dab—the nectar collector and the dab rig. We’ll be covering their respective benefits and how they differ. A quick note: throughout this article we’ll refer to cannabis concentrates as wax or oil—the terms both refer to the same thing, the only difference is the consistency of the concentrate.
What’s A Nectar Collector?
Nectar collectors, dab straws or honey straws are designed for smoking concentrates. Don’t be confused here. A nectar collector isn’t a vaporizer. Think of it like a hand-held concentrate bubbler—as opposed to bong (that would be the dab rig). Nectar collectors come in different shapes and sizes. Some are small and compact, offering portability for outdoor use, while others are large and designed for indoor use. They also come in different materials from glass, to silicone, to quartz. The different materials will definitely make a big difference in efficiency and ease of cleaning as well.
They typically consist of three major parts: the mouthpiece, the body, and the tip. The mouthpiece is removable and is designed to fit into the body easily. The body can be a straight tube or a tube with a chamber. Since it’s technically a water pipe, dab straws usually come with percolators. The part of the nectar collector that comes directly in contact with your concentrate dish is the tip. The tip usually is made of glass, titanium or quartz—quartz will always provide the best flavor!
Benefits Of A Nectar Collector
Ease of Use
A nectar collector is not a complicated device to use. It has a simple interface and doesn’t require any special skills to get the max efficiency from it. Once you understand how to attach the mouthpiece and tip to the body, then you won't have a problem using the nectar collector.
Simply open the middle tube chamber and fill it up with water. Using a torch, heat up the nail to your desired temperature. Remember you want to dab at a lower temperature for maximum terpene preservation—we have an article that discuss how to find the perfect dab temperature here. After you have heated the tip, let it cool, put the mouthpiece in your mouth and hold the tip into the wax container. It will start vaporizing right away, so inhale immediately. We suggest you store your concentrates in a glass container—you can dip the tip directly into that container or dab off of a separate glass surface (we highly recommended the latter option, so you aren’t constantly dipping a hot tip into your entire stash).
Nectar collectors require less moving parts than a dab rig, which lends them to be more portable. There are pocket-sized Nectar collectors available on the market today with excellent designs. We prefer all glass or all quartz designs because they provide the best flavor and vapor quality. However, there is no argument that silicone nectar collectors are the most portable. Silicone nectar collectors have risen in popularity because they can be folded up and taken anywhere—plus they never break.
- Novelty designs—water doesn’t spill when set down
- Ease of use
- Requires minimal equipment—no tools besides a butane torch
- Easy to clean because it can be taken apart
- Mouthpiece can fall out
- Less temperature control
- Not same quality hit as a dab rig
Cleaning a Nectar Collector
Cleaning any smoking accessory is very important. Whether you have a pipe, a rig, a vape pen or anything else used to consume cannabis, you need to maintain and clean it. Luckily, the nectar collector is one of the easiest accessories to clean because it comes apart. Simply, open up all the components of your honey straw and follow the detailed cleaning instructions here. Any remaining residue on the tip can typically be burned off with the torch.
What’s a Dab Rig?
A dab rig or oil rig is a special type of water pipe that is used to smoke concentrates. Dab rigs consist of two parts: the main body (which has the tube chamber, downstem and sometimes percolator) and a nail. There are many types of nails; the two major varieties are the skillet type nails and the banger style nails.
The body of a dab rig is usually made out of glass or silicone and uses water filtration in the pipe. The nail is made of heat-resistant materials like ceramic, titanium or quartz, since its designed to hold and vaporize the wax or oil. Dab rigs come in different shapes, designs, and prices. Some are cheap with simple designs while others are quite literally works of art and get extremely pricey.
A regular bong pipe can also be used as a dab rig sometimes but you have to change the bowl out for a nail. The biggest difference between a bong and a dab rig is the size.
Benefits of Using a Dab Rig
With the use of a carb cap, you can efficiently dab even at very low temperatures. That’s because carb caps create a top-seal on your nail or banger—basically turning it into a hot oven that fully vaporizes all of your concentrate. In this case efficiency means you’ll vaporize all of the terpenes and cannabinoids in your concentrate with each dab.
Lower temperatures ensure a smooth and flavorful hit. Using a dab rig and carb cap efficiently vaporizes all of your concentrates while maintaining their potent flavor—it is a more efficient and pleasurable smoking experience. This exceptional experience is all thanks to the high-end nails and electric nails, which make for precise temperature control.
No Harsh Smoke
Dabbing can have intense effects, but as long as you stick to lower temperatures, it doesn’t burn your throat like smoking flowers can.
- Smooth hit
- Lots of sizes and price points
- Requires dabber and carb cap
- More set up
- Harder to clean
How to Clean a Dab Rig
As mentioned earlier, cleaning is a very important part of owning a rig. Unfortunately you cannot open it apart like a nectar collector, but dab rigs are usually small enough to be cleaned thoroughly. Anything that comes apart should first be taken out like the nail or dome. Then simply follow our detailed glass cleaning instructions here. Any residue on the nail can typically be burned off with the torch.
Safety Dabbing Tips
Dabbing etiquette should be used when you’re dabbing. You always want to be careful of your surrounding when dabbing as torches and hot materials can be dangerous if caution is not exercised. Pay close attention when using a blowtorch to heat up your nail. Don’t take a dab while moving around and never point the torch at your friends. Also, avoid dabbing close to flammable materials. If your nectar collector or dab rig is made of silicone material, try to keep the heat away from it.
To Sum it Up: The Major Differences
At the end of the day, both the nectar collector and dab rig allow you to take a dab. The dab rig allows you to take an extremely efficient, pleasant, and flavorful hit at low temperatures—albeit with more moving parts. The nectar collector proves to be an extremely easy way to consume cannabis concentrates but in our eyes, it’s just doesn’t stand up to a dab rig when given the choice. As always, this decision comes down to personal preference and intended use. By just looking at the two, it becomes very clear that the main difference is the form factor and the way you dab with each of them.