Glass pipes come in a wide array of styles, made from a range of materials including metal, wood, glass, and even corn cobs (yes, you read that right).
Yet, despite the multitude of choice available, most seasoned and avid smokes will tell you that glass pipes are the only way to go.
Glass pipes come in a variety of shapes and sizes, with each type designed for specific types of use with various types and quantities of product (be it tobacco, legal marijuana, or concentrates). And like anything else, each variation of glass pipe comes with its own specific set of benefits and advantages that may have you choosing one over the other.
First, a Little Backstory
Even though the origins of the glass pipe may be a bit fuzzy (good herb can do that to your memory sometimes), what is clear is that they have always and still represent both works of art and expression, as well as tools used for smoking.
Most historians postulate that the glass pipe came into being some 50 years ago when glass blowing was at its height in popularity. During this time, glass blowers were not only honing their techniques, but also creating pipes as a form of art.
Initially, smokers were attracted to the beauty of glass pipes, but soon learned that they also resulted in a superior flavor and experience that was not easily replicated by pipes made out of any other type of material.
More specifically, glass pipes produced a clean, pure flavor without adding in off-flavours from the material that the pipe was made out of. For example, beer poured from a glass bottle tastes different than beer that has been poured from an aluminum can.
Glass pipes are still hand blown to this day, and are always considered among most smokers to be the superior choice when given the option. And while they vary in shape, size, and design, from animals to objects, and from simple to complex setups, they will always be favored pipes for enjoying herb around the world.
Five Types of Glass Pipes Every Smoker Needs
While a great deal of glass pipe designs exist, there are five types that every smoker should consider having in their arsenal. Having each of these types in your toolbox will ensure that you’re ready for any situation that arises. Like they say in the Boy Scouts, “always be prepared”.
The 5 Types of Pipes you Need Include:
Spoon pipes (aptly named due to their shape)
While each model comes with its own distinct advantages, they all offer a unique smoking experience to the user, making having more than one type a distinct advantage.
Read on to learn more why each of these five made our list of “must have” glass pipes below…
Out of the five options we’re going to cover, this pipe is the by far the most complicated to use. But don’t let that scare you away from enjoying all that this setup has to offer.
The design consists of a tube with a bowl on one end. Each end of the pipe has an opening. The open end that is nearest to the bowl serves as a carburetor. Some types of steamrollers have an extra chamber that further cools smoke through a rolling action.
The steamroller is not recommended for new or inexperienced smokers. There’s a reason that it is called a “steamroller”. This pipe delivers a highly-concentrated and powerful hit that has been compared to taking a “dry hit” from a bong and can take users by surprise at the potency of each pull.
The basic shape of the chillum is that of a simple tube. Perfect for convenience and those “on the go”, chillums are compact and affordable.
The chillum harkens back to the early hollow reed pipes of Indigenous people. They are used by packing dry herb into one end, lighting the herb, then inhaling from the other end.
The small and discreet size of this pipe makes a difference in terms of temperature and volume of the hit. Hits are usually hotter, and while they can usually hold more herb than a “one-hitter”, the built-in bowl is still moderately small in size allowing only a limited amount of herb for each session.
Cross a glass pipe with a bong and what do you get? A bubbler! Sometimes called a glass water pipe, bubblers utilize water to filter smoke by diffusing it and creating tiny bubbles in the process.
The result of this process of “bubbling” is a smooth voluptuous smoke cloud packed with flavor and smoothed out by the water’s natural ability to filtrate impurities. Bubblers can be used with both cold and hot water. But beware that the water temperature you use will have an effect on both the flavor and volume of smoke.
Spoon pipes are the next in our roundup of must-have pipes. They are similar in both shape and construction to chillums, but with a few distinct differences. These handheld glass pipes usually have four key parts:
Spoon pipes, unlike chillums, have a carburetor to improve the efficiency and function of your pipe during use. When using a spoon pipe to smoke, simply cover the hole (carb) with your finger to draw air in through the bowl, then uncover the hole to inhale. Using this technique allows smoke to retain its full fresh flavor
Aptly named for their curves and hooked-shape stem, these pipes pay homage to the pipe used by the legendary fictional character, Sherlock Homes.
Having been inspired by the iconic pipes smoked by Sherlock Holmes, these pipes utilize a bowl for holding herb, located at the end of the stem. Heat is then applied for the bowl, causing smoke to travel up the stem.
A Sherlock pipe with a longer than average stem is commonly referred to as a Gandalf pipe, named after the fictional Lord of the Rings character created by author J. R. R. Tolkien. It’s also important to note that some of these pipes do utilize carburetors, while others do not.
This Pipe or That – the choice is yours
When choosing a glass pipe it’s important to research price, glass type, pipe style, and brand.
Glass pipes are commonly constructed from lab-quality glass that has been engineered to withstand high temperatures while standing up to a wide array of chemicals without affecting the quality of the glass.
Be on the lookout for pipe descriptions containing “scientific glass,” “lab quality,” and “borosilicate glass” in them, as these indicate a high-quality, safe and tested product.
Likewise, all brands are not created equal, so use care when shopping for the perfect pipe. At the end of the day, the best glass pipe will be one that is both beautiful to look at and safe to use, while giving you the best flavor with every session.
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