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Glass Rigs: Genders & Joint Sizes For Your Pipe

by Angel Ferrer 4 min read

Glass Rigs: Genders & Joint Sizes For Your Pipe

Joint Size and Genders Explained

It’s pretty often that we receive emails from confused buyers looking for a replacement bowl or a down stem. Joint sizes and genders vary, and knowing which one you need and that best fits your rig can mean the difference between being able to light up for a nice toke, and being frustrated that you have to send a part back to the store for a replacement.

Speaking of replacement parts for your rig, these are often classified by gender. We know that sounds a little funny, and it kind of is in a way, but knowing which is which can save you a lot of headache when purchasing a replacement bowl or banger

For example, when shopping online or in store, you’ll likely come across terms like ‘male’ and ‘female’ being used to describe various parts. And as if that wasn’t confusing enough, these “male” and “female” parts are available in a variety of sizes. When it comes to bongs, pipes and other smoking rigs, there isn’t a “one size fits all” option.

There’s nothing worse than buying a percolator or a bowl and discovering that it’s the wrong gender or the wrong size for what you need to light up.

This guide will help you to decode the various joint sizes and genders available for your smoking apparatus, so you’ll always have just what you need.

What is a Joint? 

No, we aren’t talking about the type of joint that’s rolled. 

On the contrary, a joint is a term used to describe the open socket that your replacement downstem or bowl will fit into. It can also be used to attach accessories to your bong.

Typically, there are two types of joints that are found in bongs. There’s glass-on-glass, in which case, the sizes come into play. And there’s another variety which uses a rubber grommet (usually found on plastic bongs). 

If it’s the latter, you are in luck. You can just walk into any head store and buy a replacement without bothering to check the size. But if it’s glass-on-glass, then the first thing that you need to be aware of is the gender. 

The Joint Gender

Believe it or not, your pipe’s joint has a gender. And if it's male, it will only pair with female attachments and vice-a-versa. If you accidentally buy same-gender attachments, then they won’t fit. 

The easiest way to find out the gender is to check whether the accessory needs to be placed ‘on’ the joint or ‘in’ it. If the accessory needs to be placed ‘on’ it or put ‘over’ the joint, then it’s is a male rig. Any accessory that you buy, including bowls, domes and adapters have to be female. 

Female joints usually have a wider mouth and accessories need to be inserted ‘in’ rather than ‘on’ it. 

That’s as good as an anatomy class right there. The male joints go into the females whereas the females will go on top of the males. Talk about the phallic nature of the design.

By the way, female joints are usually used in water pipes whereas hand pipes and dab rigs like these usually have male joints. 

Joint Sizes

Once you’ve successfully given your bong the equivalent of a physical in order to determine its gender, it’s time to figure out the size. Like we mentioned earlier, this only matters if you have a glass-on-glass styled bong without the rubber grommet. 

There are three commonly used joint sizes to be aware of:

10mm: Normally found on small pipes and rigs, these joints are also called Nano joints. These are the smallest of the lot and are pretty easy to distinguish from the other two. 

14mm: Small to medium-sized water pipes and bongs usually have a 14mm joint. These are slightly bigger than the 10mm ones and just a little smaller than a dime. So, the easiest way to determine if it’s a 14mm joint is to place a dime over it. The dime will be ever so slightly bigger than the joint hole. 

18mm:18mm joints are usually found on water pipes and large bongs. Once again, you can use the dime to determine the size. A dime will fit perfectly into an 18mm joint. 

Custom sizes:Some manufacturers offer custom-sized joints like 19.2mm. But these are extremely rare and if your rig has a custom-sized joint, then you’d have to reach out to the manufacturer to source a replacement, as most stores would only stock the commonly used sizes.

Joint Angles

The joints of your smoking apparatus will also be angled. There are two angles that are commonly used in smoking devices such as water pipes and bongs. These two angles are most commonly at either 45-degrees or 90-degrees. That’s self-explanatory. A 90-degree joint will be at a right angle to the pipe. A 45-degree one will be tilted. Read the description to know the joint angle before you make a purchase. 

Adapters:Adapters help convert the gender, the size and the angle of the joints. For example, you can use an adapter to convert an 18mm male joint into a 10mm female one or just about any other size. You can also change angles if need be. 

Closing thoughts

Despite seeming confusing at first, joints and genders are pretty easy to figure out once you know what to look for. We hope that this helps you find the right replacement parts and accessories for your rigs. As always, if you run into any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out. We’d love to help you make sure you get just what you need to enjoy your favorite herb. You can now choose the right size to fit the joint in your glass piece. Keep up with Hemper to get more tips to enjoy your glass!