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How to Choose a Weed Pipe
Venturing into the wide world of pipes for the first time?
Or maybe you’re looking to expand your collection.
Or maybe…you broke your favorite piece and you’re looking for a suitable replacement. (Our condolences.)
Whyever you’re here, use this guide to narrow down the choices so you can find the perfect piece to bring you to high heaven.
Consider the Type of Weed Pipe: Wet vs. Dry?
First thing’s first: do you want water filtration?
When you pull smoke through water, it can help to filter and cool the smoke so it’s less harsh on your lungs. But both wet and dry pipes have their benefits, as we’ll see.
For dry smoking, you’ll be looking for a hand pipe. These pipes are usually small, so they’re great to travel with. They’re also the simplest pipes out there, with no removable bowls or complex parts. For their portability and ease of use, hand pipes definitely should have a place in your collection.
There are tons of types of hand pipes. A taster is a tiny tube with just enough space on the end for a hit or two. These sometimes come as part of a dugout, a handy carrying case that can hold a bit of flower as well as the taster.
A spoon is another popular style, with a round, bulbous bowl on the end. They’re simple to use and their slightly chunky shape makes them easy to hold. Cover the carb on one side of the bowl to collect smoke inside the pipe while lighting the flower. Then release the carb and inhale for a quick hit.
The chillum is shaped a bit like a cigar—straight and cylindrical. Chillums don’t have a carb, so you pull the smoke straight from the bowl into the mouthpiece. This method can be a bit harsher. But it’s also super efficient, since there’s less opportunity for that precious smoke to waft away.
The sherlock shape is a classic—think Sherlock Holmes puffing away on a pipe with a long, swoopy neck. That swoopy neck gives smoke a longer road to travel before it reaches your mouth, which can help it to cool down. Plus, sherlocks often have big bowls so you can pack them with plenty of herb. Great for passing around the party.
If you want that cool water filtration action, you’ll want a water pipe. These are a bit more complex than hand pipes, and usually less portable. But they’re also more customizable. You can swap out the bowl for one you like better, and some can even double as dab rigs if you add a banger.
Smaller water pipes are usually called bubblers. Their size means you may need to hold these in the palm of one hand while lighting the herb and pulling the bowl with the other. It takes a little practice to get the motion just right, but…it’s fun practice.
Larger water pipes are called bongs. These can get real big, and some have a whole assortment of chambers and percs. Bongs will often rest on the table in front of you while you smoke them. So while you may get a major rip, the mechanics of the operation can actually be a little easier than the bubbler.
What’s Your Smoker Style?
Once you know what type of weed pipe you want, let’s get into the vibe. Spend five minutes searching for pipes and you’ll find that there is a lot of variety out there. So think about the style you’re after.
Do you want something simple and stylish? Some brands are all about sleek design. Look for a piece in a solid color or in clear borosilicate to keep it minimal and chic. Check out the Spherical Pocket Bubbler by GRAV with clean lines and crystal clear glass.
Are you super into modern tech? Some pieces can get downright space-age, like the Prometheus Dreamroller by Pyptek. This piece has an anodized aluminum exoskeleton and a spring-loaded carb.
And if you’re into kitsch, you can find that too. Pipes can be hella creative, like this Beehive Spoon Pipe by Empire Glassworks with honeycomb and buzzing bees. There are also plenty of old-school headshop styles, with psychedelic colors and swirling patterns.
Types of Weed Pipe Material
There’s a wide world of pipes out there, from water jug gravity bongs and potato pipes to high-end glass. We’ll skip the homemade options and just talk about some of the more common commercial pipes.
Borosilicate is a type of heat-resistant glass, and the most popular pipe material out there. It’s versatile, durable, and imparts no flavor to your flower. So all you taste is herb. While borosilicate is stronger than regular glass, it is still glass. Treat it kindly.
Silicone pipes are close to unbreakable. When choosing yours, make sure it’s made with food-grade silicone, which can stand up to heat and won’t leach chemicals into your smoke. These often have an embedded bowl made of borosilicate, so you’re not applying flame directly to the silicone. These pieces, like the Silicone One Hitter by Eyce, are awesome for camping, hiking, and any other activity that could use herbal enhancement.
For a super classy look, it’s hard to beat wood. Some wood pieces have metal inserts at the bowl end to prevent scorching the wood. These pieces can be tough to clean, since solvents strong enough to break up resin can also damage wood.
As long as they’re made out of a safe metal (like brass or titanium), metal can be a good smoking medium as well. Since these pieces don’t have to be carved like wood or blown like glass, they can be made at a small scale. The trick is to hold them carefully so your fingers don’t get burned. Some pieces mix metal with other material that doesn’t conduct heat as much.
Ceramic weed pipes can be beautiful works of art. And like borosilicate, ceramic doesn’t leave any flavor behind when you use it to smoke. Ceramic bongs are “thrown” on a pottery wheel and shaped by hand. As a result, these pieces are usually fairly simple.
Let’s Talk Numbers: How Much is a Weed Pipe?
Unfortunately, we don’t all have an unlimited pipe budget. Such a bummer. So cost can be a factor.
In general, tasters and hand pipes will be more affordable than bubblers, which are often more affordable than larger bongs. And you can spend as much as you choose, with pieces ranging from $10 into the thousands.
While prices vary, you can generally find pipes in these ranges:
- Hand pipes: $10 - $40
- Bubblers: $40 - $200
- Bongs: $70 - $600 (and up)