Your Guide to the Types of Glass PipesKen Kulow
Glass pipes are just one of the variations of pipes used for smoking. Besides glass, you can also find smoking pipes made out of metal, ceramic, corn cob, or wood. Though there are a variety of materials used, smokers often prefer glass pipes because they allow the smoker to enjoy the different flavors available from all of the different strains of leaves.
With glass pipes, you also have the option of dry or water filtration (or both) and far more options for unique, personalized design pipes. Additionally, glass pipes made in the USA offer durable construction and less chance of toxicity from questionable raw materials used in China.
Consumers will find several types of pipes that are most frequently available, with a specific set of benefits and drawbacks.
Types of Hand Pipes
Chillums / One Hitters / Cigarette Holders
Ace of Spades Glass Chillum Pipe #37These are the most basic types of glass pipes. They are easy to spot because they just look like a glass tube. Smokers pack material into the end of the pipe and light it up. While the simple design makes them easy to use and carry for on-the-go smokers, this style of pipes doesn’t have a carburetor and is generally limited to smaller amounts of herb to pack in the bowl.
Pros: Smaller bowl for smaller amounts of herb on the go, easily carried and conealable.
Cons: No carb hole makes for not as fulfilling of hits, less powerful hits. Small bowl can be a detriment sometimes if you want to smoke more.
Ashcatcher Glass Pipe #80Spoon pipes are probably the most popular hand pipes. They are more advanced than simple chillums because they typically feature a carb, which offers better control of your smoking experience by adding ambient air to your smoke which affects the density of the smoke/air mixture.
These pipes tend to be small enough to be hand-held, with the look of a tapered “spoon” you might use for eating. Because of the size, it’s easy to use for smoking. You just pack the bowl with the herb blend or tobacco and you are good to go. The Glass Spoon pipe comes in many colors and designs.
Pros: Easier to hold and use due to size, fits more in the bowl and sits down easily due to a flat spot on the bottom, carb hole helps push the smoke deeper into the lungs.
Cons: Breakable, can get clogged fairly easily.
A Sherlock pipe is so named from Doyle’s literary character of the same name. It features a larger bowl and a long arching stem. Depending on the design, the design often includes a third hole for cleaning and air-flow control. The smoke is dry filtered because ash from the bowl is heavier than air and will hit the side of the glass near the bend and stick inside the pipe.
Pros: Longer stem helps filter ash out of the smoke before it reaches your mouth. More convenient long shape keeps the burning plant material away from your face. Sometimes a carb hole for better hits/easier cleaning.
Cons: Longer neck means the piece will be more breakable, since the glass is stretched and not as thick and compact. Not as compact and portable as a spoon or a chillum/one hitter.
Briar or Hammer Pipes
Glenns Briar Glass Pipe #143Similar to the Sherlock as a dry filtered alternative to a Spoon Pipe, the end of the Briar pipe is turned up or down before the bowl is made. There are wide ranges of this type of pipe: Brigadoon, Calabash, Pear and Apple are just a few of the pipes in this shape.
Pros: Hammer section helps trap ash before it gets to your mouth, usually a more artistic piece with more work involved. Sits well due to the hammer shape.
Cons: Larger piece may make it harder to clean, especially after long use.
This water-filtered pipe is a bong you can take along. While similar in shape to a Spoon, it carries water for filtration and is designed to be spill-proof. It is a documented fact that water filtration significantly reduces carcinogen content (combustion toxins like carbon monoxide are water-soluble), free radical content (oxidants) and ash/solid content. This glass pipe passes your smoke through water to be filtered, but the placement of the holes prevents spillage.
Pros: Water filtration on a pipe, all the benefits of a hand pipe, but with water filtration for a smoother cleaner hit.
Cons: Since it contains water, you’ll want to be careful where it sits when stored between uses. And the water and pieces will need to be cleaned more often.
The Typhoon pipe is a dry pipe that offers dry filtering through the use of air directors on the side of the glass pipe that creates an airflow vortex, which spins heavier than air solids against the relatively cool inside surface of the glass where it sticks and stays inside the pipe until you clean it.
The added air also supports a cooler smoking experience and an enjoyable smoke show inside the filtration chambers. Chameleon also offers pipe designs that have color-changing glass as a feature to augment softer and smoother smoking experience.
Pros: Creates a kind of air venturi effect, that spins the smoke and helps filter particulate out of the smoke before inhalation. Looks very cool as well.
Cons: Extra air can mean you don’t get as big of a hit on every pull.
The steamroller pipe is a newer style of a pipe created primarily from the necessity of utilizing the neck of bongs that did not make it off the lather machine. The basin is cut off the bong leaving the two ends open and a bowl is sunk near the cutoff end.
The end furthest away is the mouthpiece and the user covers the other end (giant carb) with their open hand. It is not a traditional carburetor though; it does not mix the smoke with ambient air.
Due to the size of the hole, the rush of air pressure actually clears the pipe quickly without mixing the air and smoke, leading some users to refer to it as a Zoom instead of a Carb.
It’s designed for more advanced or experienced smokers due to the density and speed of the inhaled smoke. While this glass pipe is shaped like a chillum pipe, the volume of smoke from the larger capacity tube can give you a harder hit.
Pros: Steamrollers can provide bigger hits, faster, due to the large chamber and easy clear from the back carb or zoom hole. Also very easy to keep clean as it is just a glass tube with holes, with no percs or chambers to worry about.
Cons: Harder to take more moderate hits from a Steamroller, bowl sizes are generally large and so is the carb.
Bubblers are glass water pipes that are made smaller for cupboards and shelves where Bongs don’t fit. It’s usually considered to be a cross or hybrid model between a glass pipe and the bong. It’s still small enough to be used as a regular pipe, but it uses water, like a bong.
Pros: More portable than a bong but still gives a nice water filtered hit. Makes a pleasant gurgling sound when pulling
Cons: Water means the piece will need to be cleaned more often, and you will have to be careful not to spill the water out of the bubbler when passing it around.
Choosing the Best Glass Pipe
With such a wide range of options, you may find that you will want to explore the unique features of every type of glass pipe to find out your preferred experience. These pipes are hand blown by trained artisans to produce the desired color and shape desired by the consumer. And if you have just started out with pipes, you may probably be overwhelmed by all of the options. But at the same time, you may be wondering which one to choose. Don’t worry — we got you. Here’s The Beginner’s Guide to the Best Glass Pipes to help you out. Depending on the design and intended functionality of the glass pipe, you will have a dramatically different experience.