Glass Hand Pipes: How to Find the Perfect Fit
Glass hand pipes have been a staple in the smoking industry since the very beginning. Their small size and compact design makes them portable and easy to use. We’ve taken the time to break down the 6 main types of pipes, their potential pros and cons, and basic cleaning methods. Use this guide to help decide which ones you’d like to add to your smoking collection.
Both beautiful and useful, glass hand pipes come in every shape and color imaginable. Some even change color as you use them. Because of the artistry put into their creation, and because there are countless styles to choose from, many smokers enjoy collecting different ones. Glass is a great material because it’s easy to clean and allows for the most eye-catching designs. The only downside of using glass for pipes is that they are extremely fragile. They can break if you accidentally drop them or bump them against something. If you plan on regularly taking your glass hand pipes on the go, consider getting a padded case to protect it.
6 Types of Pipes
Spoon pipe is just another name for hand pipe. They get their name from their spoon-like shape. They traditionally have a bowl, carb, and mouthpiece. Because they’re small, they’re perfect for smoking on the go. They’re simple to use and will fit in your pocket or purse easily.
You might recognize this style of pipe for its namesake, Sherlock Holmes, the famous detective. A unique shape, Sherlock pipes feature an extended tube that usually curves down and away, putting the bowl lower and farther away from the mouthpiece. This keeps the flame away from your face and can help prevent you from accidentally singeing your skin or hair. Since they are not as small as spoon pipes, they’re harder to travel with and are best for home use.
One hitters a.k.a. chillums
If you’re always on the go, the best type of smoking pipe is a one hitter, also known as a chillum. These hand pipes are extremely effective and typically consist of a mouthpiece, a straight tube, and a personal-sized bowl. Shaped like a cigar, they are the simplest of the hand pipes. But because of this simplicity, they don’t have a carb so the smoke is sometimes harder to clear. They also only hold a small amount of tobacco and are the most similar to using something rolled but without the taste of rolling paper. If you’re the type who loves to go out to events and fests, a one-hitter (chillum) is essential.
A recent surge in popularity has put glass twist pipes back on the map. They’re straight glass tubes with a metal twist inside. You light the end and then as you smoke, twist the spiraling metal to push the ash out of the pipe. Like a chillum, it’s similar to smoking something rolled but without the taste of rolling paper.
Steamrollers are designed for more experienced smokers because the smoke tends to be harsher. They consist of a straight tube with a mouthpiece on one end, a bowl somewhere along the tube, and one end that’s open. The open end opposite the mouthpiece acts as the carb so you can clear the smoke from the chamber quickly.
Another extremely popular type of hand pipe are bubblers. They’re compact and portable but with the added benefit of water filtration. They have a downstem to lead the smoke into water for it to be cooled before inhaling. They typically feature a mouthpiece, water chamber, carb, and bowl. Because you can fill them with water to filter the smoke, smokers love them for their ease on the lungs and throat. Unfortunately, filling them with water makes them slightly less suitable for travel. But if you do choose to travel with one, they double as a regular dry hand pipe if you skip the water.
How to clean your pipe
Keep your pipe clean for the best smoking experience possible. If you don’t clean them periodically, tar and resin build up and this can effect the taste of the smoke. If gunk builds up a lot, it can even inhibit airflow through the pipe. It’s also much easier to clean a lightly used pipe than it is one with heavy deposits of tar and resin.
- Boiling method: The first way to clean a pipe is the boiling method. Submerge your pipe in a large of water and bring to a boil. Let it boil till most of the resin is removed, then turn off the heat and let it sit in the water until it’s cool enough to handle. The boiling method allows resin to be removed from places you can’t reach with a brush or pipe cleaner. Never drop a glass pipe directly into boiling water as the temperature change may crack or break the glass.
- Alcohol Method: The second way to clean a pipe is to soak it in 91% or higher isopropyl alcohol. Mix two parts alcohol with one part salt and pour into a plastic bag with the pipe. Then shake it back and forth to clean. The alcohol soaks off the resin and the salt acts an abrasive to help loosen buildup that’s really stuck. You can also use a cotton swab to wipe away the most stubborn buildup after it’s been soaking.
In conclusion, the benefits of glass hand pipes are many: portability, ease of use, and sheer variety of shapes and colors. Spoon pipes are the classic winner if you’re looking for the best all-around smoking experience. The most portable are chillums/one-hitters. Perhaps the coolest looking, Sherlock pipes come in first for style. And finally for the smoothest hit, bubblers with water filtration are victorious.
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