The sheer number of methods to consume cannabis can be daunting. So, you’ve boiled it down to wanting to smoke cannabis flower for your means of consumption, but there are still more decisions to be made going forward with your journey.
How do you plan to smoke your cannabis? What will you smoke it out of? You still have to decide whether or not you want to take the time to learn to roll joints or blunts and smoke those, if you’d rather use a vaporizer, or if you’re going to smoke your flowers out of a pipe or bong. The subcategories within other decisions can feel like a complex root system of your favorite strain.
If you have decided that using a pipe is your best bet or have a general curiosity about the wide variety of pipes that can be used to smoke your favorite strains, then look no further; this article is for you.
What is a Pipe?
Pipes have been around as a smoking method for centuries. A typical pipe used for cannabis consumption has a mouthpiece, bowl, and carburetor commonly referred to as the carb. Pipes have been made out of various materials, including an apple for those desperate and out of options times. However, in our gained wisdom over the years, we have come to prefer and recommend pipes made from glass.
Hand Pipe vs. Water Pipe
Hand pipes or dry pipes typically differ from their water pipe, bubbler, and bong counterparts in two significant ways. The first is that hand pipes usually don’t use water to percolate the cannabis smoke. This adds another level of convenience due to not having to worry about filling the piece with water or spilling it during use. The second difference is that hand pipes are typically smaller than water pipes, excluding the novelty pieces available.
Types of Pipes
As you’ve probably guessed, there are several different types of pipes to choose from when it comes to deciding which one is best for you and your needs. There will be some slight differences in how different styles of pipes function, their shape and size, as well as the way that the aesthetics of each pipe can vary. Below are some of the styles that we’ve come to love and can now recommend to others looking into their next glass purchase.
Chillums & One Hitters
Chillums and one-hitters are more often than not going to be the smallest type of pipe you’ll be able to find at your local smoke shop easily. As the name suggests, “one-hitters” and chillums are typically designed for smaller bowls that amount to a few or “one” hits. These are great for their convenience factor, as they are easy to use and can often be packed by simply stuffing a small nug of weed into the bowl end.
One of the more common styles of pipes available is the spoon. These pipes have a shape that somewhat resembles, you guessed it, a spoon! These dry pipes are also straightforward to use and operate in a pinch. They have a bowl and carb typically located on the side of the pipe to clear any remaining smoke from the chamber.
The Sherlock pipe is a classic design. Named after the famed Sherlock Holmes, this pipe can be found in dry and bubbler variants. These are perfect for anyone looking to class up their smoke session with the stylings of Holmes or Gandalf himself. Functionally these pipes work great and operate very similar to a spoon pipe. Sherlock pipes can be more intricate in their art and design than an average one-hitter or spoon pipe.
Briar or Hammer Pipe
Briar or hammer pipes are similar to the Sherlock as they are typically a step up in size and design from the classic spoon or one-hitter. These dry pipes set themselves apart by the way their bowls are shaped. A briar pipe’s bowl typically extends upwards, placing it above the mouth of the pipe. Whereas a hammer pipe has a section that extends from below the bowl, creating a place for ash to collect below the level of the mouthpiece. These pipes are great for someone looking for something different but still want a convenient quality piece to smoke.
Monsoon pipes are something special. They take the spoon pipe’s classic and familiar form factor and add the benefit of water percolation, smoothing out your hit even further. This water function is unique because it is a spill-proof design, so you won’t have to worry about sacrificing portability for quality of life. The Monsoon pipe is an excellent choice for someone who loves the portability and ease of use from a spoon pipe but would like the bonus of percolation.
This variant of dry pipe is unique in that the inner glass wall has directional cutouts causing the inhaled smoke to vortex within the pipe as you take your hit. The forced airflow helps filter the smoke without water and tends to smooth out the heat of your rip. Typhoon pipes’ airflow system is a fantastic choice for someone who doesn’t want to worry about changing the water in their bubbler and bong to avoid growing mold. These convenient alternatives aim to make the compromise between filtration and easy care.
Steamrollers’ namesake is a metaphor for their function. A straight tubed dry pipe with a carb located at the very end of the piece, on the same plane as the mouthpiece, steamrollers use the force of airflow from a single direction to shoot the hit deep into your lungs. These pipes are easy to clear due to the straight airflow from the carb to the mouthpiece of the piece. Steamrollers are great for someone looking to mix up their smoking experience as these little pipes can pack a punch.
Bubblers are water pipes that use percolation to filter your smoke for a smoother and cooler hit. They are smaller than your average bong and can be kept in drawers or smaller cupboards. The more diminutive stature of the bubbler compared to a bong is convenient because it allows the piece to retain some portability and more concealment options. These are great for someone looking to avoid the larger bong size but still desire water-filtered hits of their favorite strain.
Which Pipe is Best for Me?
Determining what pipe is best for you comes down to preference. It’s best to ask yourself what you want from your pipe. What features matter most to you, and what kind of smoking experience are you looking for with this particular pipe purchase. Consider portability, design, color, function, price, and convenience, prioritizing each in relation to the group. Once you’ve gathered what features matter, look back to the descriptions of the options you have to choose from, which style of pipe checks most or all of your boxes. If you want ultra-portability, ease of use, and convenience, you’d most likely want a one-hitter or spoon. Looking for some more filtration? Then consider your water percolated options. No matter your decision, you should be confident in choosing something that fits your style.