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Glass pipes – the marriage of elegant form and sophisticated function

Glass pipes are used to smoke cannabis or tobacco; or even as decoration pieces- thanks to their elegant designs. The rise in their popularity can be attributed mainly because they are beautiful without sacrificing their functionality. Furthermore, each pipe is so unique that there’s always a certain personal touch for those who own them. This is in large part due to them being created by artisans instead of just being manufactured. Alternatively, one could also design his / her glass bongs pipe and let a glass blower execute it. Whatever the choice, it is certain that glass pipes appeal greatly to those who value customizability and personalization.

You don’t buy glass pipes just for their appearance, however (although given how pretty they look, we couldn’t blame you). They also get the job done. The tar, resin and smoke flavor does not latch on to a glass bongs pipe the way it does in wooden ones, so the smoke always feels fresher in glass pipes.

Imagine just getting home from work after a long day, collapsing on the couch and blazing away using your glass pipe. It truly is a relaxing thought.

A lot of choices without being overwhelming

Given that glass pipes thrive on individuality, it’s natural for one to ask: “where do I start?” in choosing a new glass pipe. Thankfully, there are so many pipe designs to choose from that it’s easy to find one that suits your taste and needs. To provide some sort of starting platform however, we’ve detailed below the types of glass bongs pipes to help you get started.

Chillums

Isn’t there something in that name that just makes you want to relax? Chillums, also called hand glass pipes, are glass pipes with the most basic shape available. They are small and could easily pass as test tubes at first glance. To use one, just pack the herb into the end, ignite, then inhale. Note though that this simplicity comes with a lack of a carburetor, which helps clear the smoke by allowing additional air to be sucked in. Hence, chillums are great only for small amounts of herb.

Spoon

Spoon pipes accessories are chillums but fitted with carburetors, which are essentially just small holes that you cover with your finger when smoking to flush out smoke before it becomes stale. Because of this feature, there is a general consensus that glass bongs pipes with carburetors provide the fresh smoke most of the time.

Steamrollers

Steamrollers are glass pipes with two open ends. One end has a bowl with a mouthpiece which “rolls” the smoke for you. With a more complicated design mechanism, steamrollers are generally not recommended for beginners. They also take some time getting used to, with the first puffs resulting in hot and harsh smoke. With enough practice however, steamrollers can become excellent choices for smokers.

Sherlock glass pipes

Named after the iconic literary figure, these look exactly what you would imagine a pipe would look like. This classic pipe has an arching stem with a mouthpiece on one end and a bowl on the other. And is used much like a chillum. There is also the Gandalf pipe, which is similar to the Sherlock pipe but has a much longer stem. Sherlock and Gandalf glass pipes may or may not be fitted with a carburetor.

Bubblers

Bubblers – All of the glass pipes talked about so far have pretty sleek designs and functionality, but they have one similar drawback- the smoke produced from them are unfiltered. Unfiltered smoke contains tar and resin which gives it a strong and sometimes harsh taste. For those who’d like to avoid this issue, bubblers are the perfect solution.

In bubblers, the smoke is filtered out through the use of bubblers glass pipes, meaning that the smoke is actually diffused through water before it is inhaled. This causes the smoke to feel and taste “smoother”. Cold water is generally used as the diffuser, but some prefer to use hot water since it adds water vapor to the smoke which opens up air passage in the lungs during inhalation. On the other end, cold water cools the smoke resulting in a fresher, punchier, and crisper taste.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you could also follow the examples of some users and use ice. This results in a much colder and denser smoke than usual. Keep in mind that you have to use a special type of ice-catcher bubblers if you want to try this out.

“The glass is always cleaner!”

Glass pipes are definitely easier to clean than wood or clay ones, but you have to do so regularly to retain that fresh smoke. Tar and resin is a lot easier to clean in small amounts, so it is recommended that you do not let them buildup in your pipe.

There are two common ways to clean glass pipes: using boiling water or through artificial cleaners.

Boiling method

This method lets the extremely hot temperature of the water remove tar and resin from your glass pipe. Start by putting water in a pot, then completely submerging the pipe under the water. You may need to constantly twist and rock it so the water enters all those small nooks and crannies (especially for more elaborately designed glass pipes). Remember to put the pipe in normal temperature water first! Dropping it into already boiling water will cause massive thermal shock which may damage the pipe. Bring the water to a boil using medium heat. After boiling, turn off the heat and wait 10 to 15 minutes to allow the pipe to cool down. Use tongs to rock the pipe back and forth underwater to ensure that all that gunk is removed. Throw away all that hot and dirty water and replace it with warm water. Add some dish soap and just gently scrub your pipe with a brush or pipe cleaner until you are satisfied.

Artificial cleaners

You could also clean your glass pipes using alcohol, which is the recommended solution, or other commercial pipe cleaning products. Use alcohol with higher than 91 percent concentration for this. To start, prepare a mixture in a plastic bag with alcohol and a bit of salt. Put in the pipe and then shake vigorously, while making sure that the pipe is secure inside. Rinse with water after this and most of the resin will have been removed using the alcohol-salt solution.

I’m convinced! So how much do I have to spend?

Basic glass pipes usually cost $10 – $25 including Free shipping in terms of buying online. For this amount, you’ll get a smoking device which you’ll use for a long time, provided you take care of it well. For enthusiasts and collectors, you could shell out upwards of $100 for some uniquely artistic glass pipes. No matter how much you spend though, a glass pipe is the perfect way to relax after a hectic day or on a lazy afternoon away.