Start Your Bong Hunt
Below each major category, there is a connoisseur’s list denoting suggested collections
for that category. The list provides a quick reference for a well-rounded glass pipe collection. Each collection is 5 selected pieces that represent its’ category.
Type of Bong Material: This can be anything from glass, plastic, acrylic, ceramic
wooden, bamboo or metal.
Materials Pros & Cons
Glass: Glass is just the best material to smoke through, with the exception of
bamboo with a glass bowl.
The cons are the breakability of glass bongs, but if you buy a bong of average
size, not too long, that’s borosilicate glass of good thickness, then it will be strong
for a long time and you won’t have any problems with it.
Bamboo: If you get one of these your not likely to break it by normal wear and tear. Bamboo is a very tough material and works well for bongs, with a glass bowl.
The cons are these are a little more expensive than glass, harder to find in
stores, and sometimes harder to clean than a glass bong.
Ceramic: These bongs are harder to clean though and will break fairly easily if
dropped.These types of bongs are usually identifiable by colorful shapes, dragons
skulls, and other vivid designs. These are not as sturdy as glass or bamboo
but do work well.
Acrylic: Some people say they taste different to smoke through than glass or ceramic.
These can be tough to clean depending on how they’re shaped.These look like colored plastic but are much tougher. They smoke well and are tough to break.
Wooden: Most of these are bamboo as other woods don’t do well with water. But depending on the type of wood, it can make for a good wood flavor in the smoke.
Not a good material for a water bong and difficult to clean.
Plastic: Although these are less common and especially in any respectable glass pipe shop, with the exception of a few types – but it should be an exceptional product as any normal bong made of plastic is hard to justify.
As with any material, there are some decent types of bongs and pipes that use
plastic though, the gas mask, for instance, is mostly plastic. Hard to smoke consistently through a gas mask in general, not the everyday use type of pipe / bong.
Metal: Some of these can be ok if they’re genuine. Anodized bongs and pipes and
titanium are of good to excellent quality. I would recommend attachments or
otherwise fitted and coupled glass bowls for burning in.
Metal pipes should be shied away from in general if you can help it. Picking
one up for the weekend ski trip or camping, as a last resort is one thing and
is still better than resorting to a tin can pipe. The tin can homemade pipe should
be left where it belongs, in the past. Smoking through aluminum and paint.
As mentioned earlier, the bowl type is an important point to watch for when buying a bong any other type of pipe for that matter.
Rarely you will find a bong where the bowl is attached. If you do come across such a bong probably pass on it unless they’re giving it away.
With any type of bong the bowl will be replaceable as this is a standard replacement item. But a good solid glass slide bowl should last you quite awhile depending on usage.
Sometimes this is a good barter tool, especially if the bong is an expensive type then maybe the artist will though in some extra bowl slides as part of the deal. Bowls can go from anywhere around $15 to $75 or more depending on artist, bowl type, level of customization etc.
Rather try for standard everyday bowl slides. This way adding $15 or more value to your
Ashcatchers – This can come as part of the overall bong piece but more often are sold
separately as attachments that you can add to the bong which catches more ash and debre before it enters into the main bong stem.
In-Line Recyclers – These can be added just after bowl and possibly an ash catcher, then
water cycles through these multiple times, further diffusing smoke through water and cooling before smoke enters into main bong stem.
Coil Condenser Recyclers – These are another type of recycler with a coiled glass flow tube inside glass encasing.
Skull and Dome Recyclers – These are recyclers that are artistically represented as domes skulls, mushrooms, aliens and many more types of designs and styles.
Percolator Attachments – Percolators come in many different types, sizes, and designs.
Single and multiple perc systems with various amounts of perc ability through diffusion
holes. Perc attachments can also be highly designed and colored.
Electric Nails – These are used for cannabis extract dab rigs for vaping concentrates
at adjustable temperatures. By vaping the concentrate and various temperatures the
Entourage effect engages, and far more terpenes, flavonoids, and other cannabinoid
compounds can be released into the vaper; this is achieved by not burning the extract
or flower at high the temperatures of combustion.
Hard Case – If the bong you end up choosing is on the larger side then it may be a
good idea to invest in a hard case. The larger the bong the more likely it will get broke.
If the bong is on the more expensive side then a case may come with it and or sometimes
the artist will throw in a case to sweeten the deal if he thinks your apt to buy if he does.
- One gravity bong – For the hard days.One bamboo bong – Little more expensive but will last a lifetime. Nearly.
- One gas mask bong – A must have.
- Two medium sized beaker style glass bongs – These are pretty standard and not usually too expensive so it’s a good idea to have one as a clean backup.
- One medium sized straight stem glass bong – Good everyday bong.
- One gravity bong – For the hard days.
Here is a great selection of glass bongs from American glass blowing artists.
Glass Spoon Pipes
Type of Spoon Pipe Material: These can also be of many of the same materials as listed for bongs with the exception of plastic. I haven’t seen too many plastic hand pipes, but I have seen spoon pipes made out of candy though.
The pros and cons for these pipes is the same as the bong mainly as far as material is concerned in general, except I haven’t seen too many bamboo spoon pipes if any. Have seen stone, onyx, and shell pipes though but these are not usually standard in a glass pipe store you’d find around town.
The Essential Everyday Pipe
If you smoke more than once or twice a year then a good glass spoon pipe is a useful item to have. It also works great as an everyday pipe, although smoking every day out of a short pipe may welcome a break on the lungs by using a water bong a few days a week in tradeoff.
Using a glass pipe to smoke daily can get costly if your prone to dropping it on hard
floors or concrete. Everyday use and a break weekly can run up your glass pipe bill
and you may consider a titanium pipe with a glass inside bowl as an alternative.
Thick American-made Borosilicate | Un-breakables
Generally, you’ll want to shop artist direct for a thick borosilicate glass spoon pipe. Get
one from an established artist who is stationary and not touring through for shows. If you have a problem with your pipe for some reason shortly after buying it then the artist is more likely to work with you, fix it, replace it, or give you a discount. If you bought from a touring artist he’ll have most likely moved on by then. Not that artist shows have a bunch of artists putting out bad work, just an inconvenience is all.
A local artist will always want to protect their reputation for a quality product.
Unbreakable glass pipes are usually factory made, squarish design, thick annealed
glass for the purpose of being extra difficult to crack, or break. These are a good alternative to hold you off until you find a good glass spoon pipe.
It’s a Process not an Endgame
Anyone who has smoked anything though a glass pipe on a regular basis knows that
no glass pipe is forever. Instead of the mindset that your buying you last pipe, know that
you’ll buying more as time goes on.
Time between buying glass pipes can be augmented by buying both a nice glass spoon pipe and then also an unbreakable. Split use time between the two and get more life out of your more breakable spoon pipe.
- Three glass blunts – One large, one small, and one twisty.
- Two unbreakable glass pipes – One for daily, one for backup.
- Two or more hand blown glass spoon pipes – Standard practice.
- One sturdy Sherlock glass pipe – These work well for cooling the smoke.
- One glow in the dark glass spoon pipe – In case you can’t find the rest.
Here is a great selection of glass spoon pipes from American glass artists.
Dab | Vape Pipes
Type of dab rigs material: These are almost always borosilicate glass with the
exception of personal vape pens and mods.
The pros – There are many positive benefits for using a dab rig. Lung health
for vaping instead of inhaling smoke from burning leaf material. Another
benefit would be usually smoke less often as concentrates take far less to
achieve the same effect as flower. But many say dabbing has a unique feel
to it compared to just smoking flower.
The cons – Dabbing can be a little harsh on the smokers throat and lungs
when first dabbing. This can be negated by using ice in the dab bong, and
by using recycler attachments to further cool the vapor smoke.
Dab Nails Reviewed
Borosilicate Glass Nails: Boro is a tough glass and doesn’t hold heat very well. These
types of nails are the least expensive around $5 and therefore abundant and not expensive if you’re on a tight budget.
Ceramic Nails: These nails hold heat a little better than glass but still not very well. These also like glass are breakable, and pretty easily after being super heated a few times. These are about the same price as boro nails.
Quartz Nails: These are again a step up from both boro and ceramic nails and hold heat
a little better overall, but still doesn’t hold heat the best of all listed here. These are around the same price as glass and ceramic maybe slighly more depending on where purchased.
Titanium Nails: Titanium is the preferred medium when it comes to dabbing. It heats up
quickly and retains heat better than any other nails on the market. These are also more
expensive ( $65 – $100 plus ) for the nail. Titanium nails also are nearly indestructible
which makes them an immediate benefit over all other far more breakable nails. The one main problem with titanium nails is the risk for overheating the concentrate. They can easily get hotter than you need and then you end up burning the dab, effectively elliminating all the benefits of terpenes, terpenoids, and other cannabinoids which need to be obtained at lower heats.
Electric Titanium Nails: Enter the electric titanium nail. This is the king of all nail
set-ups. With an e-nail you can do things no other nail could accomplish, and that
specifically is temperature adjustment.
With temp control you can adjust for the very specific temperatures at which different
compounds evaporate. Thus drastically improving your cannabinoid spread. This gives
you all the control in the world so to speak. The difference between burning your product at whatever temperature and often burning the product altogether and adjusting it down with the e-nail, enhancing flavor and medicinal effects greatly. Here is an excellent chart of cannabis trichomes and temperatures defined.
Domed and Domeless Nails: All other nails besides titanium need to be domed to cap in the vapor smoke rolling off the nail. With titanium nails some types have holes at the top that pull the vapor smoke down. Titanium holed domeless nails actually pull vapor better than most all other setups.
Carb Caps: These have a long handle and a cap. Titanium carb caps help to cool down your product if the nail was too hot and or also to cap off any extra if you run out of lung capacity so that all your product isn’t wasted. These are good to have if you don’t have an e-nail, but work well with e-nails too.
- Five nails – 1 glass, 1 ceramic, 1 quartz, 1 regular titanium, 1 electric titanium, nails. This way you can figure out which you like the best while also getting the e-nail which is ultimately best.
- One full recycler dab rig – Recycler dab rigs are excellent for diffusing and cooling the smoke.This all around daily use dab rig should be medium in size to minimize possible breakage.
- One dab bong – Regular dab rig bong with medium length stem for crushed ice or other items such as chopped mango mixed with water and a shot of cinnamon whiskey.
- One portable dry herb vape – These are advancing in technology to the point of actually working quite well. Vape on the go!
- One portable concentrates and waxes vape – These are also advancing nicely and there are some great portable concentrates vape pens available now. Great for camping or hiking.
Here is a great selection of glass dab rigs from American glass artists.
And a selection of reviewed dry herb and concentrate vape pens.
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