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Buyer’s guide to weed pipes

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Source: Marijuana Moment

It wasn’t long ago that buying a pipe for smoking weed was a pretty narrow and nerve-wracking experience. You’d find a local head shop, either through word of mouth, visual cues like tie-dye curtains and dancing Grateful Dead bears, or coded descriptions like “Tobacco & Gift Shop,” and once you located your retailer of choice, you’d avoid words like “bong,” “weed,” and certainly “marijuana”—language choices that could immediately shut down a sale for fear of police scrutiny. 

Remember, it was only 2003 when Tommy Chong went to prison for selling bongs as bongs. In the same year, I, personally, was kicked out of high school for blowing glass chillums and spoons. It’s no wonder people were nervous about pre-legalization pipe transactions.

And yet, this barely-gone world is hard to imagine today, with glassblowers, retailers, and collectors who openly sell their wares on Instagram and Etsy, using hashtags that very much announce their purpose and intention with pride. Legal or not, the world has changed.

With all the artist-made and mass-produced weed-smoking tools out there today, it’s hard to make a choice. We’re no longer captives of local head shops; there’s a global marketplace, and buyers have never enjoyed so many options. 

Which is why we took a deep dive into today’s weed pipe scene and assembled this buyer’s guide, spanning individual artists, specialized American brands, and mass-produced imports. There’s a pipe for everyone, so if you don’t find something you love on this list, we encourage you to research styles, brands, and signature techniques, and venture out to find your own glass slipper.

Spoons

7” Helix Classic Hand Pipe by Grav Labs 

Price: $79.99

Made in China

Grav Labs’ Helix lineup is all about cooling and softening smoke with a mini-tornado of air. The 7” Helix Classic Hand Pipe is an early proof of concept that kicked off Grav’s larger collection of bongs, multi-tool pipes, and bubblers, as well as numerous collaborations.

Grav’s Helix models create their signature smoke-cooling vortex inside a Venturi chamber stem, aided by a trio of pin-sized air holes. With a constriction between the bowl and stem, the pressure differential reduces the temperature of smoke while air injectors oxygenate the hit. The result is a velvety cocktail of smoke and air.

The experience is unbelievably smooth, pushing back against the age-old saying, “You gotta cough to get off.” The Helix proves that you can also “soft” to get off. The exceptionally well-engineered airpath is unlike anything else, greatly reducing the harshness of a hit, and I can’t recommend Grav’s Helix lineup enough. 

Appropriate for newcomers and seasoned smokers alike, the Helix technology will open your eyes to what a pipe can be. The 7” spoon—kinda gigantic by spoon standards—is my new daily driver, and I couldn’t be happier with the silky quality of smoke. 

Designer Pipe in Cloud by Session Goods 

Price: $50

Made in China

For the fourth anniversary of pipe creator Session Goods, the fashion-forward design outfit released their Designer Pipe

This conical borosilicate revision of the classic spoon comes with a protective silicone sleeve for storage and travel. A minimalist design offered in Cloud (white) and Ash (black) models, the sandblasted finish gives the piece a bit of extra grip while creating a bold, architectural presence. Meanwhile, the bowl indentation and pipe interior are glossy for easy cleaning.

An indent in the airpath is intended to work like an ash catcher, saving your mouth and lungs from errant debris. The flat base and small roll stops enable two resting positions.

Reading like a 3D model birthed from a computer screen, the Designer Pipe is a decidedly modern production piece for the post-legalization era: It’s simple, stylish, and speaks to a vision of pipes as fashion. Yet it doesn’t try hard to convince anyone of these accolades—it’s an understated pipe that looks to a future where weed accessories are chosen because they match your shoes. 

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Genesis Series Sherlock by Mothership 

Price: $600

Made in USA

Designer brands are sprinkled throughout the heady glass scene, at times commanding price tags fit for jet skis and timeshares.

But few pipemakers command the cultural prestige that’s enjoyed by Mothership Glass. A Bellingham, Washington-based glass studio that specializes in elaborate scientific dab rigs, Mothership adorns their consumption pieces with intricate, illustrative detailing, akin to poster and tattoo art. 

Released in limited-edition series each month, Mothership’s rigs are priced for serious collectors. Signature designs, including the beloved Exosphere and Faberge Egg, currently sell for $8,000-14,000. But for folks who want to own a piece of American glassblowing history without optioning rights to their firstborn child, Mothership produces very limited numbers of sherlocks and chillums.

Formed from a solid block of navy blue glass for extreme durability, the sherlock pictured above is from Mothership’s Genesis series. The limited edition collection features skeletal birds surrounded in Baroque-yet-industrial sci-fi adornments, suggesting an engine room of a steam-powered time cruiser. The designs are created via external gold and silver fuming that’s encased in a protective clear layer—the techniques a closely guarded trade secret. 

Ranging 3-4” in length, Mothership’s sherlocks can be concealed in a person’s hand, and offer a clean, no-fuss hit. That said, I don’t think anyone would want to hide such an accomplished piece of craftsmanship, in their hand or otherwise. 

Spun Honeycomb Implosion Spoon by Matt 2000 

Price: $80

Made in USA

Fuming is one of the signature techniques that signify a cannabis pipe and this Spun Honeycomb Implosion Spoon by independent glass artist Matt 2000 captures the essence of it. 

The versatile technique involves melting tiny pieces of precious metals—commonly silver or gold—at very high temperatures, and directing the resulting gasses onto the inside or outside of a clear glass tube. Externally fumed pipes look shiny, and internally fumed pipes leave a color signature that appears to shift in hue based on what’s behind the thin layer of iridescent pigmentation. 

Back in the ‘90s, pipes internally fumed in silver were commonly marketed as “color-changing.” Silver fuming leaves a translucent sheen that deepens into a psychedelic, gold-through-electric-plum rainbow when on top of darker colors. Tar that blackens the inside of a pipe after repeat uses gives silver fuming the backdrop to expose this unique palette of spectral banding.

The above piece from Matt 2000 and was sourced from an excellent heady glass gallery in Connecticut called Stoked, CT. The honeycomb implosion and wavy, spiral lines are created using a combination of silver fuming and clear glass overlays. 

Handmade, Matt 2000’s pipes vary and this particular design is one of his more affordable options at $80. The gallerists at Stoked are happy to walk digital onlookers through available pieces, and their website is a great crash course in contemporary, artist-made American glass.

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Blue & White Layback Sherlock by Torcher Glass 

Price: $95

Made in USA

This Blue & White Layback Sherlock from independent glass artist Torcher Glass is a mesmerizing example of the iconic inside-out technique. These types of pipes feature colorful decorations encased in clear glass, and the technique is a foundational skill for lampworkers practicing in the heady glass tradition.

For this particular piece, blue and white linework was applied inside a flared, silver-fumed tube, in even, parallel stripes. Later, the tube was collapsed and reshaped to stretch and spiral the ornamentations. The clean, even linework speaks to American glass history, while being a highly refined and accomplished piece of craftsmanship in its own right. 

At 6”, large for most dry hand pipes, the glass stays cool for longer and the smoke has more room to mix with air, enabling looser hits when riding the carb. Apart from functional appeal, Torcher’s layback sherlock is fit for collectors as well as consumers who want an eye-catching pipe that’s ideal for luxurious couch sessions and sharing with friends.

A small collection of sister pieces are available at Stoked, CT. Additionally, other Torcher Glass pieces are available at select galleries as well as from the artist on Instagram, where you can also keep an eye out for new drops and special releases.

One-hitters

Anodized Spring One-Hitter by RYOT 

Price: $15

Made in unknown

A metal one-hitter with a built-in poker for clearing the bowl, the Anodized Spring One Hitter by RYOT addresses a common problem: a clogged one-hitters after a bowl is spent. 

While a spoon can be cleared of ash with a gentle tap or a quick puff of air into the mouthpiece, one-hitters are notorious for resisting those usual methods, and people often need to carry a poker, cleaning tool, or even a bulky kit—eroding the pocketable appeal of a small travel pipe.

Not so with RYOT’s Anodized Spring One Hitter. Just tap the retractable, internally-housed poker and it ejects blackened weed and stuck ashes, enabling smokers to pare down their on-the-go sesh tools. 

Buyers should note: Being a small piece of aluminum, this pipe can get hot over a few hits, potentially making it impractical for long sessions.

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The Nomad by Tetra 

Price: $86

Made in China

The Nomad, created by pipemakers Tetra in collaboration with product design house Solstice Studios, is a sleek brass-and-aluminum update to the classic dugout.

A head shop staple, dugouts are traditionally composed of a piece of wood, more or less the size and shape of a pack of smokes, with a top that swivels open to reveal two reservoirs: One for storing a slender metal one-hitter known as a “bat,” while ground herb goes in the other. To load a hit, the bat is inserted into the herb chamber and rotated—compressing and collecting a pinch of weed. 

A true-to-function dugout with a retro-futuristic appearance, the unassuming Nomad looks like an executive-class thumb drive or high-end chewing gum case. A spring-loaded pipe compartment swivels out of its magnetically secured closed position with a gentle swipe, and the bat automatically glides outward in a satisfying and smooth single motion. Once open, a reservoir for storing about a half-gram of herb is revealed.

A simple yet eye-pleasing design, the Nomad raises the dugout from a lowbrow convenience into a chic travel asset—less ‘60s head shop and more Eames-era Herman Miller in look and build quality. The solid brass-and-aluminum Nomad sits heavy in the hand and the minimalist design feels timeless yet modern.

As with all metal one-hitters, this pipe will get hot to the lips after multiple sessions, so it’s best saved for a quick toke here and there.

Helix by Vessel 

Price: $65

Made in Taiwan

Inviting terms like “indestructible,” the Helix by vape battery and pipemaker Vessel is a heavy-duty brass one-hitter. It’s fit to survive a nuclear blast, or any other daily abuse you might be able to throw at it. 

The gun metal exterior is adorned in a subtle, gold topographical print, while the brass bowl piece connects to a brass corkscrew that adds surface area to the airpath; a feature the manufacturer says will cool smoke on its way down the pipe. Breaking down into four pieces—bowl, corkscrew, stem, and mouthpiece—cleaning the Helix is a simple rubbing alcohol bath away.

In session, the pipe heats up just a touch, but it’s nothing that will limit anyone from finishing a bowl, and far better than the majority of metal pipes.

Chillums

Glass chillum by Firekist 

Price: $50

Made in USA

This handmade beauty by glass artist and glassblowing toolmaker Seth Auger, better known under the moniker Firekist Glass, is an excellent example of the Americanized chillum.

As seen above, Firekist’s signature design is a mesmerizing combo of interior fuming and an inside-out grid of dotted lines—the pattern gently stretched and spun ever so slightly for a wavy effect. It’s at once canonical and distinct, recognizable both in solo works and collaborations, yet familiar for those educated in the essential techniques of heady glass. 

Made from heat-resistant borosilicate hard glass, this short, 3” pipe will stay cool for longer, compared to metal one-hitters and bats. Perhaps not quite as singular as the artist’s Dragon’s Eggs—showing off his signature pattern work that’s akin to reptile skin—this chillum is a nonetheless collectible piece of functional art glass. 

Some Hitter by Summerland 

Price: $55

Made in USA

The majority of Western chillums are glass, so the ceramic Some Hitter by Summerland reads like a smart, dare I say, “bold,” material redesign—historically, the chillums of India were clay, meaning, this pipe is closer to its roots than glass ones.

In a natural terra cotta, the cone-shaped Some Hitter exudes monstera-and-macramé houseware vibes of the 1970s. Doubling as an incense burner, its vintage aesthetic is solidified. Satisfying and grippy to the touch, The Some Hitter can also function as a bowl piece for Summerland’s bongs.

An interior glaze ensures that tar smells don’t permeate or ruin the flavor of the pipe: Hits taste like the weed and nothing else, without any additional flavors that might deter smokers accustomed to glass. 

While a ceramic chillum is an outlier in today’s market, the Some Hitter makes it easy to see why clay hookah bowls became so popular as standalone pipes—centuries before Westerners “discovered” the smoking tool and appropriated it without looking back.

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