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A Guide to Hand Pipes

Hand pipes are a common way to consume cannabis. Whether it’s intricate glass or portable silicone, hand pipes are an easy, straightforward, and efficient method to get high. 

What are hand pipes?


Hand pipes are a type of smoking instrument that can be held in the palm of your hand. Typically, these pipes contain at least two parts: a bowl to pack your weed and a stem/mouthpiece to inhale. Many also contain a carburetor hole to help you control the flow of air through your pipe. 


Also referred to as spoon pipes or just simply “bowls,” hand pipes come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials, each with their own unique features. 


How do you smoke a handheld pipe?


There's a good reason why hand pipes are one of the most recognizable methods of smoking cannabis: smoking with a handheld pipe is a simple and straightforward process that will get you zooted without much effort. Use the following steps to learn how to smoke from your hand pipe. 


  1. Grind your weed. Invest in a decent grinder. Grinding your weed into a finer, more workable texture makes it easier to pack a tighter, fuller bowl. 
  2. Pack the bowl. Add your ground dry herb to your bowl. The key method is to pack, not press. You still need airflow through the dry herb for the smoke to travel to the mouthpiece. 
  3. Cover the carb. Many hand pipes come with a carburetor hole to help control airflow. Holding your hand pipe in the palm of your hand, cover the carb hole with the finger that feels most comfortable—typically your thumb. 
  4. Spark up. Raise the mouthpiece to your mouth and, while you’re inhaling with the carb covered, bring the flame to the dry herb. When you’re satisfied with the size of your hit, uncover the carb and inhale the smoke. 
  5. Ash the bowl. When the dry herb is completely burned through, tap out the spent ash. Clearing your bowl every time you smoke helps to avoid build-up of tar, resin, and other debris. 

Types of hand pipes


Not all hand pipes are created equal: depending on the material you choose, each type of hand pipe has a variety of benefits and downfalls. 



Material

Pros

Cons

Price Point

Glass

- Most variety of aesthetic

- Clean smoky flavor

- Easy to clean

- Fragile material

- Gets dirty easily
- Most expensive price point

Can range anywhere from $10 to over $100

Wooden

- Intricately carved designs

- Very difficult to clean

Typically ranges from $15 to $40 

Metal

- Durable
- Portable

- Most affordable
- Very easy to clean

- Gets hot during use
- Flavor impacted by material

Typically ranges from $5 - $15 

Silicone

- Durable
- Portable
- Easy to clean

- Least aesthetically pleasing
- Flavor impacted by material

Typically ranges from $10 to $40 


Glass

Glass hand pipes are the most common type. Oftentimes artistically hand-blown, this type of hand pipe has the most variety of aesthetic: they come in an infinite number of colors, designs, and shapes.  However, they’re also the most fragile and the easiest to muck-up. 


Pros 

  • Wide variety of designs and sizes
  • Flavor of smoke not impacted by material 

Cons

  • Most fragile material - could shatter when dropped
  • Gets dirty easily
  • Usually most expensive material

Wooden

Wooden hand pipes are designed to appeal to your old soul. Like glass pipes, this type of hand pipe carries a certain aesthetic. Whether you’re trying to emulate Gandalf or your grandpa, wooden pipes help you to enhance those hipster vibes. Nevertheless, these pipes cannot simply be cleaned with isopropyl alcohol: wood is easily damaged when it gets damp. 


Pros 

  • Intricately carved and crafted
  • Old school vibes

Cons

  • Very difficult to clean

Titanium 

Titanium and other types of metal hand pipes have their pros and cons. These pipes are super durable. They’re also typically designed to be taken apart between uses. As a result, cleaning your metal pipe is a breeze: simply disassemble your hand pipe, wipe down each separate section with an alcohol pad, and reap the benefits of a constantly clean smoking device. While these are the sturdiest option, they have some downfalls. The metal can get extremely hot and might add a metallic, penny-like flavor to your hit. 


Pros 

  • Durable
  • Portable
  • Easy to clean 

Cons

  • Can get extremely hot
  • Metal may impact the flavor of the smoke 

Silicone

Silicone hand pipes are similarly known for their portability and durability. Great for camping and travel, these pipes are virtually indestructible and often come with caps/other accessories for easy storage and transport. However, they do look a bit cornier than the average glass pipe. And, like metal pipes, the material of this kind of hand pipe might add a hint of plastic flavor to your smoke. 

Pros 

  • Portable
  • Will not shatter when dropped
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • Less aesthetically pleasing
  • Material may impact flavor

Where to buy hand pipes

With the world of the internet at your fingertips, it is easy to find a hand pipe that fits your fancy. Utilizing websites like Etsy or Badass Glass allows you to find an aesthetically pleasing pipe in the material you want without leaving your bed--you also might be supporting a small business or local artist. 


If in-person shopping is more your speed, hand pipes are sold in a wide variety at just about any head shop you walk into. In-person shopping allows you to directly compare how pipes made from different materials feel in your hand. 

To sum it up


For many good reasons, hand pipes are often the first smoking device added to any stoner’s arsenal. Compact and easy to use, this type of pipe is perfect for solo smoking, quick sessions with friends, and smoking on the go. 

FAQs

How does a glass pipe work?

A glass pipe typically has two main parts: a bowl to hold your dry herb and a stem connecting to a mouthpiece. They often have a carb hole as well to help you control airflow through the pipe. Once you pack your bowl, inhale through the mouthpiece while sparking up your dry herb. When you’re satisfied with the size of your hit, uncover the carb hole and inhale the smoke. 

How much does a pipe cost?

Depending on the size, design, and overall headiness of your pipe, the price varies drastically. While the average pipe costs anywhere from $15-$40, many smoke shops sell peanut pipes for $5-$10. However, more intricate, studier pipes can cost anywhere from $50 to over $100.