A BRIEF HISTORY OF GLASS PIPES
Various ancient cultures have enjoyed inhaling smoke in some form or another for thousands of years through pipes made of wood, clay, antlers (seems pretty awesome), and corn. Today’s pipes are modeled on these early versions as their consistent performance has not needed too much of an upgrade for today’s smokers. In the 1800s corn cob pipes were all the rage as the materials needed were cheap and plentiful since the cobs were considered waste material. As metal became easier to manipulate, there was a brief respite from the corn models until smokers realized that metal gets too hot to touch if you’re say, holding a flame to it. The alternative was the glass pipe and its reign hasn’t stopped since.
The exact origin of the glass pipe isn’t known but rather than being credited to a single person or company patent, it is more likely that the glass pipe happened to evolve as glassmaking technology and the art of glass blowing became better understood. These early glass pipes were as much works of art as they were smoking devices. It didn’t take long for glass pipes to blanket the dry herb consumption market, first being coveted for their artistic value and then expanding in use as smokers realized the fantastic flavor production compared to their old smoking devices. Pipes made from the earlier mentioned materials would produce their own flavor on top of whatever the user was smoking, muddling their flavor experience.
Today, glassblowers and artists are taking glass pipes to new levels in both design and performance. Modern glass pipes are more durable than their early ancestors (except maybe those antler ones...) and can withstand even the most clumsy of dry herb smokers. Form and function have been the staple of glass pipes since their use began to spread and today’s best glass pipes represent that relationship perfectly.
Most of the glass pipes on this list are constructed of high functioning, durable borosilicate glass. The biggest demand that you’ll put on your glass pipe is temperature fluctuation. With borosilicate glass, you won’t have to worry about the wear and tear on your pipe that can be associated with big temperature changes. Durability is what sets borosilicate glass apart from lesser types of glass. Who reading this hasn’t watched in slow motion as their beloved spoon pipe tumbles to the floor and breaks into a million pieces? Borosilicate glass is sometimes referred to as “space glass” due to its almost futuristic-like ability to stay strong against breakage; though not shatterproof it is much tougher than standard glass designs.
Thanks to the strength of this glass, it is tough enough to clean regularly and resist corrosion. Scrubbing debris and dry herb buildup won’t have you stressed about accidentally cracking or damaging your piece. Any of these pipes can be soaked in isopropyl alcohol to eat away at grime and pipe cleaners can finish the job to give you a brand new looking glass pipe. For the best cleaning option, check out the Higher Standards Supreme Clean Kit.
Now that you’ve had a crash course on what makes a piece one of the Best Glass Pipes of 2018, we can take a look at what made the cut!
Right off the bat, we have one of the most visually striking glass pipes available today. Partnering with Grav, Jane West has produced an entire line of gorgeous, silica glass pieces to bring a heightened sense of style to dry herb consumption. Silica glass is just as thermal resistant as borosilicate glass and the inert nature of the surface stays cool to preserve your dry herb’s flavor. Design wise, the Jane West Spoon is one of the more striking glass pipes on the list. An ergonomic mouthpiece makes for comfortable draws while a succinct bowl and stem still keep the piece compact. Jane West gave this spoon a rounded bowl to cool hits down before inhalation, further adding to the “smooth” factor of this piece. Form and function have rarely been this well paired.
MJ Arsenal is committed to providing users with extremely compact water filtration devices for their dry herb or concentrate usage. The Merlin Recycler is a mini bubbler that also doubles as a concentrate rig, all in a package that fits in the palm of your hand. Thanks to a recycler filtration system, the Merlin bubbler cycles your draws through water multiple times, allowing each pull to attach to moisture to smooth out your inhales. Equipped with a banger clip that holds the included quartz banger in place, the Merlin Recycler can go from filtering your rolled cone to a concentrate rig in seconds. Its compact size means that your draws will always be thick and potent.
The Marley Natural Glass and Walnut Spoon pipe features a rounded stem and heat-resistant glass bowl that allows for consistent draws that create a velvety-smooth smoking experience. Each piece on this pipe is detachable, so cleaning is a breeze. Deviating from the smoked glass motif, Marley Natural went with a more, well, natural look for this walnut spoon pipe. Crafted from handblown borosilicate glass and refined black walnut wood, the Marley Natural Glass and Walnut Spoon Pipe achieved a fluid balance of durability and quality to earn a spot on our Best Glass Pipes of 2018 list. This piece should be owned by anyone who enjoys outdoor smoke sessions or has access to a private bungalow.
The granddaddy of glass pipes is the steamroller. Nothing delivers harder dry herb hits than these beastly devices as they are designed with maximum effects in mind. The Grav Steamroller comes in at 18” and is here to deliver huge dry herb clouds straight to your face. Users can “stack” their smoke thanks to the ample room inside the Grav Steamroller, so if you feel like challenging yourself with bigger hits, this steamroller is game. This piece isn’t the biggest “flavor saver” we have, but it will deliver some of the most intense effects of any piece on this list.
Looking to improve on their original Martian bubbler, MJ Arsenal gave the King Toke Rollie Bubbler a wider chamber and dual-slit diffuser to purify your draws. A unique pyramid design offers thorough filtration without the risk of splashback. Coming in at just under three inches tall, the King Toke delivers impressive vapor anywhere you could need it. Your draws are pulled through two thin slits, diffusing into small bubbles to maximize moisture conditioning while a wider-than-before chamber removes impurities while adding density.
Jane West took the iconic upright bubbler design and gave it an eye-catching twist. The compact Jane West Bubbler streamlines your water filtered dry herb experience all while looking better than any piece you’ve used before. Designed to fit comfortably in one hand, the reinforced mouthpiece stem cools your draws before reaching your mouth after a beaker-style water chamber manufactures smooth, potent hits. Users who wish they could bring their beaker-style water pipes anywhere will find the Jane West Bubbler is a fantastic alternative as it produces large clouds from a concise design.
Hey sometimes we just want a little bit of dry herb relief, and that’s where tasters come in. Marley Natural made the Smoked Glass Taster compact enough for travel but still big enough to deliver big clouds. This is a must add to your stash box. Marley Natural smartly gave the Smoked Glass Taster an ash-catch to prevent any unwanted charred herb from entering your system, helping to keep your dry herb tastes clean. The bowl on this taster holds enough for multiple draws, a plus for those who prefer not to draw, then cash, then repeat whenever they need a pull.
Now that we’ve gotten the elegant pieces out of the way, it's time to take a look at one of the more “fun” units on our Best Glass Pipes of 2018 list. The GRAV Cup Bubbler is the epitome of a good time. This bubbler features 50 mm thick borosilicate glass walls, making this one of the sturdier pieces out today. A four-hole diffused downstem spreads smoke through the water inside the bubbler, cooling it before your inhale to guarantee a smooth draw. Glass pipe aficionados who want a compact water filtration option will enjoy the 5.5” design that can easily travel anywhere, from a music festival to a weekend camping trip.
This HAS to be the most stylish taster ever created. Jane West used striking silica glass to produce one of the most elegant and refined tasters to date. The inert nature of silica glass allows all of your dry herb flavors to flourish before reaching your taste buds, giving users a potent and flavorful taster experience. Aesthetically, the Jane West Taster is the most unique piece on our Best Glass Pipes of 2018 list; the eye-popping blue of the silica is dynamic, but not too loud to dominate whatever setting you’re using it in. With a fierce look and simple operation, the Jane West Taster should be a go-to for all fashion-forward dry herb users.
Every detail of the Marley Natural Smoked Glass Bubbler has been poured over with careful consideration as to what makes a truly great dry herb bubbler. Eye-pleasing symmetry and intelligent proportions make for an elevated dry herb experience when using the Smoked Glass Bubbler. An eight-slit percolator purifies and moisturizes your draws while a practical splash-and-ash catch pulls double duty to make sure your session is a clean one. The generous carb diameter was designed to help clear your smoke and aid in filling/draining the Marley Natural Smoked Glass Bubbler. Borosilicate glass protects the bubbler from damage, making this glass pipe chic and durable.
It takes a special design team to create such a fashionable steamroller. Usually reserved for blasting users into another dimension, steamrollers have never been on the “fancy” side of things looks wise, until now. The Jane West Steamroller was designed to feel natural in-hand and has substantial weight to give it a hefty but not heavy feeling. Jane West gave their steamroller a lifted bowl so users can keep a close eye on dry herb supply, and an oversized carb helps ensure substantial draws every session. A nice combination of power and beauty are what lands the Jane West Steamroller on our Best Glass Pipes list.
Each of the pieces in the Marley Natural Smoked Glass collection is striking; the goal of this collection was to give classic smoking silhouettes a modern flair. One of the reasons the Smoke Glass Spoon is on our Best Glass Pipes list is the mesmerizing “levitation” effect it has while resting. Crafted with a wide bowl and slightly narrow base, the pipe looks as if it is hovering just above the surface it was placed on. Coupled with the intriguing design is a borosilicate glass construction design equipped with a ton of volume for your smoke to swirl, cooling your draws as you clear them from the chamber. Much like the Jane West Spoon, the Marley Natural Smoked Glass Spoon Pipe unifies style and performance in a way that elevates this piece to almost statement pipe level.
So there it is, our list of the Best Glass Pipes of 2018. Glass pipes are evolving in style and are starting to be more common in the “statement piece” category for user’s who want to show off a little. If you’re still searching for that perfect glass pipe, check out our selection (this will be a hyperlink) here.