Where to Buy Cheap Glass & When to Invest in Quality Pieces
Published on 7/18/20
Buying your first pipe or rig is a big moment - it's a rite of passage for many cannabis enthusiasts and the beginning of a new chapter in how you smoke. If you're on the market for your first piece of glass, there are a lot of questions to answer. How do you want to smoke? What are the benefits of quality glass over cheap glass? What price should you pay? Where do you even buy functional glass? This article takes you through your options and the benefits of different price points and styles.
Types of Functional Glass
The art of functional glass is an exciting area of the industry to dive into. If you're new to weed, we suggest starting off smoking bowls and hand pipes, simply because they're easy to use and offer a more consistent high. If you're a veteran to smoking, then maybe it's time to find a beautiful piece of functional art from a top glass blower to show off to your friends. Having said this, these options don't necessarily mean that they're right for you or are what you're looking for. Here are some of the most prevalent types of glass to help you make the best decision:
Spoons offer short stems, deep bowl packs, and a small, efficient shape. They're also relatively inexpensive and will cost anywhere from $20-60. Chillums are the smallest glass pipe you'll find, which means they're travel friendly and cost between $10-40. Unlike other glass pipes, chillums don't have a rush hole, so you just pack and smoke (they're dependable, great for one-hitters, and fit in your pocket). Steamrollers, on the other hand, allow massive hits because of their size and build. Because the main cylinder holds so much smoke per hit, we suggest this for more experienced smokers.
Bongs & Rigs
Like pipes, bongs and rigs come in all shapes and sizes. There are carburetor bongs, straight-tube bongs, round-base bongs, beaker-shaped bongs, multi-chamber bongs, percolator bongs and homemade bongs (you get the idea) -- plus very similar options for rigs. You'll also find that bongs and rigs can be made from many materials, including glass, plastic, ceramic, bamboo, and metal. No matter what type of bong or rig that you're using, they all essentially do the same thing: offer a clean, smooth, flavorful smoking experience whether you're smoking flower or dabbing concentrates. Every bong or rig has a water chamber, which helps cool and filter the smoke/vapor as you pull for a hit. This cooling and filtering process means you inhale cleaner, smoother, tastier smoke.
Because bongs and rigs drastically range in style, it's difficult to pinpoint an average cost. Cheap bongs can be found for as little as $10-30, while expensive bongs can cost you upward of $500. Same thing goes for rigs. When looking for a dependable glass starter piece, it'll probably cost somewhere between $60-100 and can cost upward of several thousands for a one-of-a-kind piece from a popular glass artist.
Bubblers are an interesting mix between bong and hand pipe, and the overall function is very similar to a spoon. The chamber sits right under the bowl pack, which filters the smoke and provides a smoother smoking experience. Bubblers have an average price tag of around $30-80. This probably isn't the best option for new smokers, but it's worth a try once you've got some experience under your belt.
Vapes heat cannabis flower or concentrate to turn cannabinoids and terpenes into vapor. This process doesn't release many tars and carcinogens, so it's considered to be a much healthier smoking alternative.
Vape pens have become one of the most popular ways to smoke weed in recent years. There are two types of vape pens: disposable and rechargeable. Depending on the brand, disposable vape pens will provide anywhere from 100 to 200 hits and cost anywhere from $15-30. Rechargeable vape pens cost anywhere from $50-80, are conveniently reusable, and offer more choices for what you smoke. Box mod vapes are another option. They have larger batteries, come with adjustable settings, and offer more customizability. That being said, they're difficult to master and probably aren't ideal for newer consumers. These generally cost anywhere from $50-100, but cheaper models can be found for below $50.
A Beginner's Guide to Buying Smoking Pipes
Now that you've got a better understanding of what your options are, it's time to figure out the difference between cheap and quality glass, how much you should spend and where you should buy it.
What is Cheap Glass?
Unless you're part of the cannabis community, most people don't understand the difference between cheap glass and quality glass. We don't usually suggest shopping for cheap glass bongs, hand pipes, or other smoking devices. Not only is cheap glass less durable, but it puts stress on the local industry and may prove dangerous to your health. If you're wondering if any "glass pipe shops near me" sell cheap glass, the answer is probably no, and for a good reason.
Cheap glass is often made outside the United States, and a reoccurring concern is glass dust and residue getting left behind due to poor craftsmanship and drilling out pipe holes (glass dust residue can be extremely harmful when inhaled). Cheap pipes are also known to occasionally be colored with lead-based paints. These paints come off over time and can prove incredibly dangerous if inhaled. Needless to say, do some research before you do shop for cheap glass bongs, hand pipes, or anything else.
What Are Silicone Pipes?
A common alternative to cheap glass, silicone is a rubbery man-made material that's nearly indestructible. Silicone products are inexpensive, easy to clean, and readily available online. However, silicone is often thought to detract from weed's overall flavor and develops a horrendous smell overtime. And similar to cheap glass, silicone pipes are often made outside the United States, where regulations aren't nearly as high - the manufacturing of these items can be extremely harmful to the environment and local economies. Despite some small perks, quality American glass is the best way to go.
Why You Should Actually Smoke From Quality Glass
Higher-end glass costs a little more, but it's well worth it - both for your health and for the quality of your smoking or dabbing experience. Quality glass is also easier to clean, often more manageable for daily use, looks great on a shelf and will stand the test of time.
Additionally, the creation of glass pipes, bongs and rigs have become a true art form. If you hop on Instagram or GlassGrab, you'll find an incredibly large community of glass lovers who constantly buy, sell and trade pieces to add to their collections. The pieces at hand are not your normal glass, rather collector pieces that are both functional and beautiful. There's a reason why this niche market evolved and continues to help define the cannabis community today.
So if you're wondering "where are the best glass pipes near me," we strongly suggest going to a local dispensary, head shop or hopping on Instagram to find your new favorite artist and all sorts of functional glass. In-house artists will frequently design cool pipes by hand, which helps personalize your smoking experience.
Where to Buy Glass
There are a plethora of places that generally offer amazing glass including online shops, headshops, dispensaries, tattoo parlors, etc. However, just because they sell it doesn't mean you should buy it! It's one thing to want to know where to buy glass cheap, but it's another thing to buy cheap glass. Check out where to buy online and why local shops (or online platforms like Instagram) are often the best way to go.
Online Pipe Shop
Ordering glass online is often cheaper and more efficient than buying local. However, this is generally the problem with shopping online. If you're looking for the best websites to buy bongs, pipes, and other smoking devices, we highly suggest going directly to specific brand sites. Companies like Mobius, Grav, and AMG have user-friendly sites with some top-level glass. Before you buy smoking pipes online, make sure to do some research (reading this article is a great start). Check out our blog to find relevant information on the best products and brands.
Even though there are some amazing websites out there, remember there's also a lot of cheap glass online. As we mentioned, platforms like Instagram or GlassGrab are great marketplaces with a lot of glass for sale, usually within anyone's budget. Of course, we suggest shopping locally for many reasons, including the added benefit of having an experienced professional help guide your decisions. When you shop online, there's a greater chance of buying glass pipes or rigs that aren't what you're looking for.
Local Pipe Shop
If you're serious about buying new glass, especially if it's your first time, we highly recommending going to a local shop. Despite cannabis culture still being a taboo in some places, finding where to buy a bong, hand pipe, or other functional glass is pretty easy once you know what you're looking for. One option is to search the Where's Weed website to find local dispensaries near you. Even if a dispensary doesn't sell glass, there's a good chance they'll know other local shops that have dependable glass pipes for sale. Another option is to search "head shops near me" for a more accurate list of places to buy functional glass and smoking accessories.
One of the greatest things about the cannabis community is an eagerness to share and educate. There's an entire world of "functional glass" with a community to support it, which is honestly the best place to start when looking for your first piece. Check out local shops and ask their opinions to find quality glass that's good for you, your smoking experience, and the community.
Have you bought a new pipe, vape or bong recently? What was your experience like? Let us know in the comments below!