August 21, 2019

For those that have smoked cannabis for years, finding the right pipe is second nature. We understand how different sizes, shapes, materials and styles work, and have a few that suit our specific lifestyle needs and preferences.

In fact, most experienced smokers have a variety of pipes they’ve collected over time and can probably build a makeshift pipe out of just about anything around in an “emergency”. But for beginner smokers, it can be difficult to understand the difference between dozens of pipes when presented with a store filled with options.

Before you choose, we always recommend explaining your needs and preferences to one of our NewLeaf Cannabis Advisors, but for those who prefer to get a little education under their belt prior to speaking with someone face-to-face, here’s a breakdown of a few of the more common hand-pipe considerations.

The material that the pipe is made of changes just about everything about it. From how it feels in your hand to how it delivers smoke and how it’s cleaned, the material makes the pipe. The most common and popular material for hand pipes is blown glass, but there are a lot of other options including wood, plastic, silicone and metal.


When it comes to size, bigger is not always better. Unlike water pipes (bongs) hand pipes are typically sized to fit in your hand and be transported and stored easily. As well, pipes are commonly used by those who are looking for a quick and easy way to consume, they are less about show and more about function and convenience.

Pipes gather resin that can affect the flavour, aromas and purity of the cannabis you are consuming as well as air-flow. For that reason, finding one that is easy for you to keep clean is in your best interest.

Materials like glass, plastic and wood all have different cleaning methods associated with them, and smaller pipes, or pipes with complex parts/screens, can be more difficult to clean due to their shape and small holes.

Regular maintenance will go a long way towards keeping your pipe working optimally. Glass pipes are best kept clean by rinsing them regularly with acetone.

Not all pipes are created equal. Thin, poorly manufactured glass will break a lot easier than a high-quality, finely crafted piece of blown glass. If possible, you want a glass pipe that’s 100% borosilicate annealed.  By the same token, cheap wood, metal or plastic can fall apart or affect the flavour of your cannabis experience.

You can usually pick out low-quality glass by its price (under $20) and its yellowish tinge. If you are buying at a cannabis store, you are probably okay, but if you are buying your glass pipe at a gas station or dollar store, you are probably settling for poor quality.

A good rule of thumb is to not look for the cheapest pipe out there. Be prepared to drop at least $35-$50 on a high quality starter hand pipe.

When choosing your pipe, it’s not all about look and feel – functionality is important. Make sure the holes and the bowl are the appropriate size for your style of smoking. If the holes are too small or the chamber too narrow, then the airflow of the pipe, and its ability to deliver big hits, could be diminished. On the other hand, if the holes are too big they may require a screen or stopper, or else your cannabis might consistently fall through (commonly referred to in canna circles as “Scooby Snacks”).

Make sense? Don’t worry too much about getting it right the first time. Part of the fun of choosing the right-fit pipe is all the “product testing” you get to do along the way.

As we mentioned before, there’s no substitute for a walkthrough of all the available pipe options at your local NewLeaf Cannabis store and a consultation with one of our Cannabis Advisors, but if you’d like to learn more about the basics of cannabis accessories, check out this blog that covers the basics of one-hitters.