There is no doubt that glass bongs and hand pipes are the most ideal way to smoke legal cannabis, at least when it comes to combustion. Sure, vaping is the wave of the future for enjoying dry herb without incinerating the material, but glass has and will always be the primary go-to for many smokers. However, there are definitely some downsides to using glass pieces that hinder your smoking experience.
Glass pipes and water bongs are not necessarily the sturdiest of all smoke delivery systems. As most smokers can attest to, it is one of the most heartbreaking experiences to drop a bong or glass pipe just to watch it shatter on the ground, putting you out however much that piece cost. And some of these pieces can be incredibly expensive, like Stanley by Long-Bong o the Blue Glass Flower Bong by Grog Glass.
There are options available, though, that avoid the fragile nature of glass bong and pipes. In the past few years, many manufacturers have started to add these alternative materials to their product lines, making stellar pieces that are portable and less subject to breakage. Between acrylic, silicone, and ceramic pieces there is an option out there that will fit perfectly for just about any smoker.
The first up on the chopping block for glass alternatives is arguably the cheapest material to get a water bong or hand pipe made from. Acrylic pieces started popping up a few years back and they can be found just about anywhere. Even gas stations have started stocking acrylic water bongs in the face of the rising interest of the public in the legal cannabis industry.
The biggest draw for acrylic pieces is just how cheap they are. These things are sold on a wide scale because you can pick them up for next to nothing! Any consumer can walk into a tobacco shop and pick a nice-sized acrylic piece up for right around $10, making it the easiest way for newcomers to jump into smoking. However, they may be cheap, but they are not necessarily the best option for enjoying legal cannabis.
Where acrylic falls short is with how difficult it is to maintain. Spending $10 on a bong may seem like a great idea, but when you can't get a good, clean hit off of it after a short period of use, then what is the point? There are better options out there that, though they aren't as affordable, blow acrylic pieces out of the water.
In the past couple years, silicone pieces have garnered a hefty amount of attention from the legal cannabis community. Silicone water bongs and bubblers are taking the industry by storm thanks to just how affordable and durable they can be. Though these pipes tend to still use glass bowls, downstems, and ice catchers, silicone pieces are more durable than just about any pipe available right now. Some of these silicone pieces can even be rolled up or collapsed for easy transportation from one place to another. There are no glass pipes out there that are that easy to take along with you.
Another major positive for silicone is that it is incredibly easy to maintain. Much like your run-of-the-mill glass piece, you can simply use 90% alcohol and some kosher salt to get your piece as good as new. Some silicone pieces are even dishwasher safe, making clean up a breeze.
One of the big concerns that many smokers tend to have when it comes to silicone is that it might not be as safe to smoke out of as glass. This is a misconception, though, as many silicone pipes are crafted from FDA-approved material that is both non-toxic and BPA-free.
All in all, silicone water bongs and bubblers are the route to go if you are looking for something that is going to be durable, portable, and easily maintained. There are a ton of options for silicone pieces out there, but one of the hands-down best brands out there is Nucleus. Nucleus may be known for making some awesome traditional glass pipes, but they also produce some beautiful silicone pieces. If you are in the mood for something small and effective, give the Silicone Cone Bubbler a shot. If larger water bongs are more your style, the Silicone Oil Can Bong might fit your arsenal a little better.
Though silicone might be the most durable option available, there is still one more glass alternative to look at: ceramic. Ceramic pieces fall in the same category as glass for the most part, especially when it comes to how brittle they can be. However, they still have a little bit higher durability than your average glass pipe. The real advantage for ceramic, though, is that these pieces are incredibly easy to maintain and tend to provide a smoother hit than their glass counterparts.
Ceramic pieces have started to gain some traction recently, especially with innovative pieces like the Hexagon coming out of new manufacturers like BRNT Designs. The primary advantage to using ceramic instead of traditional glass is how amazingly they hit. Because clay is a porous material, each hit tends to be a lot cooler and smoother than other pieces available. Ceramic tends to be a lot easier to manipulate too, allowing manufacturers to come out with some ingenious designs and pump them out with some sense of consistency. Summerland is one of the premier manufacturers for ceramic water bongs and hand pipes. For smokers that enjoy a traditional straight tube bong, give the Land Yacht Pipe a try. If tapping into nostalgia is more up your alley, Summerland also produces the Fruit Fantasy Pipe so that you can smoke like you did when you first started up, but with a little more sophistication.
No matter what your preference is when it comes to enjoying legal cannabis, there are materials available that will work perfectly for you. Glass may be the standard for water bongs and hand pipes, but it is not the end-all be-all. There are a plethora of innovative pieces coming out of manufacturers constantly, so keep your eyes and ear peeled for what is on the horizon.