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You have looked at those dazzling pieces in the display cases at the smoke shops. You have drooled over your screen, reading articles about amazing pieces of smoking gear. You are ready to get that piece that makes you feel excited to touch it, to hold it. 

The only problem is when buying glass, you are buying not just art, but a tool. You need the right tool for the job, so here’s what to look for.

What Kind Of Smoking Are You Doing?

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Are you going to keep this piece at home, or is it going to travel? Is this a stealth pocket friend, or a proud smoking centerpiece? Is it for flower or dab? Efficiency or effect?

Home vs. Travel

If you are looking for a small piece to take from place to place, go for strong or thick glass, and get a carrying case if it’s bigger.

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Even small bongs can come with a lined case that will keep it safe for travel. A travel piece should be a smooth design without weak points that could break or snap if it fell. It should also be easily cleaned and drained if a water pipe, although there are now even spill-proof pocket bubbler for concentrates!

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If it’s a home piece, does it need to be concealed, or will it be able to stay out in the open? That will play into size, and possibly style. Everyone knows the flower vase joke.

What Kind Of Smoker Are You?

There are Steamroller, straightliners, Sherlock’s, and Gandalf’s. Bubblers, double bubbles, diffusers: the options can seem overwhelming.

Do not, under any circumstances, waste your money on one of these:

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If it looks like it will break in your hand, has a big bowl with a tiny mouth, or is nothing more than a glass straw, and comes with a paper rose in it from the gas station, it is not a Valentine’s Day pipe for your girlfriend: it’s a crack or Meth pipe. Designed to break into a million pieces with the smallest rap, in order to destroy evidence, these things are junk! Show up with one of these, and your smoking buddies are going to start hiding the silverware.

Harsh And Hot vs. Cool And Smooth

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Now when it comes to Herb, if you are a hard hitter, digging those huge clouds zapped straight into your lungs, go for a form of steamroller, or a larger pipe with a carb.

If you want a smooth, cool smoke, go for a bong, or at least a bubbler. Each time it goes through the water, the smoke cools and gets smoother. There are even multi-chamber bubbler, if you want overkill!

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If you really love the chill, get a glass bong that is designed to hold ice! There are also bongs that have parts that can be frozen, like those cooler packs you take camping or in your lunch box at work.

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Artistic And Colorful vs. The Power Of Performance

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I’m now saying that clear pieces aren’t beautiful, but the sheer artistry of hand blown glass, well it’s about beauty. Hand-blown glass has the colors that astound, and the wacky designs that are works of imagination run wild.

Don’t get me wrong, borosilicate glass can be made into some amazing pieces that make your hands itch to hold, and their glass is stronger than most hand-blown creations. They can also be easier to clean as they handle temperature fluctuations better. For the most part, however, go for identification glass when you are more interested in the function than the form.

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The best pieces, in my humble opinion, can bring the best of all worlds together, with diffusers and multiple chambers, chillers and wild hand-blown accents. Many rigs can also use interchangeable attachments to convert from flower to concentrates, add chambers, etc. To each their own.

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As for me, I will always crave the hand-blown pieces for my home, though I won’t turn down a bowl, even out of an apple.

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