Chillum Pipes – The Complete Guide

Chillum

What is a Chillum?

A chillum is a type of basic smoking pipe, also sometimes referred to as a “hand pipe.” A traditional chillum is literally shaped like a pipe/tube, and is hollow inside. Today, while most chillums are still relatively tube-shaped, there are some chillums that have been stylized or encased, such as the Monkey Pipe which looks a little like a pocket knife. However, at its core, it still functions like a chillum.

chillum monkey pipe

To use a chillum, you pack your material into one end and apply heat to the outside of the tube using a torch or lighter. Then, you simply inhale from the other end. A chillum may or may not have a carburetor. The carburetor is really just a hole near one end. It allows for more air to be drawn in and serves as a means of keeping smoke from going stale. Chillum users generally tend to prefer using a device with a carburetor.

Video On How To Use A Chillum

A Brief History of the Chillum

The chillum is one of the earliest smoking devices, although it wasn’t necessarily always referred to by that name. Some historians point to 18th century India as the place and time of origin of the chillum. However, there is also evidence that pipe smoking in various forms was practiced by many world cultures and originated much earlier than the 18th century.

In many of these early cultures, pipe-smoking had religious or spiritual significance within that particular culture. Smoking various substances was frequently done as part of some sort of religious ceremony. Rarely was it ever done for mere recreation.

pipes native american

In early America, pipe and tube-style smoking devices are most closely associated with various early Native American tribes. Smoking was an important part of these cultures, and they fashioned smoking pipes out of a variety of materials, including reeds, wood, corn cobs, clay or animal antlers. As with other early cultures, smoking was typically part of spiritual or cultural ceremonies and not recreational in nature.

It was European settlers in America who began to take up smoking not as a religious activity, but a social and recreational one. They modeled smoking pipes after those of Native Americans, creating them out of the same kinds of natural materials as the Native Americans.

As new technologies emerged and more resources became available, makers began to manufacture smoking pipes that were made from other materials, such as metal and glass. Their shapes and designs evolved throughout the years, and eventually branched off from the basic pipe/tube shaped devices to take other forms. We know some of evolutions today as Sherlock pipes, spoon pipes, etc. Cigars and cigarettes also became popular for their sheer convenience. The plain old cylindrical pipe fell out of favor for decades.

However, in recent years, the pipe has made a comeback. Hardcore purists may tell you that this is the only true way to smoke. Pipes continue to made from a variety of materials, but glass, and wooden ones are the most popular in contemporary culture. There’s a lot to favor about pipe smoking. Pipes are often cheaper than other devices, particularly bongs and dab rigs. They’re also sleeker, smaller and less bulky. You can’t stick a bong in your pocket, but you can easily slide a pipe into your pocket. They’re discreet, convenient and easy to travel with. Even those who prefer bongs will often use pipes when they travel simply because they are so much more convenient.

Types of Chillums

Even though chillums are, at their core, just basic tubes, there are different types and styles. They include:

One-hitter

chillum one hitter

Also sometimes referred to as “tasting pipes,” this type of pipe essentially looks the same as a regular chillum. However, they are typically smaller, both lengthwise and in diameter, because they are designed to deliver just a single hit. Therefore, the one hitter pipe is made to fit only a little bit of product, just enough to give the smoker a taste. One hitter pipes are typically made out of either wood or glass. The glass one hitter delivers a smoother taste than wooden one hitters, which tend to take on the flavor of the wood they are made with. (It’s kind of like the difference between oaked and unoaked wine.)

Dugout Pipes

dugout pipe

The dugout pipe is really a small and discreet system for packing a one-hitter and product to go with it. It was likely invented by a smoker who didn’t like carrying his pipe and his product separately so he came up with a convenient little carrying case for both. The dugout pipe is a small rectangular case that resembles a lighter. It has a compartment to fit a small one hitter pipe and another compartment for holding herb. Smokers on the go like the convenience factor of the dugout pipe.

The Monkey Pipe

monkey pipe chillum

Also known as the “Fisherman’s Friend,” the Monkey Pipe is actually a brand name for a style of chillum invented in the 1990s, derived from the dugout pipe. It’s the ideal traveler’s pipe because it’s small, compact and discreet. In fact, people unfamiliar with smoking may not even recognize it as a pipe at all, because it resembles a pocket knife. It has a joint so that it can be swiveled open and shut. It is the perfect size for keeping in a pocket. Since the Monkey Pipe was invented, knock-offs have emerged under other brand names.

Chillums of all types can be manufactured using a variety of materials. Wooden ones almost completely dominated the market until the 1990s. It was around this era that glass blowing was becoming a more widespread art form, due to advances in technology, availability of material resources and a growing public appreciation for the art form.

Early glass pipes looked cool, and people bought them for their artistic value. However, they soon learned that glass pipes produce a clean, smooth, unadulterated flavor that soon exploded in popularity. Glass chillums, as well as other types of glass pipes, become the new favorite with the masses. There are, however, still many smokers who are “old school” and prefer the taste of wood in their smoke (which gets richer with each subsequent use).

What To Look For In A Good Chillum

Chillums can be made from a variety of materials, as we’ve already noted earlier. However, contemporary chillums that you find in the retail marketplace are likely going to be made from either glass or wood.

chillum no cheap glass

When it comes to glass chillums, you may want to avoid the cheapest models. They are likely cheap because they’re made from cheap glass, so they won’t last long. It’s also easier to scorch your herb in a cheap glass chillum. On the other hand, if you are just trying out a chillum for the first time and don’t want to sink a lot of money into one before you decide whether you like smoking one or not, a cheap one may be a worthwhile option.

Borosilicate

Photo Credits

If you want one that performs optimally and will last for awhile, glass quality matters. “Borosilicate” is the best type of glass available. It is a German-engineered glass made of silica and boron trioxide. Borosilicate is ultra-durable and able to perform optimally even under the hottest temperatures. It is the same type of glass that is used to make Pyrex brand ovenproof glassware found in both professional and home kitchens across North America.

Sometimes you won’t see the word “borosilicate” in the product description. Instead, you may see the words “lab quality” or “scientific” glass in the description. Usually, this is just another way to describe “borosilicate” glass. If you see these terms, this would also be a trustworthy choice.

If you don’t see any of these words, chances are that the chillum is made from some other type of glass. This is not necessarily a bad thing. It just means that the pipe won’t be able to withstand heat the way borosilicate does. It may also break more easily. As long as you are careful with your torch when heating, and you don’t drop your chillum, you should still be able to get a reasonable amount of use out of it.

wood chillum

Wooden chillums, as a general rule, don’t last as long as high-quality glass chillums. They also alter the flavor of your product to a certain degree. If you don’t mind this (or you actually prefer the woody flavor, as some smokers do), then you’ll see that there are many choices available in wood. It can be a little trickier to choose a wooden chillum, but a general rule is that the harder the wood, the more durable the pipe will be. Maple, walnut and rosewood are some common hardwoods used to make chillums. Bamboo is another material often used in chillum-making. Though technically a grass and not a hardwood, bamboo is also a good material for pipe-making.

The Cost of A Chillum

Chillums may vary widely in price. The main factors which contribute to the cost of a particular chillum is the type of material it’s made of, its overall size and how it was made. You also can’t say that glass chillums are necessarily more expensive than wooden ones, or vice-versa. Again, it all depends on the type of wood or glass, the quality of construction and size.

It is possible to spend as little as four or five dollars for a taster chillum or ten to twelve dollars for a regular size chillum. Just remember, those on the lower end of the price scale may not last as long or perform as well as higher-priced devices. On the other hand, you may find specialty chillums that have price tags up to $100. However, you can get a chillum in either glass or wood that performs well and is durable enough to last for a while for between $20 and $50. Just remember the tips we provided in the previous section when you choose yours. It’s also important to pick one that you like the looks of too as long as it meets those standards. You want to invest your money in something that you’ll be excited to use for a long time.

Less frequently, you will run across pipes made from specialty or niche materials. Stone is one of the most popular “niche” materials. Stone chillums look really rad and do an excellent job of cooling down your smoke, since their inherent properties naturally repel heat. They are also almost impossible to break. Some drawbacks of stone pipes include being fussier to clean and being a bit more difficult to get a powerful draw from. Once upon a time, chillums were even made out of ivory, at least until elephants were hunted to near extinction. Today one can only imagine what it would be like to take a rip from an ivory chillum.

Our Top Ten Chillum Recommendations

1

”Gotta Pack ‘em All” Worked Chillum

chillum pokemon

If you’re an anime or Pokemon fan, you simply must add this fun chillum made by Empire Glassworks to your collection. It looks just like a real Pokeflute, complete with Pokeball embellishment. There’s no way you won’t turn heads with this carefully crafted chillum with precisely-placed colors. The detail work is incredible and accurate to the actual video game portrayal of the Pokeflute. There’s no way we can guarantee you’ll awaken any Snorlax with this glass chillum, but the hit you’ll get from this pipe will certainly wake you up.

GREAT FOR

All smokers.

PRICE RANGE

Low to mid-range.

SPECS

Made from lab-quality borosilicate glass.

Thick-walled glass.

Slightly flared mouthpiece.

Optional pipe case, grinder, mini rolling tray and king size rolling papers for an extra charge.

OVERALL RATING

2

Glass Taster Pipe - Fumed with
Color Stripes and Marbles

Glass Taster Pipe chillum

This artistic and refined glass chillum by Mountain Jam Glass Company is the perfect size. At a mere 3 inches, it’s great for slipping discreetly into a pocket for a quick hit on-the-go. This taster pipe is decorated using a fuming process. The piece is exposed to the fumes of molten gold and silver which produce the various colors. Fumed glass changes color over time, with colors developing and deepening with every smoke. A good cleaning will restore the colors back to their original state. The black marbles around the bowl aren’t just good-looking. They also keep the pipe from rolling when it’s placed on a flat surface. This pipe is made-to-order, so each one made will have the same colors and shape but will vary slightly in design, so yours will be completely one-of-a-kind.

GREAT FOR

All smokers.

PRICE RANGE

Low.

SPECS

Made from high-quality borosilicate glass.

No carburetor.

Length: 7.6 cm / 3 inches.

Colored glass marbles/rollstoppers.

One-hitter.

No two are exactly alike.

OVERALL RATING

3

Original Monkey Pipe

Original Monkey Pipe

This pipe is the real deal, the Original Monkey Pipe from the company that actually invented this particular chillum style. Monkey Pipes are known for their quality construction and reliable performance. The Original Monkey Pipe is both a wicked awesome one-hitter pipe and an ideal size, shape and design for traveling or for carrying discreetly in a pocket and can even be pre-packed. This pipe is stamped with the characteristic Monkey Pipe logo on top. The dual ventilation holes help to cool the smoke as it travels through the body. With the ultra-convenient and functional Original Monkey Pipe, you get a smooth hit every single time you use it.

GREAT FOR

Regular to experienced smokers.

PRICE RANGE

Low.

SPECS

One-hitter.

Made of hardwood and aluminum.

Features two ventilation holes.

Recessed mouthpiece.

Swivel lid.

OVERALL RATING

4

Dichro Glass Color-Accented Chillum

Dichro Glass Color-Accented Chillum

We put this pipe on our list for a few reasons. First, it’s so eye-catching, you can’t help but be drawn to it. The colored tube inside the outer shell gives it depth and artistic quality. The inner tube is made from dichroic glass. Which is colored glass with sparkles in it that has been worked by hand to form its unique shape and distinctive markings. When you use it, you’ll see it come to life with tiny bubbles that will percolate and dance inside, accentuated by the shimmering colored glass. However, what we were most impressed with was its low price. It’s not easy to find a pipe for less than $15 that’s made from borosilicate glass and has had this much handiwork put into it. If you long to own an artistic piece but can’t afford to spend fifty-plus dollars and don’t mind taking a chance on color, this chillum is an excellent choice.

GREAT FOR

All smokers.

PRICE RANGE

Econo.

SPECS

Made from thick dichroic borosilicate glass.

Water pipe.

Clear outer shell with colorful glass tubing inside.

Produced in a variety of colors; chosen at random when you order.

OVERALL RATING

5

Small Plain Stone Chillum

Small Plain Stone Chillum

The earliest chillums in history were made of stone, so you might say that this pipe will give you a real and authentic smoking experience. Stone is naturally cool and so will cool your smoke down without any water necessary for an ultra-smooth hit. The stone in this pipe has been polished multiple times to give it a high shine and bring out its beautiful nuances. No two of these pipes are ever going to be exactly alike, giving yours a unique “fingerprint” that’s exclusive. You’ll need to use a metal screen with this pipe so that ash and herb don’t travel down the pipe to the mouth-opening. Perhaps the best thing of all about this chillum, besides its very affordable price, is the fact that it’s almost impossible to break it.

GREAT FOR

All smokers.

PRICE RANGE

Econo.

SPECS

Made of stone/100 percent natural material.

Polished for a shiny finish and smoother smoking experience.

Super-durable construction.

Should be used with a metal screen.

Flared bowl end.

Cools smoke naturally.

Small and discreet.

Orders may vary from the picture.

OVERALL RATING

6

12 mm Taster Chillum with Marble

12 mm Taster Chillum with Marble

This one-hitter is a simple, no-nonsense, unpretentious pipe that proves you don’t need a fancy design to get a smooth, head-blasting hit. Priced at less than ten dollars when purchased from Dankstop.com, it makes an excellent starter chillum for those just experimenting with smoking in general or with using a chillum. It also makes a nice second pipe for those smokers who already have a chillum but not a taster. Best of all, it is available in ten different colors/color combinations and in fumed, colored or clear glass.

GREAT FOR

Beginners or as a second pipe for more experienced users.

PRICE RANGE

Econo.

SPECS

Made of thick, heavy glass.

12mm.

Glass marble rollstopper.

Available in several colors and color combinations and in clear or opaque.

Taster chillum.

OVERALL RATING

7

RPG Rocket Launcher Chillum

RPG Rocket Launcher Chillum

Empire Glassworks of California is well-known for their funky, pop-art style glass smokeware, and they’ve done it again with the RPG Rocket Launcher Chillum. This wicked-cool chillum looks like the miniature rocket launcher used in the Pokemon series and features astounding detail and impressive color work. Blast off with this animation-inspired one-hitter that will be the talk of all the smokers in your circle.

GREAT FOR

Experienced smokers; glass art aficionados; Pokemon fans.

PRICE RANGE

Mid-range to high.

SPECS

Made of heavy colored glass.

6.75 inches long.

One-hitter chillum.

Hand blown.

OVERALL RATING

8

Fisherman’s Friend

Fisherman’s Friend chillum

The Monkey Pipe brand became famous its Fisherman’s Friend one-hitter pocket chillum. You don’t even have to be a fisherman to appreciate this little taster pipe that looks more like a pocket knife when folded up in storage mode. Available in your choice of either White Oak or Black Walnut hardwood, it features a stainless steel lining and compartment for your herb stash. The steel lining swivels a full 360 degrees open and closed. Classy looking and super discreet, this taster chillum is uber-convenient for travel and outings, whether you’re fishing or just hanging out with your buds.

GREAT FOR

All smokers; smokers looking for a convenient, easy-travel taster chillum.

PRICE RANGE

Low.

SPECS

Made of your choice of two hardwoods.

One-hitter.

Stainless steel lined stash-slot for dry herb.

Swivel top with recessed mouthpiece.

OVERALL RATING

9

Deep Pound Chillum

Deep Pound Chillum

Don’t let its diminutive size fool you: the Deep Pound Chillum packs a heavy blast. At just three inches you can easily slip this mini chillum into a shirt pocket and no one will be any the wiser. When you do pull it out, expect to get some attention. With its gorgeous, rich blue glass and subtle, nuanced detail, it is a real looker. At less than $20 when purchased from Kings-pipe.com, you don’t even have to be made of money to own a pipe that’s worthy of being artwork.

GREAT FOR

Experienced smokers.

PRICE RANGE

Low.

SPECS

Made of blue colored thick heavy glass.

Approximately 3 inches long.

Mini chillum.

Hand blown.

No carburetor.

OVERALL RATING

10

Rasta Striped Chillum

Rasta Striped Chillum

One rip from this pipe and you’ll be jammin,’ mon. This hand-blown chillum features clear glass with a black, yellow and red stripe spiralling its way around the body and three green marbles. Not only do they add eye appeal, the marbles help keep the pipe from rolling around when placed on a flat surface and also provide extra grip. At a mere 3.5 inches long, it packs a powerful punch. It’s easy to clean and priced at less than $20 when purchased from Kings-pipe.com and likely to become your new favorite chillum.

GREAT FOR

Experienced smokers; those who are fascinated by the Rastafarian culture.

PRICE RANGE

Low.

SPECS

Made of heavy thick glass.

3.5 inches long.

Hand blown.

No carburetor.

OVERALL RATING

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