It’s hard to argue with the old adage “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Looking at all of the gorgeous glass water pipes in our collection, admiring the ingenuity and classicism of design…they almost seem perfect. Almost. But then there’s that fateful moment, a simple miscommunication when passing that glass pipe, when we find ourselves watching it slowly crashing to the ground, only to shatter like our dreams of getting lit. We can only guess that it was in one of those moments that the inventor of the silicone pipe saw what was broken and decided to fix it.
Getting to Know the Silicone-Style Pipes
For anyone unfamiliar with a silicone water pipe, it’s similar in shape to its glass cousins though fashioned from food-grade silicone. We’ll discuss its visual aesthetic in a moment but the first question I had when seeing my first silicone weed pipe was “How much of a step down is the smoking experience?” I was somewhat surprised to discover that a decent silicone pipe smokes with the same smoothness and potency of a top shelf glass pipe. But that’s just where it meets its predecessors. It’s far more interesting to talk about where it excels.
The Rugged Durability of Silicone
I haven’t set up a wrecking ball to fully test the limits that silicone water pipes can endure but a lot of stores list these things as indestructible so you can imagine they can take a tumble off your tabletop much better than your favorite glass smoking pipes. It’s worth mentioning that pieces like the down stem, bowl, and ice catcher need to be manufactured from a material like heat-resistant borosilicate glass or surgical stainless steel. If these pieces are made of glass then obviously they can still be broken. In many cases, the silicone does an adequate job of absorbing the impact and protecting the tiny glass pieces but, in a worst case scenario, you may find yourself buying a replacement bowl. Yet, a replacement bowl is way cheaper than a replacement water pipe. If you’re still worried about smoke circle mishaps costing you a glass bowl and some heartache, you can actually purchase silicone models with suctioned bases that will stick right to your table. You may have to play ring-around-the-water-pipe but your glass will be safe.
A More Convenient Option than Glass Water Pipes
Silicone is also lighter than glass, adding an element of convenience when handling a silicone pipe, especially if you’re planning on bringing it anywhere with you. It could be one less thing weighing your pack down on a hike or a camping trip. But another important benefit of silicone is that it’s not just rugged; it’s also resilient. That means you can actually fold up a pipe made from silicone to a fraction of its size and it will bounce right back into shape when it’s time to smoke. Silicone is also a fairly easy-to-clean material and many models of silicone smoking pipes can be disassembled for exceptional cleaning accessibility. And a clean pipe is a happy pipe.
Different Perspectives on Visual Aesthetic
If your mind is even remotely close to a gutter, you’ll probably have already made the connection between a silicone water pipe and any number of sex toys. But we’re all adults here so if we move past the phallic implications, you may notice that weed pipes made from silicone also exhibit a sleek, ultra-modern look, like something you might find in contemporary art. This is furthered by the wide variety of vibrant colors made available through the silicone material. Some brands even offer glow-in-the-dark models.
Is it Dangerous to Smoke with Silicone?
But is it hazardous to smoke silicone? I’m not much of a chemist but I’d imagine they’ve kept silicone away from the bowl for a reason. It’s always a good idea to check what kind of silicone was used in the production of a smoking pipe, but every water pipe of silicone that I’ve seen was made from non-toxic material. FDA-approved silicone is free from harmful BPA toxins and is designed to withstand heat without leaching into food. A lot of cookware is actually created from this type of silicone. It’s considered a non-porous, stable material so its proximity to the heated glass pieces is low risk according to current research. Would I light up a bowl made of silicone? Definitely not. But I don’t feel like I’m taking any risks by smoking from a glass bowl in a pipe made from silicone.
So do glass water pipes have anything to really fear by the silicone pipes that are hitting the market? I still love my glass pipe collection so probably not. But I doubt that much time will go by without me turning to my silicone pipe. It’s the most reliable and convenient option when I hit the road and the only pipe I’d trust in the hands of my more clumsy friends. In short: don’t get rid of those glass pipes by any means but also make sure you’ve got a silicone water pipe in the mix so you won’t find yourself crying over broken glass.
If you're feeling like preserving your collection of glass water pipes by putting a silicone model in rotation, we've got an array of silicone water pipes to choose from here