In most cases, when you buy your first water pipe or wax rig, an accommodating bowl piece, nail, or banger is included. For months (maybe even years depending on how much you smoke), you may not have to even consider buying another bowl or nail. But eventually, your glass nail is going to crack or you’re going to want to upgrade that bowl. That’s when it’s time to get acquainted with glass joint sizes and genders. Luckily, it’s all pretty simple and we have the crash course right here.
Just like when you have a precious baby, your precious water pipe or dab rig is going to have a gender. If your pipe or rig is female, the joint (where the bong bowl or banger goes) will be wide enough to be receptive to male bowls. It’s only common sense then that the male gender will feature a protruding joint that can be inserted into a female bowl piece or female nail. So, when it comes to glass joint genders, a male joint slides into a female joint and a female joint slides over a male joint. You can take a minute to recover from the sex ed flashbacks before we continue.
Determining the glass joint gender of your pipe or rig is only half the challenge (though, let’s be honest, it’s a pretty easy challenge so far, right?) Now comes the part that’s a little more difficult to determine with the untrained, naked eye. You’re going to need to determine the size of your oil rig’s or water pipe’s glass joint. Bowl sizes are measured in millimeters and typically fall in the standard bowl size range of either 10mm, 14mm, or 18mm. There is a slight amount of wiggle room here. For example, an 18mm joint is often actually an 18.8mm joint. For this reason, you may find the occasional smoke shop that rounds up to declare this a 19mm joint. While there are joints that buck the standard, it’s safe to assume that a 19mm joint is actually an 18mm joint. That’s about as far as you can stretch that margin of error though. A 14mm female water pipe is not going to accommodate a 10mm male bowl piece. If you don’t already know the glass joint size of your water pipe or rig but have a ruler handy, you can measure the millimeters yourself. Otherwise, you may want to clean your piece and bring it to your local smoke shop to see what kind of nails or bowl pieces work with it. There are other DIY measuring methods for glass on glass bowl sizes but they are typically estimated and can sometimes leave a considerable margin of error.
So we’ve pointed out that, when it comes to rigs and pipes, both gender and size matter. The rule is to seek out opposing genders but matching glass joint sizes. For example, say you have a 10” micro rig with a male joint. You’ll need to seek out a female nail with a 10mm joint. Nothing to it. If you want more flexibility, there are a slew of dropdowns and joint adapters readily available on the market. With an adapter, you can basically switch a female water pipe to a male water pipe or use a drop down so that your massive 18mm rig accommodates a 10mm nail. They’re perfect for the smoker or vaper who likes versatility or simply doesn’t want to do his/her homework (no shade, we get it!). That’s really all there is to it. If your mind was shutting down at the mere mention of numbers and male or female glass joint genders, hopefully you’re starting to relax now and realizing it’s much simpler than it sounds. Just remember: with genders, you’re searching for opposites. With bowl piece sizes, you’re looking for matches. Keep that in mind and you’ll be golden!