A steamroller pipe is usually made of glass but can be made of silicone, plastic or other material. These pipes have a long, straight cylinder from the bowl to the mouthpiece and have a much larger circumference than a bowl glass pipe. Sometimes there is a raised bowl above the steamroller cylinder and sometimes it is depressed into the body of the cylinder.
Due to the straight shape and large circumference of a steamroller pipe, they can generate massive hits and are more often used by seasoned smokers.
Think of a steamroller like a waterless, upright bong. The long, wide cylindrical chamber of a steamroller pipe allows users to milk the dry herbs in the bowl. However, just like a standard glass pipe, you must cover the carburetor at the end of the pipe. Light the herbs and slowly inhale to fill the chamber. Once a good amount of smoke has filled the chamber, release the carburetor and inhale - taking the smoke into your lungs.
Depending on the size of the bowl piece, you can probably get several hits out of a bowl. Just like any pipe, change the herbs in the bowl when it is burnt through.
The most important part of a steamroller pipe is the bowl. This can get clogged with sticky residue affecting airflow and taste. To clean the bowl, drip some rubbing alcohol onto a paper towel and wipe the residue from the bowl. You can use a scraper tool to remove any leftover residue. Dip the scraper in rubbing alcohol to make it even more effective. If you can remove the bowl from the steamroller, you can fill a ziplock bag with 420 cleaner or rubbing alcohol with some coarse salt and shake the bowl in this bag to clean.
Also, cleaning the mouthpiece with keep your steamroller pipe sanitary. You can just wipe this area with a paper towel with some rubbing alcohol on it. It is best to follow up any alcohol based cleaning with a quick wipe of warm water.
If you want to clean any residue on the inside of the steamroller chamber that you can’t reach easily, try dipping a pipe cleaner or similar tool in rubbing alcohol and rubbing it along the inside of the chamber. Again, you should try to follow this up with warm water.
Steamrollers can vary in size, the longer and thicker the pipe, the more volume it will hold - and more volume means bigger hits. In addition to size, steamrollers can be made from the following materials:
Many steamroller pipes are made of glass. These could have a removable glass bowl or a glassed-in bowl. Glass pipes are nice because they provide excellent flavor and do not get too hot during use. The downside is glass is breakable so this is not a great option if you plan on taking your steamroller pipe around.
In recent years, silicone has been a popular material for all types of bongs, pipes and dab rigs. Just like glass, it does not get too hot and provides clean taste. However, silicone is much more durable than glass making silicone steamroller pipes much better for travel. Silicone steamroller pipes may have either a silicone or glass bowl. If it has a removable glass bowl, this can be stored in a padded travel case when you travel.
Cheap steamroller pipes may be made out of hard plastic with a metal or glass bowl. While these are affordable, they are flimsy and will not last like glass or silicone pipes.
Steamrollers, gravity bongs and bongs in general are the heavy hitters. These devices allow you to milk dry herbs, filling up a chamber with heavy smoke. This allows the smoke to cool, making it easier to clear the chamber without coughing. Spoon pipes with a carburetor work in a similar manner but they have a much smaller chamber so there is not much smoke to clear when releasing the carburetor.
Both steamroller and spoon pipes can vary in size quite a bit. However, spoon pipes can be made as small as one-hitters that fit in the palm of your hand. These can be nice for a discreet, quick smoke. Steamroller pipes will usually be at least bigger than your hand so they are typically not as easy to conceal.
In actuality, steamroller pipes and bongs are quite similar. They both can provide massive rips and allow you to milk dry herbs, fill a large chamber full of cool smoke and clear it quickly. Because of steamrollers straight shape and straight air pathway, they are actually the quickest to clear out of any smoking apparatus. This being said, steamroller pipes are definitely more portable and you never have to worry about spilling bong water on the floor. Because bongs are water-filtered, bong hits tend to be smoother and cooler than steamroller rips. Also, a small bong is probably similar to a medium to large steamroller pipe in terms of chamber volume. You would be hard-pressed to find a steamroller the size of a large bong. So if you are looking for the biggest hits, a large bong will be better than a steamroller.
There are two main differences between steamroller pipes and dry herb vaporizers. First, if you are using a true dry herb vape, it uses convection to bake herbs at a temperature below the temperature at which they would burn. This provides a smooth vapor that has a cleaner taste than smoke and is also healthier than inhaling burnt plant materials.
However, vapes do not provide the heavy hits that you can get from a steamroller pipe. It is also true that vaping and smoking dry herbs have slightly different effects. This is caused by the amount of different compounds released at different temperatures. Some people prefer smoking dry herbs while others prefer vaping so the best thing to do is try out both and see which one is for you. It might be both!
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