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Interestingly, steamroller pipes are named after the pipes found alongside the steam locomotives of yesteryear. Fittingly, they are modeled after the older peace pipes of various Native American tribes. This design was very different from contemporary European pipes of the time. As we mentioned before a steamroller is a (usually) dry pipe that functions by placing the carb at the opposite end of the mouthpiece of the pipe. This allows for a simpler smoking experience than with some other traditional pipes with the carb on the side of the pipe, sometimes positioned awkwardly. Steamrollers have a bowl head towards the end of the pipe, by the carb, and can be found in all types, including glass and silicone, with a variety of designs and colors.
Steamrollers are simple to understand – they are designed to provide a smooth, powerful hit from a dry pipe without the need for any of the hassle or bells and whistles provided by other types of powerful rippers (like bongs, etc). However, the different materials and designs will leave you with different experiences. Because of this, we have listed out some specific differences to better suit your needs or preferences.
The material your steamroller is made of is going to affect performance, taste, maintenance, and storage. These are all important considerations depending on what you plan on doing with your steamroller. For example, glass and ceramic will be more fragile than metal or silicone, however, glass will be easier to see into (and clean) than ceramic. Silicone is more malleable and lighter than metal but almost as indestructible. Think about how mobile, cleaning-intensive, etc you want and decide on the material based on those needs or preferences.
Almost all steamroller designs incorporate a dry pipe design. This is not a bad thing and steamrollers deliver tasty, smooth dry hits. However, you might decide that you want something that is much smoother and delivers a hit closer to a bong or bubbler. This means you will want to obtain a water pipe steamroller. These smoother hits will come at a cost of ease as well as concealability/mobility because you will need to have water on-hand and they will be larger than their dry equivalents.
Differences in size are going to affect the way you use, store, and transport your steamroller. It will also affect the situations you may decide to use it. For example, a smaller steamroller is going to work better with smaller groups of people because the bowl and capacity will be smaller. This also makes it easier to store, transport, and conceal regardless of the material it is made of. But, if you’re more of a social smoker, maybe something with greater capacity is more your style but harder to move.
Steamrollers, like the many different pipes, bongs, etc available, incorporate a lot of individuality and unique features. For example, some designs will incorporate color-changing glass or helpful gripping. Naturally, there will be an additional cost for steamrollers with more complicated attributes or designs than the more basic variety of steamrollers. There can also be additional benefits such as thicker glass or ceramic for greater durability. There is a high degree of diversity of steamrollers so take some time to research what would give you the best smoking experience.
When choosing the best steamroller, your decision will ultimately be based on your own preferences and needs. While there are certainly more or less complex steamrollers and a variety of different materials, the priorities you set will still be most important. Between materials and features it is important to have a clear idea of what you would like. To help get you started, we will touch on some popular options and why they are popular.
Glass is probably one of the most popular options for a material for your steamroller. As with a bong or a pipe, glass just happens to have the quintessential touch, feel, and taste. Not to mention, something to be proud of in a collection. As always, remain vigilant looking after these because even the thickest glass can crack or chip. While glass remains popular it is just one of many good options.
A steamroller pipe with water is certainly worth whatever extra hassle you attribute to obtaining and maintaining clean water in your steamroller – especially if you prefer a smoother hit. The ability of the water to filter and absorb the heat of the hit is just as smooth and effective as if you were using a bong. This alone justifies any extra costs associated. These steamrollers are still as simple and easy to clean as their dry counterparts.
Silicone steamrollers have recently begun to get increasingly popular. All the benefits of silicone – lightweight, easy to use, durable and strong – can be found in steamrollers. If you have a tendency to drop your glass or simply want something you can just toss in a bag and forget this is a handy option. Not to mention, silicone is not much more difficult to clean or maintain compared to glass.