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For those who have yet to discover this revolutionary device, the steamroller pipe, aka steamroller bong, is probably the closest piece of smoking paraphernalia to a portable bong. It's essentially a glass pipe, but it gives milkier hits than traditional hand pipes, and, unlike the water bong, it requires no water. But, beware, only the seasoned smoker should venture into steamroller territory as they can deliver massive cloud puffs.
The Steamroller pipe gets its names from their resemblance to a wheel of a steamroller. Unlike regular bowls, they have no curves, and a slightly different carb set up. There's an indented bowl on one end, to hold the herbs, but unlike a regular bowl, the carb hole is the same size as the mouthpiece, but you'll be able to tell them apart. The carb hole is the one near the bowl, the mouthpiece is on the other side. You'll find steamrollers in various shapes and sizes, made out of different kinds of glass, including super sturdy ones made out of the same materials as high end bongs.
Acrylic is a sturdy plastic material that, unlike glass, won't shatter if you drop them. If you're thinking that plastic may be sort of nasty to inhale, don't worry, the average tube does not impact the flavor and the bowl piece always comes with a glass or metal slide piece.
The classic steamroller design is glass. Glass steamrollers make for the best experience and definitely the purest flavor versus other materials. The highest quality glass steamrollers are made with borosilicate glass, which is the same material used to make upscale bongs – this is where you find the high-end, art-type pipe pieces.
If you're looking to mellow the harshness of the steamroller, you might want to go with a glycerin pipe. Glycerin expands, so pipes can be stored in the freezer without breaking. The glycerine pipes will stay cold for a long time, so as the smoke travels from the bowl piece to the mouthpiece, it will be cooled, leading to a smoother hit.
If you've been seeing the term 'helix' tossed around in relation to steamrollers, and you're wondering what they're all about, here's the breakdown. The Helix Steamroller stands out because of the unique design. It has a spiral shapedwhich gives the smoke a longer a distance to travel forces the smoke to tornado before it enters your lungs. This is a good way to cool the smoke without using water; the logic being the the further the smoke has to travel, the cooler it will get.
The Different Sizes
Size plays a big role in the steamroller, and as you might expect, the bigger the badder. Of course, the steamroller pipe is intended to get as haughty a hit as possible, so one might argue that the small model somewhat defeats the purpose. However, you could kind of think of small steamrollers as a steamroller with training wheels. if you are just embarking on your journey into the steamroller world, a smaller unit may be the perfect place to start without going all in. Plus, you can smoke smaller steamrollers with one hand – they are very portable pipes versus the more sizeable version.
If you want to advance directly to the larger sized steamrollers, be prepared, these are going to be a 2-hand job. These big boys can stand up all on their own without breaking, but they are going to take your whole hand just to cover the carb at the one end of the tube. However, the payoff will be very gratifying when you realize the power of this smoking device. The large one is not as portable, especially if it is a high-quality glass, but a place in the pipe collection can be made for one of these.
Roor is another trusted name in smoke paraphernalia, and was founded in Germany, which already tells you it must be pretty badass. Roor was started in the 1980's by a German glass blower named Martin Birzle. Thanks to Martin, Roor continues to produce high end borosilicate bongs, smoking accessories and steamrollers in about every size you can imagine, from mini, to small, medium and large. Count on getting a nice smooth hit, and they are durable products, easy to travel with, but again, a cool little pipe case does not hurt for travel. Standard Roor steamrollers range in price from the smaller models up to the larger sizes, and they're pretty straight up and no nonsense in design, and very reliable. Easy to clean too, but then again so are most steamrollers given the structure of the smoking pipe.
For any person that has been smoking for a length of time, or for those that are pipe collectors, chances are they are also familiar with the Helix steamroller. If you're ready to do some heavy hitting, this 18 inch, extra large steamroller is definitely worth some serious investigation. The selling point of the Helix is its streamlined, durable borosilicate glass construction, with considerable less bulk than many of its counterparts, making it tough enough for travel, although for any sort of glass pipe, having some sort of pipe carrying case helps too. The Helix clocks in at about $105, but think of it as an investment piece. You can plan on having a long-lasting relationship with the Helix, and if you're looking for a large size steamroller, this is a good one to have a look at, available in assorted colors.
Steamroller vs. Bong
Can there be such a thing as too much choice? Sometimes life is hard. How can you choose between the greater of two goods? When it comes to making the choice between a steamroller and a bong, there are a few things to consider.
First, bongs have water, steam rollers don't. This means you're going to get a harsher, hotter hit from a steamroller, and a smoother one from a bong. However, the steamroller, will give you a more powerful hit because there is no water to filter out the the various herb molecules and particles, which means more bang for the buck. Also, water isn't always on hand, and the bong is quite a bit bulkier given the area needed to hold water – which may make the steamroller a better travel choice, although the bong does make a charming addition to your home decor.
Second, the steamroller has a bigger carb, which allows more air to get in, so you can clear larger amounts of smoke more quickly which will lead to intense hits quickly; not for nothing, it is called the steamroller.
In short, if you don't mind the coughing fits, go for the steamroller; if you already think the bong is harsh, the steamroller may not be your thing and perhaps you need something like a dry herb vaporizer, or maybe a bubbler.
Steamrollers vs. Bubblers
Again, the debate is between water and no water. The bubbler, or water pipe, has water filtration, which makes the hit smoother, but if you're craving the mega hits of the steamroller, the bubbler hit may seem somewhat underwhelming. The bubbler is very similar to the average glass pipe, but it is a bit larger with an extension to hold water – so it is a bong in glass bowl form, kind of. The small size makes it ideal for transportation, which may be more convenient than some of the larger sized steamrollers, but, again you do need to make sure a water source is not too far away.
Cleaning Your Steamroller
Of course, every good herb smoker knows cleanliness is close to godliness, and the more cleanly your tools, the better the smoking experience. Luckily, the steamroller is probably the easiest piece of glass in your smoking collection to clean. Thanks to the simple design, it has no complex curves or corners to trap the resin. Some pipes can be difficult to clean even after soaking in 420 cleaner, but not this one.
Most glass pipes, bowls and bongs are most easily cleaned after they have been soaking in some sort of pipe cleaner for a while. The same concept applies here and depending on how well-covered in resin the pipe is, feel free to soak for 10-20 minutes, it can only help make the cleaning process easier. It can be soaked in a bag with some liquid glass cleaner or isopropyl alcohol.
While soaking, feel free to shake the mixture around to help remove stuck on particles. Use a pipe cleaner or old tooth brush to scrub out the built-up residue. Continue to shake, scrub and soak until you are satisfied.
Always make sure to rinse out the pipe with hot/warm water after every cleaning, especially if cleaning solutions were used. The strong flow of hot water will also help to push out any last remaining pieces of resin particles.
Dabs with Steamroller Pipe
Talk about versatility, and in a new way – dabbing with a steamroller. If you are not familiar with dabbing, it is the endearing name for this new form of vaporizing wax concentrates that usually involves dab rigs and Domeless nails, and do not forget the dab tools. In short, it is a single, huge rip of dry herb by-product, aka wax concentrates. Chances are, if you like dabbing, you will probably like it even more with a steamroller. You can get a better idea of whether or not it is for you by watching the epic YouTube clips by various YouTubers all over the states.
So, do you roll with the steamroller, or do you roll with the more traditional glass pipes and bongs? It depends what you are looking for from your smoking device. If you want a really intense hit, really quickly, by all means, go for the steamroller. If you want to keep it more chill, or if you find the harsh hits a little less alluring, stick with the other methods available, and maybe go on a new adventure into dry herb vapes, who knows. Try everything, stick with what works, and always take the high road.