Dank Blog

Why Use a Steamroller Pipe?

why us steamroller
Plenty of pipe smokers are certain that they’ve settled on the exact smoking configuration of their dreams, puffing away at a
mini spoon pipe or some long-handled wizard bubbler. But that’s just because they haven’t tried the ultimate smoking piece for a heavy hitter: a steamroller pipe. It’s all of the magic of a simple, compact smoking piece with the hit capacity of a full-size bong. They come in whatever size piece you’re hoping to add to your collection, whether it’s a two-hander or versatile and pocket-sized. Plus, because they don’t look like much, these pipes aren’t generally the troublesome, attention-attracting type.

How do Steamroller Pipes Work?

steamroller pipeSteamroller pipes don’t look like much, but they function somewhere between a regular pipe and a water pipe—like a dry bong, basically. Because steamroller pipes are long and narrow, they work the way that a straight tube bong does and cool down the smoke before it hits your lungs, a big bonus when it comes to the pipe category. Even though they’re certainly no glycerin coils, steamroller pipes still get the smoke cooled down enough so that your throat isn’t burning like it would be from, say, a poorly designed chillum.

Using a steamroller pipe is easy: put your hand over the carb at the end of the pipe, your mouth on the end opposite the bowl, and then light the dry herb, pulling until the chamber is full and then removing your hand from the carb. Not too complicated! There are reasons that the steamroller pipe design has been ubiquitous for thousands of years, and ease has a lot to do with it.

That said, keep in mind that steamrollers can deliver big fat hits and aren’t necessarily the best choice for beginners. They’re ideal for intermediate-to-experienced smokers looking to transition up from spoon pipes or away from water pipes. A bong-sized hit without water can be a little harsher than one that has been allowed to filter through a rig and some ice; look to bubblers and small bongs instead if you’re concerned about the harshness of the hit.

What Features do Steamroller Pipes Have?

While steamroller designs are generally rather simple (a straight tube with a bowl on top, a carb at one end, and a mouthpiece at the other) some of these pieces can get surprisingly complicated for a dry pipe. On the basic end of features, it’s worth looking for a steamroller that either has a flat bottom or features glass feet that will keep the pipe from rolling around on (and off) your tabletop. There are plenty of novelty steamroller designs that also let you stand the pipe up on its end.

steamroller features

Because they can get much bigger than spoon pipes, steamrollers can incorporate elements like percolators into their body designs. Steamrollers with internal percs are absolute wonders when it comes to breaking down and cooling smoke, creating a bong-level experience without having to bother with a water-filled piece. Some even have built-in ashcatchers which can be useful with such a high powered piece.

Some steamrollers, like the Nucleus 10” Clear Glass Steamroller, have the added option of a removable, keck clip-attached bowl. Not only does this make cleaning the piece easier and faster, it also gives you the option to customize your setup to the exact specifications you’re looking to fill. It’s a great option for smokers who are particular about their bowl type or have a favorite one. A keck clip keeps the joint and bowl in place so that the steamroller stays together if the pipe does somehow manage to topple despite its glass feet.

nucleus steamroller

Composition of a Steamroller

Most often, steamroller pipes are made of glass. Borosilicate glass, also known as scientific glass, is a particularly popular material because of its thickens and ability to resist high levels of heat stress. It’s much less likely to break when dropped or bumped into than typical glass, which is why it’s used in science labs and to make Pyrex dishes.

Steamrollers Don’t Have to be Huge

cactus steamrollerFor those who are looking for the most discreet steamroller experience possible, pieces like DankStop’s Fumed Ice Cube Steamroller are small enough to fit in the palm of your hand while still functioning the same as a standard, tabletop steamroller. This piece provides a helpful way to avoid taking in too much of a hard pull at once while also changing up the experience you’d get from a little spoon pipe. It’s a great compromise between a standard steamroller and a typical glass pipe and also manages to provide a great show with its clear, fumed glass body.

If you need a refresher on hand pipes, check out our comprehensive beginner’s guide.


Private: Why Use A Steamroller Pipe?

kobaya ashi maru steamroller

In the world of glass hand pipes, the steamroller is a heavyweight. Their long chambers and front carb allow you to build lots of smoke and then shotgun it into your lungs for huge, powerful hits. Some think their intense hits is where the name “steamroller” comes from, though others say it’s due to their resemblance to steam train wheel spokes. Either way, the steamroller isn’t exactly a new idea: Native Americans’ ceremonial pipes had a similar construction with a long shaft, narrow bowl and front carb. This stone bowl used by the famous Native American tribe leader “Black Hawk” especially resembles the modern steamroller. These pipes have been called “peace pipes” due to them often being used to seal peace treaties.

Steamroller pipes offer other benefits besides hitting well. Their biggest benefit is their narrow profile; it’s much easier to fit a narrow steamroller into a pocket of your skinny jeans than it is with a wide spoon pipe or sherlock. The narrowness and length of the chamber also helps to cool down smoke, which makes for smoother inhales. If you’re worried about your steamroller rolling around on the table, most are designed with small glass “feet” that keep your pipe upright when not in use.

Check out: Grav Labs

Scientific glass company Grav Labs has a series of steamrollers made of clear glass, which allows you to see smoke build up along the lengthy chamber of your pipe. They have built-in ashcatchers which keep your mouth clear of debris. Depending on your desire, their steamrollers come in different sizes and styles. Purr Glass has a similar Clear Glass Steamroller. Grav Labs’ Giant 18” Steamroller is notable for having an 18mm female joint with an 18mm male funnel bowl that replaces the usual hand pipe recessed bowl. The funnel bowl allows for more tobacco to be put in the pipe. If you want cooler hits from your hand pipe, their Clear Upline Steamroller has Grav Labs’ signature Upline Percolator that diffuses heat out of your pipe.

grav labs clear upline steamroller

Check out: Mathematix

Mathematix offers a similar 8 ½” Mini Steamroller and 9 ½” White Steamroller, though their 9 ½” white pipe is opaque, allowing you to get away with less cleaning. They also have a fun Surfboard Hand Pipe that acts as a steamroller as well. Their most unique steamroller is the authoritative Nightstick Steamroller, which measures in at a massive 18” and has a bowl in its side handle.

mathematix nightstick steamroller

Check out: Chameleon Glass

Chameleon Glass’ steamrollers are tiny at a length of 5” and a width of 1.5”. They make up for it in intricate design: their Kobaya Ashi Maru Steamroller and Worked Flower Pot Mini Steamroller have intense squiggly designs that will make them stand out in your glass collection. Their fumed glass construction also means they’ll change colors the more you smoke out of them. If you’re a Star Wars fan, they also have a Lightsaber Steamroller that even has a glow-in-the-dark variation.

kobaya ashi maru steamroller


Check out: Marley Natural

Marley Natural adds old-world charm to the steamroller with their Steamroller w/ Wood Mouthpiece. Not only does the wooden mouthpiece look dapper, it and the wooden base can be removed from the clear glass tube for easy cleaning. It also comes with a travel bag that is large enough to fit the steamroller and a little baggie (of tobacco) as well.

marley natural steamroller


A steamroller can be a great addition to your glass collection, so check out our collection to see which one will give you the peace you so desire.