The Smoker’s Ultimate Guide to Chillums

Smokers Ultimate Guide to Chillums

What is a chillum?

Chillums are an important part of any smoker’s collection. They are convenient, versatile pieces that cater to smokers who prefer a quick session. A chillum, simply put, is a handheld smoking piece. They are typically shaped like a straight tube with a bowl on one end and the mouthpiece on the other. The common factor is that they have no carb hole on the side. The carb hole serves to regulate airflow to the mouthpiece. The look of chillums can range from intricately designed glass to cigarette lookalikes intended to be discreet.

Many people are familiar with one-hitters or bat chillums. These are smaller chillums usually close to the size of a cigarette that work well for a quick hit on the go. However, chillums come in many sizes and some larger pieces can hold multiple hits. Chillums are a simple tool, but their small size means more smoke goes directly into your lungs, providing an effective hit. The more smoke you inhale, the stronger the effect. Small chillums bring more hot smoke directly to your mouth. With larger pieces, the smoke cools and decreases in amount.

Chillums were traditionally called hookah chillums, and they have been around since the 18th century. They are said to have originated in India, where Sadhu (holy men) have been smoking chillums for thousands of years as part of religious practices. Chillums became a lot more common in America and Europe during the last century.

Older chillums were made out of wood, clay, or stone. Now you can find them in these materials, but more commonly you will see them made out of glass, metals, quartz, or ceramic materials.

Benefits of using chillums

Chillums are ideal for when you want to keep things simple. They have stood the test of time because they are reliable and often inexpensive pieces that you can take anywhere.

Chillums can also help to limit the amount of unwanted debris you inhale. Many pieces have a filter or ash catching feature built into the mouthpiece to provide a clean hit. They are also a great tool for smoking small amounts or smoking on the go. Their small size creates a more effective hit. Using a chillum is also ideal for when you’re trying to keep your smoking session on the down low. They are made to be discreet, and can easily tuck into a pocket or small bag. They need to be cleaned just like any other glass piece, but this is relatively easy to do.

How to use a chillum

  • If your chillum does not have a built in filter, you may want to add a screen filter or something
    similar to protect your lungs.
How to use a chillum part 1
  • Grind your chosen legal smoking material finely and pack the end of your chillum. You will want to pack it tight enough so that your herb will stay in place when you hold the chillum up horizontally.
How to use a chillum part 2
  • Holding the mouthpiece end up against your lips, light the herb at the other end with a lighter while pulling gently. You will want to try to corner the bowl: focus on lighting one side of the bowl so your inhale with pull the flame into the bowl to slowly light your materials.
How to use a chillum part 3
  • Inhale, hold, and release! Be careful when you get close to the end of the bowl not to suck any ash in your mouth.
How to use a chillum part 4
  • When everything has burned, you can empty the chillum by tapping the end of it or blowing into the mouthpiece end to clear the ash.
How to use a chillum part 5

How to clean a glass chillum

Just like with cleaning your favorite glass water pipe or spoon pipe, cleaning your pipe can be done in a myriad of ways based on your personal preference. The easiest and most effective way to clean any glass pipe is to use a trusted glass pipe cleaning solution like Resolution Cleaning Gel or Formula 420 cleaner. However, a common way that many people clean their chillums using household items is with a paperclip, boiling water, isopropyl alcohol, or a combination of all three.

Pipe cleaner or paper clip
First, take a lighter to heat the outside section of the pipe to loosen the built up resin. Then you can take a pipe cleaner or an unfolded paperclip to scrape the inside of the bowl. Resin should start to build up along your cleaning piece as you go. You may want to run your cleaning material through a few times to get everything or run water through each end after to remove any leftover debris.

Boiling water
Alternatively, you can use boiling water to clean your glass chillum. You will want to place your piece in a boiling pot with enough water to cover the glass by about half an inch. Then bring the water to a low simmer to start. This will loosen the resin from the glass. You should only need to bring it up to a solid boil for a few seconds in order to remove all of the resin. When you’re done, be careful to let the glass cool, and then rinse it well with warm water (cold water could damage the glass).

Isopropyl alcohol
Possibly the easiest way to clean a glass chillum is to use rubbing alcohol, which can be found in almost every convenience store. The alcohol will remove all of the resin from the glass. Let it sit for an hour or two, and then your glass will be resin-free. Be sure to rinse the piece thoroughly with water after cleaning with alcohol. This will flush out any remaining rubbing alcohol and also help any stubborn resin detach from the walls of your chillum.

The best glass chillums

Looking for a chillum and not sure where to start? While chillums can often be an affordable option for a basic glass piece, they are also available in more durable materials and elaborate designs if you’re looking for something with flair. Check out a few of our favorite pieces below.

Glass Chillums
Glass Chillum
These are great pieces if you’re looking for a simple glass chillum to take on the go. These classic pieces are available in a range from 3” to 1/4″ and come in many different colors and styles. They are hand blown and locally sourced in Arizona, making them an affordable, unique option and fun addition to any collection.
Hippie-Butler Bat Chillum
HB Butler Bat
This is probably the most discreet option on this list. These bat chillums are made from high quality, durable glass so you can feel secure when you take them out with you. They are about 4” long and are a sleek and convenient option for the casual smoker.
GRAV Donut
Grav Donut
If you want to take things up a notch, these donut chillums hold the smoke in a wider bowl so that it’s more dispersed as you inhale compared to straighter chillums that shoot smoke directly to your mouth. The donut is 2.5”, intended to fit in the palm of your hand or your pocket, and offer a more widely filtered, lower temperature draw.
Jane West Taster
Jane West Taster
These beautifully crafted pieces will elevate your smoking experience. Made from premium borosilicate glass tubing, they are durable and practical to use on the go. The straight glass one-hitter is 3” long, made to fit in your hand or pocket. Their classic colors and lasting glass materials make them a staple piece for chillum connoisseurs.
GRAV 3 Inch
GRAV 3 Inch
These chillum pipes are made from frit glass and come in a variety of gorgeous vibrant colors. They are 3” long and are designed with an inverted, ash catching mouthpiece. These little pieces are functional yet have an elaborate design that will upgrade your smoking session while also keeping things clean and simple.


Now that you have all the facts about chillums that you could ever possibly need, the rest is up to you. No matter your lifestyle, The Butler has a smoking accessory for you. If you’re next pipe purchase is going to be a chillum, we’re happy to boast our large variety for you to choose from. We hope you enjoyed this guide and can find the chillum that works best for you! If you have a preferred brand of chillum you’ve used in the past, or currently use, let us know in the comments below!

Erinn Holman

A millennial writer who's passionate about alternative medicine, the smoking industry, and the Oxford comma.

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