Friday, September 25, 2020

Smoke Cartel – Our Favorite Pieces

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As the United States (and the world) begins to roll back the outdated laws surrounding marijuana use, a lot of people are falling back in love with the plant. Of course you need something to smoke or vape with, but the available choices can be overwhelming, especially for beginners. A quick google search will likely show Smoke Cartel, a headshop located in the US.

They’re one of the big players in the marijuana accessories industry. They have a tonne of pieces to choose from, but which ones are best? We’ll be choosing our favorites from their collection of bongs, pipes, dab rigs and vapes. Because their collections are so big, we’ll be choosing a best value for money, and best high-end from each category.

Smoke Cartel

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Smoke Cartel Bongs

Best Value

We can’t go passed the 8″ Roll Uh Bowl for best value bong. Some people might not like the idea of having a silicone bong, as they don’t feel have the luxurious feel of glass. While this may be true, Roll Uh Bowl silicone bongs have a tonne of advantages.

When high, accidents tend to happen a lot more often (you already knew that though). With a silicone bong, they’re basically indestructible. There’s nothing worse than splashing some cash on a fancy new glass bong, to then have it broken 3 weeks later by your inexperienced friend who can’t handle their high.

Being silicone, they’re also great to take with you on hikes, camping, or just anything outdoors. A great day while high is a day outdoors, so having a silicone bong around won’t encourage you to spend the day inside. They’re dishwasher safe too, allowing for a (relatively) easy clean.

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Where the Roll Uh Bowl sets itself apart from other silicone bongs is that it’s foldable and collapses into a fraction of the size. The bowl piece is spring loaded too, meaning no more banging on the table to get any remaining ash out. This also makes cleaning a lot easier too.

If you’re still not convinced, they come in a large range of colors, with one being GLOW IN THE DARK. There’s also a 12″ version with all the same features if you’re after something a bit bigger.

Smoke Cartel Roll Uh Bowl

Best High-End

We have to give a special mention to China Glass’ Huangdi-Qin first off. The piece really is a work of art. If you turn it around to hide the bowl piece, it would look like your grandma’s ancient heirloom passed through the generations.

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We’ve decided to award Grav Labs 16 inch Honeycomb bong the overall winner. First of all, this thing is a beast. It’s 16 inches tall (40.5 cm), roughly the same size as Shaquille O’Neal’s shoe size. It features a honeycomb disc percolator in the base, ensuring your hits are smooth and filtered. The base is flat and weighty, reducing the likelihood of tipping over and breaking it. That said though, its large size means it’s easier to knock over than your standard bong, so always be careful.

The large and wide tube means its also perfect for packing full of ice, smoothing your hits down even further.

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Smoke Cartel Pipes

Best Value

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When it comes to picking a good value-for-money pipe, it’s hard to go wrong as a pipe is so simple. That said though, I’ve still had my fair share of terrible experiences with pipes. I was pretty chuffed one day after buying a Mario shaped pipe, because who doesn’t want to smoke weed with Mario?

After I get the pipe home and pack a bowl, I notice the first problem. When the pipe is in your mouth, his big head is blocking your view of the bowl piece, making it somewhat difficult to light up. To add to this, his head is also directly above the bowl piece, so it’s easy to put your lighter to close, burning off the paint and giving your hits a really terrible taste.

Luckily none of these problems exist with The Everyman’s Bowl. For less than $10 you can get this glass pipe that can’t have its paint burnt off, and gives you clear sight of your bowl when trying to light. There’s nothing special about this design, and to be honest it looks quite ordinary, but if you’re chasing value for money I don’t think too many people would be upset with this purchase.

Best High-End

If you want to spend a bit more money on a high-end pipe, that’s where the differences become far more obvious. The Incredibowl i420 wins best Smoke Cartel high-end pipe hands down! Unlike a normal pipe, the i420 has a mechanism that allows the smoke to build up in the chamber while lighting up. Pull out the end of the pipe and more air can filter through, giving you the full hit of the chamber in one go. It’s extra filtering means your hits are smoother and better for you than a traditional pipe.

The Incredibowl i420 is handblown in Boulder, Colorado, and comes with a lifetime warranty. There’s a video on YouTube showing a Jeep running over the i420, and sustaining no damages. This is one pipe you don’t need to worry about breaking.

There are a few downsides however. Its large size of 9 inches long (23 cm) means it isn’t as portable as your typical pipe. Similar to my troubled Mario pipe, it’s also difficult to tell when your flame is on the bowl piece. Practice makes perfect though, so after a while this won’t really be an issue anymore.

Smoke Cartel Incredibowl i420

Smoke Cartel Dab Rigs

Best Value

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The line between bongs, bubblers and dab rigs is often quite blurred. We’re only choosing pieces with a primary function of a dab rig for the next two choices. In our opinion the best value-for-money piece is the Mr Orbs dab rig.

There’s nothing overly special about this dab rig, but it does the job it needs to do for a great price. It offers great filtration thanks to its tiered system and Seed of Life Perc. One thing that might turn off potential buyers is the size. At 6 inches tall (15.2 cm) it is on the small side, but as the old saying goes it’s not the size that counts but how you use it.

Best High-End

There’s a lot to choose from but the Grav Labs Klein Sprocket Recycler takes the cake. It can be used with both weed and concentrates, with the concentrates insert being sold separately. It’s made of thick borosilicate glass, which is more resistant to thermal shock, meaning the perfect dabs rig material.

Where the Klein Sprocket Recycler really shines is its intricate filtering design. Smoke is forced through two water chambers, meaning the hits you receive are cooler and more filtered, giving you a less contaminated and better tasting high. On top of this, it looks really cool to see the smoke and water mixing and being separated in this way.

Smoke Cartel Vapes

Vapes come in a huge range of sizes, shapes and functions. We won’t be including any E-Liquid vapes into consideration here. We’re choosing our two favorites regardless of desktop or portable, dry herb or concentrates.

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Best Value

For best value, the Pulsar APX 2 is our choice. It offers all the functionality you need in a vape, for a fraction of the cost compared to some of the big name portable vapes. It comes with 5 different heat levels, and a small LED display so you can easily see the chosen heat level and remaining battery life. It’s also a lot more obvious with how it’s meant to be used, as the mouth piece actually looks like a mouth piece. The Pulsar APX 2 also comes in a huge range of colors, including skulls, tie dye and wood grain.

If you’re looking for a portable vape suitable with both loose leaf and concentrates, this vape may not be for you. It can only be used with loose leaf, unlike more versatile vapes like the Pax. As far as size goes, its smaller than most, but only just.

Best High-End

If money isn’t a problem then we recommend the Storz and Bickel Volcano Vaporizer. Probably the most well known desktop vape, the volcano vaporizer has been around for some time now. Don’t expect to get it for cheap however, as this vape will cost you more than a months rent in some US cities. The good news is that there is a cheaper option available with the manual “classic” temperature dial, compared to the digital version linked above.

The Volcano Vaporizer is solid, well built, and easy to use. The vapor it produces has a smooth taste, and will likely produce consistently high vapor quality for many years. Buying spare parts (such as bags or fittings) is also a breeze.

One downside is that the Volcano Vaporizer doesn’t come with the “whip” option that the Arizer Extreme Q offers. I’ve personally found the whip as more of a novelty however, and can count on one hand the number of times I’ve used it. The biggest downside is obviously the price, but if you’re happy to spend the money, the Volcano Vaporizer will produce vapor quality like no other.

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