We recently posted a roundup of a bunch of our favorite value tier (a.k.a. cheap) bongs. The world of functional glass is expansive, with pieces for every kind of user at every price point. While there are tons of great options for under $200, the quality of the pieces increases substantially when you spend much more. Artisan glass pieces are sturdy and usually aren’t any more difficult to keep clean than cheap bongs are, so if you invest a lot in a glass piece, you can either use it as a workhorse and wear it into the ground, or simply display it proudly as art.
We’re not here to address the economics of pieces worth tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars (Cody Jawnson of Zen Extracts and Dabrite is notorious for using a $150,000 dab rig), but there are some great functional pieces under $1000. In our last roundup, we covered inexpensive bongs and rigs in a wide range of popular styles. Now we’re bringing you seven high-end options to consider investing in, so you can level up your glass game.
Visual Art in Glass Form
The Mothership collective was established in the Pacific Northwest in 2013, and since then, they’ve been at the forefront of innovation on both the functional and artisan sides of cannabis glass. Captained by Scott Dreppe, who’s been creating glass art for nearly 30 years, the collective has become famous for their detailed glass imagery. Mothership has seven models of tubes, including fab egg and Klein recycler designs, which have proliferated among cheap glass stock in the last five years or so. Their most recent innovation is called “Hologram,” which adds gold and silver fuming to the folds in the glass. They advertise this technique as creating a “tapestry” of design. Mothership glass is extremely limited, and the caps, slides, chillums and bowl pipes cost around $400 to start. Their glass water pipes are outside the price range of this list (starting at $4,000 for the egg rig on the Three Wishes drop) but the style is too well-done for us to leave Mothership off the list. Just look at this gorgeous glass!
Captain Hook Glass Art is a Westchester, NY glass studio that specializes in full-size pieces 15-18 inches tall, 4mm thick and with an 18mm thread. Their signature design is a glass hook. They also offer custom orders and second-quality glass in their store. Their most common offerings are their recycler rigs, which costs around $700, and “pint-size” tubes, which cost around $400. Their pieces with more complex patterns and functions cost between $1000-2000 and all pieces ship within 14 days. Captain Hook even makes the ordering process even easier with an FAQ on the site with a glossary of terms for your perfect custom piece. Arrr matey!
Everything’s a Bong
Empire Glassworks is a production glass company, but they belong on this list because you can get a piece that looks like just about anything from them: an avocado, a smoothie, a hockey puck, a piece of sushi, a hydro flask water bottle, an ice cream sundae… the list goes on and on. Their pieces are well constructed and sturdy. Empire’s best sellers are their rigs, which cost $250-400 each. If you can think of it, odds are that Empire Glassworks has made it into a bong. Empire Glassworks sells their glass online, but if you’d like to pick their pieces up from a brick and mortar shop, check out Brookland Smoke Shop on 12th St NE in DC. Maybe you'll find a cheeky piece like this shampoo bottle bong!
Form and Function
Based in North Carolina, Asian Kevin Glass makes premier options for recycler rigs. Their most notable options are their 2:1 and 4:1 recycler rigs with a wider-than-normal bevel on the thread that come in a wide range of color combinations. Asian Kevin also produces terp slurpers, chillums, carb beads, terp pearls and longer tubes. I prefer clear colored glass like Asian Kevin’s recyclers which come in clear colors that make it easy to see the intricate recycler function. Pick up an Asian Kevin rig at Glass Stache DC, which carries a variety of his pieces in the $500-1000 range. We love the colors in this beautiful piece.
Everything’s Bigger in Texas
Apparently, the old adage applies to glass too! Texas Tubes is an Austin-based glass manufacturer that creates understated, sturdy mid-size tubes and beakers. While they offer intricate wig wag pattern glass and complex percolation on some of their more expensive pieces, most of their glass is more streamlined. Their most popular combination is a straight tube with an inline joint and a stemline perc. These pieces range from 15-19 inches tall, and have a built-in ice catcher. Most of their tubes and rigs are between $250-400, and they also offer artisan slides, down stems, ash catchers, carb caps and glasses. Yeehaw!
Wig Wag Glass Galore
Andy G is a Minnesota-based glasswork savant who has been working on the torch since before I was born. Even someone my age who largely hasn’t been around pre-legalization cannabis culture can appreciate the work that has gone into honing his craft. Andy G Glass crafts mostly smaller rigs and pipes, but all of their pieces feature extensive multicolor patterns (some of which glow in the dark) in the glass as well as silky smooth function. Andy G Glass can also be found at Glass Stache DC in the $300-700 range, with some larger and more intricate pieces costing more than $1000. If you’re looking for the true hippy-dippy vibe from your extracts, this rig selection is right for you.
Virginia Local Thinking Global
Last but not least is Dux Glass, based out of Richmond, VA. Finding high-quality glass artists in the DMV can be tricky due to the lack of real-estate in DC, and Virginia’s strict rules about cannabis paraphernalia. You’ll know what I mean if you’ve ever gone to an Alexandria glass shop that kicked you out of the store for saying “bong,” let alone asking what the “best bongs” are. Dux Glass is notable for their fortune cookie design that they make pendants with, as well as use as a percolator in many of their rigs. You can find their products at Glass Stache and DC Glass Gallery as well as on their BigCartel Store when they’re in stock. Their pendants cost between $300-500, so I’d guess their bongs and rigs cost in the $600-1000 price range when they’re in stock.
Navigating the world of “level up” glass and custom glass pieces can be overwhelming, but many artists will help you create something you can be proud to use and own. All you have to do to find your perfect piece is scour Instagram, and your local head shop. Cannabis enthusiasts should be proud to own art made by people with a deep passion for glass work and cannabis culture. And remember, always keep your bongs clean!