For those who opt to use glass pieces for smoking, then it’s in your best interest to understand the different glass types available in the market. This will save you from absolute breakage and save your pockets in the long run. In addition, you’ll have peace of mind knowing you chose the best glass in the market.

In this article, we’ll dive into the types of glass available, their differences and which you should choose.

Soft Glass vs Borosilicate Glass

The first difference arises in malleability when hot and whether can it withstand breakage when cold compared to borosilicate glass. In addition, soft glass is made from large poles for blow tubes. In this process, glass is melted in a furnace. Afterward, it’s sculpted into a preferred shape.

The difference with borosilicate glass is the constant exposure to flames during sculpting. Furthermore, once the soft glass is in its last step, it can get more fragile compared to borosilicate which we’ll get into a bit.

With such differences, you can expect a noticeable difference in the prices when buying smoking pieces from your favorite headshop such as Grasscity headshop.

The Evolution of Glassblowing

Since 100 BC, glassblowing continues to be a major way of producing glass products. This makes this art about 2000 years old. However, it was only until the 1960’s when glassblowing transformed into an artistic movement referred to as the “Studio Glass Movement.”

This movement fueled ideas which later brought about scientific bongs and other sculptures made of glass. Soft glass is used in creating layered fusing, stylish stemware, artistic vases and majestic sculptures and recently, pipes and bongs.

Soft glass can hold heat and maintain malleability for long when crafting a product, thus ensuring constant work and reheating the glass until you finish the sculpture. However, the glass will expand thereby causing your glass to break due to shock from temperature fluctuation.

Maintenance and Durability

Soft glass has a varying coefficient of expansion compared to borosilicate. Therefore, it’s prone to breakage, especially when cleaning. The COE is the rate at which a glass contracts and expands when cooled or heated.

For soft glass, the number ranges from 90 to 104 while for borosilicate, the number ranges between 30 and 33. This means after annealing, soft glass is weaker than borosilicate. This is why it’s advisable to use isopropyl alcohol combined with coarse-grained salt or use a soaking cleaner.

Also, when it comes to storage, ensure you don’t store the bong or pipe close to a heater or an area where one can knock it over. While soft glass may be brittle compared to borosilicate, it’s widely used in mainstream art.


With all the information outlined in this article, you now know what type of pipe or bong you have. Nevertheless, a lot of smoking paraphernalia is made using borosilicate glass which is more durable and can withstand thermal shock. In addition, they are easier and faster to clean.

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