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The Differences Between a Chillum and a One Hitter

| Tom Parry

 If you’re deciding between investing in a chillum and a one hitter, continue reading as we parse the differences and highlight the strengths of each design. 

When speed, discretion, and ease of use are top priority, chillums and one hitters remain unmatched in performance. All sorts of bowls, bongs, and joints fail to have such a small shape and keep a low smell profile. At first glance, you may not be impressed; it’s hard to compete with huge fancy bongs. But when stealth, portability, and quality are desired, chillums and one hitters can pack a ton of performance and aesthetic into a small piece just for you.

Why a Hand-held Pipe?

Small, hand-held pipes like chillums and one hitters provide you with a tremendous amount of stealth, flexibility, and ability to get a great high. Chillums and one hitters maintain a small profile before and after use: making minimal outlines when in pockets, being easy to stash in a bag and having a more cigarette-like aesthetic while in use. What’s more, the smell of a chillum or one hitter is much smaller than the sweatshirt-soaking smell of a joint. 

Chillums and One Hitters - What’s the Difference?

When it comes to the difference between chillums and one hitters, the difference mostly revolves around how much weed you can pack at a time. One hitters are aptly named as they provide enough space to pack 1 hit. On the other hand, chillums provide slightly more space allowing for multiple hits to be taken, while still maintaining that low profile.

Chillums in their internal designs are slightly different as well. Whereas a one hitter is usually a simple straight tube, chillums often have a spiral design on the interior to create a better smoke. What makes chillums different from a bowl is that a chillum doesn’t have a hole near the bowl (aka the carburetor) that increases airflow in the piece.

The Science of Pipes

The science of chillums and one hitters is straight forward: pack the bowl, light and suck. The airflow you create combined with the combustion of the weed creates a flow of smoke heading straight for your lungs. Chillums and one hitters provide one of the most simple, straightforward ways to get a great high.

 Why Small is Better

A huge feature for chillums and one hitters is their size. The small profile these pieces have allows for stealthy, discrete smoking that can’t be matched by other forms of cannabis smoke. Even if someone saw your one hitter, they probably just assume that it is a cigarette anyways. 

Being so small, chillums and one hitters are usually easy to clean and they are definitely easier to pack. If you don’t need the bells and whistles of a bong, or can’t get away with it, chillums and one hitters are a great alternative for smoking some pot.

What Types of Chillums and One Hitters are Out There?


Chillums tend to represent a specific design, and thus there isn’t a ton of variety like you’d see in a bowl. That being said, chillums come in a variety of different materials from glass to wood, but more on that later. 

Traditional One Hitter

Traditional one hitters is almost as basic as it gets. Often with the paint job of a cigarette, these long narrow tubes essentially duplicate the aesthetic of a cigarette. There is some variety in aesthetics, but these one hitters follow the traditional design of small and narrow to allow for discrete use and transportation. For ways to clean a one hitter, check out our blog here.


Resembling something like a nicotine vape or pack of cigarettes, dugouts provide not only a one hitter bowl setup, but also a small storage space for dry herb. This added functionality allows you to travel even lighter, without the need for a grinder or other container for your herb.

One-Hitter Spoon Pipes

For a slightly different feel than the more traditional cigarette-like design of a one hitter, the one-hitter spoon pipe gives a slightly more bowl feel to your piece, but still keeps it small and discrete.

Pipe Material You Can Find

Chillums and one hitters can come in a variety of different materials that all add their own unique flavor and feel to your smoking experience. Here is a list of the materials you’ll find used to make chillums and one hitters on the market:

  • Glass
  • Ceramic
  • Metal
  • Wood

Avoid Cheap Imported Glass!

If you go the glass route, arguably the most popular, for your chillum/one hitter material, be sure to be on the lookout for high quality glass to bring home. Oftentimes, the absurdly cheap pieces in your local smoke shop are imported, low quality glass pieces take away from your smoking experience while being ripe to break at any given moment. Get some thicker, high quality glass if you want a great piece that will last.

Choosing the Right Pipe

Choosing the right pipe comes down to a few different factors. We know chillums and one hitters are notorious for their stealth and transportability, that’s why we’re here. Here is what else should be considered:


Cost should be a guiding factor in your chillum/one hitter purchase as you don’t want to overextend and not be able to get the right bud for the job. Base models for chillums/one hitters are very affordable, but if you want the extra quality, craftsmanship, and aesthetic, the price can scale drastically. 

Look and Feel

Chillums and one hitters have slightly different feels to them; people usually have a preference. From there, the material of your piece is another huge decision alongside the actual color and aesthetic of the piece. Follow your heart and get something you think you’d enjoy. 


The small profiles of chillums and one hitters tends to be fairly durable. But if durability is still a problem, definitely consider this when choosing the right material for your job. Nothing is worse than breaking your piece; don’t be afraid to get a metal one hitter to make sure this doesn’t happen.

Conclusion to Chillums vs One Hitters

Whether you want a quick, easy smoke or a stealthy, discrete session, chillums and one hitters are just what you’re looking for. These pieces hold a tremendously small profile that allows for easy transportation and use. Usually being quite affordable as well, chillums and one hitters make for a fantastic add to a collection as a first piece just to start or 50th piece to round out. Get yourself a chillum or one hitter and redefine your smoking experience.

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