The Best Way To Light Your Water Pipe: Torch, Lighter or Hemp Wick?

by Thick Ass Glass LLC October 04, 2016

When it comes to igniting their herbs and tobacco, smokers have a handful of different devices easily at their disposal. What you use or how you light you water pipe is completely a personal preference. It's your call, but there are some pretty strong differences.


The Big Shot TorchTorches are an essential dabbing tool. These are typically butane-powered devices that will generate flames that get as hot as 2000ºF. They will quickly heat up a quartz banger or other heating element. Standard lighters are not going to get hot enough in order to heat up nails. When picking out a butane torch, you need to determine:

  • How portable do you want your torch to be? You will be able to find both large and small torches. We have an extensive torch collection here.
  • What are you heating? Smaller torches are going to generate a smaller flame. If you’ve got large bangers, large titanium nails, or ceramic nails, you will want to go with a larger torch. You will spend less time heating your nails with larger torches.

The hottest part of a torch’s flame is thought to be the bright blue cone that is generated close to the torch but combustion is not complete at this part of the flame. In reality, the hottest part of the flame is the light blue part of the flame.  It is best to make sure the nail is sitting in front of the bright blue tip of the primary combustion zone for the quickest light.

One last thing... Typically, if you're simply lighting herbs or tobacco, why bother with a torch?

You don't want to ignite all of your material at once, as you'll probably not be able to smoke it all at once, right?

Slow down with herbs, friends. No need to finish your bowl in one sitting, my mother once said.


Lighters come in many shapes and forms. You will find anything from fuel powered Zippos to the stoner-staple Bics.

Most of your disposable lighters are made very cheaply and it is very common for the igniter or flint to go dead.

You get what you pay for, obviously, so should you expect a 99 cent lighter to last forever?

 Meanwhile, Zippo lighters look amazing but they require a serious amount of upkeep. Plus, the flame on these tends to be always pointing up, which is a problem for any water pipe user.

Hemp Wicks

A hemp wick is a phenomenal all-natural alternative to butane lighters. In order to use a hemp wick, you just need to light the wick (usually with a lighter) and use the wick to light your bowl.

Hemp wicks have advantages over butane lighters. The wick is made from hemp fibers and is normally wrapped around a lighter so that it can be easily lit.

With the use of a hemp wick, you lessen the risk of breathing in any butane or noxious gases from your lighter when lighting your bowl. Also, you also will have more control of the flame and can corner your bowl with more precision.

Hemp certainly does not combust at the high temperatures that butane burns at. Your smoke will be less harsh and you can take more intense hits without feeling as much strain on your lungs with the use of a hemp wick.

The Herb Iron

The Herb Iron (available here) is officially the smoker's premium combustion device. There's really nothing else like it. First, it's electric. It's a lot like an old school soldering iron, and even better, there is no flame.

There's a safety switch that will automatically turn off the herb iron once it's left for a while, a crucial element when it comes to these devices.

Not only that, but Hemp wicks do tend to have a taste and a smell. Not so with the Herb Iron.

Make no mistake: there is no cleaner way to smoke than with a Herb Iron. It is a genius device.


If you want your smoking experience simple, you may want to just stick with your lighter.

If you are more of a dabber, you should go with a torch. If you are interested in going butane free, you are going to want to look into a hemp wick. Beyond the potential health benefits over butane lighters, waxed hemp twine tastes cleaner.

On the other hand, nothing lights a bowl like the Herb Iron. Nothing.

The choice is yours, friends.


Thick Ass Glass LLC
Thick Ass Glass LLC


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