Pipe Screens Ultimate Guide

Every toker’s goal is to have a sensational smoking experience. And if you are an avid pipe user, having an ash-free session is more than welcome. A popular question that crops up is whether to use a pipe screen or not. To that end, the budtenders at HIKEI decided to break down pipe screens, what they are, the different types and why you should consider adding them to your essentials.

What Is a Pipe Screen?

A pipe screen is a filter that tokers use to catch ash or ‘scooby snacks’ that build up during smoke sessions. Most pipe screens are made from stainless steel, brass, or glass. Even so, it’s not unusual to find titanium and quartz pipe screens.

Why You Should Use a Pipe Screen

Not everyone uses a pipe screen. However, here’s why you should consider using one. These products prevent weed chunks from getting to your mouth. If you are using a water pipe, a screen prevents weed from sliding into the water, which would be wasteful. Moreover, pipe screens prevent tar build-up, thereby reducing cleanup time and increasing the lifespan of your pipe.

Pipe Screen Designs

If you are a beginner, you might be wondering which pipe screen to get on your next dispensary visit. There are three primary pipe screen designs.

Detachable. This pipe screen type is affordable and usually comes in 10mm and 15mm. These screens are detachable, meaning you can switch to a new one whenever you feel like it.
Fixed type. As the name suggests, some pipe screens come with an already fitted one.
Downstem. Some pipes come with a removable downstem pipe screen

Types of Pipe Screens

Two types of pipe screen options are available, improvised and pre-made screens.

1. DIY

DIY pipe screens should be a last resort, especially since you can find cheap pre-made screens for about $3 at your local dispensary.

Aluminum foil. This screen type is simple. All you need is a piece of foil. Poke holes into it, then place it in your bowl. While it is uncertain whether foil produces harmful fumes, we don’t recommend consistent use.
Paper clips. Paper clips use stainless steel, which makes them a fantastic alternative. Using pliers, twist the paper clip into a spiral, and you have your pipe screen.
Tobacco. Place tobacco at the bottom before putting your weed. The tobacco will trap the ash. One thing to note is that this DIY screen traps some cannabis and can be wasteful.
2. Pre-made pipe screens

Pre-made screens use various materials. Below are the most common pipe screens in the market.


Brass pipe screens are the cheapest and are ideal for ceramic or glass pipes. They also come in various sizes, and their bright color makes them aesthetically pleasing. And while they get the job done, there are a few things to note. For instance, brass material isn’t durable. After a few uses, the heat exposure causes them to break down. Also, once these screens begin crumbling, they affect the taste of your weed.


Glass pipe screens are the most durable due to their high heat resistance. They often come in an animal or floral shape and are ideal for all bong types. Moreover, these screens are easy to clean and promote airflow. Even better is that they don’t affect the taste of your weed after heat exposure. They cost more than brass types, but the durability makes up for it. Also, they require proper storage as they can easily break.

Stainless Steel

These pipe screens are the most popular and are perfect for silicone/acrylic pipes. They are also affordable and more durable than brass screens. Unfortunately, like brass, they break down after repeated heat exposure. And may affect the taste of your favorite strain. It’s, therefore, crucial to check your screen before a session.

How to Determine the Correct Screen Size for Your Bong

As a rule of thumb, more giant bongs require bigger pipe screens. Two fittings exist for water bongs, i.e., female and male. The latter has a tapering side that fits into the female fitting. In addition, the two fittings are available in 10mm, 14mm, and 18mm sizes.

If it’s mesh wire screens(brass and stainless steel), you could bend mold them to fit your bowl. Alternatively, you could cut them to get the actual fitting that matches the diameter of your pipe.

How to Use a Pipe Screen

Here’s how to use a pipe screen.

Start by cleaning your bowl or hand pipe, eliminating any ash build-up
Ensure you have the correct pipe screen size
Place the pipe screen at the bottom of your bowl
Pack your favorite weed strain on top
Light it up and smoke until the contents turn into ash
Take out the screen and shake off the ash
Unless it has resin build-up, put the screen back in the bowl
Pipe Screen Maintenance

Cleaning your pipe screen is the best way to prolong its use. Note that this doesn’t apply to burnt screens. If you notice the screen holes getting bigger, cleaning won’t help. Instead, switch to a new pipe screen.

You’ll need the following items before you start cleaning your pipe screen.

Paper towels
Isopropyl Alcohol

Here are the practical steps for cleaning your pipe screen

Take out the pipe screen and examine how clogged it is
Blow on the screen and see whether the ash falls off
Pick up the pipe screen using the tweezers and place the lighter below. Consider doing this over the sink. Heat the pipe screen for a few minutes to melt the build-up.
Let the pipe screen cool
Soak in water to eliminate the residual build-up
Pour about 8 ounces of isopropyl alcohol into a container and add 2 tbsp of salt, and stir
Soak your pipe screen in the solution for up to an hour
Take out your pipe screen and rinse
Place pipe screen on a paper towel to dry

Pipe screens exist for a reason. They ensure you get a clean hit every time you use a bong. Also, with several options available, you can always go for one that does not put a dent in your pocket. Once you’ve settled on the ideal pipe screen for you, all that’s left is to light up a high-quality strain. HIKEI stocks various cannabis strains that meet every toker’s needs. So whether you need a lazy day strain or a stress-relief one, visit our shop today for high-quality weed.