How to Use a Chillum

How to Use a Chillum

Convenient but powerful, chillums are an underrated smoker’s fave. Though chillums deliver powerful hits in a compact body, how to use a chillum can be a little confusing for first-timers. That’s where we come in: this guide walks you through packing, lighting, holding, and smoking a chillum so you can expand your smoking horizons and add a new piece of glass to your collection. 

What is a Chillum? 

Chillum from Vessel

In this day and age, the term “chillum” is often used interchangeably with “one-hitters.” Traditionally, though, chillums are Indian or East Asian pipes. They were first used as an accessory in religious ceremonies, spiritual practice, and meditation. Since the 1940s, they’ve worked their way into Western smoker culture and are now used for casual smoking purposes alongside their more spiritual uses. 

Essentially, a chillum is a straight conical smoking pipe. The specific shape and size of the chillum ensures a smooth inhale and a stronger hit. The design quickly allows a large quantity of smoke to accumulate while rapidly cooling the smoke. Also, they’re dope, compact, and convenient. 

How to Pack a Chillum 

If you’ve packed a one-hitter before, you’re in luck: packing a chillum is a fairly similar procedure. Grind or tear up your herb and pack it relatively tightly. After all, without protection from a filter, loosely packed bowls are way more likely to produce debris. Packing it tightly will help to prevent scoobs from going into your mouth when hitting the chillum. 

Though they don’t normally come with a filter, some use what’s called a “chillum stone.” A chillum stone is, according to tradition, supposed to be a pebble that you find on the ground. However, some modern chillums come with their own special fitted stone, which is generally placed in the bowl and used to filter debris and dust that would otherwise move into the smoke chamber.

  1. Grind herb or tobacco using a grinder
  2. Gather herb and delicately place in conical bowl area 
  3. Pack down 
  4. Repeats steps 2-3 until bowl is filled 

How to Light a Chillum

Carbon lighter from Vessel

Carbon lighter from Vessel

Traditionally, when using a clay chillum, they’re so long that someone else has to light it for you. With modern chillums, typically made of glass, you can light it yourself with some practice. Just put the pipe in your mouth and light the flower. However, this method does have its flaws, as the device will get hot very quickly. 

The traditional way of using a chillum is cupping your hand over the end and placing it between your ring and pinky finger . Place your mouth over your cupped hand, and use your fist to create a smoke chamber. This chamber catches embers and cools the smoke, allowing for a more pleasurable smoke session.

  1. Light herb in conical chamber 
  2. Inhale smoke 

As an accessory 

If you don’t have a friend around to help you, another way to smoke with a chillum  is to use it as an adaptor on a larger water pipe. This way, you get all the potency you would normally get from a chillum plus the added airflow and cooling effect of using a water pipe. All you have to do is put the packed chillum next to the bowl, light it, and take a pull off the water pipe.

This versatility is what makes a chillum key in any smoker’s collection. Any item that can be used as a water pipe can then be used in tandem with the chillum pipe, with the chillum serving  as the bowl for your makeshift bong. This means more powerful and potent yet smooth hits. 

How to hold a chillum

Like we noted earlier, traditionally you have a second player  to light your pipe for you. This buddy method allows you to use both hands to create a bigger chamber, similar to a bong without the water. 

If you’re fixing to use your chillum without a friend, however, there are ways around that. As we explained earlier, cup the chillum in your hand and place it between your ring finger and pinky finger. Try to keep the chillum from going vertical: hold it at an angle that works for you. Light your herb from the conical bowl and inhale from the stick end. 

If you’re a first time smoker using a chillum, this is where safety is advised. Use a wet cloth to hold the tube of the chillum with both hands forming a cup (like a bong). This method ensures that your hands don’t get burned when the pipe heats up. 

How to inhale from a chillum

With both hands on the tub of the chillum, here’s where your friend comes in: they light the bowl of the chillum while you inhale from the pipe/chamber that your hand created. Inhale sharply. For first timers, it’s recommended that you take your time and savor the more powerful hits that the chillum delivers, as they can be pretty intense. 

How to ash a chillum

  1. Gently tap out debris and ash into an ashtray, preferably with a lid
  2. Blow gently from the tube to remove excess ash
  3. Run a Q-Tip or pipe cleaner through the length of the chillum to wipe away any resin, tar, and moisture buildup.

To sum it up

Chillums are convenient and pretty darn cool. They’re also easy to use after some practice. Beginners or regular smokers should all use a chillum with a buddy at least one ve for the experience. 


Do you inhale chillum?

Yes! Inhale from the tube to get a potent and smooth hit. 

What is the point of a chillum?

A chillum is a traditional Indian or East Asian pipe that was once used in religious, spiritual, and meditation ceremonies. Now, in western culture, it’s a small pipe with a conical bowl and straight tube mouthpiece. 

How does a glass chillum work?

Cup your hand around the pipe, using your ring and pinky fingers to keep the pipe in place. Light the herb in the conical bowl and inhale sharply  from the tube. 

How many hits do you get from a chillum?

It depends on the size! We recommend starting with 2-3 hits. 

Chillum vs. one hitter

In modern culture, these terms are sometimes used interchangeably. However, a chillum has traditional spiritual and religious purposes and a specific conical shape which distinguishes it from the general one-hitter category. 

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