I will never get over smoking flower. I appreciate edibles and vaporizers, but they just don't match the ritual of a true smoke sesh for me—the aroma, the flavor, the familiar crackle of the buds taking light.
The problem is that I live in an apartment building, and those same characteristics that make smoking flower so special are also what make it so easily detectable in non-smoking spaces. It's a problem that has grown much more pronounced after a year when everyone was consuming more weed indoors. Following the first three emails I got from my landlord regarding the smell of weed smoke, it was a problem I had to solve if I wanted to continue my rituals.
What started with a classic dryer-sheet sploof evolved into a deep dive into the realm of handheld smoke filters. These are not the perfect solution—for one thing, they don't account for the tendrils of smoke coming up off the bowl. But with regards to everything coming out of your lungs, there are all kinds of filters out there claiming to do the trick and mask the telltale aroma.
I tried four of them—five counting my Phase 1 sploof. After a year of trial and precarious error, here are my findings.
Classic Dorm Room Sploof, $3
The forefather of the modern handheld smoking filter, all this amateur arts-and-craft project requires is stuffing a handful of dryer sheets in an empty toilet paper tube. It's deodorizing powers are only as strong as the freshness of the sheets, but it does a decent job containing—and, to some degree, concealing—a sesh. The downside here is the sheer grossness of the rough, quickly resinated mouth-end of the cardboard tube, and the fact that the scent of Bounce, Febreeze and the other common air fresheners are maybe the biggest tipoff to weed consumption.
Smoke Buddy, $21.95
This was the first real filter designed to be used with weed smoke that I tried. It came recommended by a budtender at Electric Lettuce, and it really is game-changing. Exhale into the avocado-sized filter, and 99% smoke- and odor-free air comes out the back end. At least for the first few hundred exhales, anyway. Over time, you feel more resistance as the filters get gunked up. I could barely blow through it after I hit the six-month mark. Even more unfortunately, Smoke Buddy is a single-use plastic product. No replaceable filters, no cleaning process—so it's totally impractical for long-term use…
Pocket Philter, $14.99
…and so, cue the Philter, which according to its website does have a replacement filter. But I should've considered the size-to-price ratio on this one—it lasted maybe five big-girl-sized bong rips. It's a very slim, vape pen-shaped device. After leaving it alone to dry out or whatever for a few days, it became usable again, but the resistance is still too much to be a realistic solution beyond keeping it in the car for the odd parking-lot toke. Oh, the replacement filter? It turned out to mean the entire plastic device. The part you keep for reuse is merely the decorative silicone sleeve. Strike two.
Smoke Trap, $19.95
Finally, a filter with a legitimate replacement cartridge, courtesy of a Portland-area business, no less. It has a more ergonomic design than the Smoke Buddy, with equal heft for real bong rips. For day one of frequent use, it worked like a dream. The rubber mouthpiece is a little off-putting, but it makes a quick, clean seal every exhale. Following my bedtime bowl that night, however, I left it standing upright with the exhaust end of the filter facing down. The following morning, it was like it was sealed shut. I couldn't blow any air through it whatsoever. This might have been a user error, and I recommend storing all filters on their sides. It did loosen up after a few days, but it continued to get blocked easily after a sesh or two.
Sploofy Pro, $21.99
Whether or not I was ultimately responsible for ruining the Smoke Trap, I had to try something else. And I am very glad I did, because this filter checks all the boxes—and happens to look way better doing it. This is the latest iteration of Sploofy filters, having just dropped in March 2021, with a very sleek, rounded look, all in black matte. The outer casing is plastic, but the replaceable filter—the HEPA-grade filter!—is housed in biodegradable material. So far, the performance is flawless no matter the volume of smoke. It also happens to be the most aesthetically pleasing, with a subtle shape that doesn't look out of place on a desk or bookshelf—almost like an unassuming little Bluetooth speaker keeping your rental lease on solid ground.
See more of WW's First-Timer's Guide to 420 here!