Tubes and Cones - What’s the Difference?

Tubes and Cones - What’s the Difference?

Posted by Custom Cones USA on Nov 4th 2019

An in depth look into the variations between a tube and cone shaped pre-roll, the history of rolling up cannabis, and the steps to take to build your perfect branded pre-roll.


With an inevitably booming pre-roll industry, many new styles of pre-rolls are hitting the market. Most cannabis consumers, whether medical or recreational, love a good pre-rolled joint. The mobility of a joint and the ease of being able to just spark and go is what’s kept this iconic smoking method at the top of the list. With the demand for quality pre-rolls at an all time high in the cannabis industry, many farms and dispensaries are stepping up their game and bringing diversity to the table.

After the expansion of pre-rolled cones and a boost in popularity for a multitude of reasons, the tube concept was introduced. Technically, it was re-introduced because cigarettes (tube pre-rolls) were the first rolled smoking product to hit the market back in the 16th century. Although, smoking has been a practice of many forms since ancient times. Tobacco was smoked in shamanic rituals all across the Americas in 5000 BC. In Eurasia in 5000 BC, cannabis was more common before the arrival of tobacco. Before the cigarette was introduced, cannabis was vaporized on hot charcoal or rocks or burning the plants as an incense and inhaled directly. Pipes were common in Southeastern Africa dating back to the 10th to 12th centuries, but cannabis wasn’t commonly smoked directly until the advent of tobacco in the same century.

The original pre-roll concept was simple - break up your flower, roll it in rolling paper, spark up. After the introduction of pre-rolled cones, the industry took a turn (for the better). With a pre-rolled cone, one of the three main steps in joint rolling was eliminated - the rolling aspect. With cones, the concept became even more simple, pack and spark. For many consumers, this new concept saved time, guaranteed a solid cone form to your joint. Cones even provided a built-in filter for a better smoking experience, and completely changed the large-scale manufacturing methods of joints forever.

When rolling cannabis was a new method, the classic joint was often hand rolled into one of two shapes - a cone shape or a cylindrical tube, like a cigarette. Regardless of the shape, most joints smoke similarly, right? Wrong. All filters aside, the shape of the joint creates a different smoking experience because of the air flow and burn. Cones mimic a funnel, with a larger opening for packing and a smaller opening for inhaling, allowing for a different type of air flow than a tube. A tube, on the other hand, has the same diameter on the opening as it does on the mouthpiece, which mimics the cigarette type of air flow. The type of bud in the pre-roll, as well is how it’s packed also plays a huge role in the way it smokes once lit, but I’ll expand more on that shortly.

The main perk of the pre-roll market today is the ability to really customize your pre-rolls with various filter types that also affect the style of smoke. While most cones come with the popular standard paper filter, changing the shape of the paper filter allows a different amount of air flow and can give a larger or smoother draw. Spiral tips are an excellent type of paper filter that give a more even draw than a standard folded or “W” style fitler. If you want to explore other filter options, wood and glass tips are both a premium type that can really change the look, feel and “smoke” of a joint. Glass tends to stay cool to the touch and gives a nice, sturdy feel to the crutch. Wood also does not transfer heat as much so it remains cool and gives an earthy look to the pre-roll, which is very suitable for many brands and farms in the industry with a natural type of company branding. Bio-Cool filters are a newly introduced style of soft cushioned tips that are literally the coolest of all filters on the market. They are biodegradable and cool the . Brands looking to make an eco-friendly brand but maintaining a sleek look are utilizing the bio-cool filters. Standard, spiral, glass, wood, and bio-cool tips can be put into a cone or tube shaped pre-roll by customizing you brand’s products with Custom Cones USA. Not only do all of the filter options bring a unique style to your pre-roll line, but they set you apart from competition with generic and plain joints.

Aside from changing filter material to stand out, custom branding the filter really makes your products unique. No matter which filter type you choose, you can brand your pre-rolled cones and tubes with custom printing directly onto the paper filters, which lays under the joint paper. Or, you have the option to do an external type of branding that is a small sticker which wraps and covers the filter area. For an even sleeker external branding you can design any shape in a custom cigar band wrap which can be placed on the outside of the joint where the filter and paper meet.

Cigar band on hemp blunts with glass and wood tips.

Now, a factor to really keep in mind with selling pre-rolled cones or tubes is how you’re packing them. With many pre-roll machines available today it is important to know the origin of these filling machines. Cones were developed in Amsterdam for the coffee shops to be able to mass produce joints. The cone shape makes it easier to fill than a tube as the top of the cone is larger than the bottom. On the other hand filling tubes is much more difficult. There are no dedicated tube packing machines on the market, but many people utilizing tubes rather than cones are finding ways to make it work. Modifying a RYO (roll your own) machine or Knockbox tends to be the route people take to get a consistent packing for their tube joints. However, even with these modified pre-roll machines there is a high waste rate as they are not made to fill cannabis into tubes. Hand rolling is also the most obvious option, but for brands that sell millions of pre-rolls a year, a little more work and research is required to execute the perfect tube pre-roll in mass amounts.

In summary, whether you choose to brand and sell a pre-rolled cone or pre-rolled tube, the routes of custom branding, filter choice, paper type and packing method all play key parts of executing the perfect pre-rolls that your customers will love. Keep in mind the smoking styles, filtration effects of the shape and filters, how you’re going to pack your joints, as well as how you want to promote your brand with high quality products. Contact us today to get started on collaborating to step up your pre-roll game and expanding your brand!