The Best Rolling Papers and How They Affect Your Smoking Experience

Imagine you had to choose one type of rolling paper to use for the rest of your life? Luckily for us, we don’t have to! There are an overwhelming ...

Imagine you had to choose one type of rolling paper to use for the rest of your life? Luckily for us, we don’t have to! There are an overwhelming amount of rolling papers available today. This can make it challenging to decide which rolling paper is the best.

You may think that with the rise of elaborate dab rigs and vaporizers that the humble joint has taken a back seat. This is not the case! The rolling  paper might be more popular than ever! There’s no shortage of unique, stylish papers that come in a dizzying array of flavors and price points.

In this article, we will look at the factors contributing to a quality rolling paper. We will also look at some of the most innovative rolling paper products on the market! We will investigate the burn rate and how this affects the smoking experience. We will look at products like ultra-convenient cone papers, which make creating a joint accessible to even the most inept joint roller! Read on to find out more about the best rolling papers!

What are Rolling Papers Made From?

In some form or other rolling papers have been around for centuries! Over the years, companies like Zig-Zag have developed products that have gotten better and better! From taste to ease of use, they create products centered around customer experience. Today there is a wide range of materials and blends used in the manufacturing of rolling papers. 

Rolling papers are made from natural fibers that are extracted from plants like flax and hemp. These fibers are then rolled into very thin sheets. Less reputable rolling paper companies use chemicals like bleach or calcium carbonate to lighten the color of the paper. Potassium nitrate is a chemical additive used to add flavor to certain rolling papers. Some rolling papers even contain titanium oxide which keeps the paper burning slow and even. 

As a rule of thumb, rolling papers that have no additives will offer a more pleasant smoking experience than papers that have been treated with chemicals. Let’s dive right in and look at some of the most popular materials used to manufacture rolling papers!

Wood Pulp Rolling Papers

Wood pulp rolling papers are one of the most popular types of rolling papers. Zig-Zag’s ultra-thin rolling papers are made exclusively from hard and soft woods. It is important to note that ultra-thin rolling papers can be challenging to roll with, especially for a beginner.

Wood pulp papers light easily and stay lit longer, meaning that there is less risk of your joint going out mid-smoke. However, wood pulp papers can mask the taste of your smoke. For this reason, they have become less popular, especially with the rise of newer innovations!

Hemp Rolling Papers

Hemp rolling papers come from the cannabis plant, one of the most sustainable crops in the world! These medium-weight rolling papers are easier to roll with than ultra-thin counterparts . Best of all, they give off a mild taste that doesn’t mask the flavor of the joint. 

For these reasons, hemp rolling papers are becoming increasingly popular. Zig-Zag has a range of organic hemp papers, which offer a quality smoking experience for the environmentally conscious.

Rice Rolling Papers

Rice rolling papers are ultra-thin and do not mask the flavor of your joint in any way! Just like hemp rolling paper, rice paper is a sustainable choice. However, this type of paper is not easy to roll with because it lacks rigidity and is very smooth, making it difficult to grip. This is why rice rolling papers are less than ideal for beginners.

Rice rolling paper often contains additives like flax or other fibers. For the most part, rice paper is 100% natural and a great choice for the connoisseur! A downside to rice rolling papers is that they can be easily damaged by moisture or very humid environments.

Flax Rolling Papers

Flax rolling papers are a wonder! They are thin like rice paper but because of the texture, they have a high rollability! Flax rolling papers may not be as popular as they once were but  you should not ignore them 

This 100% natural material gives off very little smoke when it is burnt. It is one of the best choices out there and it won’t influence the flavor of your joint. Zig-Zag French Orange is a good example of a quality flax rolling paper that makes for easy rolling and a pleasant smoking experience!

What to look out for in Rolling Papers?

Ask a bunch of smokers what the best rolling paper is and you’re bound to be hit with a barrage of different answers. Sure, everyone has their taste but this is not to say that there aren't a few specific factors that contribute to the perfect rolling paper.


Let’s face it. Size matters! The size of a rolling paper will contribute to rollability and the overall size of the joint. There are a variety of different sizes available. 1 ¼ size rolling paper is also referred to as the classic size. The name 1 ¼ size refers to the fact that they can hold 25% more herb than single-wide papers. 

Single-wide rolling papers are ideal for when you’re smoking alone but because they’re small, they can be difficult to roll with. 1 ½ rolling papers can hold about 50% more herb than single wide papers. 1 ½ wide rolling papers are great for rolling tapered joints with a wide diameter. 

The king size papers are extremely popular for joint rolling as they can hold a lot of filler. This means a joint that is made for sharing and great for social environments. These papers are also a lot easier to roll with than smaller papers. 

Some of the less popular sizes include double wide and spool. As the name suggests, double-wide papers are twice as wide as single-wide papers. This size allows you to roll some seriously fat joints. Spool rolling paper comes on a roll. Spool paper allows you to choose the length of the paper. This makes joint-rolling infinitely customizable!

Ease of Use

A rolling paper that is easy to roll with can be as important for the veteran smoker as it is for the beginner. A few factors contribute to how easy a particular rolling paper is to use, some of which include the ingredients and paper thickness.

Generally speaking, thinner paper is more challenging to roll than thicker paper. Wood pulp rolling papers are the thinnest. Hemp rolling papers are considered medium weight. Flax rolling paper is thin however the texture makes it easy to roll with.

Burn Rate

Burn rate refers to how fast the paper burns. Thin rolling paper such as rice paper will burn much faster than wood pulp rolling paper. Hemp rolling paper will burn at a rate somewhere between wood pulp and rice rolling papers.

When smoking a joint with ultra-thin paper, you may find that you'll need to relight it from time to time. This will be less of a problem with hemp and flax rolling papers as they burn slower than rice paper and stay lit longer. Zig-Zag French Orange papers are slow-burning and made from flax making them ideal for beginners!

Bleached vs Unbleached

The most obvious difference between bleached and unbleached rolling papers is the color. Unbleached papers are light brown whereas bleached papers are white. However, this is not to say that all white rolling papers have been treated with chemicals. 

Zig-Zag’s white rolling paper goes through an oxygenation process that turns the paper white. This process leaves behind no residual chemicals. However, some companies use harsh chemicals to whiten their rolling paper, which can be harmful to your health. When selecting white unbleached rolling paper, always be sure to purchase high quality papers from a reputable manufacturer.


There is no point rolling the perfect joint if it doesn’t stay rolled, right? There is nothing worse than a joint unraveling after you have lit it! Most rolling papers have a strip of adhesive along one side that you would wet before sealing up the joint. 

Zig-Zag rolling papers have a raw natural gum arabic adhesive strip. This gum comes from African acacia trees and is 100% natural. This type of glue offers a firm hold and is free from chemicals. There are rolling papers that don't have any gum at all. These ungummed rolling papers are popular among enthusiasts, but gum arabic creates an extremely reliable seal that is ideal for beginners!

Why Roll Your Joint by Hand?

Image by Upsplash - Ziv Paczy

The humble joint is probably the most iconic way to smoke legal herbs. Every smoker should know how to roll one. However, rolling the perfect joint is an art that can only be achieved through practice. A master joint roller can make it look easy but bear in mind that no one gets it right the first time around! 

The great thing about hand-rolling a joint is the amount of control that you have. You will be able to control the size and shape of the joint, which will greatly affect the smoking experience. With the correct materials, you will be able to roll joints the size of baseball bats! You will also be able to craft petite single servings for when you're on the go! With the plethora of different types of papers out there, the only limit is your imagination. 

But of course, all this takes a lot of practice! However, you may not have the time or the inclination to master the art of joint rolling. In this case, there are a few alternatives that will help you achieve the perfect joint in no time!

Pre-Rolled Joints vs Rolling Your Own

Pre-rolled joints are becoming increasingly popular. This is because they are readily available and disposable. All the rolling and hard work is already done! All that is left is for you to sit back, light up and enjoy! There are many different sizes available that will cater to the individual smoker and groups alike. 

When it comes to pre-rolled joints, there is no need to carry around papers and your favorite filler. Pre-rolled joints are often sold in a reusable container or tube that prevents your precious joint from being crushed or damaged. This is ideal for traveling! 

A downside to purchasing pre-rolled joints is that you do not have control over crafting the joint by hand. Lastly, you do not usually have control over the quality of the filler when purchasing pre-rolled joints.

Rolling Papers vs Cones

Rolling your joint by hand may seem like too much of a hassle and you may not want to buy a pre-rolled joint. In this case, you have the option of using pre-rolled cone papers. These papers are essentially a tapered shell of a joint that just requires you to fill it with your favorite herb - no rolling required! 

Cone papers are far easier to work with than regular  papers which require skilled hand rolling. All this makes cone papers ultra-convenient while still retaining some level of control over the quality of the filler! Cones are perfect for the beginner who wants to create their joint without the struggle of rolling. However, they are also a convenient option for experienced smokers! As is the case with standard rolling papers, cone papers are sold in a variety of sizes from 1 ¼ and king size! 

The drawback to cone papers is that they are more expensive than rolling papers and they usually come in smaller quantities. Furthermore, cone papers have a delicate structure that is susceptible to damage. This is why most manufacturers package them in protective boxes to keep them safe while in transit.

Rolling Machines vs Hand Rolling

Another alternative to hand-rolling your joint is using a joint rolling machine. Joint rolling machines do most of the work for you! These machines are inexpensive. They are lightweight, small, and reusable, which makes them great for traveling! Joint rolling machines can help you to roll perfect, uniform joints every time. 

Using a rolling machine is a good place to start rolling by hand as it still requires some skill. However, using a rolling machine is far easier than rolling by hand! With a little practice, you will be rolling joints in less than 30 seconds! 

A downside to using a joint rolling machine is that it is one more item you need to carry around with you. Furthermore, you have little control over the diameter of your joints. You will not be able to make tapered cone shaped joints with a joint rolling machine. Bear in mind that not all rolling machines are created equal. Zig-Zag offers a range of high-quality joint rolling machines in different sizes!

The Best All-Round Rolling Papers

Zig-Zag dates back to 1879! The company has a long and interesting history and has become a staple in the world of rolling papers as well as popular culture! Zig-Zag has moved with the times. Over the years Zig-Zag has brought out an organic hemp range as well as a range of pre-rolled cone papers. In this section, we’ll take a look at some of the best rolling papers Zig-Zag has to offer and how they affect the smoking experience!

Zig-Zag French Orange Rolling Paper

Zig-Zag’s French Orange is a true classic that has stood the test of time! With a moderate weight and high rollability, this is a perfect rolling paper for both the veteran and the beginner. It is made from natural flax fiber which offers a slow burn rate. A slow burn rate is ideal for keeping a joint burning longer. The gum arabic is 100% natural. It is thin but substantial enough to keep your joint properly sealed and prevent unraveling.

This 1 ¼ paper is Zig-Zag’s best seller! As with all Zig-Zag rolling papers they’re vegan and non-GMO! One booklet provides you with 32 premium slow-burn papers! Zig-Zag’s French orange rolling papers are iconic and for a good reason! Give them a try. You’ll be glad you did!

Zig-Zag Organic Hemp Rolling Papers

Zig-Zags Organic Hemp rolling papers are unbleached and are derived from 100% natural hemp ingredients. As with French Orange papers, these Organic Hemp rolling papers are vegan and non-GMO. Although these papers are ultra-thin they are easy to roll and have a natural taste. Organic Hemp 1 1/4 booklets come with 50 quality gummed papers inside! The gum is natural arabic and makes for a durable seal.

Zig-Zag’s Organic Hemp rolling papers offer a moderate burn rate, and an earthy flavor for the environmentally conscious smoker. These premium papers come in a classic 1 ¼ size and a slim king size which is ideal for rolling long thin joints!

Zig-Zag King Size Rolling Papers

Zig-Zag King Size rolling papers are ideal for rolling large joints! The quality of the paper is very much the same as Zig-Zag’s French Orange papers. The paper is made from natural flax fibers. The only difference is that they’re king size! 

These papers are easy to roll and they burn slowly and smoothly. The thin adhesive strip is made of gum arabic which is 100% natural. This gum will seal your joint firmly and won’t influence the taste of your smoke. One booklet of Zig-Zag King Size papers contains 32 premium rolling papers that you will love!

Zig-Zag King Size Cone Papers

Zig-Zag King Size Cone Papers take the hassle out of rolling a joint! These papers are ideal for the beginner but even the veteran will appreciate the convenience that they offer. These cone papers are pre-rolled into a tapered shell. All that is needed is to fill it, pack it and smoke it! 

These papers are made from super-thin paper that burns evenly and at a slow burn rate. The only downside to Zig-Zag pre-rolled cone papers is that you have very little control over the shape or size of the finished joint. You will find three cones in a box. The box is created to protect the cone papers from getting crushed or damaged. 

Novelty Rolling Papers

The rolling paper market is ever-expanding and continuously innovating! Rolling paper companies are constantly competing for our attention. While classic rolling papers will remain a staple within the industry, novelty papers continue to gain popularity. Novelty papers range from flavored papers to transparent and even custom-printed rolling papers! While these papers may not be appealing for your everyday smoke they can be a fun alternative to the classics! 

Flavored Rolling Papers

Flavored rolling papers may not be as modern as you think. Flavored rolling papers date as far back as the early 19th century! The early flavors include clove as well as menthol but over the years we have seen the proliferation of many different flavors! 

Flavors range from fruity flavors like strawberry and apple to more interesting flavors like chocolate and cotton candy! Flavored rolling papers may not be the first choice for the purists among us but they can help mask the taste of poor quality joint filler. They can also add to the smoking experience in a fun and exciting way!

Transparent Rolling Papers

Clear cellulose rolling papers are gaining popularity due to their novelty appeal. These types of papers are completely transparent which allows you to see your freshly ground herb inside the joint! Clear rolling papers are made from cellulose which is plant-based.

Besides being interesting to look at and smoke, clear rolling papers are not easy to roll with. These types of papers contain glycerine which has a sweet taste. The lengthy manufacturing process makes these rolling papers more expensive than traditional papers. Clear rolling papers are a visually interesting novelty option that will surely turn heads!

Printed Rolling Papers 

Certain companies have started to print on the rolling papers! This makes for a fun and interesting gift idea. Most of these companies boast the use of organic paper and ink. Some of them allow you to create your own design. This allows you to have a booklet of rolling papers created that are one of a kind! 

These types of papers can be manufactured in bulk which can cut costs. They can then be printed with your company logo and distributed for marketing purposes. Custom printed rolling papers are one of the newest innovations in the rolling paper industry and they are infinitely useful!


The best rolling paper often comes down to personal preference. You may be feeling overwhelmed with the endless amount of options out there. If you are unsure where to start you should opt for a standard rolling paper. It is important to note that ultra-thin papers can be more challenging to roll than regular papers. A king-size flax paper is a good rolling paper for beginners. A high quality flax paper will have a slow burn rate that will keep your joint burning slowly and evenly. 

If you don’t have the patience to master the art of joint rolling, don’t fear! There are other alternatives. Cone papers require no rolling on your part. All that's required is to fill the cone evenly and light up! 

Another method is using a rolling machine. These machines are easy to master and work well with standard rolling papers. Best of all, they don’t require fine motor skills! Simply purchasing a pre-rolled joint is the easiest way to experience a well-rolled joint! However, nothing compares to the satisfaction of rolling a joint by hand! Give it a try! Practice makes perfect!