Right out of the gate, let’s just get one thing clear: we’re not talking about getting stoned while driving.
It’s illegal. Don’t do it.
But that doesn’t mean a parked car isn’t sometimes a convenient and discreet place for a toke.
Nowadays, though, a car ashtray often doesn’t come as standard — if you or the previous owner didn’t select the ‘smoker’s package’ you’ll need to provide your own.
Read on to find out what’s available, how much to spend, what to look for, and whether “smokeless” really means smokeless — plus, we’ll round up our recommendations for the best car ashtray under $30. (You really don’t need to spend more.)
Why did they remove ashtrays from cars in the first place?
The main reason built-in car ashtrays (and lighters) are no longer standard is that only about 14% of Americans now smoke. According to Chrysler, the first company to begin phasing them out back in 1994, people just weren’t using them anymore — or at least not for their intended purpose. There’s just far more demand now for USB charging points (for the portable devices everyone uses) and more/bigger cup holders instead.
Other reasons that have been cited include: pressure from anti-smoking organisations; the increasing number of states and countries now banning smoking in a car with a minor present; and accident prevention — in one UK survey, 80% of drivers admitted to taking their hands off the wheel while lighting up, 46% have dropped a cigarette in their car and 26% have taken their eyes off the road while retrieving it.
Do any modern cars have ashtrays?
Some modern cars, especially at the higher end of the market, still have a car ashtray and lighter as standard. But many don’t. Many dealers and manufacturers instead offer an optional ‘smoker’s package’ for up to $100 extra. Sometimes, though, that doesn’t consist of much more than a cupholder ashtray that you could buy yourself for less.
How to choose a car ashtray
Online, or even at your local Walmart, you’ll find a whole range of different car ashtrays available to suit the interior of your car. But which ones are worth buying? What types and features are available? What do you need to consider if you’re going to be smoking weed?
And how do you choose between them all?
Types of car ashtray
One note of caution here: when looking for car ashtrays suitable for smoking weed, bear in mind that the cigarette rest grooves and notches in most are designed for cigarettes not joints — if you like to roll fat ones or extra-long ones, they may not sit or fit so well. There are car ashtrays built with cigars in mind, though, which should suit larger joints and blunts.
Now, let’s run down the main types of car ashtray available — and their pros and cons.
By far the most common kind of car ashtray. Most car ashtrays simply slot into the cupholder and are about the size of a can of Coke or a travel coffee mug. Some also include detachable lighters in the lid. If your cup holder’s a non-standard size, though, or always in use, check out some of the options below.
Clip-on car ashtrays generally attach to the horizontal slats of a climate control vent. You’ll also find some cupholder ashtrays that come with a clip, as backup, so that they’ll fit almost any car. Not all vents have horizontal slats, though.
Car window or door ashtray
More rarely, you’ll find car window ashtrays that attach magnetically to a flat surface in the door. They’re more like a regular flat ashtray, and as such hold less than a cupholder ashtray. Can be a little tricky to empty.
Another rarer kind, and also usually small and flat, these usually affix to the dashboard with some kind of adhesive. Unless they have a lid, though, they’re going to look a little unsightly. And if I was smoking a cigarette while driving, I’d be worried about when that adhesive’s going to give out…
However, if you’re only going to be using it to smoke weed while stationary, that’s not such a problem.
They can be difficult to empty, though.
Sounds great, right?
But really all we’re talking about is an ashtray with an airtight lid — no more smoke or odors will be released into the car, once you drop your butt into it and close the lid. Unless you’re smoking with the windows down, fan on and exhaling into a sploof, the car’s still going to smell.
That said, smokeless is still a good thing. Just not as good as it sounds.
Some car ashtrays have built-in LED lights or luminous parts, so that you can see where to ash or dispose of your cigarette while driving or sitting in the dark. We’d recommend the chargeable or solar-powered ones, rather than battery-powered. USB charging usually takes an hour or two.
A regular portable or travel ashtray
If all you need it for is smoking weed in a stationary vehicle, you don’t necessarily need a dedicated car ashtray. Just any good, non-slip portable ashtray will do. Ideally with an airtight lid. Carry it with you, or keep one in the glove compartment.
Best car ashtray for weed smokers under $30: Our recommendations
As you can see, there are plenty of options out there. But not all of them ideal.
So to cut through the noise, let’s finish up with our top picks for an in-car ashtray.
Honest Ash Tray ($29)
Since you’re not going to be toking while driving, there’s no reason not to consider a quality travel ashtray. This one’s small enough to leave in the glove box or take out to the car in your pocket. It’s also tough (½” thick shatter-resistant glass), non-slip (reversible silicone cap/base), affordable, and comes with an airtight lid (easy to dispose of your ashes and roaches later; keeps odors locked inside) and in a range of different colors.
And it’s designed specifically for weed smokers on-the-go. It even makes a great weed storage jar, when not otherwise in use.
Geekercity Cup Holder or Clip-on Smokeless Car Ashtray with LED ($12.99)
Here’s one to fit almost any car — it can sit in the cupholder or clip to a vent. In addition, it’s got that airtight lid to trap smoke and odors, cleans easy, and has an LED for night time smoking. The only real drawback is that it’s designed for cigarettes not joints. Speaking of which…
Stinky Cigar Car Ashtray ($28.99)
For smokers of fatter or longer joints or blunts, our final pick’s this cupholder style stainless steel cigar car ashtray. It’s simple, heat resistant and easy to clean. And when you flip the lid, it reveals a spring clip rest to hold your smoke — whatever size you prefer.