raw papers vs zig zags

Our Unbiased Guide To The Best Rolling Papers

Dec 11, 2018 5 minute read

Once you see the difference between paper brands, there’s no going back.

The importance of rolling papers is underrated. Outside the depths of weed culture, many cannabis consumers are not fully aware of how papers affect an experience in terms of taste and product conservation. I’ve been smoking for more than 10 years now and only recently woke up to this revelation. Aside from obvious differences like a cough attack versus a smooth, clean drag, the right papers can make an eighth of flower last twice as long—or two nights, if you’re like me.

TL;DR: Choosing the right papers will make or break your smoking experience, but if you’d rather skip the line and go with something ready to light, we’ve got you covered with the top-rated pre-rolls in the country.

OCB X-Pert Slim Fit

Odet Cascadec Bolloré, now OCB, is another ancient rolling paper company. Think of them as Smoking’s French counterpart. In lieu of Smoking’s aesthetically endearing nod to the past, OCB offers a package from the sleek silver future with delicate papers now geared toward weed. My favorite is the OCB X-Pert Slim Fit. They have no taste, burn slowly, and though not the thinnest, they’re thin enough to produce less ash than others. Papers specifically designed for weed tend to lack the friction that makes them easier to roll for novice smokers. OCB’s slight weight make them a good starting point for beginners.

Bottom Line: They’re solid papers that won’t make you break a sweat when it comes time to roll.

Smoking King Size Deluxe

Founded in Spain in 1879, Smoking is one of the oldest rolling paper companies in existence. While obviously conceived for tobacco, varieties have since expanded to king-size papers in Deluxe and Green (hemp-based), and are clearly intended for weed whether the packaging wants to admit it or not. A favorite among my friends, the aforementioned Deluxe King Size is a luxuriously slow paper presented in a black pack with antiquated, big band flair. These natural, ultra-thin white papers offer a suave alternative to traditional, stoner-centric options. They’ve been around 100-something years for a reason.

Bottom Line: Listen to Frank Sinatra while smoking with these and consider yourself a connoisseur of life.

Elements King Size

Elements prides itself on producing the most environmentally conscious of all papers. Made primarily from rice, sugar, and wind power, they create no ash, instead caramelizing the natural sugar gum as it burns. This Spanish company makes beautiful papers, but they burn faster than others and are more difficult to roll. However, the pack does feature a tiny magnet that snaps it closed. Very cool.

Bottom Line: If you’re eco-conscious and nimble with your hands, these might be just the thing for you.


Considered solely based on their widespread accessibility (they’re sold anywhere cigarettes are), those iconic orange packets of Zig-Zag rolling papers should exist only as a last resort. When driving through one of California’s largely deserted armpits, you might find yourself paperless, in which case the bearded icon will become your best friend. Otherwise, you’re better off pretending you don’t know them. Though they’re intended for tobacco and burn rather quickly, they’re thinner than other gas station options, making them the only admissible option.

Bottom Line: Do it if you have to, don’t do it if you don’t.

Raw King Size Supreme

Raws have become hugely popular in recent years, growing from a secret staple of heady stoners to appearances in rap videos like Rae Sremmurd’s By Chance. While the best papers typically come from Spain and France (where they smoke like there’s no tomorrow), Raw has reintroduced American exceptionalism with products openly designed for the herb. Their papers come in Classic Raw or Hemp and are made from a blend of naturally unbleached fibers, giving them a lovely brown translucence. I prefer the Classic to Hemp because they make for a lighter smoke. Little-known fact: When rolling papers are folded in their packaging, they have a distinct crease that can cause your joint to run. Raw circumvents the issue by packing the papers flat and making them wide enough to hold a comfortable crutch.

Bottom Line: You won’t find better papers than these. Several highly-rated pre-rolls from brands like Korova, Sherbinskis, Sunday Goods, and Biscotti all use Raw papers.

And the necessary novelty mention goes to…

Randy’s Wired Rolling Papers

Randy’s are fun because they make you feel fancy. Though the papers themselves aren’t great—kind of thick, burning too fast—a thin metal wire extends along the length of the paper. As you smoke, you bend the wire down into a little handle. This, for some reason, feels incredibly aristocratic in a silly way. Though your joint will probably run along the wire and burn a little unevenly, it is completely worth it.

Bottom Line: They’re a joke but also a lot of fun.

Look, as you can probably tell from this list, selecting the right rolling papers can be a more personal endeavor than you might’ve thought. But at the end of the day, choosing high-quality papers are like choosing perfect accessories: They accentuate your look without becoming the main attraction.

Find Your High

On a Roll: The Best Rolling Papers of 2020

There’s a hot debate raging about the best way to consume your cannabis. Some people insist that vaping technology is the best thing to ever happen in the wide world of weed. Others swear by their bongs and pipes. For some folks, however, you just can’t beat the simplicity and ritual of rolling an old-school joint and lighting up.

When it comes to rolling papers, the selection is endless. Which ones are the best?

Why Roll Your Own?

As long as there has been people who smoke weed, there have been people who roll their own joints. Today, there are an endless array of options for consuming cannabis. Pipes, bongs, and vaporizers have given tokers a variety of ways to get their buzz on. Although many argue that other methods are smoother, get you higher, or don’t put off as much smoke or odor, the roll-your-own method is still hugely popular. Why is this?

First of all, rolling your own smoke is cheap. You don’t need any equipment beyond a weed grinder (if you’re going to do it properly), your papers, and a lighter. It’s much less expensive to buy loose bud than to purchase it pre-rolled, as well. While rolling your own takes practice, it’s not hard to master with time. Why pay someone else to do the work for you?

Many people also enjoy the ritual of lovingly grinding up their bud and then carefully rolling a beautiful joint. While almost anyone can roll a joint that’s basically functional, there’s an art to rolling one that’s attractive, burns smoothly, and pulls just the right amount of air through it. It’s a time-honored ritual that should be respected.

Ask any cannabis sage and they’ll tell you that when it comes to creating the perfect joint, rolling papers matter. They can affect every aspect of your smoking experience—from the shape and size of your joint to its flavor and burn rate. For the next time you buy rolling papers online, here are the things you need to know in order to make the most out of your bud.

The Best Rolling Papers of 2020

Types of Rolling Papers

To start off with, let’s talk about the different types of rolling papers you’ll be able to find once you start looking. While potheads used to be relegated to whatever their local head shop had in stock, these days, the internet provides access to any type of rolling paper you can imagine—and many you’ve never even begun to imagine.

The Best Regular (Traditional & Premium) Rolling Papers

Perhaps the best-known type of rolling paper are the regular ones. These are simple and low-key. Many people like regular rolling papers because they can quietly enjoy a joint that is visually indistinguishable from a hand-rolled cigarette. They’re typically made from rice paper, but these days, more brands are branching out into hemp rolling papers.

Let’s discuss the brands behind some of our favorite regular rolling papers. Each of these top manufacturers has papers available in a variety of shapes and sizes in everything from regular packs of papers to rolls and pre-rolled cones.

1. RAW Rolling Papers

For those who prefer a chemical-free smoking experience, RAW’s line of unrefined rolling papers is a natural alternative. They have chlorine-free regular papers, as well as a line made from additive-free, organic hemp. Their patented CrissCross watermark helps ensure an even burn, providing an incredibly smooth smoke while preventing annoying runs.

Made in Alcoy, Spain, RAW rolling papers have a distinctive look. This is partly due to their unique watermark, but it’s also because the lack of chemicals used during production leaves the paper with a more natural light brown color. The papers are thin and burn slowly, giving you time to kick back and enjoy.

In addition to making top-notch products, RAW has a foundation that helps feed and provide water (in addition to other much-needed services) to people in need throughout the world.

RAW Classic 1 1/4 Rolling Papers

RAW Classic 1 1/2 Rolling Papers

RAW Classic King Size Slim Rolling Papers

RAW Classic Supernatural 12″ Rolling Papers

RAW Organic Single Wide Rolling Papers

RAW Organic 1 1/4 Rolling Papers

RAW Organic 1 1/2 Rolling Papers

RAW Organic King Size Slim Rolling Papers

2. Smoking Rolling Papers

Founded in 1929, the Smoking brand of rolling papers has found its way into the hearts of generations of tokers and homemade cigarette smokers. They use no chemical colorings or additives in order to provide a healthier experience for their customers. Committed to producing environmentally-friendly products, Smoking features many Tree-Free labeled products that were produced without destroying precious forests. Smoking rolling papers are available in three sizes: regular (69x37mm), medium (77x37mm), and king-size (108x37mm).

Some of their most known products are:

  • Smoking Master is the ideal choice for those who want an ultra thin, slow-burning paper.
  • Smoking Red provides a slow-burning paper that’s medium weight.
  • Smoking White is what people choose when they want a paper that’s similar to what you’d find in a manufactured cigarette. These are the thickest and fastest-burning in the Smoking lineup.

Smoking White 1 1/4
Rolling Papers

Smoking Deluxe 1 1/4 Rolling Papers

Smoking Brown King Size
Rolling Papers

Smoking Deluxe King Size
Rolling Papers

Smoking Eco King Size
Rolling Papers

Smoking King Size Slim
Rolling Papers

Smoking Master King Size
Rolling Papers

Smoking Blue King Size Rolling Papers

3. Rizla Rolling Papers

Those hoping to buy rolling papers with amazing quality and an equally-interesting story should check out Rizla Rolling Papers. Founded in France by the Lacroix family, the tradition behind these rolling papers dates back several hundred years to a time when Napoleon’s troops needed rolling papers to roll their own cigarettes while they were away at war. The company ramped up production to meet the increased demand.

The now-famous name has an interesting origin, as well. While they were first made of tissue, the manufacturer switched to rice in 1865. “Riz” is the French word for rice. The family added a “la” at the end as an homage to the Lacroix family name (which translates into “the cross” in French). This brought about the brand name “Rizla” with a cross emblazoned on the package.

Rizla brand makes some of the most high-quality, best rolling papers, with each type being easily identifiable by the color of its package:

  • Rizla Blue Rolling Papers leave out the chlorine, making them a great choice for those who wish a healthier smoke.
  • Rizla Silver Rolling Papers are delicately thin. This means that they burn ever so slow and barely leave behind any ash. These aren’t for folks who are looking to avoid chemicals, as they contain additives that help strengthen the paper and make it beautifully translucent. Be gentle when licking these papers to seal them and never “baptize” a joint made with Rizla Silver paper, or it will disintegrate before your eyes.
  • Rizla Red Rolling Papers are the medium-thickness choice in the lineup. They burn more quickly but still leave behind minimal amounts of ash.
  • Rizla Green Rolling Papers are also medium thickness. They’re different from the Reds, though, as they have cut corners that make rolling your joint much easier.
  • Rizla Orange Rolling Papers are a great blast from the past for those who would like to experience the very first flavored rolling papers on the market. They have a light, subtle licorice flavor with just a hint of sweetness—great for an occasional treat.

Confused about choosing the best rolling paper shapes, sizes, and materials? Here are the best and most recommended rolling papers for 2020.