There is an incredible variety of choice available when it comes to buying a pipe, so many that even seasoned smokers can find it difficult to decide on exactly what they want in their next piece. When you’re a beginner the choice can seem overwhelming, but being armed with a little information about what’s available to you as a consumer can help you make an informed decision when you do decide to buy your first pipe.

Things to Consider

On a basic level, you have to consider two things: what the bowl is made out of and how large it is.

Most pipes these days are made of glass or are silicone-bodied with glass bowls, but there are also scores of metal pipes out there along with ceramic , and even stone/crystal pipes . Each material has its pluses and minuses, although with pipes once you get past the point of using metal it’s mainly a matter of aesthetics and heat retention. The best way to figure out what your preferred material is to give each a try and see firsthand what the pluses and minuses are.

Spoon Pipes

Next up size-wise are spoon pipes (those standard, bulbous-headed bowls) and hand pipes (wizard, sherlock, and other styles). Both of these have an area for the dry herb to be packed in (the bowl) as well as what’s known as a carb, an airflow hole that you cover while hitting the bowl in order to restrict the flow of air. These pipes are small and easy to clean (especially when paired with a pipe screen) while also providing a longer session than a one-hitter would. Judging from the convenience alone, it’s easy to see why these kinds of designs are so popular amongst pipe smokers.


Step out of the sphere of dry pipes to encounter the world of water-bearing pipes, from hammer-style bubblers that lay on their mouthpieces to stand-up bubblers resembling miniature bongs. These pipes add an extra element of filtration to the mix, creating an opportunity for a hit with thicker, cleaner, and even cooler smoke. They’re probably the least portable of all of the pipe designs since they require water to work correctly but they’re a popular mid-point for smokers looking for a hit between that of a bong and that of a dry pipe.


Though the amount of pieces available might overwhelm you, once you’re able to understand the basic categories of pipes you’ll have no trouble narrowing down your desired glass. The amount of options now available means there’s something out there for everyone’s tastes, whether you’re a complete novice or a seasoned smoker making their way over to glass from paper.