Guide to Water Pipe Styles
As water pipes have evolved over the years, so have smokers’ preferences over one style or another. While some users prefer certain details for their pipes, such as artistic flair or a certain perc, others are more concerned with the basic shape of their pipe. After the style of the pipe has been decided upon, then users can choose a preferred material, color, and accessory pieces for their pipes. The differences between water pipe shapes is explained below.
This is the most basic of all water pipe designs as it is literally just a straight tube. The user fills the bottom with water, places their product in the downstem, and inhales the smoke through the top of the tube. Users can choose downstems with diffusers to mix it up a bit, but the overall design is pretty basic. The drawbacks of the straight tube are that it is easily knocked over, which can cause spilling and breakage, and any ice placed in the tube will fill it up pretty quickly, unless it is fitted with an ice pinch. The upside to straight tubes is that they are easy to clear and easy to clean.
This design is much like the straight tube, only it has a larger, flared bottom. This makes it less accident prone, and also leaves room for extras like ice and bigger percs. Because of the wider base, beaker bottom pipes can be a little harder to clear than a straight tube, and percs will also add drag to each inhalation.
These water pipes differ from the other two in that the neck of the pipe is in the shape of a “Z” to prevent spilling. Even if the pipe falls over, the shape of the neck catches all of the water before it has a chance to spill out. Many zongs have a beaker or bubble shaped bottoms to compensate for the weight of the neck.
These pipes are a hybrid between a hand pipe and a water pipe. They are convenient to take on-the-go as they are much smaller than the average water pipe. Users have to be careful, though, not to accidentally suck up water when they are inhaling the smoke. The smaller crevices of bubblers are also trickier to clean thoroughly. This type of pipe can be handy for users who like the idea of a smaller hand pipe, but also enjoy the smoother hits of a water pipe.
Recyclers have two chambers to their body—one for where the original smoke hits the water and one for filtering the vapor-filled water upward toward the mouthpiece. After the user inhales the vapor through the mouthpiece, the rest of the water falls back down into the original chamber to be “recycled” again. This allows for the vapor to be filtered in the water for longer and prevents the vapor from going stale as it doesn’t have much contact with oxygen before inhalation. Because of their intricate design, recyclers are a bit more expensive than most water pipes, but they also don’t require extra filtration devices, like percs, because the extra filtration is already built into it.
- Abbigail Montgomery