Pipes, Pipes, and More Pipes!

The wide variety of pipes on the market can be viewed as a double-edged sword.

On the positive side, there’s always a way to spice things up and try something new. Not even the most seasoned veteran smokers have tried everything. On the flip side, there are so many options to choose from, that when it comes time to pick out a new pipe, it can prove to be quite the daunting task, especially for the newbie smokers.

Any buying decision is best made with a good eduction. So, you can use the information below to help you with your next pipe purchase.

A good first step is to decide on the best material for you:

Glass pipes
Pros: Glass will produce the smoothest smoke, is easiest to clean, and many people find it to be the best looking.
Cons: Glass pipes are usually the most expensive and can easily be broken.

Metal pipes
Pros: Metal is practically indestructible, not very expensive, and comes in convenient interchangeable pieces.
Cons: Metal is harder to clean, is not transparent, will get hot faster than other materials, and does not always produce the smoothest smoke.

Pros: Plastic is very inexpensive, much more durable than glass, is transparent, and can often use the same fittings as metal pipes.
Cons: Plastics will melt under high temperatures and therefore cannot be used without parts made from other materials. Additionally, plastics are not as durable as metal and can still crack or shatter.

Pros: Wood pipes give off a very distinct flavor, are structurally sound, and are usually crafted to appear very elegant.
Cons: Wood can burn if you hold the flame on too long. The inside of wood pipes are easy to damage when cleaning and are the most prone to clogging.

Pros: Ceramic is less expensive and more durable than glass, but still has many of its the smooth-smoke qualities.
Cons: Ceramic is still somewhat brittle, can get very hot, and is usually more expensive then plastic and metal pipes.

Once you have an understanding of the different types of materials, you should then consider what form factor most interests you. There are many styles to chose from, each with it’s own unique characteristics. Here are a few of the most popular:

One Hitters – These are, just as the name implies, small pipes designed to hold only a couple of hits at the the most. They are often constructed to look like other common items (e.g., a cigarette), so that they can be used discreetly without causing attention. Furthermore, most one hitters will include a “dug-out” storage container for easy loading an cleaning.

Chillum – This is a cylindrical pipe that is completely straight. Chillums are know to produce very powerful, yet smooth hits. However, they can also be considered difficult to use and are not practical for mobile situations.

Calabash – This classic J-shaped pipe is most often made from wood, but glass and metal are not hard to find either. These pipes produce a very smooth hits, but are one of the most difficult to clean. Also, they tend to be a little on the large side, so they are not the best when discretion is needed.

Hand Pipes – Hand pipe is a generic term that can describe a any small pipe that is constructed with a horizontal chamber, a vertical bowl sitting on one end, and a mouth piece on the other. This is the most common pipe overall, and many smokers use hand pipes on a daily basis.

After selecting a material and a form factor, it is just about picking the size, shape, and color that suite you best. Don’t worry, almost every combination exist. It doesn’t matter if you want a glass chillum, ceramic one hitter, or a hand pipe made from an acrylic-metal combination, you will be able to find it.