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Pipe Styles and Functions

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With so many different types of pipe designs and materials, it can be difficult to choose the best pipe for your tobacco or herbal needs. While some people like the extra flavor wooden and clay pipes add to their smoke, others would rather taste the burning substance in its purest form by using glass pipes. Obviously, the more complex the pipe, the more expensive it will probably be. However, you may eventually find that you prefer a certain pipe over others, whether basic or ornate. Below are listed several different glass pipe designs and the functions they provide.

  1. Chillums.  These pipes are the most straight-forward and basic types you can get. Their tubular shape only allows for small amounts to be smoked at a time. The user lights the product in the end, and the smoke travels up the tube to be inhaled. This one is probably the best for beginners to start out with, and the easiest for transitioning from vape to pipe smoking.
  2. Spoons.  These types of pipes include a bowl, so the end is angled from the opening you inhale from. Spoon pipes also have carburetors to help produce fresher smoke. The small hole allows for more air to be drawn into the pipe as you smoke it. When covered, air is drawn in through the bowl, where the product is burning. Uncovering the hole, then, allows air to travel up the pipe along with the smoke for faster inhalation.
  3. Steamrollers.  More advanced users may eventually try steamrollers because of their reputation for producing harder hits at a time. On a steamroller pipe, both ends are open with a bowl at one end. By covering the opening near the bowl and placing your mouth over the other opening, you can pull smoke into the pipe until it’s full and then inhale it all at once. Fancier types of steamrollers may also include chambers in the middle of the pipe to allow the smoke to cool slightly before inhalation.
  4. Sherlock/Gandalf. Thinking about each of these characters smoking out of their pipes will give you a basic idea of what these pipes look like—a bowl at the bottom of a long stem. These pipes may or may not include carburetors, and are known for their unfiltered smoke function. This can make the smoke taste harsh, so they’re best for users who have acquired that taste already.
  5. Bubblers.  These pipes include a water chamber for cooling off and smoothing the taste of the smoke before inhalation, much like the function of a bong. While some users prefer the vaporization hot water adds to the smoke, others may prefer the crisp taste cool water provides. Either way, the smoke is slightly filtered before inhalation.

Whether you’re just entering the world of pipe smoking, or have been using pipes for years, there’s bound to be a style that fits your needs. While pipes can come as basic or ornate as you’d like, the most important detail you will want to watch for is manufacturing quality. For several pieces that fit together, look for tightness in the fit as to prevent escaping smoke. In the end, only you can decide whether you want added flavor or pure smoke, a pipe that is easy or difficult to clean, and the style or shape that fits your needs best.


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