Choose Your Glass In 2019
With the new year starting, many of us want to treat ourselves to a new go-to piece of glass, one we’ll be able to enjoy all year long and be proud to add to our arsenal of smoking supplies. But what to choose? A dry pipe or a bong? A handpiece or a water pipe? The most obvious difference between the two types of glass is in the name: a water pipe contains water and dry pipes do not.
Water pipes are definitely ranked higher for filtration and notoriety, but portability and simplicity are the dry pipe’s arena. Really, it’s a personal preference situation. That’s why DHC is here to give you the scoop on the pros and...um, not so pros...for both water pipes and dry pipes. Hopefully, this helps you decide which type to explore. But remember, there’s no absolute best choice. It’s all about what you like!
Water pipes are defined as any pipe that consists of a bottle or a vertical tube that gets partially filled with water, with a smaller tube branching off, ending in a bowl or nail joint. This includes bubblers, bongs or dab rigs.
While typically made of glass, these smoking devices can also be made from wood, acrylic, clay or silicone. For the purpose of this blog, however, we’ll be focusing on glass bongs to base our opinions and info on.
Yes, smoke filling up the pipe can be cool to look at, but we mean smoke is physically cooler on your throat. When you smoke from a bong, smoke is drawn through the bowl and downstem before hitting the water. Then, the smoke cools, rises through bubbles and feels the long neck of the vertical section of the pipe. This lessens the harsh throat burn many smokers can get when smoking out of other water-free devices. This also enables the smoker to take larger drags - and possibly feel smoking effects quicker - which may be something you’re looking for.
Along with the above cooling effect, water also acts as a filter for your legal herbs or tobacco. Many bongs or dab rigs come with one to four built-in percolators (or you can add your own), which increases the effectiveness of this filtration system and decreases the chance of inhaling toxins. The diffusing of smoke as it makes its way through various perc openings or slits means even more unwanted substances are filtered out than with the water alone, while simultaneously cooling smoke even more. This tempts many smokers to lean toward water pipes when purchasing new smoking supplies.
Bongs or rigs have become much more popular in recent years, largely due to the opportunity for modification. Not only can you choose between bubblers, table-top pipes, slightly larger pieces or monster-size glass, but you can shop for ones with ice-pinches or built-in tree, inline, donut, honeycomb or showerhead percs. If that's not enough, there's also an incredibly extensive range of attachments to buy, like ash-catchers, downstems, joint-converters, nails, etc. For smokers, this means you can really make a bong your own and turn it into the ideal smoking device, perfect for your specific needs and preferences.
Even though the various percs, chambers, and filters alleviate the worry of getting ash in your mouth, they can make cleaning more painful. It's important to clean any pipe regularly and thoroughly, but this is even more crucial with a bong or rig. It’s not healthy to reuse dirty water for an extended period of time, and built-up grime can also cancel out filtering effects - a key element for a bong or rig! With both dry pipes and water pipes, aesthetic can range from more basic designs to thick glass creations to a heady glassblower’s dream. However, because of their larger size, various base designs, numerous chamber options, and the inclusion of percolators and attachments in different shapes and sizes, the cleaning process is more complicated and much more necessary. If you’re already a responsible cleaner, or if you don’t mind a little extra hygienic care, then this shouldn’t be a problem!
With the exception of some bubblers, the larger size can cause rigs to be much less discreet than dry pipes or one-hitters, and being partially filled with liquid and needing to stand upright makes water pipes much harder to use on the go. Not to mention how much it reeks if you accidentally spill any dirty water out of the pipe. Bongs can also be more fragile due to all the inner-workings and attachments, so they’re not ideal for traveling. Basically, water pipes are better as home-base smoking devices. If that’s what you need, these are for you!
Dry pipes, or hand pipes, are a classic smoking favorite and can be made from clay, metal, ceramic, wood or glass. Simple in nature, dry pipes can be a multitude of different shapes and sizes, but typically feature a tube design with a bowl at one end and a hole to inhale smoke through on the other.
The simplicity of dry pipes makes them inherently quick and easy to use. For newbies especially, the straightforward design of dry pipes can help ease into the experience of smoking without the intimidation of large, complicated smoking devices. Some smokers argue that dry pipes are better at preserving the taste of the tobacco or legal herbs you’re smoking because of the raw, unfiltered smoke dry pipes produce and the short distance the smoke has to travel to your mouth. Added bonus: relative simplicity and smaller size combine to make dry pipes much easier to clean and maintain!
There’s a reason they’re commonly referred to as hand pipes. Dry pipes are much more compact and discreet (especially one-hitters), making them an ideal grab-n-go option that fits inconspicuously in your bag or car or pocket. Because they’re made to be one solid piece, there’s no tedious components or extras to worry about losing or breaking in transit. All you need is the one pipe, your tobacco and a lighter and you’re good to go.
Dry pipes can prove more economical in regard to price and smoking habits. You could get a thick glass steamroller, a basic spoon bowl, a carved out healing crystal or a beautifully sculpted and imaginative artisanal piece. Of course, the more intricate a pipe is, dry or water, the more expensive it’s going to be. That’s obvious. But, the amount of dry pipe options with a dope design, available for a reasonable price, makes them one of the most economical smoking devices. The chances of dry pipes breaking are less than larger, more intricate smoking devices, so they stick around longer and prevent you from having to buy replacement pieces. Even if you do have an accidental break, the initial price is low enough that the cost of a dry pipe replacement won't even hurt!
Many smokers contend dry pipes are more economical when it comes to using and conserving tobacco or legal herbs. Others will argue that bongs do this better because of the ability to take much larger pulls. However, with devices that feel smoother (like water pipes), it’s easier to inhale larger amounts of smoke but also easier to smoke a larger amount than planned. You may think you’re feeling the effects sooner, but you may actually be smoking more and more quickly. Dry pipes generally have smaller bowl compartments for tobacco and a notable harsh feeling on the throat, causing many people to smoke slower and less frequently, using less product in the process.
The dry pipe’s greatest attribute is also its biggest detriment. Because of its simple nature and the lack of filters, one of the biggest issues is getting ash in your mouth while smoking or sucking dry, unburned substances into the pipe where they get caught and can not be used. However, a glass filter or a removable screen could remedy this issue. A dry pipe’s simplicity also prevents the possibility of adapters or modifications; you get what you get. But if this isn’t important to you, then who cares!
Another notable issue with dry pipes is hotter, and therefore harsher, smoke. This is a side effect of the smaller travel distance between the flame and mouth coupled with the lack of a cooling system. The throat irritation is enough for many people to prefer a device like water pipes where you get little to no burn. Yet, for others, it’s appreciated that you can really feel you’re smoking as it can help you gauge how much your smoking and decrease your chance of taking a larger-than-anticipated pull. Again, it’s all about you!