Spoon Pipes vs. Bubblers

Glass pipes are on the rise, and why not! They are a quick, easy way to enjoy your favorite dry herbs. However, beginners are often confused about the difference between different styles, and this includes two popular styles: spoon pipes and bubblers. Read on to discover the key differences between these styles!

by: Matthew H. | 03/10/21 2:30PM


As more and more people find dry herbs they enjoy, the popularity of glass pipes continues to rise. They are an easy, beginner-friendly way to quickly enjoy a quick puff of your favorite dry herbs. While their use and differences are straightforward to veteran smokers, beginners may find themselves confused by what the difference actually is between different styles.

Two major styles that often throw beginners for a loop are spoon pipes and bubblers. They both have strong similarities but provide remarkably different smoking experiences. What are the differences and similarities between these two popular styles of pipes?

How are Spoon Pipes and Bubblers Different?

We'll start our examination of spoon pipes and bubblers by taking a close look at what makes them different. How do they provide unique smoking experiences for their users?

a silicone and glass bubbler with water filtration


Bubblers Have Water Filtration. Spoon Pipes Do Not.

This is the most immediate difference between bubbler and spoon pipes. Bubblers are designed with a small water reservoir, which allows for water filtration of smoke that passes through. This results in hits that have been cooled and filtered, resulting in extra smooth hits.

Spoon pipes have no filtration at all. When you take a hit, smoke will travel directly from the bowl, through the smoke path, and into your lungs. Your hits will be hotter and harsher (though not necessarily unpleasant). Depending on what kind of hit you're looking for will determine whether you need a bubbler or a spoon pipe.

Spoon pipe being cleaned in the kitchen sink

Bubblers are Challenging to Clean vs Spoon Pipes

With water filtration comes the challenge of getting a thorough clean hit. Bubblers (and other water pipes) use water to filter hits, which means the water will get gross and grimy. This results in residue building on the inside of the reservoir, which if left uncleaned, can begin to affect the taste of your hits. Since bubblers are usually a single piece of glass, it can be challenging to get a really thorough clean on the inside of the pipe.

Spoon pipes, while also generally single pieces, don't have watery residue that builds inside. While they do need to be regularly cleaned, soaking in Formula 420 or home cleaning solution is usually sufficient to remove any built-up residue.

If cleaning is a concern for you, you should consider a silicone bubbler. This style is usually in at least two pieces, which means you can take it apart and give the inside a really good scrub if need be. You can find 100% silicone bubblers and glass/silicone bubbler hybrids!


How are Bubblers and Spoon Pipes Similar?

While the differences these pipes have are quite stark, they also have a wealth of similarities, especially in typical features they offer. They are also features many glass pipes share, so once you get comfortable with them, you'll be able to transition to other styles easily!

Both Can Have Large Bowls

Both bubblers and spoon pipes have upward-facing bowls, which makes it easy to build in a large capacity for dry herbs. You can easily pack a ton of dry herbs without worrying about pieces falling out while you smoke.

In general, it's easier to find spoon pipes with massive bowls, so if capacity is your number one consideration, consider shopping for a high-end spoon pipe. However, both will generally sport a higher-than-normal capacity when compared to chillums or steamroller pipes.

Both Usually Have Carb Holes

Carb holes are slots built into a pipe that allows airflow to be controlled. When they are covered, airflow is directed through the bowl, drawing in smoke from the dry herbs. When uncovered, airflow comes through the hole instead of the bowl, allowing you to clear the smoke that is in the stem of the pipe without drawing in more from the lit bowl.

Both spoon pipes and bubblers will generally have a carb hole to make it easy to clear the pipe.

Both Are Available in Silicone or All-Glass Designs

The rise of silicone has been great for smokers, as it makes pipes practically unbreakable and brings really eye-catching designs to the table (not to mention a budget-friendly price point). All-silicone designs are common, as are hybrid designs (these are usually separate glass pieces that make contact with the dry herb, with all other pieces being silicone).

If you don't want to shell out the cash for a beautiful glass pipe, then a silicone pipe choice might be right up your alley, and both styles are available for bubblers and spoon pipes.

Is a Spoon Pipe or Bubbler Better?

Which style of pipe ends up being better is going to come down to which style best fits your smoking needs. Bubblers are the superior choice for smooth, cool hits, but spoon pipes excel in ease-of-use. Bubblers are harder to clean, but this can be resolved by opting for a silicone-style pipe.

Take a hard look at what you want out of a pipe to determine which fits you best. You may find, like many smokers, that having one of each will fit you quite well!

bubbler or smoking pipe Which smoking pipe should I choose

Where Can I Find Bubblers and Spoon Pipes?

Spoon pipes and bubblers are pretty common nowadays. You'll find them vape shops, dedicated glass shops, CBD dispensaries, and even gas stations. That's a great place to start if you want the opportunity to get a close look at unfamiliar styles.

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