What is a Smoking Pipe - Expert Explanation

Smoking Pipes General Introduction

Generally speaking, a smoking pipe, also just called a pipe, is a device used as a primary tool for smoking tobacco and other smokable herb products. A pipe is composed of a mouthpiece, a chamber area that holds the herb usually called a bowl piece, and the stem of the pipe which is the area that the smoke travels through.

The coolest pipes and bongs can vary in their design, size, quality, and manufactured material The better quality the pipe and the more intricately designed, the more pricey they tend to be. Pipes can range anywhere from the lower end of around $15 to ends in the upwards of several hundred dollars – these are known as the heady glass pipes. Hand pipes can be crafted from basically any kind of material. Metal, glass, and wood are usually the most common. Pipe smoking is one of the oldest forms of smoking and has stuck around as a trendy pastime in the modern age. Pipes have established an important culture in current society and, for an added bonus, they are very easy to use.


Smoking Pipe Varieties

Pipes vary significantly in both design and literally every other aspect. There are dozens of styles of pipes, and each is distinguished by the characteristics of their design.

Glass Pipes

This is generally the most common style smoking pipes. Cool glass pipes can be uniquely crafted in that most of them are hand blown with a one of a kind design. These pipes are beautiful works of art and, when intricately designed with top quality glass, can be very expensive, or very affordable. Glass pipes are small, (usually between 3 and 5 inches), have a well-placed carb making it easy to smoke, and have a medium-sized bowl. When purchasing a glass pipe, keep in mind that oftentimes the cheaper end of glass pipes will be made with a lesser quality and be much more apt to shatter. You can find a good selection of solid glass pipes at a great price at nyvapeshop.com.

Sherlock Pipes

Sherlock pipes, known also as calabash pipes because of the calabash wood used in their original design, are a popular style of pipe. In modern day, calabash is seldom used. Now, briar, ivory, or other hardwoods are used in the design of this style of pipe. Furthermore, you buy Sherlocks in beautiful glass forms and silicone! Whatever the material, they have a unique function in that the smoke travels further than the average hand pipe, strategically allowing the smoke to become cooler, allowing for a smoother puff.

Spoon Pipes

Spoon pipes are the most popular of the glass pipes. They receive their name from the obvious fact that they are shaped much like a spoon. The thin end is the mouthpiece and the wider end, the bowl. These pipes are good for carrying on the go and their lack of intricate body design make them easy to clean.

Dugout Pipe

A dugout pipe set comes with a small pipe and the actual dugout. A dugout is a small, usually wooden, compartment that conveniently holds the pipe, a cleaning tool, and the herb. Usually, dugout pipes are one-hitters, which means, obviously, that you can get one hit each time you pack it, although you can usually snag a second. The most popular dugout pipe is a metal pipe that is designed to mimic the style of an old-school cigarette which make these pipes discreet. Dugout pipes are the best pipe to use when smoking on the go.


Steamroller pipes boast a simple design, usually a straight, clear glass cylinder that is open at either end. Steamrollers have large bowls which sit on top of the pipe near one of the ends. A steamroller is smoked by putting the pipe in your mouth, covering the end near the bowl with your hand, and lighting the bowl. When the pipe is filled with smoke, the hand is removed from the end and the smoke is inhaled. This process is similar to a bong, the difference is the lack of water filtration. This makes a steamroller an ideal pipe for taking extremely strong hits. These pipes are most definitely for veteran smokers.

Gravity Bongs

Gravity bongs are oftentimes homemade using a 2-liter soda bottle but they can also be purchased - checkout the Bukket Bong. Gravity bongs, when purchased, are often made from plastic and other parts. Gravity bongs can be used in two different ways, either as a waterfall bong or a bucket bong. Bucket bongs use the pressure from water in a second container (often a bucket) to push the smoke out of the bong and into the mouth. A waterfall bong uses water in the bong to push the smoke out as the water is released through a hole in the bottom. Either way, grav bongs are great for using a small amount of herb and still getting a thorough smoke.



Chillums are small one-hitter pipes usually made of glass. Chillums are straight pipes that have a small bowl, meaning that you’ll pack a small amount and save a lot of herb in the long run. These pipes don’t have a carburetor, which means that the flow of air can’t be directed and the bowl will continue burning. This characteristic is what makes a chillum a one-hitter. Often two or three hits are possible before it’s cached.


A bong is a smoking device that uses a simple water filtration process to cool the smoke as it passes through, before it is inhaled. Bongs can come in many different shapes, sizes, and styles, but most are made from glass and have the same apparatus. Bongs all must have a bowl, mouthpiece, and stem. Bongs are often a preferred method of smoking because less herb is needed to get high. ROOR bongs has been a long standing quality bong company that produces amazing product.


Bubblers, also called bubbler pipes, are basically just glass pipes that use a water filtration process much like a bong. Bubblers are much smaller in size than a bong, which gives them the same convenience of a handheld pipe. Bubblers can be used for dry herb as well as for wax concentrate.

Dab rigs

Dab rigs are a lot like bongs, but for they are specifically for wax concentrates. Where in a bong you would smoke a dry herb, with a dab rig you would vaporize a concentrate such as oil or wax. Dab rigs, also known as oil rigs, are slightly less bulky than water bongs and easier to tote. Dab rigs are most often made from glass or silicone and their bowl piece is instead a Domeless nail. The nail on the rig is heated to a really hot temperature before the wax concentrate is placed in it. Once heated, the wax or oil is added, vaporized, and then inhaled.

Choosing the perfect Smoking Pipe

Although there are many options to choose from, you really can’t go wrong when selecting your pipe of choice. Pipes may vary in design, color, and material, but their function remains the same. When choosing your go-to pipe, it comes down to your own personal preference and what purpose you find most important in a pipe.

If you’re looking for something to take with you on the go, your best bet would be a spoon pipe or dugout pipe. Spoon pipes are small and can easily slide into a pocket or bag, which make them easily portable. The dugout of a dugout pipe makes smoking on the go convenient with the compartments for holding all of the necessary accessories.

If you’re looking for a unique pipe that delivers a big hit, you’d want to use a steamroller pipe. Steamrollers have a similar function to a bong without the water filtration process to cool and smooth the smoke before inhalation.

If you’re looking to save money on the amount of herb you use per pipe, a one-hitter is going to be your best friend. Check out either a chillum or dugout pipe. In these pipes, you can pack a very minimal amount of herb into the small bowls, so you can get a lot out of using a small amount of your herb. If packing every hit is inconvenient for you but you still want the best bang for your buck, you might consider a bong. Bong’s will also work to give you a good rip with a single bowl pack of herb.

If you just want a powerful, chill at-home smoke, you definitely need to go with the gravity bong (Of course, gravity bongs will do the job elsewhere, but they’re definitely an ideal option for smoking at home).

If class and style in a pipe are what you are going for, the Sherlock pipe is no doubt for you. Their sleek design, well-known history, and trendy style will make you out to be as classy as the pipe you’re smoking from.

How to Smoke a Pipe

Smoking from a pipe is really not a difficult process by any means as long as you’ve been taught how. So, if you’re new to the pipe game, let us enlighten you in the art of pipe-smoking.

Before you even think about packing the bowl of your pipe, you first need to get some herbs. You can pull the bud apart with your fingers into smaller parts and pack a bowl, but that can be inefficient. Using an herb grinder really is best as it creates more surface area to evenly burn the herbs.

Now to grinding. Do not place large, dense nugs into the grinder and expect to grinder easily. At least break the large dense buds down a bit and spread them out across the sharp blades of the grinder. Place the top on, push down and turn. Push the top down and twist back and forth. Over time you will become one with your herb grinder.

After the herb has been ground, you can then pack it into the bowl of the pipe. Press the herb into the bowl, and feel free to compress with your thumb or leave as is. Some prefer large packs, other small. When your bowl is packed, hold the pipe with your hand so that you can comfortably maneuver to plug and unplug the carb hole.

When the bowl is lit, inhale at a slow and steady pace while the carb hole is covered. This will drive the smoke into the pipe and you will be inhaling a small amount as well. But once you have filled the pipe enough, move your thumb off of the carburetor (aka carb hole). By opening up the carb hole you bring in airflow as you suck. That airflow will clear the pipe and bring the smoke to you. Inhale, exhale. Boom. You’ve smoked a pipe.

In summary, and for those of you who like a step by step method, here you go

  1. Grind your herb
  2. Pack the bowl
  3. Cover carb cap
  4. Put pipe in mouth
  5. Light bowl
  6. Inhale slowly
  7. Remove thumb from carb
  8. Exhale
  9. Repeat as needed

How to Clean a Smoking Pipe

There are several ways you can go about cleaning your glass pipe or bong, but regardless of your cleaning technique, it is a pretty basic process. One of the more preferred methods and possibly the most effective is to soak your glass in rubbing alcohol. Find a plastic bag, bowl, or another container that will easily hold the item you wish to clean. Before submerging your pipe or bong in the container filled with rubbing alcohol be sure to remove any large clumps of junk with your hands, by tapping it out or scraping it out.

After this has been done, add rubbing alcohol (the higher the isopropyl concentration, the better) and somewhere around 1tbs salt. Let the pipe soak for atleast 10-15 minutes and even overnight for best results. In the morning or 20 minutes later, rinse the glass off with hot water. Remember you can start scrubbing the interior while the pipe is soaking to speed up the cleaning process. And ALWAYS rinse the pipe under the water after soaking in rubbing alcohol or any cleaning solution.

If there is still some residue on the insides of the pipe, take a Q-tip or pipe cleaner and run it through the pipe along with some hot water from the faucet. Some people choose to do the soaking process in a ziplock bag so that they can shake the pipe inside the bag to try to allow the salt to break up the resin on the pipe.

This process is for deep, intense cleansing. Often, it’s enough to scrape out some resin so that the pipe can be repacked and smoked. You should clean the pipe or bong when resin builds up and makes it impossible to smoke out of. Always be sure your pipe is clear before packing and lighting.

Dry Herb Vaporizer vs Smoking

The difference in smoking and vaping is all in the exposure, or no exposure to the flame. Smoking then is the literal burning of a substance to inhale the smoke it produces. Vaping, on the other hand, is the exposure of a substance to heat, which causes vapor instead of smoke, which can then be inhaled. So, the difference between a smoking pipe and dry herb vaporizer is in this very concept. Dry herbs in a smoking pipe are lit so that they burn and produce smoke. That smoke is then inhaled. Dry herbs in a vaporizer are heated up to very hot temperatures so that they produce a vapor. This vapor is then inhaled.

Some practical differences include the smell of smoking vs vaping. The smell of smoking is much stronger than the smell of vaping. This allows for vape pens to be much more discreet than a smoking pipe. With a pipe, a lighter is needed to light the bowl, a vape pen does not use a lighter, it just needs to be charged. In addition, vaping has been said to be a healthier alternative to smoking because there isn’t smoke inhalation that leads to lung and throat damage.

Smoking Accessories

When you take up pipe smoking you need to be aware that there are several accessories that make smoking much easier. We’ve put together a small inventory of the items you should seriously consider buying to enhance your pipe smoking experience.

Herb Grinders

Herb grinders are exactly that, they grind your herbs. You can usually smash herbs with your fingers pretty well if they are very dry, but it can make a huge mess and kief in the eye is no good. Plus, the first time you drop a few pieces on the floor you’ll be immediately ready to get a grinder. In addition, grinders allow the herb to be ground to the same consistency which makes your smoke much more even. Herb grinders come in a variety of shapes and sizes and they yield the much sought after kief!

Bowl Screens

Bowl screens are super dope for keeping herb out of the stem and ash out of your mouth. A bowl screen sits in the bottom of the pipe’s bowl and the herb goes right on top. The screen’s function is simply to keep unwanted ash from slipping through and being inhaled unexpectedly.

Pipe cleaners

Pipe cleaners are incredibly handy when it comes time to clean your pipe. You can buy pipe cleaners really cheap from pretty much any smoke shop, and regular, store-bought craft pipe cleaners will actually do the job pretty efficiently as well. These are easy to find and handy to keep around when trying to remove unwanted resin from your pipe.

Pipe Cases

Pipe carrying cases are a must if you’re in the business of giving your pipe an extended lifespan. Some pipes come with a case included, but most of the time you’ll have to buy a case separate from the purchase of your pipe. There are a plethora of available cases to choose from, just be sure the dimensions of the case are large enough to fit your pipe before buying it!

In Conclusion

Regardless of what you are looking for, there is always a pipe out there for you. Keep looking until you find the one that suits your needs! Nyvapeshop.com is a great place to start or continue your journey in your search for the best pipe for you.