Differences In Water Pipes

Differences In Water Pipes

Differences In Water Pipes

Crash Course

The use of different smoking devices has been a thing for over 2400 years when ancient Eurasian rulers would use solid gold water pipes to smoke cannabis, tobacco and other herbal substances. It had mass popularity during the 16th - 17th century but died down with the start of the Republic era. Since then the modern water pipes that we know of today where paved during the 60’s - 70’s during the age of hippies. Today, there are over 15 types of water pipes on the market  varying in material, shape and size, and inner designs all created differently to ensure a smooth and unique experience with each different type. We will review the different materials and designs of water pipes we have to offer along going through information about how each one offers a different “hit”.

Different Materials

First thing and main thing to understand is that a water pipe can be made out of literally anything! Anyone who is an aged smoker knows that when in doubt, a water pipe can be built out of some very creative materials. Even though there are many different materials like acrylic bamboo, or even metal, today we will focus on the materials we have to offer:

  • Ceramic
  • Silicone
  • Glass


Said to be one of the popular original materials, ceramic water pipes have been used since the early 60’s long before glass water pipes were made. The next step down from glass and silicone, ceramic provides a smooth experience with massive rips. Extremely durable and less sensitive to heat, ceramic water pipes are able to come in multiple different designs as they are easier to make at a much more affordable price than intricate glass pieces. 

Some of the only downsides to using ceramic pieces is that they are much harder to accessorize with diffused down stems or percolator attachments and they aren’t big as glass can be.


The popularity of silicone water pipes recently took off in the last ten years. Durable, shatter-proof, and perfect for travel, they are virtually indestructible. Made from a smoke safe silicone, they are extremely affordable and come in multitude of different colors and patterns. 

With that said, some of the negative traits that silicone water pipes possess is that there is very little room for filtration, percolation, or cooling that would be achieved with glass. The designs don't really leave space for accessory pieces to be added either. They are also significantly smaller than what glass has to offer. 


Since the 70’s, glass water pipes have been the most popular material to smoke out of, and there is a good reason for that too. Glass can be blown into a countless amount of shapes, designs, and can even be any color. Being able to add different percolators and other cooling mechanisms add to the smooth rip that you can look forward to with glass. This gives you the opportunity to find that perfect piece just for you. 

Even though it is made from glass, most glass water pipes are made from a thick layer of glass that makes it basically unbreakable or some high quality pieces come with a lifetime warranty through the manufacturer.

Different Shapes and Designs 

Now that we discussed the difference in what your water pipe is made out of, let's jump into the difference between the shapes and designs and how each one gives a different smoking experience. 

For the most part, a majority of these designs are available in all sorts of materials but for sake of the conversation, we’ll be looking at the designs as we have them available in store and/or online.

Beaker Base

The name comes from the shape, the beaker base (obviously) has the base of a beaker. They allow for more water at the bottom to give more cooling to the rip. The larger size of the base also gives opportunity for percolation to be added.

Straight Cylinder 

The most straight forward (pun intended) water pipe, the straight cylinder is made from a simple single piece of blown glass. The glass they are made out of are usually more durable in order to support the shape. To make up for the thicker glass, they are relatively taller than most water pipes, giving the most room for built-in percolation, ice catchers, and down stems. 

Built-in Percolator

Another “description is the name” water pipe, the built-in percolator water pipe has, of course, built-in percolators. Now percolators alone deserve their own article about what they are, how they work, and different kinds; but to be simple about it they help to diffuse and filter the smoke before it reaches you, offering a smooth yet massive pull. With these water pipes, you don't need to go out and buy add on pieces when everything you need is right there.


Multi-chamber water pipes are at the peak of the design list for water pipes. Similar yet different to the built-in percolator, these water pipes have multiple different types of percolators. Some of the most expensive water pipes, all the different levels of percolation filter the smoke differently each level and cools the smoke significantly. This gives off massive rips that are easily distinguishable from others. 


Little, portable, and adorable, the bubbler is the miniature version of the water pipe. Small but still shaped for water to be added, it is the cross between a hand pipe and water pipe. Perfect for travel purposes as they are mostly small, they don’t always allow space for percolation or diffused down stems. This makes it a little harder to clean but still nice for those looking for something smoother than a hand pipe.


Named for their zigzag shape, the zong is practically designed for diffusion. The first “zig” of the zong is usually skinny enough to function as its own ice catcher, letting the smoke cool as it reaches you. The length match for the zigs and zags which moves the smoke through the neck to cool more than a straight neck would. As aesthetically pleasing as the zong may be, cleaning is a chore. A simple scrub brush won't be enough to reach each corner of the water pipe.

Multi-purpose Rigs

These water pipes are designed to handle strong amounts of smoke and heat as they are usually used for concentrates. Its multi-purpose aspect comes into play with a simple switch of the bowl. Most of our rigs have either a banger for extracts or bowl for dry herbs but they can be switched around to get the best of both worlds. Usually small but in a wide variety of designs, they are the perfect handheld water pipe.

How to Clean My Water Pipe

In store and online, we offer several different cleaners that are used to get into all the nooks and crannies of your water pipe ensuring a clean rip every use. For some materials and pieces the simple rubbing alcohol and coarse salt combo may not be enough. It is always best to ask your local Climax Associate for help finding the perfect cleaner for your water pipe.