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How to Choose the Best Water Pipe
Choosing the Right Water Pipe
There are numerous factors to consider when purchasing a new water pipe. We know choosing the right pipe can be a daunting task when you don't know what you're looking at, so we've created a guide to help make it easier. DankStop offers a large selection of water pipes ranging in price from budget pipes to high end collectibles. No matter what your budget is, you're sure to find something in our store that fits your needs.
When buying yourself a new water pipe, your first decision should be whether you want a product that is intended for use with tobacco or concentrates/extracts. A common distinction between the two types of pipes is joint style and type of accessories (if you're curious about the different glass on glass joint types and sizes, we've got you covered). Tobacco pipes contain a female joint with a male jointed bowl while concentrate/extract pipes have a male joint with a female dome / nail. There are always additional accessories that can be purchased to make any pipe viable with either traditional tobacco or concentrates. For the best user experience, it is important to choose a pipe that is designed for your smoking intentions.
Water pipes and bubblers come in all shapes and sizes, creating a variety of options to choose from. The most common shapes available are beakers and straight tubes, the difference being the shape of the base. Straight tube pipes have a consistent diameter "straight" pipe from top to bottom, while beaker pipes have an increased diameter at the base (similar to a scientific beaker). Straight tubes generally clear faster than beaker bottoms of similar size because of less air resistance and a smaller volume. Some popular concentrate pipe shapes are inline tubes, sidecars, recyclers, and "nano" mini rigs. Sidecar bubblers have a mouthpiece stem from the side of the base, usually at a 45 degree angle. This helps with splashback and is a convenient design to hold in your hand. Recycler rigs involve an intricate two chamber design that provides superb filtration. To learn more about exactly how they function, check out our in-depth explanation of recycler oil rigs.
Different shapes and styles all have their pros and cons, so your preference is the main component in deciding which is best for you.
Glass quality is commonly overlooked, but is very important when buying a new glass pipe. You can categorize glass pipes into two categories, soft glass and hard glass, or "scientific style glass." Soft glass is more common in smaller shops and gas stations thanks to its cheaper production and material costs. The lower quality means the glass is weaker and the pipe more is likely to break than their scientific glass counterparts. If a water pipe made with soft glass breaks, it tends to shatter which makes it very difficult to repair. Scientific or, "borosilicate" glass is the crystal clear type of hard glass that most consumers are looking for. Borosilicate pipes are made from high quality glass rods which are heated, stretched, and intricately formed by the artists to make strong and durable glass pipes. Pipes made with borosilicate glass are less susceptible to stress cracks and breakage. Borosilicate products are usually more expensive in price due to higher production costs and more in-depth molding processes. Glass thickness is one characteristic that can also be easily overlooked. Glass thickness gets a little confusing when comparing thickness in both soft and borosilicate glass. For example, a 5mm borosilicate glass pipe might withstand a fall that a 9mm soft glass pipe would not. Other glass additives, product shape, and product design are just a few of the factors that explain this. It is safe to say that thicker is better, due to increased strength and durability.
Due to the cheap nature and inconsistent quality, DankStop does not stock any soft glass. All of our products are made from 100% borosilicate glass to ensure a durable and long lasting product that we can stand behind for years to come. Our team spends countless hours sourcing the high quality and most affordable borosilicate products.
The downstem is the tube which holds the bowl, slide, or nail. It can be either fixed (built in) or removable depending on your particular water pipe. Fixed downstems are commonly used with concentrate pipes, but can be on traditional tobacco pipes as well. Removable downstems are interchangeable, providing customization options and an easier/safer cleaning experience for users. Downstems come in different styles which have different variations of holes and openings for smoke filtration and diffusion. Stemless pipes usually have the joint feed straight into the diffuser or percolator. Percolators are intricate glass structures fixed inside of the pipe providing extra filtration. They are available in different shapes and styles such as waffle, pillar, showercap, showerhead, gridline, gridcap and many more. Percolators can make your smoking experience more enjoyable, but keep in mind that they also require a more diligent cleaning process.
To learn more about percolators, read our detailed guide with descriptions and videos of the different types of percolators.
Water pipes can feature a variety of useful accessories that increase the functionality of your water pipe. A splashguard, which blocks excess water from splashing up into the user’s mouth, is good for pipes with a percolator or water source close to the mouthpiece. An ice catcher creates a smooth and cooled hit through indentations into the pipe designed to hold ice. An ashcatcher is a removable exterior option which sits in the downstem inlet. It is a great add on for all pipes, creating an extra means of filtration while catching all ash traveling through your pipe. This leaves your pipe cleaner after use, saving the user the time and hassle of cleaning your water pipe regularly.
For more ideas on how you can make your smoking experience easier, view our list of 10 Helpful Smoking Accessories.