The Ultimate Guide to the Different Types of Smoking Pipes

best custom smoking pipes

Did you know that in 2020, 30.8 million American adults were smoking regularly? A more significant percentage of people only smoke during specific periods of their lives, such as while they’re underage or after they turn 40.

Despite all the studies in recent years that link smoking to a higher risk of lung cancer, heart disease, and a reduced life expectancy, many Americans enjoy the calming effects and cozy feeling that smoking provides.

What exactly is a smoking pipe, you might ask? Let’s dive in and explore all the different types of smoking pipes and how they work. Read on!

Hand Pipe

A hand pipe is a small pipe held in the hand while smoking. It is a simple, long, tube-like device with a bowl at one end and a mouthpiece at the other. The bowl is where you put your tobacco or herb, and the mouthpiece is where you put your mouth to inhale the smoke.

The bowl is typically made of glass, metal, or ceramic, and the stem is often made of metal or plastic. Hand pipes are generally small and portable, making them easy to take with you on the go. There are many different styles of hand pipes, and each smoker has their preferences.

Some common styles of hand pipes include spoon pipes, Sherlock pipes, chillums, one-hitters, and bubblers.

Spoon Pipes

A spoon pipe is a type of smoking pipe with a spoon-shaped bowl. The bowl is typically shallow and flat, with a small hole in the center of the stem.

The stem is usually curved with the bowl attached at an angle. The bowl and stem are typically made of glass, but other materials used are metal, wood, or other materials. 

Sherlock Pipes

Named after the famous detective, the Sherlock pipe is distinct with its long, curved stem and large bowl. Sherlock pipes are usually made of briar wood, a hardwood resistant to heat.

Sherlock pipes are often decorated with intricate carvings, which makes them very stylish. 


They are small, easy to use, and portable. Chillums are made from a variety of materials, including glass, metal, and stone. They are usually long and thin, with a small bowl at the end.

Chillums are often decorated with colorful designs.


One-hitter pipes are small, handheld pipes that are perfect for on-the-go smoking. They typically have a small bowl holding enough tobacco for one or two drags.

These pipes are easy to use and great for people new to smoking.


Bubblers are a type of water pipe typically smaller and more portable than bongs. Bubblers usually have a bowl for dry herbs, a chamber for water, and a stem that connects the bowl to the chamber.

The water in the chamber filters and cools the smoke, making for a smoother hit. Bubblers are also a great option for those who want a bong’s filtration but a pipe’s portability.

Water Pipes

Water pipes are perhaps the most popular type of smoking pipe among smokers. Water pipes work by filtering smoke through water, which cools and purifies it. It makes for a smoother, more enjoyable smoking experience.

There are two types of water pipes: bongs and hookahs.


Bongs are larger, water-filled pipes that cool and filter the smoke. Bongs are easy to use and provide a cool, smooth smoke, but they can be expensive and difficult to clean.


Hookahs are large, often ornate pipes that are used for social smoking. They are similar to water pipes but have multiple hoses so that numerous people can smoke simultaneously. 

Types of Pipes by Material

Pipes can be made from various materials, including briar, meerschaum, clay, corn cob, and cherry wood. Custom pipes are an excellent option for those who want a unique pipe specifically designed for their needs.

The type of pipe you choose will also affect your smoking experience.

Briar Pipes

Wooden pipes are some of the most common and are often very affordable. Briar pipes are also quite popular and are often considered the best quality smoking pipes available.

These pipes are made from a type of wood that is very resistant to heat and can therefore produce a very smooth smoke. They are known for their durability and flavor.

Meerschaum Pipes

Meerschaum pipes are another option and are prized for their unique flavor. These pipes are made from a mineral found near the Black Sea shores and can be quite expensive.

Meerschaum pipes are also known for absorbing tobacco flavors and producing cool, smooth smoke.

Clay Pipes 

Clay pipes are perhaps the most basic type of pipe, and are also the most affordable. They are effortless to use and require no special care or cleaning. However, they do have some drawbacks.

Clay pipes can absorb the tobacco flavor, which some smokers prefer, but can also make the tobacco taste bitter. They can also be fragile and break easily.

Corn Cob Pipes

The most popular type of smoking pipe is the corn cob pipe. These pipes are made from a dried cob of corn and have a bowl drilled into the center of the cob. The bowl is then filled with tobacco, and the pipe is smoked.

Corn cob pipes are very inexpensive, and they are easy to make. There are also some advantages to smoking a corn cob pipe. The cob is a natural filter that will absorb some of the tar and nicotine from the tobacco.

They also have a distinctive flavor, and they are often used by pipe smokers trying to create their own unique blends.

Cherry Wood Pipes

Cherry Wood Pipes have beautiful, rich color and grain, as well as their durability. Cherry wood pipes have a sweet smell and flavor. They are also easy to care for and can last a lifetime with proper care.

If you’re thinking of buying a pipe that is both elegant and durable, a cherry wood pipe is a great choice.

Choose From a Variety of Smoking Pipes Today

There are many types of smoking pipes to choose from, each with its benefits and drawbacks. Ultimately, the best pipe for you is the one you feel most comfortable using. Experiment with different types of pipes to find the perfect one for your needs.

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