The industry term for pipes that use water is, you guessed it, Water Pipes! There are two main types of water pipes we carry, Tubes and Bubblers. Bubblers use forms similar to those found in Glass Dry Pipes, while Tubes have their own forms that we will get into in detail.
Water filtration has been used in smoking for thousands of years, dating back to the Egyptians. As smoke hits a water reservoir in a water pipe, it is broken up into bubbles as it is submerged. Those bubbles diffuse the smoke, cooling it and pulling out heavy particulates into the water. While water filters some of the the things you want to inhale from your herbs, it also catches many carcinogens and cools the smoke. Pulling through water also puts more of a draw on your bowl, allowing you to chamber much larger and cooler rips than a dry pipe.
BUBBLERS VS. TUBES
A Bubbler consists of a water chamber with a narrow mouthpiece attached. Bowls for bubblers are usually on the top of the chamber, and the stem is usually fixed. OG Bubblers have fixed bowls or sometimes removable grommet slides. Scientific Bubblers have ground glass joints with removable slides. Bubblers have many forms, likes Sherlock, Hammer, Sidecar and more! There are bubblers designed for concentrates, also known as Dab Rigs - which we have a separate Guide for!
A Tube is traditionally formed from a single piece of tubing, where the chamber and mouthpiece are integrated. While most people think of tubes as larger water pipes, we have very short ones that function similar to a bubbler. Tubes can come with removable downstems or fixed stems. Most of the studios making tubes these days make them scientific style, using ground glass joints for the bowls and stems. Tubes have a dab rig form as well, known as Minitubes.
The majority of our customers who smoke herbs regularly prefer tubes. With bubblers, you'll usually clear smoke while igniting the bowl. With tubes, you chamber the piece full of smoke while the bowl is ignited, and then clear the chamber when the bowl is pulled, all at once! This leads to more potent rips that are easier to clear in one breath. Another pro of tubes is most have removable stems and are easy to clean. They also are more compatible with different accessories! That said, if you are looking for one piece to flip between smoking herbs and dabbing, then a bubbler is usually the better bet!
The Stem is the part of your water pipe that carries the smoke from the bowl into the water. Stems are usually removable from most water pipes, in which case they are called called Downstems! When you hit a Water Pipe, the smoke is scattered into multiple bubbles as it travels through the water chamber. This is called diffusion. Diffusion helps cool your smoke much more than it would if the chamber was dry. It also causes some heavier particles like carcinogens to get trapped in the water!
Different pipe makers will add holes and slits to their stem to make them better diffusers, such at 3-Hole or 6-Slit. When you browse our products, we tag which products have which type of diffusers. We also carry Downstems with a variety of diffusers to upgrade or replace the one that came in your water pipe!
As pipe-making evolved over the years, artists started to integrate more complicated diffusers into their pipes, which we regard as Percolators. Percolators may be attached to the end of the stem, or sit in their own secondary and tertiary chambers, adding more stages of filtration to the hit. Percolators are usually comprised of multiple components and overlapping chambers, perforated with many holes, slits, or both! They provide much more diffusion than stems, creating tons of bubbles in your water chamber that sometimes stack high above the water line.
A Straight Shooter refers to a tube that doesn't have a percolator, just a stem! This is not to be confused with a Straight Tube, which is a form. Straight shooters started being used by customers who don't want percolators, a preference that is built on a very old argument when it comes to water pipes.
FLAVOR & POTENCY VS. SMOOTHNESS
When you take a hit through a bubbler or tube, the smoke is cooled and becomes less harsh. This is because part of the bad particles in it are getting trapped in the water, but also because good vapors and flavonoids are too!
Unfortunately, not all percolators are created equally. Percolators exist to create more diffusion, but if they are too restrictive, they also add drag. If you ever packed your bowl too tight, you'll find that it is hard to fill your water pipe with smoke. If a percolator isn't engineered right, it will cause that same effect, to an extent.
One reason high-end brands like Toro, Sovereignty, Mobius, Swiss Perc, & Mothership are so popular is because they engineer their percolators to frap, shred, rip, and even chug with a minimum amount of restriction. Most of their percolators are nearly drag free, so even dual and triple perc tubes by them still flow great!
Not to say that people don't like higher-drag, multi-perc water pipes. Some like being able to take a giant rip and filter it enough to handle it, which is where these types of tubes shine.
Below are our latest bubblers and water pipes! Make sure to take advantage of the Filter's available to the left on your computer, or under the menu on mobile, to narrow down your search!