The Ultimate Water Pipe Buying Guide for Beginners

Posted by Angela Lieben on Jan 28, 2021

The Ultimate Water Pipe Buying Guide for Beginners

Everything You Need to Know Before Buying A Water Pipe

Are you looking to start your very own water pipe collection? Or are you planning to replace your outdated water pipe with the latest and greatest glass water pipe?  Do the varying water pipe options confuse you? With the Cloud 9 Smoke Co. Everything Your Need to Know Before Buying a Water Pipe, you will have all the information needed for choosing the best water pipe that suits your style and personality.

We admit that when it comes to water pipes, there are a lot to choose from online. Having so many water pipes options available, the prospects of selecting just one can be daunting. However, that does not mean all hope is lost.

If you want to enjoy a hassle-free smoking session, you must look for water pipes that provide smooth hits. Who wants a water pipe that will fill with smoke particles and cause choking? The main thing you need to look for in a water pipe is more than just aesthetics. You need to consider material, filtration, function, performance, design, size and more.

Sounds complicated? No worries. The Cloud 9 Smoke Co. Buying Guide for Beginners  has got you covered!

Essential Water Pipe Features

Let’s start with the basics. The first thing you need to know are the parts that make up the water pipe. Most of these are included in every design or type of water pipe that you choose.

Water Pipe Buying Guide for Beginners

  • Downstem: It is a small tube that is usually near the base of the water pipe. Your water pipe may have a removable downstem and a percolator at the bottom to break up the smoke. It is the most common type of design feature and also highly functional. Alternatively, your water pipe may have a fixed downstem attached to the body, which means it is not removable. Most downstems feature holes that help diffuse the smoke. These holes can consist of tiny slits on the downstem, or holes in the downstem, or a small percolator affixed to the downstem,
  • Percolator: When researching water pipes, you will hear a lot about percs (percolator). These are used for filtering the smoke to give you smooth hits. A percolator comes in various styles and is usually present at the lower end of the water pipe. Some water pipes will have multiple percs that their locations may vary. You may find various types of percolators, such as tree perc, showerhead, matrix, honeycomb, seed of life and so on. Percs are specifically designed to break up and filter the smoke using bubbles.
  • Chamber: Depending on the type of water pipe you select, it may have a single chamber or multiple chambers. Chambers are designed to help cool smoke before it reaches its intended destination -- your lungs. Chambers help contain the smoke that has been cooled down and filtered, ready for inhalation through the mouthpiece present at the top.
  • Bowl or Slide: The most essential part of a water pipe is the bowl or slide. Most bowls are removable and serve as a “shotgun” to help clear smoke from the chamber. Bowls or slides are intended to hold your dry herbs or flower and are made from borosilicate glass. There are a number of bowl designs from funnel bowls, to ram bowls, to deep bowls, to bowls with handles. The great thing about bowls or slides is they can be changed out or used to dress up your water pipe.
  • Base: The foundation or bottom of a water pipe is what we refer to as the base. The base plays an integral role in keeping your water pipe stable. The wider the base, the less likely your water pipe will be accidentally tipped over. The base of a water pipe will typically have thicker glass or material to add to the weight.
  • Neck: Water pipes necks come in various styles and sizes. Some are tall, while others are short. Necks can also be designed with a curve or completely straight. The neck is the final approach for smoke before it is inhaled and will often have a flared mouthpiece at the end.
  • Mouthpiece: A water pipe is not complete without the opening at the top of the neck called the mouthpiece. As will overall style and designs, mouthpieces can also very. There are mouthpieces that come flared, which offer better suction, or mouthpieces that are flush with the neck. Choosing a water pipe is more than just the what is visually appealing, but also the components that make for a more comfortable smoking experience. 

Additional Water Pipe Features

Some of the water pipes may have a few extra bells and whistles that add to your smoking experience.

Ice Pinch: If you are a smoker who prefers nice, smooth cool smoke, you will want to choose a water pipe with an ice pinch. The ice catch varies depending on the water pipe design. Some ice catches will be located in the chamber slightly above the base or for taller water pipes or straight tubes, the ice catch is typically located in the neck. Adding ice to your water pipe helps lower the temperature of the smoke, offering you a cooling hit.

Water Pipe Buying Guide for Beginners

Glycerin Coil: Premium water pipe brands are sometimes designed with a removable glycerin coil. The coil is attached using a plastic keck clip. The cool thing (no pun intended) is the coil is encased in glass and can be removed and placed in a refrigerator or freezer. The glycerin remains stable under freezing conditions and does not expand. Once you reach your desired temp, simply attach the coil and enjoy smooth and refreshing hits.

Water Pipe Buying Guide for Beginners

Splash Guard: The splash guard on a water pipe is designed to prevent dirty water from entering the mouthpiece and going into your mouth. Yuck, right? Some water pipes will have a curved neck and flared mouthpiece, which is a natural splash guard.

Different Types of Water Pipes

There is a lot to think about when it comes to buying a water pipe. But before getting into the nitty-gritty, we want to outline the varying types of water pipes. Each of these options have different functions, that will help you decide what you should choose according to your requirement.

Bubbler Water Pipes

Bubbler water pipes have a very simple and straightforward design and come with either a flat base or a stand. It is one of the most basic designs with a straight, tube-like neck and a downstem near the bottom. You must know that it is also one of the most stable options. Apart from that, it performs exceptionally well and is pretty easy to clean.

Water Pipe Buying Guide for Beginners

Straight Tubes

Straight tubes are essentially the most popular design of water pipes. They do not have a large bottom to store water. Instead, it has a pretty sleek design throughout. Moreover, these straight tube water pipes do not hold a lot of water, which is actually preferred by many smokers as it is relatively lightweight.

If you want the simplest yet functional water pipe, this is for you. It has a removable downstem and is often accompanied by percolators, ice pinch, and other accessories.

Water Pipe Buying Guide for Beginners

Beaker Water Pipes

Another classic, a beaker water pipe, differentiates itself from others with its beaker-shaped base. It is an exceptionally stable water pipe that stores ample water for a strong smoke session. Despite its simple look, a beaker water pipe allows superb hits due to the large base and a more generous amount of smoke.

It usually has a removable downstem. Varying beaker water pipe designs may have different types and numbers of percolators.

Water Pipe Buying Guide for Beginners

Dab Rigs

Dab rigs are the next level of water pipes and are entirely different from the others. These water pipes have a unique design for vaporizing oil and wax concentrates. Oil dab rigs are relatively smaller than water pipes, with the chamber placed close to the mouthpiece. Dab rigs mainly focus on enhancing airflow and percolation to bring out maximum flavor.

The best part about dab rigs is that you can easily convert them into a water pipe. All you need is a bowl to attach with the equipment, and you can enjoy a classic, smooth smoke.

Water Pipe Buying Guide for Beginners

Percolator Water Pipes

If you want to go a notch higher with your water pipe, a percolator water pipe is an excellent option. The intricate design and placement of percolators will level-up the game by offering the ultimate smooth smoke.

As the number and functionality of percolators increase, your hits get better than ever. These percolators fully filter the smoke and cool it down for the best experience. Moreover, most percolator water pipes also come with an ice pinch.

Water Pipe Buying Guide for Beginners

Multi-chamber Water Pipes

Multi-chamber is a water pipe that can give you the feeling of ecstasy with ultra-smooth hits. As the design gets even more complicated, your smoking experience sky-rockets! A multi-chamber water pipe, in particular, allows the smoke to travel through multiple chambers and percolators. Plus, it is a lot of fun to watch the spectacle of smoke traveling through the chambers.

As a result, you get superb hits of smoke that is well-filtered and extra-smooth. Additionally, this water pipe may also include a splash guard, ice pinch, etc.

That said, you must know that these water pipes are priced at the higher end. Still, the price ultimately delivers value with ultra-strong glass and accurate construction.

Water Pipe Buying Guide for Beginners

Recycler Water Pipes

Quite similar yet different from multi-chamber ones, recycler water pipes are truly one of a kind. They have a plethora of tube-like chambers and percolators that filter and cool-down the smoke. What differentiates these water pipes is that they do not transfer smoke from one section to the next.

Instead, they circulate it multiple times before it reaches the mouthpiece. How does that help? Recycler water pipes move the smoke around like an amusement park ride and filter it several times within a few seconds, and then send it to you. This type of water pipe gives you the most fantastic smoking experience.

But that is not all. You can also convert it into a dab rig by adding a quartz nail or banger. However, it may be one of the most expensive types of water pipes on the market.

Water Pipe Buying Guide for Beginners

What to Look for When Considering a Water Pipe

Have you decided on the type of water pipe you want? Even if you are sure about the specific design, you will have to consider a few features for the ultimate option. Moreover, these things will further help you confirm your choice.


You may be wondering as to why the size of a water pipe matters. Well, here's why it is essential.

Mini: If you like sesh-on-the-go, a mini water pipe is perfect for you. These water pipes are as functional as their bigger counterparts, but they are ultra-portable. Just pop it in your backpack and head off on the road.

They are like your personal water pipes. You can add ice and roam with it as if it was your smoothie glass. However, mini water pipes do not deliver an utterly smooth hit due to the lack of proper filtration.

Medium: These water pipes are definitely more functional than the mini water pipes and still compact enough. Medium water pipes are almost 12-14 inches in length and are quite versatile in styles. Though you cannot carry them around easily, they are excellent for daily use.

Large: Beginner or pro, if you want the ultimate smoking experience, nothing can beat the large water pipes. Large water pipes have the maximum number of percolators and undeniably the best filtering system. Plus, thick ass glass to boot! Thus, you are guaranteed to have perfect smoking sessions each time.

That said, you must consider that these water pipes are not for traveling due to their size.

Water Pipe Buying Guide for Beginners


Water pipes come in all types of styles and materials, with borosilicate glass being the most popular. But as technology comes into play, water pipes have taken a more artistic approach with materials. Here is a breakdown of all the different water pipes materials. So, before purchasing one for a short time, consider the different options to make the best choice.

Borosilicate Glass

These are the most common types of water pipes that you will find on the market. They function well to provide cool smoke and a phenomenal experience. Moreover, they are the most versatile materials that allow multiple additions and accessorizing. Borosilicate Glass will also be labeled as scientific glass since the research community uses this reliable and sturdy glass in labs.

The downsides of glass water pipes is that they can easily break, that is, if you choose a budget-friendly option. However, premium brands use thicker glass that is higher-quality, making them more stable and durable.

Water Pipe Buying Guide for Beginners

FAST FACTS: The master craftsmen of glassblowing go beyond creating just another collection of water pipes. They make sure every piece possesses museum-like quality and is built for years of smoking pleasure. With borosilicate water pipes every piece is shaped or bent goes through a 12-hour “annealing” (curing) process. The slow cooling process helps prevent internal fractures or stress. This process is an essential part of the longevity and durability of each water pipe. Then, each water pipe is placed into a temperature-controlled kiln, known as a lehr, and taken almost back to a melting point and incrementally cooled. Because all the parts are completely fused into a single solid work, this is what gives the borosilicate glass water pipes strength and luster.


These are traditional water pipes that give one of the best hits of all time. You can expect even and smooth smoking sessions from ceramic water pipes as they do not heat up like glass ones. Moreover, though they are brittle, they usually last long due to their simplistic design. Though you may not get versatile shapes, the stoneware construction will certainly deliver perfect flavor.


If you are looking for a water pipe without breaking the bank, acrylic is for you. They are virtually indestructible, which is one of the few benefits. Furthermore, these are quite basic in nature and do the primary job of any other water pipe.

Apart from that, they have several downsides, starting from the quality of smoke. You will not get anything like the high-level hit from a ceramic or glass water pipe. Additionally, you cannot add any accessories to these, and the overall experience will be low to mediocre.


You cannot get the best in every aspect, but what if you get a bit of all? Silicone water pipes have a few qualities of all the different types. These are a few notches higher than acrylic or plastic water pipes, such that they can bear extreme temperatures.

One of the best qualities is that they are highly-portable as you can fold them easily. So, if you like to have a water pipe session on-the-go, these are excellent options. Moreover, they do not require high maintenance—you can wash them in a dishwasher itself!

Water Pipe Buying Guide for Beginners

Water Pipe Bowl

Did you know that you can also opt for different bowl sizes of a water pipe? Here are the three primary water pipe bowl sizes. You can get one or all of them to suit different moods!

Small: These bowls are perfect for having some alone chill time. Small bowls may be tiny but offer a giant hit in seconds. Thus, being the most optimum option for those impromptu solo plans.

Large: If you enjoy big rips or long-lasting cannabis sessions, large bowls are for you. They are excellent for the instant sky-high experience as well as for saving some to smoke later.

Party: The fun gets multiplied with your gang around, and that is what the "option-rally fun-pack" party bowls are for. If your house is the ultimate chilling spot of your group, you ought to get a party bowl for your water pipe. It will not only elevate your party but also allow everyone present to take an ample number of drags.

Water Pipe Maintenance

As the saying goes -- cleanliness is next to godliness. And keeping you water pipe clean is essential if you want great tasting hits. Herb is expensive and you don’t want a dank taste in your mouth! So, at the end of the day (or week or month), you gotta clean-up so that it functions flawlessly. You will have to be extra careful with glass and ceramic water pipes as they are relatively delicate. Still, if you choose a high-quality one, you can get a thick glass that is durable enough.

Needless to say, silicone and acrylic water pipes are extremely easy to clean and maintain.

Wrapping Up

Choosing a water pipe may not seem rocket science. However, if you want the ultimate experience from the first time itself, getting down to specifications is well worth it. It would be wise if you did not make your decision only on the looks (though they matter too).

You need to understand all the features of a water pipe to choose the best option. From the various types to the things to look for, this beginner’s guide to water pipes covers everything.

Now that you have all the information about water pipes, what's the hold? Go and grab the best water pipe out there to enjoy unparalleled marijuana hits every single time!

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