What is the Difference Between a Water Pipe and a Vaporizer?

Posted by Jamie Pope on May 17, 2021

What is the Difference Between a Water Pipe and a Vaporizer?

What is the Difference Between a Water Pipe and a Vaporizer?

Being a dry herb enthusiast means that there are a lot of opportunities for you to choose how to consume dry herb! Between all the papers, wraps, glass, and vaporizers available, it’s hard to get a gauge on which apparatus is best for your smoking experience. Have no fear, Cloud 9 Smoke Co isn’t covering all smoking methods! However, we’re putting the two most popular smoking methods head to head: water pipes and vaporizers.

So, what’s the difference between water pipes and vaporizers? Let’s dive in!

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What are Water Pipes and Vaporizers?

Before we begin to compare and contrast the two, you have to be familiar with what water pipes and vaporizers are! It’s like comparing two cities you’ve never been to before. Sure, one may look super fancy and hype, but you won’t know how to compare the two, truly, without having the scoop on what they are and what they’re known for!

Water Pipes

Water pipes are a form of pipes that incorporate water and filtration to diffuse your smoke! Glass water pipes are made from borosilicate glass and have the ability to come in many shapes and sizes. In fact, you may have seen a fair share of straight tube water pipes and beaker water pipes before reading this article!

Water pipes take the reigns as the most popular way to smoke dry herb because of their filtration capabilities as well as being able to include features and external attachments that will make your smoking experience all the better! Because water pipes have the ability to contain water, whenever you smoke from a water pipe you’ll see bubbles forming as you pull the smoke into your water pipe. The reason why the bubbles form is because your water pipe is doing a lot of hard work to diffuse and filter ash, resin, tar, and other harmful byproducts formed as a result of combusting dry herb!

Dry Herb Vaporizers

What makes dry herb vaporizers a popular choice in the smoking community is their ability to heat dry herb to a vaporized state. This allows for you to discreetly smoke pretty much whenever, wherever! Additionally, since dry herb vaporizers solely work on the act of convection or conduction, so you won’t have to worry too much about inhaling a ton of harmful byproducts, such as flint and butane, to name a few.

Dry herb vaporizers typically power from an internal battery that’s responsible for heating your dry herb while giving your device power! This also means that there’s room for customization in your smoke sesh for you to adjust the heat to your smoking preferences. We’ll cover more of that further on!


Water Pipes

Water pipes have the ability to be made from borosilicate glass or food grade silicone. Glass water pipes that are made from borosilicate glass gives their architecture and tubing the ability to remain sturdy and strong while withstanding high temperature exposures!

On the other hand, silicone water pipes that are made from food grade silicone have the ability to bend, twist, and warp for discreet stashing and portability. This also gives silicone water pipes the ability to be virtually indestructible! Food grade silicone also means that silicone water pipes are non-toxic, BPA free, and 100% washable.

Dry Herb Vaporizers

Dry herb vaporizers typically are made from a stainless steel or aluminum body. By having a strong, durable (and corrosion resistant) external architecture, you can rest assured that your dry herb vaporizer will remain in great condition as long as you properly care for it!

What really counts is on the inside! Surely, you’ve heard this a lot before, but it’s true. The bucket used as the heating agent in your dry herb vaporizer speaks a lot about the functionality of your dry herb vaporizer.

Ceramic bowls are highly sought after for dry herb vaporizers! By choosing ceramic, your dry herb vaporizer will be able to evenly heat your dry herb during the vaporization process. Additionally, the ceramic will not chemically interact with your dry herb, so the terpenes of your dry herb will remain consistent and potent during your hits!


Water Pipes

Size is all about preference! Let’s say you’re looking for a water pipe that’s all about discretion and portability. There’s a mini water pipe for that. Let’s say you also want a water pipe that’s big enough to impress the homies at your next sesh. Cloud 9 Smoke Co has a large, high end water pipe for that!

Water pipe sizes can range anywhere from 5” all the way up to 18” or higher! When you want a piece for smoking that’s all about versatility, water pipes have that secured with their wide range of sizes.

Dry Herb Vaporizers

When it comes to dry herb vaporizers, there is a degree of versatility with their size! On average, you’ll find that dry herb vaporizers range in size from 2” in height to 5” in height. Don’t let this fool you though; some dry herb vaporizers come in at a robust 10” in height!

Dry herb vaporizers come in smaller sizes because they are intended to be a portable, convenient way for you to consume dry herb. Though this may be the case, some companies have engineered dry herb vaporizers that are made to be used for large group settings.


Water Pipes

Water pipes solely operate off of the flame of a lighter and the consumer - you! Since water pipes are powered from these two things alone, the only thing you’ll have to worry about is your lighter running out of butane and your lung power. We all know you’re a superhuman who can take the biggest rips though! ;)

Dry Herb Vaporizers

Using a dry herb vaporizer means that you’re using something that functions based off of its internal components such as an internal battery, bucket, screen, and other electrical components. Though dry herb vaporizers place a lot of convenience on your smoking experience, it does mean that once the battery power is low or out, you do have to wait for it to charge to use it! It also means that if a part of your dry herb vaporizer were to malfunction or break, you’d have to rely on the warranty or manufacturer to assist you in the repairs. Which may leave a smokeless you for a bit!


Water Pipes

When it comes to functionality, water pipes definitely bring in the big guns! Water pipes work to remove harmful byproducts from our dry herb smoke. Water pipes are able to do that with their ability to hold water as well as percolators!

As you smoke from a water pipe, you’ll notice that the water in your base is producing a lot of bubbles. The reason why water pipes produce bubbles is because the bubbles are working to expose your smoke to air and water as much as possible before you take the final inhale. This process is called aeration and filtration!

Aeration and filtration gives your smoke optimal contact with air and water to get rid of ash, tar, resin and other byproducts. That’s why you may notice that after a sesh your water pipe’s water in the base seems a bit more dirty than before with small particles of ash floating around. Water acts as a net that captures and filters out the gnarly particles that come from smoking, which gives you a visual example of how much work goes into the function of water pipes.

Dry Herb Vaporizers

Dry herb vaporizers function off an internal battery that’s used to convect, or conduct, electricity into the bowl of the vaporizer. This allows for the generated heat to vaporize your dry herb without the need of fire (combustion)!

When you use a conduction vaporizer, this form of heat involves direct contact between the herb and heated surface. On average, this surface consists of a metal plate and you place your dry herb on top of! Once this plate reaches the right temperature, your dry herb will begin to vaporize. This will give you a vapor full of delicious terpenes!

However, convection vaporizers allow your dry herb to be heated without coming into direct contact with the heating source. Typically, the heating source in convection vaporizers consists of ceramic or stainless steel. Since heat isn’t coming into direct contact with your dry herb, convection vaporizers use heated air to pass over your herb to heat it! After the air has reached the right temperature, the air is moved via inhalation or a fan to you! This allows for your dry herb to be heated into a vapor full of terpenes with no worry of charring your dry herb in the process.


Water Pipes

The history of water pipes has but their availability in bits of peaks and troughs! However, in the present day, you’re able to buy a water pipe from any smoke shop or heady shop. What’s better is that you can buy water pipes online! As you know, Cloud 9 Smoke Co has the best water pipes for sale online.

Since water pipes operate on the basis of a lighter and the consumer (you), once you own a water pipe the piece becomes virtually always available to you! What counts is that you have the dry herb and lighter to pair with it.

There’s also the chance of you breaking your glass water pipe, which means that the availability of your water pipe will go from 100 to 0 in a quick sec! Always make sure to keep your water pipe securely stored in a cabinet, case, or shelf to prevent any accidents after a sesh.

Dry Herb Vaporizers

As of this year (2021), the availability of dry herb vaporizers has declined significantly! This is due to the recent amendments made to the PACT Act that resulted in the overall ban of the online sale and shipment of all vapor products. Yikes! Since these amendments have gone into effect, dry herb vaporizers have become available on an in-store basis.

Learn more about the PACT Act 2021 with Cloud 9 Smoke Co’s article covering all you need to know about the ongoing vape mail ban!

Though getting a dry herb vaporizer may be limited in availability now, if you own a dry herb vaporizer you may notice the limited availability that comes with owning one as well! Owning a dry herb vaporizer may require additional care to ensure that this piece is available whenever you’re ready for a sesh.

This means that you’ll have to keep tabs on where you store or place the dry herb vaporizer after use (if you lose things often, make sure to keep your vaporizer in the same spot after every use), you also have to make sure that the vaporizer is well charged, and you have to make sure that the vaporizer isn't shorting out or malfunctioning from the inside.

Quality of Your Seshes

When comparing water pipes and dry herb vaporizers, both smoking apparatuses have the advantage of providing a sesh that’s relatively better for your throat and lungs in comparison to papers, wraps, hand pipes, and DIY smoking methods! However, if you’re seeking out certain aspects of a sesh, it boils down to choosing one method over the other.

Water Pipes

As you know, water pipes have the ability to diffuse and filtrate your smoke! Since this is so, water pipes take the advantage of offering you a smoke sesh that has a reduced amount of harmful byproducts, resin, and ash.

Setting ‘health’ aside, water pipes give you the opportunity to put a lot of power and effort into your hits. If you’re looking for a piece that offers thunderous rips, water pipes have got you covered! In comparison to dry herb vaporizers, water pipes are perfect for group seshes because of their ability to provide hits that are greater in size. You also won’t have to worry about a battery dying during a group sesh when smoking from a water pipe, either.

Additionally, water pipes have the ability to contain ice pinches that offer refreshing, smooth seshes. If you need that extra bit of cooling, water pipes will definitely take care of that for you as well!

If you are a beginner toker, starting off with a water pipe may not be the best bet for your lungs! Water pipes are capable of producing remarkable smoke seshes, don’t get us wrong here. However, if you don’t know when it’s time to take the final inhale, you may be left with a hit that’s way too big for your lungs. This will definitely leave a beginner toker coughing up a lung… or two.

Dry Herb Vaporizers

One of the advantages that you get from using a dry herb vaporizer is the fact that zero combustion is taking place! This means that you won’t have to worry about any toxic fumes or gnarly substances, such as tar, getting into your lungs.

Though this may be the case, the amount of percolation and filtration you receive from dry herb vaporizers is little to none. Sure, there may not be a huge need for filtration, but if you’re sensitive to heat and are prone to coughing, you may have to deal with a few harsh hits while learning to smoke from your dry herb vaporizer!

In comparison to water pipes, dry herb vaporizers are a great way to dive into the world of dry herb! Dry herb vaporizers do come with a higher price tag, but the reward of knowing that you won’t have to mingle with tar or resin definitely saves a lot of headache. You also can control your dosage with dry herb vaporizers better than water pipes. Most times, you’ll know when your hit is complete from a dry herb vaporizer! You won’t have to worry about checking the smoke inside a large glass tube when smoking from a dry herb vaporizer.

Water Pipes vs Vaporizers - It’s All About You!

When choosing between a dry herb vaporizer and a water pipe, there’s a lot you need to consider about the differences between the two! Though you know what the differences between water pipes and vaporizers are, Cloud 9 Smoke Co has a quick rundown in case you need a mild refresh.

The main differences between water pipes and dry herb vaporizers:

  • Material
    • Water pipes have the ability to be made from borosilicate glass or food grade silicone.
    • Dry herb vaporizers are encased in a stainless steel or aluminum body with an internal battery and bucket to heat your dry herb.
  • Size
    • Water pipes, on average, have the ability to be versatile in their size with the smaller heights of 5” to larger heights of 18” or taller.
    • Typically, dry herb vaporizers stay within the 2” to 5” range in height because of their intention to be portable. However, some dry herb vaporizers have been engineered with heights of 10” with a robust base for large, group seshes!
  • Power
    • To “power” a water pipe, all you need is a flame (from a lighter or match), dry herb, and a consumer (you).
    • Dry herb vaporizers are powered from an internal battery that has to be maintained and charged for use.
  • Function
    • Water pipes put a lot of power into their functionality with their ability to diffuse and filtrate smoke by containing water and percolators!
    • Dry herb vaporizers work off conduction (heating directly onto herb) or convection (heating around dry herb) to function. This is done through the power of an internal battery to vaporize your dry herb.
  • Availability
    • Though their history has been through a lot, water pipes are available to purchase in store and online! Once you own a water pipe, as long as it’s not broken, it becomes virtually always available if you have dry herb and a flame to smoke with.
    • The recent amendments made to the PACT Act in 2021, all vapor products have been banned to sell and ship online. This makes the availability of dry herb vaporizers limited to in-store purchases only. Once you own a dry herb vaporizer, you have to make sure that you don’t lose it, it’s always well-charged, and that no parts of the electrical system are malfunctioning.
  • Quality of seshes
    • If you’re looking for a smooth, refreshing smoke sesh with big rips, water pipes are definitely your go to! Water pipes have the ability to contain features such as percolators and ice pinches to ensure that our smoke is seamless and cool upon the final inhale.
    • If the topic of health is something that speaks to you, consider using a dry herb vaporizer! Since dry herb vaporizers use convection and conduction to heat your dry herb, you won’t have to worry about mingling with tar and resin. Plus, you’ll be able to dose your hits better if you’re a newbie to the toking game!

That’s all folks! Now you can take what you know and invest in the best water pipe or dry herb vaporizer to amp up your dry herb smoking game. With all that you know, your smoking experience is bound to reach great heights!

Happy toking!

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