What Makes a Water Pipe “Good?”
Whether you’ve seen water pipes while venturing into a local smoke shop, smoking with the homies, or even looking through the Cloud 9 Smoke Co website, you’ve probably noticed that water pipes come in many different styles, sizes, and designs! It’s hard to imagine how many different water pipes are out there, but what is even harder is figuring out what makes a water pipe ‘good.’
Sure, smoking from a water pipe is going to get you from Point A (pre-sesh you) to Point B (post-sesh you), but there are many elements a water pipe can have to make the transition from Point A to Point B seamless and high quality. Without further ado, here’s Cloud 9 Smoke Co’s guide on what makes a water pipe great!
Let’s Talk About Material!
To lay the foundation of a good water pipe is the material that the water pipe is made from! Typically, water pipes are made from glass or silicone. Choosing between the two is ultimately up to your lifestyle preferences! However, it’s best to know which materials of glass and silicone are the best to make a great water pipe.
Glass: A good glass water pipe is crafted from borosilicate glass. Borosilicate glass is a type of glass that contains boron trioxide, which gives the glass a very low coefficient of thermal expansion. To put it in simpler terms, it means that the glass will not crack under extreme temperature changes like ordinary glass. It’s also extremely durable and will survive humble knocks and bumps! Say hello to the perfect glass material for water pipes.
Silicone: A good silicone water pipe is crafted from food grade, or medical grade, silicone. Food grade silicone is 100% washable, non-toxic, and BPA free! Silicone water pipes are able to bend, twist, and morph without breaking (unless there’s a glass chamber, then don’t try to warp the water pipe). Food grade silicone is also resistant to high temperatures, but not to the degree of borosilicate glass. With a water pipe made from silicone, you’re suiting up for a piece that’s crafted for durability!
How Do I Know if A Water Pipe is Made from Borosilicate Glass or Food Grade Silicone:
If you’re shopping at a retail location, always make sure to ask the representative what material a piece is made from! A smoke shop’s staff is trained to be knowledgeable on the materials used to create the products on display, and they’ll typically know if a water pipe is made from borosilicate glass or silicone.
For water pipes for sale online, always read the description! Having the materials listed in the description of a water pipe will help you know if the water pipe is crafted from food-grade silicone or borosilicate glass. At Cloud 9 Smoke Co, we make sure to keep materials as part of every description, so you know you’re getting the best water pipe for sale online!
All About Size
Choosing a good water pipe has a lot to do with size, believe it or not! Size dictates how much percolation and surface area your smoke comes into contact with. The most common water pipe sizes range anywhere from 6 to 16 inches in height. However, Cloud 9 Smoke Co suggests choosing a water pipe that’s either 6”, 8”, 10”, or 12” tall! Here’s why.
6” to 8”: This compact size is great for tokers who are looking to keep the concentration of their dry herb’s terpenes alive and well! The smaller the water pipe, the less room and time your smoke has to come into contact with your water and chambers of the water pipe. This means that the smoke will remain a bit harsh, but it’s packed full of delicious terpene flavor! This size is also convenient for portability and discrete stashing.
- The AFM Fixed-Stem Mini Tube is the perfect example of a good water pipe that’s 7” in height!
10” to 12”: These heights are commonly known as the traditional sizes for water pipes! What makes these water pipes good water pipes is their ability to have more than one percolator. The more room and percolation your smoke has in your water pipe allows for the amount of harmful byproducts to be significantly reduced before the final inhale! It also means that your smoke will be smooth on the throat and lungs, giving you a comfortable smoking experience.
- The MOB Perc 20 is a good water pipe that’s 11” in height and features two 10-arm tree percolators!
Watch Your Shape!
Okay, not literally! You look fantastic! However, the shape of a water pipe has an influence on its performance. Though there is no perfect shape to make a water pipe good, it’s great to know which shapes/styles are popular choices in the smoking community!
Beaker Water Pipes
Beaker water pipes are known as the iconic style and shape of water pipes. Though this is the classic style of water pipes you see in films and media, beaker water pipes are one of the best water pipe styles you could choose! Beaker water pipes have a wider base than straight tube water pipes or can-style water pipes. Since their base is so wide, you’ll have a wider surface area of water for your smoke to amply filtrate and diffuse.
- The Electric Beaker Water Pipe is a stylish beaker water pipe featuring a fumed body that makes for an impressive appearance!
Straight Tube Water Pipes
This classic style of water pipe offers an insane amount of power! Straight tube water pipes are narrow in shape, which is comfortable to grip and handle. However, that’s not where these water pipes shine! Straight tube water pipes have the ability to keep your smoke compacted into a single straight shot to the dome.
- The MOB Glass Crazy 8 Straight Tube is a unique straight tube water pipe in our collection that you don’t want to miss out on!
Can Style Water Pipes
This shape and style of water pipe is commonly found in compact water pipes. Can style water pipes give smaller water pipes the ability to function similarly to straight tubes due to their ability to contain dense smoke blasted straight to the dome! Can style water pipes usually have bent necks, which means more comfortable seshes for you.
- The MOB Glass Strawberry Bubbler is our favorite, sweet can-styled glass water pipe!
Percolation, Percolation, Percolation
You’ve probably heard the word percolation plenty of times, but it really does matter! Having the best percolation system allows for a water pipe to be a great water pipe. As you’ve seen before, there are water pipes that contain more than one percolator, but does that make a water pipe good? Is there such a thing as too much percolation?
To answer the question: Sometimes there is such a thing as too much percolation. Here’s the load down, if a water pipe has too many percolators, your hits and rips will become choppy rather than smooth. This means that instead of enjoying a seamless hit, you may be fighting with your water pipe to pull just the way you like it!
Cloud 9 Smoke Co presents to you the 3 best percolators and the right amount of percolators a good water pipe should have!
Honeycomb percolators are disc-shaped percolators that have numerous holes to filtrate and diffuse your smoke! These are a popular choice in the water pipe community for their smooth pull and minimal drag. They also have a lot of percolation power due to the amount of holes they contain. Honeycomb percolators are also known for having a moisturizing effect on smoke! This means that your smoke will condition to a smooth, milky consistency rather than being dry and harsh. Talk about sweet rips!
- Cloud 9 Smoke Co’s favorite honeycomb percolator water pipe is the Gambino Style #6!
Tree percolators are another popular choice in the toking community! These percolators are a lot like diffused downstems, and contain 2-3 slits per arm to diffuse your smoke into a seamless transition. Usually, a tree percolator contains anywhere between 6 to 10 arms, giving your smoke optimal diffusion for buttery smooth hits! Finding a water pipe with a tree percolator is also very common, and you usually don’t have to break the bank to own a good water pipe with a tree perc.
- The Tree Concentrate Rig is a duo-functional water pipe that can be used for dry herb or concentrates! This water pipe features a 6-arm tree percolator that will effortlessly diffuse your smoke.
Matrix percolators, also known as stereo matrix percolators, are arguably one of the best percolators to have in your water pipe! These percolators are usually centered into a water pipe and offer ample space around them for your smoke to filtrate and aerate. Matrix percolators also contain slits and holes, which allows your smoke to have the best filtration possible!
- The Gambino Matrix Hanger is Cloud 9 Smoke Co’s top-choice matrix perc water pipe!
Too Many Percs?
To avoid any choppy smoke seshes, Cloud 9 Smoke Co advises to choose water pipes that have a maximum of 2-3 percolators in a piece! Having more than 3 percolators could result in drag and choppy pulls, and that’s definitely not ideal when choosing a good water pipe. Cloud 9 Smoke Co highly suggests that 3 percolator water pipes are reserved for tokers with great lung capacity and who smoke on the reg!
While mixing and matching percolators is totally free game, we suggest your first double or triple percolator water pipe contains the same percolators rather than different percolators. Having 2-3 of the same percolators will allow you to gain a better idea of the power a multi-perc water pipe has. It also gives you a safe ground of choosing a water pipe with percolators that you prefer! After you smoke from water pipes with different percolators, you’ll be able to have the best idea of which percolators you’d like to combine together.
- The MOB Glass Eden Double Tree Perc Water Pipe has a total of 24-arms ( 2 x 12-Arm Tree Percs) to diffuse and filtrate your smoke to perfection!
- The Gambino Studios Triple Honeycomb Water Pipe features three stacked honeycomb percolators that will radially diffuse and filtrate your smoke with minimal draw and resistance!
A Good Water Pipe is Upon You!
Now that you know the essential elements of what comes from a good water pipe, you have all the power to choose the perfect water pipe to introduce into your smoking experience! In case you’ve forgotten, here are the key elements you should look out for when finding a good water pipe:
Material: What makes a water pipe good is the material used to create the piece! Good water pipes are made from borosilicate glass or food grade silicone.
- Borosilicate glass contains boron trioxide which allows the glass to withstand high heats and survive humble knocks and bumps. It also gives a water pipe a stronger stature and feel. Usually these water pipes will feel dense or heavy when held!
- Food-grade silicone is 100% washable, non-toxic, and BPA free. This material allows for your water pipe to be extremely durable and safe to smoke from! Silicone water pipes are great for tokers looking for a water pipe that can be bent or warped for discrete stashing.
Size: Water pipes commonly range in size from 6” to 16” in height. However, a good water pipe comes in the size of 6”-12” tall!
- 6”-8”: These sizes allow for the density of your smoke to remain intact. Since these water pipes typically have one percolator and a small chamber, your terpene profiles will remain strong and full of flavor.
- 10”-12”: This size range is known as the traditional size for water pipes! These sizes offer the possibility of more than one percolator and ample room for your smoke to filtrate and diffuse to a smoother hit on your throat and lungs.
Shape: The shape and style of water pipes have influence over the functionality of a water pipe! The three most popular shapes and styles of water pipes include beaker water pipes, straight tube water pipes, and can-styled water pipes.
- Beaker water pipes: Beaker water pipes have a wider base than straight tube water pipes or can-style water pipes. Since their base is so wide, you’ll have a wider surface area of water for your smoke to amply filtrate and diffuse.
- Straight tube water pipes: This classic style of water pipe offers an insane amount of power! Straight tube water pipes are narrow in shape, which is comfortable to grip and handle.
- Can-styled water pipes: This shape and style of water pipe is commonly found in compact water pipes. Can style water pipes give smaller water pipes the ability to function similarly to straight tubes due to their ability to contain dense smoke blasted straight to the dome!
Percolation: The most popular, and best, percolators in the smoking community are honeycomb percolators, tree percolators, and matrix percolators. It’s best to keep a safe range of 2-3 percolators in a water pipe, any amount over 3 may result in choppy drags full of resistance!
- Honeycomb percolators: Honeycomb percolators are disc-shaped percolators that have numerous holes to filtrate and diffuse your smoke These are a popular choice in the water pipe community for their smooth pull and minimal drag!
- Tree percolators: Tree percolators are another popular choice in the toking community! These percolators are a lot like diffused downstems, and contain 2-3 slits per arm to diffuse your smoke into a seamless transition.
- Matrix percolators: Matrix percolators, also known as stereo matrix percolators, are arguably one of the best percolators to have in your water pipe! These percolators are usually centered into a water pipe and offer ample space around them for your smoke to filtrate and aerate.
With these key elements in mind, you’ll be a water pipe professional in no time! Finding a good water pipe is all about knowing that the water pipe is made from the best materials, at the right size, in your preferred shape, contains the best percolator(s), and makes your smoking experience truly fantastic.
Need some help choosing the perfect sized water pipe? Here’s a detailed article about the pros and cons of each size to help you find the water pipe meant for you!
Photo by Cannabox