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If you're out looking for your next new piece, you might be wondering what the best type of glassware is for your specific needs. There's an endlessly increasing number of options for your smoking desires. It's overwhelming, it's stressful, and it can make you just want to stick to poorly rolling joints on the back of your longboard.

Water Pipe

Don't stress though, we're going to talk a little bit about a few of the options that you have and why you might be interested in each of them. Whether you're looking at a bubbler, bong, or a water pipe, we'll talk about what makes each of them special and even if one of them stands above the rest.

Keep reading for more info on what could be your next new piece.

First Up: Bubblers

This might get confusing but stick with us for a moment. A bubbler is technically a kind of water pipe in that it's a pipe that uses water. Colloquially, though, it's totally its own thing.

Bubblers kind of bring the best of both worlds together from standard water pipes and hand-held bowls

Bubblers kind of bring the best of both worlds together from standard water pipes and hand-held bowls (or spoons, depending on where you're hailing from).

It looks similar to a typical hand-held pipe, but with the large gut of a water pipe to fill when in use.


This handy little device is incredibly portable. Because it's so small, there's no hassle in lugging it around with you. It travels easily and the thicker glass makes it less breakable than your standard bongs or water pipes.

You only need a small amount of water to get decent water filtration, which is the entire point of getting a water-based pipe.

Also, if you're into aesthetics, these little guys are pretty cool. They come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, and with the widespread legalization of marijuana, more and more glass artists are flexing their muscles to make fun and functional pieces.


Cleaning can be a little bit difficult, and if you're looking to share amongst friends you'll have to do a refill or two. This isn't a party piece.

Next: Bongs and Water Pipes

You might be asking yourself why these are going together. Let's talk about it.

Traditionally, water pipes have referred to several different things. At one point, they referred specifically to pipes that were similar to hookahs (and they can still be referred in that way today). They've also been used to exclusively refer to pipes that have the gourd shape of a heavy bottom and a narrow top, like a chemist's glass.

Now, though, water pipes tend to be a catch-all term for bongs, bubblers, and anything that doesn't quite fit into one of those categories. Colloquially, they can refer to any number of devices that use water to help the user smoke.

For this reason, they're going to go together with bongs which are the most similar to the traditional water pipe.

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These pipes are typically larger than bubblers and nearly always made of glass. They consist of a long stem with a base that can often stand on its own. Sometimes the base is straight, like the stem, but sometimes it rounds out like a gourd.

A small stem sticks at an angle from the pipe with a bowl where you put the smoking material. That stem can be pulled out and pushed back while the user pulls from the top of the base stem.

These are popular and iconic pieces of paraphernalia and everyone knows what they are when they see one.


Bongs tend to have a pretty smooth hit but pack a huge punch at the same time. They're great to share with friends and they tend to be the go-to party pieces for anyone into passing a piece of glassware around the room.


Bongs tend to break more easily. This is partially because of their size. Glass is delicate, and a longer stem means more potential for breakage. They're also far more difficult to travel with, making them not ideal to bring with you on a trip or even to parties at anyone else's home.

Cleaning isn't difficult, but it can be messy. Anyone who's ever spilled bongwater (or worse, broken a bong that was full) likely has some horror stories to tell.

Bongs can also be a little too much for the new smoker who isn't aware of their limits yet.

Bubbler, Bong, or Water Pipe: What's Best?

Honestly, there isn't a best choice here. It's totally up to your needs, but let's summarize our findings (and note: your mileage may vary!).

If you're a solo smoker or a relative newbie to regular marijuana consumption, you might be better off with a bubbler! These little guys are great for one person or a small gathering of friends every once in a while and they have a smooth and controlled hit. The cleaning can be a pain, but that's true of nearly any pipe.

If you're an experienced smoker who loves a good party and always wants to bring your own piece (or you have the party at your place every time) it might be time for a new bong. Bubblers are cute, but they probably won't cut it for you. That's totally fine!

Are you extra clumsy? Consider a bubbler. Do you want a heavy hitter? A bong is for you.

What's Your Next Piece?

Buying a new smoking piece can feel like getting a new phone; it's a serious commitment. There are so many options and you want to get the right one for you.

Whether you're getting a bubbler, bong, or something entirely different, the end result is going to be pretty close to the same when you're looking at water pipes. You just have to find what suits your lifestyle.

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