The oldest known smoking pipe was found in an Egyptian tomb and is around 4,000 years old. While it’s unknown if they smoked for recreational or ritualistic purposes, pipes are a fundamental, transcendent, and ancient tool that enhances our spiritual side and allows us to get deeper in touch with our own humanity. From the tiniest metal pipes to the largest glass water pipes, smoking has gone far beyond its humble beginnings and has become an entire field encompassing works of art, science, and the latest in glassblowing technology to create the ultimate smoking experience.

In the modern day, there is a wide variety of smoking pipes, each with a different aesthetic, purpose, and feel. In this guide, we’ll look at all the main types of pipes, so you can choose the right one for you.

Main Types of Pipes

Glass pipes

Possibly the most ubiquitous, common, and affordable type of pipe is a simple glass pipe. These are used by millions of people per day worldwide and are extremely simple and efficient. They transport well, are durable, and present a wide variety of different aesthetic choices, from shimmering dichroic glass to more muted tones.

To use these pipes, simply load the bowl, cover the carb (small hole near the bowl) and inhale. When you are almost done, take your finger off the carb and clear the pipe. Blow out the ash or carefully use a tool to clear the airway of the pipe.


This type of pipe takes the simple glass pipe and takes it to another level by adding a chamber of water to cool and filter the smoke before it enters your lungs. Bubblers have a distinct shape and feel and provide a more smooth smoking experience than a straight pipe. However, they can be difficult to transport and are often fragile.

Water pipe

The water pipe, or “bong”, is one of the crowning achievements of modern-day smoking science. The creation of the glass water pipe changed how we smoke forever, and facilitated new ways of smoking and connecting with one another.

This type of pipe is usually shaped like a beaker, with a long neck and an angled bottom area filled with water. Fill the bowl, light it, and inhale slowly while the chamber is “milked”, or filled up with thick smoke. Remove the bowl when done and inhale, being careful not to cough into the bong, as this will cause some extremely dirty water to spray everywhere.

One hitter and chillums

The chillum is an extremely affordable, transportable, and simple way to smoke, consisting of a simple tube that is loaded and lit at the top. The chillum or one-hitter is cupped in the palm, which creates a small chamber from which to inhale the smoke.

One hitters can be made out of glass, wood, metal, or ceramics, and can even be made to appear almost exactly like a cigarette, making them an ideal choice for smokers on the go. Chillums are common in the Middle East and India, used to smoke hashish or concentrated cannabis, and were the way many westerners in the 60s were first introduced to smoking cannabis.

Wood, silicone, stone, or metal pipes

A pipe that is similar to the more common glass pipes can be fashioned out of almost any material that won’t burn off dangerous carcinogens. People have even gotten creative and used carrots or apples! Some of the most common materials used to create pipes are wood, silicone, stone, and metal, due to their durability and safety.

Hookah pipes

Hookahs are another ancient tool used for smoking, common in the Middle East. They are a form of water pipe, with a base filled with water to cool the smoke. Usually, they have several hoses people can use to smoke with, and are continually lit by a piece of charcoal that is burning, rather than lighting it each time with a lighter.


Steamrollers are an uncommon form of pipe that aren’t used as much as the others, consisting of a tube with a bowl on the top. The bowl is lit while inhaling, which fills the tube with smoke. Then, the bowl is removed and the tube is cleared by inhaling fully.

No matter what your specific needs and desires are, there is a pipe that is perfect for you. Some, like the water pipe and bubbler, are made more for being stationary, preferably inside and on a couch. Others, like a small glass pipe or one-hitter, are perfect for being on the go or for smoking more discreetly.

If you’re looking for a new, more exciting or refreshing way to smoke, then contact a smoke shop today. An investment into a water pipe is good for your health, and any type of pipe can help you enjoy life more, get in touch with your inner self, and help you connect and relate to those around you.