Five Forms of Hand Pipes and the Perks of Each

Five transparent glass steamroller hand pipes with accents in assorted colors

Looking for the perfect hand pipe for the smoke shop lover in your life this holiday season? Head shops like ours proudly carry thousands of quality products, with extensive variety in our selection of hand pipes, water pipes, vaporizers and more. While this raises your potential to find the perfect options for your preferences and price range, it can be hard to know which choice is best for you.

Before making your hand pipe selection from our online smoke shop, consider these five popular types of glass hand pipes and the pros and cons of each.

Bubblers

Purple bubbler hybrid hand pipe made of metal and glass by Pyptek

PROS

These are an ideal choice for anyone wanting the convenience of a hand pipe with a higher-quality smoking experience than many other compact options. Like bongs, these pipes offer water filtration through filters located just beneath their bowl packs. Thanks to these chambers, users can enjoy a smoother smoking experience than they’ll experience with other hand pipe alternatives. Bubblers generally smell less than other hand pipes, making them a good option for anyone trying to keep their smoking under wraps. They also allow for a large bowl pack given their small structure, and they’re compact enough to stow away for on-the-go use.

CONS

While bubblers are small enough to be stashed and brought with you wherever you go, the intricate parts on many bubblers may make them prone to breaking easily. Bubblers made partially or entirely with sturdier materials like metal (such as the hybrid Pyptek model pictured above) are a sturdier alternative to options made entirely of glass. The need for water filtration also makes them a little less versatile for easy transportation and quick use at multiple locations. If you’re looking for a hand pipe to frequently carry between locations, you may be better off selecting another type with thicker glass and a more simplistic structure like chillums or one-hitters. If you prioritize cleaning your piece quickly and easily over the advantages described above, pieces with simpler designs will also be a better bet.

Chillums

Four fat broad glass chillum hand pipes in assorted colors

PROS

As we discussed in our recent feature on the basics of chillums, chillums are an affordable and convenient hand pipe option. They’re among the most simplistic glass pieces on the market (along with one-hitters) with a short, small and simplistic structure. This also means they’re generally easy to conceal, even in smaller pockets of your go-to coat, jeans or bag. They’re also a very affordable choice, with some chillums sold in our online smoke shop and elsewhere available for less than $20. Larger chillums and those with accents or customizations cost a little more, but in general, their cost will be lower than other hand pipe models of comparable sizes and detail.

CONS

While chillums are arguably much easier to tuck away than most other hand pipe options, they’re infamous for the amount of odor they produce. They also have smaller bowls than spoon pipes and bubblers, meaning you’ll have to reload a chillum slightly more often to enjoy the same amount of herb.

Sherlock Pipes

Frit fumed Sherlock glass hand pipe by Denver glassblower HP 101

PROS

Sherlock pipes are named for the notorious accessory of world-class private detective Sherlock Holmes. Like his go-to pipe, these glass pieces have a long, vertical pipe with a twist near the bowl. While Sherlock Homes’ preferred pipe was made of wood (and was likely filled with a different herb), these glass pipes nevertheless summon some old-school style and flair. Following in his great footsteps whenever the mood strikes may be reason enough to add a Sherlock pipe to your inventory.

Beyond their aesthetic appeal, Sherlock pipes have a few distinct advantages over other glass hand pipe models. Their structure allows smoke to cool for slightly longer before it hits your straight, making the hits a little more enjoyable than pipes with direct vertical paths from their bowls to the mouths of users. Sherlocks allow a deep bowl pack, letting you relax and enjoy your herb of choice for longer between refills.

CONS

They can be on the pricier side compared exclusively to other hand pipes, especially larger and more detailed heady glass models. However, they’re still affordable overall for glass pieces given their quality and the advantages they bring. While their long, contoured shape allows for smoother hits, it makes them more susceptible to damage, meaning they’ll need to be handled with a little more care than pipes with sturdier designs. If you’re looking for an option to regularly stash in your pockets and use on the road, you may be better off bringing a spoon pipe or chillum.

Spoon Pipes

Heady glass milli-linetube accented hand pipe by Denver artist GGW

Spoon pipes are widely considered the original hand pipe model. If we asked a hundred people to close their eyes and picture a hand pipe, we’d bet money that for the majority, the image of a spoon pipe would be the first that comes to mind. Spoon pipes have the same bowl type as Sherlock pipes, and like Sherlocks, they allow for a deeper bowl pack than most other hand pipe options. Spoon pipes are known for their short stems and thick glass composition, making them a sturdy option to bring with you on-the-go without the thin and fragile components of Sherlock pipes and bubblers. Spoon pipes are generally on the cheaper side of hand pipe options, especially smaller and no-frills models, making them a hard hand pipe choice for any budget-conscious smoker to pass up. They’re usually medium-sized, meaning they’re not too difficult to pack away discretely.

While these core components hold true for most spoon pipes on the market, there’s an impressive range of spoon pipe variations available for sale in our online head shop and three Denver-area locations. If you live outside of the Denver area, we’re guessing the holds true for your nearest local head shop – though (in our totally unbiased opinion), you’d be much better off ordering your next spoon pipe from us.

CONS

As we mentioned above, spoon pipes are usually medium in size, so smokers seeking the smallest available hand pipe models should opt for chillums or one-hitters instead. Spoon pipes also don’t mask the smell of herb as effectively as other options like bubblers. They’re also known to clog easily, meaning you may need to clean them more often than alternatives to maintain a clean smoking experience.

Steamrollers

Translucent glass steamroller hand pipe with blue accents made in 710 Pipes Studios

PROS

Steamrollers are generally the largest hand pipes available for sale. Many are a full foot long, with diameters of about an inch. They’re essentially long tubes made of thick, sturdy glass, with a rush hole on the far end of their exterior and a mouthpiece on the other. In other words, steamrollers are impressively straightforward in terms of composition and ease of use.

710 Pipes sells a wide variety of steamroller hand pipes. Most available models on the market today have room for big bowl packs, and in conjunction with their larger structure, these pieces have a greater impact per hit than smaller varieties. While this is generally seen as advantageous compared to hand pipe alternatives, be warned of their greater relative hit strength and pace yourself accordingly, especially if you’re new to herb consumption.

CONS

While these pieces are generally sturdier than bubblers and Sherlock pipes, glass steamrollers still need to be handled with care or they’re likely to get damaged. Silicone models could be a good choice for anyone looking for the hit strength and easy cleaning allowed by the steamroller structure without the fragility of glass. Because they’re larger than most other hand pipes, they’re a little more difficult to conceal – and with a full opening on either side, they won’t mask the odor of your herb. As such, if you value subtlety over other the advantages we’ve described, steamrollers won’t be your best option. They’re also generally on the pricier side of the hand pipe spectrum, but they’ll still be sold for less money than more intricately formed glass pieces, especially larger heady glass options like full-sized water pipes and dab rigs.

Happy Holidays from Our Online Smoke Shop Team!

As this historically unprecedented, dystopian-fever-dream of a year finally comes to an end, there’s never been a better time to surprise your favorite smoke smoke shop lovers with a quality glass hand pipe (or three). 710 Pipes is proud to offer an extensive selection of glass hand pipes in different styles, shapes, size and colors – as well as water pipes, vaporizers and other top-quality devices. We also carry hundreds of accessories including dab tools, carb caps, quartz inserts and so much more! Our Northglenn and Denver head shops (on Colfax and near D.U.) are open seven days a week. Denver University students get 10% off with a valid student ID!

Still staying indoors in the name of social distancing? If you’re over age 21 in Colorado or other legal U.S. states seeking quality pipe shop products, our online smoke shop has several options available for immediate purchase from the safety and comfort of your couch. You’ll also find exceptional prices on hundreds more of our popular products – all deliverable straight to your doorstep. If you’re browsing our online smoke shop and have additional questions before locking in your order, feel free to call our Evans, Colfax, or Northglenn teams during any location’s listed business hours. We’re happy to do our part in helping you the perfect pieces for your favorite people this holiday season. At every time of the year, 710 Pipes is proud to provide you with the very best smoke shop products on the market today.