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Bongs vs Pipes: Picking the Perfect Smoking Accessory

The world of smoking seems to get bigger every day, with new methods of consumption and new products popping up constantly. It can be daunting if you’re new. That’s why we suggest starting with one of two time-tested classics: a bong or a pipe. Seems straightforward, right? If only it were that simple! Not to worry though, we’ll give you some background, pros, and cons so you can pick your perfect piece.

Pipes

Ever heard the saying “there’s a pipe for every occasion”? No? Don’t feel bad, because we just made it up. That doesn’t mean it’s not true though! Whether it’s a dugout, a one-hitter, (like our matte-black stone one-hitter) a chillum or a spoon, pipes come in all sizes and shapes. They all have the same basic design though: a tube with some type of opening at each end. You inhale from one side, while the herb is loaded into the other side. In the case of most one-hitters, it’s packed into the end of the tube, compared to a dugout or spoon, where the top edge of the tube has a divot where the herb sits. Pipes can be made from glass, wood, ceramic, metal, or whatever exotic material happens to be in-style, (we’ve been looking for a tungsten pipe, please let us know if you find one!)

When compared to a bong, most pipes are smaller in size, making them more portable but also more discreet. Pipes are faster and easier to clean, and if you really want to make it simple, many can even be put in the dishwasher. The downside is that pipes deliver a hotter, and therefore much harsher smoke because there is less distance between the flame and your lungs, and no cooling mechanism. Most pipes don’t have any sort of reliable filter beyond (sometimes) wire mesh, so there’s always the risk of inhaling ash.

Bongs

Bongs come in many different shapes and sizes: Beakers, multi-chambered, gravity, the list goes on. The basic premise of all bongs, however, is that you have a chamber of water between your mouth and the burning herbs. The water cools the smoke, making it a much smoother experience, and generally easier on the lungs. The water also acts as a filter, removing some of the gunk you might not want in your body while retaining the desirable components of the smoke.

The downside to bongs is that they are less practical. They are larger than pipes and need to be kept upright when they have water in them. Spilled bong water and carpet do not mix, just trust us on that one! Because there is an endless possibility of complex bong designs, it’s usually more difficult and time-consuming to clean them.

So, which do we ultimately recommend, pipes or bongs? Go for a bong if you have the time and space for it. If you’d like to be more mobile with your stuff, a pipe will a better choice. But who said you need to choose just one? Add some variety to your smoking experience, and go for both. If you decide to go for a pipe, check out our porcelain spotted Narwhal pipe, by KLAI Studios in LA. Or, our Pleasure Point Ceramic Bong. Much more than just a smoking accessory, it’s a beautiful, hand-made display piece as well.

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