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Different Types of Pipes and How to Choose One

Novelty items? Collectibles? A hobbyist dream or a nightmare? Pipes can be a tricky and difficult purchase to make even for that weed veteran who talks fondly about scoring his ounce in some random back alleyway. Bought from a strange dealer who they’ve never bought from but had to because their “main guy” happened to be on a break.

The times have changed and now several states in the US and many countries in the world have legalized or decriminalized loose leaf for recreational use, so no more of the skeevy late night scores and buying a pipe just because it’s discrete and convenient.

Pipes have evolved from a discrete stoner’s everyday item to something a lot of people across the stoner spectrum use because it’s actually pretty dope.

From glass pipes to clay ones, one hitters to chillums and spoon pipes to straight shooters, there’s quite a variety in what you can buy (as is the case with a plant that pushes those creative juices), so if you’re either a novice hunting for their first pipe or a pro who’s looking to mix things up, this article might come in handy for that next pipe purchase.

Glass Pipes

Glass pipes are perhaps the most common and recognizable forms of loose leaf pipes and there are several good reasons for it.

For one, there are many glass pipes with amazing, trippy and aesthetic designs and colors and shapes that truly is a unique and really cool way of displaying and expressing oneself and also one’s artistic side.

But on the other hand, one of the things that’s so attractive about glass pipes is that they lack any distinct flavor of its own that can color the flavor of the pot, so the end result is a pure, unadulterated flavor and taste that a lot of people like.


Glass pipes can come in the form of a single shooter, a chillum, a spoon pipe and a sherlock style pipe. Single shooters are discrete and small, easy to carry in one’s pocket and a nice substitute for a joint in many ways.

A glass chillum is a bit different from a traditional chillum, but you basically load the pipe and take a hit.

Spoon pipes are well, shaped like a spoon and also has the aspect of loading the pipe and taking a hit from the receiving end, but there’s also a hole that’s meant to be covered like in some bongs to keep the smoke fresh while you inhale and then letting go.

Sherlock pipes are perhaps the most recognizable and iconic type of pipes and can be made with glass as well. As the name suggests, they were popularized by the book/movie/tv series Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock pipes are perhaps the most iconic and recognizable style of pipes and this style has sort of bounced over the fence of wooden and clay pipes to glass ones with the long middle portion to keep the smoke in longer (and the subsequent bigger bowls help with this) along with the traditional “U” shape. Some of these pipes also have the hole (a carburetor) like in spoon pipes and bongs, but again this isn't 100% common.

Wooden Pipes

Wooden pipes are more “classical” and go back a good few centuries before glass pipes. While glass pipes are perhaps more common, wooden pipes also definitely have a large audience for its classical feeling, the polish and feel it offers still remains a favorite and honestly that’s with good reason.

wooden pipeWooden pipes date back a few centuries before glass pipes and are perhaps more classical, with the look and feel, polish and effects on flavor and taste.

But more importantly, like with wines and the corks being made out of oak or pine, the type of wood used in the make of the pipe makes a pretty big difference in how the flavor and taste of the loose leaf feels like.

Some people tend to prefer the neutral and unadulterated feeling that comes with a pipe, but many also like the subtle or explicit impact on flavor a wooden pipe can have. We personally love both, of course!

Most of the pipes listed under the glass pipes section can also be made out of wood. In fact, the sherlock pipe is originally made from wood, while chillums are usually made from clay.

The difference in the pipes made is usually the material, as it’s not as uniform and consistent as glass.

Briar, for example, is a popular type of wood used to make pipes because it’s resistant to moisture yet conducive to heat, making it a great wood to use for both tobacco and loose leaf. Many other such differences play a role in how one makes and subsequently uses a wooden pipe.

Clay Pipes

Chillum’s are easily one of the most recognizable forms of clay pipes that are still relevant and heard of in places in the west.

Clay in general has been around for millennia, so its use in current day might seem outdated and obsolete and in some ways that does hold true. However, there’s a reason for why chillums and clay pipes in general are still so popular.

For one, they’re close to pipes in that it doesn’t “stain” or adulterate the tobacco or the loose leaf and its flavor and taste. It’s perhaps not as neutral as glass pipes, but they’re still pretty close. The flavor they do add is an earthy and cool taste that most find pleasant.


Chillums are one of the more common types of clay pipes used for smoking tobacco and loose leaf. While Chillums aren’t always made with clay, most authentic chillums are made with clay

Unfortunately, clay pipes are just as easy to break as glass pipes, not to mention that they can get unusually hot when being used, which is why they’re so long despite having relatively smaller bowls. In some chillums, to rectify for the lack of a carburetor, people use a thin and fresh piece of cloth to use as a filter for some of the ash and aftermath of the loose leaf being lit, which isn’t something that’s common with glass or wooden pipes. This, among its ancient and far reaching history, makes it perhaps one of the most unique ways of smoking tobacco and loose leaf, and is something that’s very unlikely to die out.

Which one should you pick?

Honestly, it doesn’t really matter since all three are types of pipes that most would get acquainted to (in terms of learning how to use) fairly quickly, and if that’s your main concern, you should buy whatever you feel like. However, personal preferences obviously kicks in and in those cases, you should consider what works best for you.

Best value for money/unadulterated flavor among other things: pipes.

  • Classic look and feel, distinct changes in flavor based on type of wood and something that’s going to last a long time and is easier to clean? Wooden pipes.
  • Feeling nostalgic and want a bit of both? Want to reconnect with your ancient ancestral ties? Clay pipes are the way to go.

It doesn’t really matter what kind of pipe you get as all types of pipes will work as advertised and don’t have too much of a steep learning curve, so go ham and choose whatever you want to

The best thing about loose leaf is that community and the variety it offers when it comes to what you can do with it, and the endless possibilities is what makes loose leaf so much fun! If pipes aren’t your thing and you want something that’s still as portable and more slick and easy to use, check out our range of vapes!