The most distinct difference between a waterpipe and its glass pipe counterpart is the feature of drawing smoke through water in an effort to cool it.
Types of Waterpipes
Straight Tube: This is by far the most simple, straight-forward bong style available. These bongs are characterized by their cylindrical shape, and resemble a plumbing pipe. This is usually the cheapest bong shape available, due to it’s simple shape and minimal detail. Due to their shape, these bongs are easy to clean and travel with.
Beaker Style: One of the most classic styles of bongs, the beaker style is named after it’s beaker-like appearance. Like the straight-tube style, these bongs are fairly basic in shape, which makes them easy to clean and travel with. An advantage over straight-tube style bongs, is that the beaker style is more stable due to it’s larger base. This means it’s less likely to get knocked over!
Beaker style bongs usually have a long down-stem, and can incorporate other features like an ice-holder or scientific glass.
Multi Chamber: Multi-chamber bongs are more intricate than straight, or beaker-style bongs. The main benefit of multi-chamber bongs is the smoke is filtered through water twice, which leads to a cooler, smoother smoke. Multi-chamber bongs are much harder to make, and therefore tend to be much pricier than simpler shaped bongs. They can also be harder to clean than simpler bong shapes.
Multi-chamber bongs typically include other features like a percolator, scientific glass, or an ice-holder.
Percolator Bong: These bongs can come in different shapes, but they all feature a percolator at the bottom. A Percolator is often a honey-comb shape piece of glass that the smoke must pass through in order to exit the pipe. The honeycomb shaped glass dissipates the smoke, and usually causes a bubbling effect in the bong. This helps to filter and cool down the smoke much better and faster than using other methods.
Due to the complexity of these bongs, they can be harder to clean and also tend to cost more. In addition, they typically feature scientific glass.
Recycler Bong: These bongs are unique in that they filter the smoke through the water twice. They usually have an external tube that is used to circulate the smoke through the water a second time. Because of the complex shape of these bongs, they tend to be much smaller, and typically reserved for concentrate pieces. Again, due to their complexity, these styles tend to be costlier and harder to clean.
How to hit a waterpipe
1. Fill The Waterpipe: The first thing that people who are learning how to smoke a waterpipe must do is fill it with water. Users should not submerge the stem in more than one inch of liquid. When a waterpipe has too much water, it can splash into the user’s mouth. It can also moisten the dried herbs which is to be avoided. Some people opt to put ice in the bong’s chamber to cool the smoke and make it as smooth as possible
2. Pack The Bowl: the second step is to remove the bowl and pack it with your choice of substance. First, use some larger pieces of ground dry herb to cover the hole at the bottom of the bowl. This keeps users from sucking dried herbs that have not been burned into the water chamber. Remove any stems or seeds before placing these dried herbs inside the bowl. Fill the rest of the bowl with your ground herbs. Firmly pack the dried herbs, but make sure that they are loose enough to allow air to flow through freely.
3. Prepare To Smoke: When people are first learning how to smoke a waterpipe, they must prepare themselves for the experience. waterpipe generally provide a cooler but greater volume of smoke per hit so novice users should take small rips until they are more familiar with how to smoke a waterpipe. Before smoking a waterpipe it’s a good idea to take several deep breaths. This will help to keep coughing to a minimum and keep you from getting lightheaded.
4. Light The Bowl: Move the lighter to the corner of the bowl. Now, it is time to slowly inhale until the herbs begin to burn
5. Smoke the Waterpipe: Fill the chamber with smoke by steadily inhaling. When enough smoke has collected to satisfy the smoker the bowl is removed and the smoke in the chamber is quickly inhaled. With clear bongs watch the smoke in the chamber to know when to pull the bowl. With opaque bongs you just have to get a sense for each individual one by smoking out of them.
how to load a bowl
Ensure that your weed is evenly broken down but not too finely ground. Hand pulling your herb is the most basic way to do this, but grinders make this process much easier. There are many ways to break your cannabis down, so don’t be afraid to get creative.
Use a stem and/or a nice-sized intact calyx to stuff at the very bottom of your bowl to prevent particulates from passing though. You can also use a screen if you have one available. This will also facilitate better airflow.
Pack your herb very lightly at the bottom and slightly denser at the top for an even smoke. This allows the cannabis towards the top to maintain a burn, or “cherry” while opening airflow for easy inhalation without any clogging.