The Shapes Of Water Pipes: When To Choose Which

The Shapes Of Water Pipes: When To Choose Which

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If you’ve ever purchased a water pipe before, you know that it can be confusing and overwhelming when you’re faced with all the different types and shapes on the market. What are the differences? What makes one pipe better than another? Which design is best for you?

Different water pipe shapes can produce different smoking experiences. One is not necessarily better than another, just different. It all depends on what you’re looking to get out of your water pipe. Let’s go through the different shapes of water pipes available and what they each have to offer.

Scientific Water Pipes

Scientific water pipes are a favorite for recreational smokers due to the design, which makes smoking more comfortable. These water pipes tend to be based around a scientific tube or beaker shape, thus the first two types of water pipes: beaker and straight tube.


Beaker water pipes normally come in either a cone shape or a bubble shape. These designs help to give the beaker a low center of gravity, making them able to stand on their own. Why is this important? Because it means added stability. You’ll no longer have to worry about your water pipe being knocked over or unable to stand on an uneven surface.

The wide body of the beaker water pipe is able to hold a large amount of water. And due to the indent separating the mouthpiece from the bottom, smokers won’t have to worry about water splashing into their mouth while in use. The beaker is also able to hold more air, creating more smoke. You’re also able to use bigger percolators thanks to the wideness of the beaker water pipe.


For smaller water pipes, this beaker design offers a decent weight, allowing for more comfortable handling when passing around. And smokers tend to enjoy the heavy sound beakers make when the air moves through the tube.

Straight Tube

Straight-tubed water pipes are straight cylinders with a flat base. This straight tube design is actually the oldest and simplest water pipe design. The water pipe’s chamber allows for smooth and powerful hits, making them extremely efficient. They also give off a “purr” noise when in use.  

Did you know that not all straight tubes have a uniform design? Some are tapered in order to have an indent similar to beaker pipes.

In order to get all of the smoke from their pipe, smokers don’t have to inhale very hard with this design. This is the most simple and straightforward water pipe out there.

Multi-Chamber Water Pipes

The multi-chamber water pipe is a variation of the straight-tube piece. With this design, the straight tube is separated into two chambers connected by a tube or third chamber. Both chambers hold water, so the smoke is filtered twice.

But what does having multiple chambers do for your smoking experience? Well this filtration process actually produces a much cooler, much smoother smoke than the straight-tube, round-base or beaker design can.

Due to the complexity of multi-chamber water pipes, they can tend to be more expensive than simpler builds and more difficult to clean.


Round-based water pipes are very similar to beaker water pipes in that the base tends to be wider than the tube and mouthpiece.

These water pipes have a sphere-shaped water chamber with a flat base, making it more stable than the straight-tube water pipe.

Built-In Features

Some features of pipes are not technically related to the outward shape, but they are often used to describe the type of water pipe. Carburetors and percolators are two common examples.


A carburetor water pipe is very simply a water pipe with a hole in the middle somewhere. While not necessary to the design of the water pipe, the carb produces a much more intense hit.

When using your carburetor water pipe, you just release your finger, letting fresh air into the pipe through the carb hole. This makes it easier to clear the contents of the pipe.


A percolator water pipe can pretty much be any shape imaginable. What makes these pipes unique is that they utilize a percolator.

A percolator is a piece of glass that dissipates smoke as it passes through the water, causing a bubbling effect in the pipe. This process helps to spread the smoke out, filtering it more efficiently and cooling it faster.

These water pipes can include a single-chamber percolator, a multi-chamber percolator or a multi-chamber, multi-percolator combo. Due to the complexity of this design, these water pipes can be more expensive and more difficult to clean, but many smokers find the improved experience is worth it.

Things To Consider

When buying your water pipe, there are some important questions you need to ask yourself in order to determine the best and most comfortable design for you.

  • How much are you willing to spend?
  • Do you want a smooth, efficient inhale?
  • Do you want a sturdy water pipe?
  • Do you want maximum filtration?
  • How much cleaning and upkeep are you up for?

Every smoker is different and has unique wants and needs. You may have to test a few different designs before landing on the right water pipe for you. But eventually you’ll find one that gives you the perfect smoking experience.

Thick Ass Glass is your one-stop shop for reliable and durable water pipes, dab rigs, bangers and more! Browse our full collection of products and find the right water pipe for you today.


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