Smoking is a highly personal experience, and every smoker will have his or her own preference in smoking accessories and blends themselves. Just like some pipe smokers prefer the clarity of a Meerschaum to the ever-so-slightly toasty notes of a cob pipe, those who use glass have their own preferences as well.
One of the longest standing debates is the one that centers around water pipes and hand pipes, which are also sometimes known as spoons. Both of them are completely serviceable in their own right, and can be endlessly customized or decorated according to the interests of the individual, but is one truly better than the other? In this, as in most areas of contention, the answer is, it depends – but let’s take it a little deeper before you hop into a search for “water pipes near me.”
Portability is one of the most important aspects that a glass pipe, or any smoking accessory, for that matter, can offer. Let’s be honest; many smokers carry rolling papers and their own blends, keeping them fresh right up until the moment they’re ready to roll and light. There’s hardly a better, more portable way to enjoy the smoking experience – but this is far from convenient and takes a lot of work.
Conversely, glass hand pipes, or spoons, are simply made for portability. They’re light, small, and very tough. Since they’re often made from borosilicate glass, they’re not only resilient to thermal stress but also to mechanical stress. They’re tough little devices, and most of them will fit easily into a pocket. When you’re ready, all you need is your blend and a lighter, and you’re set to smoke.
Smoking with a water pipe requires a little bit more ritual. For one, they’re larger and can be more fragile, which makes it more difficult to transport them, and they typically have several small glass pieces that can be easily lost. Secondly, you’ll need access to water wherever you’re going, since you can’t reasonably transport a water pipe with the percolator full – it’ll spill.
Admittedly, there are smaller, one-piece bubblers that are almost as tough as spoons and only slightly less portable, but spoons still generally win out in this category.
The smoking experience itself
The smoking experience itself is an entirely different story, and although it is still extremely personal and there are no hard rules here, there are some objective claims that can be made.
While it is extremely convenient, quick and easy to pack the bowl of a spoon and get down to business, the smoke produced by spoons tends to be both hot and harsh. Also, depending on the size of the bowl, you may be limited in the size of the hits you can take with one. For some smokers, a spoon may be preferable for one reason or the other, but there are some benefits associated with water pipes that we have to address, in the name of equity.
One is that you can take giant hits with water pipes that are only limited by the size of the chimney. You can fill up the entire chimney and then some with smoke and then rip it – you can’t do that with a hand pipe. You can still take big hits from a spoon, but it’s not the same as with a water pipe.
There is also the fact that the smoke that you draw through a water pipe is both smoother and cooler than the smoke that comes through a spoon. By their very nature, water pipes filter the smoke through the water in the percolator, and it comes out smoother and cooler than through the stem of a glass hand pipe. Some smokers even fill the chimneys of their water pipes with ice, which cools down the smoke even more.
There are plenty of ways you can customize the look of a glass hand pipe or a water pipe, so there’s room for personalization with either. That said, there are some heady glass shops and online smoke shops that can really set you up with some glass that suits your personal tastes.
Ease of Maintenance
When it comes to maintenance, there’s a bit of a tradeoff between spoons and water pipes. While there are several different parts to water pipes, they’re actually generally pretty easy to clean. While it is easy to clean the bowl and the outside of a spoon pipe, it’s hard to get at the inside.
With a water pipe, you can use a solution of rubbing alcohol and salt to clean away any tar or remaining residue, and even though there are more parts, they’re pretty easy to clean, by comparison.
As you can see, there are enough positives and negatives associated with both spoons and water pipes to keep the debate alive. Let’s just break it down by when you should use one or the other – there realistically should be room for more than one of each in your repertoire.
When should you pack a bowl (in a hand pipe)?
Because they are lightweight, compact and easy to use, you should carry and use a spoon pipe when:
- You are traveling or on the go
- When you don’t have easy access to water
- When you need a quick, easy hit
When should you pack a bowl (in a bong)?
While spoons are better for those occasions when you’re out and about, you should keep a water pipe handy for those times when:
- You’re at home and can relax, and portability is not a concern
- When you’re entertaining company in a larger setting
- When you’re very sensitive to the hot, harsh smoke from glass spoons
All are plenty of good reasons why you should consider a search for water pipes “near me.”
Customize the experience with both!
Realistically, there are benefits and drawbacks to both glass spoons and water pipes, and the best way is to enjoy each of them when the occasion calls for it. Check out our collection of glass spoons and water pipes and you’ll see why so many customers choose us as their preferred shop for “water pipes near me.”