Water Pipes vs. Bubblers: Which is Right for You?

Water Pipes vs. Bubblers: Which is Right for You?

Dec 18th 2020

Bubblers and water pipes are popular accessories among smokers by enhancing your smoking experience with the use of water filtration. Read on to learn more about bubblers and water pipes, their unique features, and how the two differ so you can make an informed decision on which one is right for your needs.

What are Water Pipes?

Water pipes use water to filter and cool the smoke and are a step up from bubblers in terms of their prestige and complexity. The physics of a water pipe are pretty straightforward; smoke is pulled through a water chamber, and as it bubbles through the water, it's filtered and cooled, resulting in cooler, smoother, and cleaner-tasting hits.

Design & Smoke Quality

Water pipes feature a chamber that's attached to a long tube for collecting smoke. Most water pipes consist of a detachable bowl with a downstem. Some have percolators above the main chamber, but the downstem can act as a percolator for extra filtration. Also, higher end water pipes include an ice catch where you can place ice cubes to cool the smoke so you can smoke a much cooler and potent hit. Water pipes are also available in larger sizes compared to a bubbler, with the average water pipe standing between 8-10 inches with a base about 5 inches in diameter.

Types of Water Pipes

Water pipes come in all forms, shapes, and sizes, and there are many attractive designs on the market. Some popular types of water pipes include  beaker base, steamroller, spiral, straight base, and bell base. You can find other fun water pipe designs here.

Benefits of Using a Water Pipe

  • Water pipes are larger and have more space between the bowl and mouthpiece, allowing for larger and more intense hits
  • The bowls are larger, meaning sessions last longer than with a bubbler. This makes them ideal for smoking in large groups
  • Water pipes are easier to clean since you can separate the components
  • Good water pipes have more variety and are customizable

Drawbacks of a Water Pipe

  • Water pipes can break more easily than bubblers, and you'll have to replace parts more often
  • With their larger size, they're more difficult to hold than a bubbler
  • Water pipes are bulkier and not as easy to transport when you’re on-the-go

Consider a water pipe if you're looking for a smoother smoking experience, bigger and more intense hits, a customizable smoking device, and you like hosting smoking sessions with your friends.

What are Bubblers?

Bubblers are smaller versions of water pipes and will provide similar functions such as cooling the smoke and filtering unwanted particles. Like water pipes, bubblers use water to increase filtration and deliver the clean and smooth hits that keeps smokers coming back to pipes over and over again.

Design & Smoke Quality

The most noticeable difference between bubblers and water pipes is their size and design. Bubblers have a more compact design and are usually smaller than water pipes. Most bubblers are around 4-5 inches long and 6 inches tall.

Traditional bubblers often feature a long neck, a cylindrical base, and a deep bowl pack with a rush hole inside. They also have a downstem piece that's fixed or welded in place, and the pushed bowl can't be removed. Bubblers often have one or more percolators, which help stop and cool the smoke allowing for a smoother and cooler hit. Good bubblers can stand on their own either using just the chamber's base or a combination of the mouthpiece and the base.

Types of Bubblers

Not all bubblers function and look the same. There are several styles of bubblers in various shapes, ranging from  spherical, cone, upright, or wedge. Others are designed more creatively, like these bubblers intended to look like a raindrop, milk carton, nectar collector, or slush cup.

Benefits of Using a Bubbler

  • Bubblers are lightweight, easier to transport, and more discreet
  • They leave no after-taste since they're crafted from glass
  • They offer smoother hits
  • It has everything you need for an enjoyable smoking session – no need for extra pieces like bowls
  • Easy to handle and more durable

Drawbacks of a Bubbler

  • Since a bubbler comes in one piece, it's more difficult to clean
  • They need to be cleaned fairly often
  • Not customizable – you can't add separate bowls and accessories for a more custom smoking experience
  • Bubbler bowls smoke faster, so they aren't ideal for a group session

Bubblers are perfect for smokers who love the smooth hit of a traditional water pipe but don't feel they need to have all the bells and whistles. With a bubbler, you can bring the comfort of a water pipe wherever you go.

Which is Right for Me?

After you weigh the above pros and cons for bubblers and water pipes, here are some questions you can ask yourself to help you decide:

  1. Do I prefer a mobile or stationary smoking device?
  2. Do I want the ability to customize my smoking experience?
  3. How often do I plan to clean it?
  4. Would I get more use out of smoking solo or in a group setting?
  5. Do I prefer a cooler smoke?

Your answers to these questions will make it easier for you to narrow it down on whether a bubbler or a water pipe will best suit your lifestyle. If you’re still on the fence between the two, the good thing is you can get the best of both worlds by getting one of each. This way, you'll have a perfect smoking device for every occasion. Find your perfect match and shop our wide selection at MatchBox Bros!