A pipe is one of the most common smoking utensils available, and one almost all smokers have either owned or at least used a pipe for their smoking needs. Pipes come in all shapes and sizes and can be produced from several materials, the two most common being metal and glass. Pipes can vary greatly in price but are usually much less expensive than bongs, and they are usually able to be easily and discretely transported, making them an ideal on-the-go smoking utensil.
Glass pipes are majorly preferred by any true connoisseur, as they offer the purest and cleanest smoking experience. The glass will not alter the flavor of what is being smoked in any way, so long as the pipe is regularly cleaned to avoid major resin build-up. Another advantage to glass is the ease of cleaning. Soaking it in 90%+ isopropyl alcohol is usually enough to remove all the resin, but the addition of rock salt as an abrasive ensures cleaning glass a breeze. Glass blowing is a true art form, and allows for an endless variety of colors, shapes, and designs available to meet any taste. While glass pipes do come in all price ranges, the nicer quality the piece and more intricate the design, the most expensive it will be. Depending on taste and preference, glass pipes can get pricey. The only true drawback to a glass smoking utensil is in regards to its durability. Typically the more expensive the piece, the thicker and more durable the glass will be. However, as in its nature, glass can break on impact.
Metal pipes are often easily accessible and sometimes even found at convenience stores, and they are the cheapest pipe solution. A lot of times, metal pipes can be disassembled into smaller pieces for transport and cleaning. The only advantage to metal besides the very inexpensive price tag is due to its toughness. A metal pipe will not shatter when dropped on a concrete floor. There’s a price to pay for this durability, though, and you will have to sacrifice a more enjoyable smoking experience by using a metal pipe. Metal pipes are produced from various types of metal, and not all are created equal. Some will leave a much stronger metal taste in the mouth than others, but none will allow only the flavor to come through as with glass. A dirty metal pipe will make the taste even more unbearable.
While not a very common option nowadays, wood pipes have made a bit of resurgence thanks to hipsters. Wood pipes are very nostalgic in appearance and have a very natural feel, but are almost entirely being used for their style and not functionality. Not only are they almost impossible to clean as they cannot be soaked in any cleaning solution, but they will also alter the smoking flavor as well. At first, it may just add a bit of earthiness, but as the accumulation of resin builds, the taste will continue to worsen. Wood pipes are the least practical and are mostly a thing of the past.