Difference between Recyclers vs. Water Pipes vs. Rigs

Posted by Lionhead Staff on

 Recyclers Water Pipes and Rigs

Walking into a great headshop you will find yourself with a wide arrange of options to choose from. Confusing or intimidating even the most experienced of smokers. Even those who want to buy a bong online are dazzled at all the options available. Yes, bongs have gotten much more complex but that isn’t a bad thing. What has happened is that now we have more choices than ever before and you’ll also find yourself having better smoking experiences all together. If you are confused about what you need to buy just to smoke up you have come to the right place.

This post serves as a simple introduction to the differences between water pipes, rigs and recyclers.

Water Pipes vs. Bongs

A lot of people use the words bongs and water pipes interchangeably, although very similar there are slight differences between them. Water pipes are smoking devices where water can be added to diffuse the smoke.That being said, most bongs are water pipes, but not all water pipes are bongs. For example, a bubbler can be considered a water pipe but not a bong. Water pipes normally have a built in bowl and carb hole. On the other hand, bongs tend to be a little bigger, allowing them to store more water and smoke and they do not have carbs on them, instead they have a downstem and side or bowl.


Recyclers are double as good at filtering compared to bongs and water pipes. Recyclers have two different chambers; one diffuses the smoke through the percolator and is later brought to another chamber where the process is repeated. Recyclers result in an even smoother experience than water pipes, which is easily felt if you have used water pipes to smoke. If you are transitioning to a recycler, be sure to read up on the different percolators that might be in your piece – since different percolators can bring about very different levels of diffusion and cooling of the smoke.


Rigs are not made to smoke dry herbs, they are for smoking concentrate and essential oils. If you want to smoke dry herbs then you should stick to a water pipe or a recycler.  Rigs tend to be smaller, and the smoking mechanism is completely different. With a a glass nail being heated up to 300 – 400°F, you can vaporize the oil and inhale for a whole new level of smoking. Caution: Some folks say that their first dabs can be overwhelming and potent.

Bangers & Accessories


The best part is you can benefit from the limitless number of accessories you can add to your pieces. For example ash catchers or bangers and glass grails, all these add-ons add to the smoothness of your smoking experience.

Just be sure to:

  • Know if your piece is female or male
  • 18mm wide 
  • 14mm wide
  • 10mm wide

And of course, consider the material it is made of, as most bangers and nails could be titanium or quartz for the most part.

Which One is the Best?

Well, it boils down to personal taste.

Bottom line is, if you are going to smoke something dry, water pipes and recyclers both will be great. If you do not have any experience with any of them we would recommend starting out with a water pipe. Once you've grown acquainted with your water pipe, you can then step-it-up and get yourself a recycler. Trust me, you will feel the difference. There are some people who like to keep it simple and thus just stick to hand pipes. Lastly, concentrate and essential oils lovers, should stick to rigs!


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