Sherlock Pipes: Everything You Need to Know

Sherlock Pipes: Everything You Need to Know

An essential piece in any smoker’s collection, Sherlock smoking pipes are classic and classy. Known for their signature shape, these pipes make for smoother and longer smoke sessions. However, it’s not just in the shape: these pipes have a number of styles and benefits that make them unique. Read on to learn all about mystery fiction readers’ favorite way to smoke. 

What are Sherlock pipes?

You guessed it: Sherlock pipes get their names from that iconic detective. Shaped like his--with a deep bowl and a long curved stem--these pipes are known for their cool shape and their cool, smooth hits. Coming in a variety of materials, finding the best Sherlock pipe for you is a unique, worthwhile adventure. 

Types of Sherlock pipes

Sherlock smoking pipes are usually made out of one of three materials: wood, glass, and metal. The material not only affects cleaning and maintenance: it also impacts the flavor of the smoke. 

  • Wooden Sherlock Pipe: Wood is the most traditional medium for a Sherlock smoking pipe. These pipes often feature a wooden bowl with a plastic mouthpiece. Though these are the most classic--and can be whittled into all sorts of cool shapes--they do have some downfalls. Wood generally absorbs the smoke from whatever herb is burned inside: this makes the pipe smell and taste different overtime. It also makes the pipe much harder to clean. 

  • Thick Glass Sherlock Pipes:  Though wood might be the most traditional material, glass Sherlocks are perhaps the most commonly seen. Glass Sherlock pipes come in all colors and sizes. Made of thick blown glass, these pipes can come in some pretty intricate shapes too: all with a long, curved neck of course. Glass pipes are easier to clean and maintain than wood. Also, glass doesn’t absorb smoke as easily as wood does. This advantage means that users get a purer flavor when smoking. 

  • Metal Sherlock Pipes: Speaking of intricate shapes, metal Sherlock smoking pipes come looking anything from wacky to futuristic. Like glass, metal is easy to clean and maintain. However, like with any metal pipe, this material may change the flavor of the herb when smoked. 

  • Gandalf: Special shoutout to the Gandalf pipe! Similar in shape to a Sherlock, Gandalf pipes differentiate themselves with an even longer neck and a deep, rounded bowl (more like something the iconic wizard might smoke). 

  • Why use a Sherlock smoking pipe?

    Sherlock pipes not only look cool: they have a couple major benefits. 

      • Cooler, Smoother Hits: This benefit is perhaps the biggest reason to smoke a Sherlock. Because it travels through a long, curved stem, the smoke gets cooled down as it travels to the mouthpiece. This prevents the hot, harsh hits often associated with spoon pipes, one-hitters and other straight pipes. 
    • Deeper bowl: Traditional Sherlock smoking pipes have deep curved bowls. These can be packed heavy with your favorite herb. Deeper bowls make for longer sessions, perfect for solo or group settings. Just don’t pack it too tightly: otherwise, air won’t travel through the pipe. 

    How do you unclog a Sherlock pipe?

    Though the long stem certainly has its benefits, a Sherlock smoking pipe’s signature shape makes it a little more challenging to clean. These stems can get clogged with resin and debris. However, there is an easily accessible solution. Not just for Kindergarten art rooms: grab your pipe cleaners and isopropyl alcohol for this one. 

    1. If applicable, separate your pipe from its stem. 
    2. Make your cleaning solution: add warm water, isopropyl alcohol, and coarse salt. 
    3. Dip a pipe cleaner into your alcohol solution and work it through the stem. Move the cleaner through the stem as needed until any resin or built-up ash is worn away. 
    4. Using a pipe cleaner or soft cloth, work alcohol solution into the bottom of the bowl. Fill the bowl with solution, let sit for approx. 10 seconds, and dump it out. Wipe the bowl clean. 
    5. Let your pipe sit, separated, for 24 hours. The solution needs a proper amount of time to dry before the pipe can be used again. 

    Glass and metal sherlock pipes can also be cleaned by submerging them in the isopropyl solution. Letting your pipe sit submerged in the alcohol solution loosens resin and debris and gets your pipe back to its original clean and shiny state.

    Where to buy Sherlock pipes

    Sherlock pipes can be bought at most head shops. However, many can be bought from online retailers such as online smoke shops and novelty stores. These pipes can even be bought straight from the artists who craft them: cool shapes and unique designs can be found on Etsy and other online marketplaces. 

    How to choose the best Sherlock pipe

    Sherlocks come in a wide variety of shapes, colors, and sizes. This wide variety sometimes makes it difficult to narrow down which pipe works best for you. Like any pipe, there are a couple factors to consider when buying the best Sherlock pipe for you. 

    When buying a Sherlock smoking pipe, it’s important to consider bowl size. With the wide spectrum of Sherlocks available, bowl size can certainly vary. Pick a Sherlock pipe with a bowl size that best compliments your smoking habits: whether it’s smaller solo sessions or larger group settings.

    As mentioned, Sherlock pipes are made using three main materials: wood, glass, and metal. These materials are important to consider when buying a new Sherlock pipe, as they impact the flavor of the herb and maintenance of the pipe. Debris and resin get easily trapped in the stemmed mouthpiece: consider if you have what it takes to maintain a slightly more difficult to clean pipe. 

    Additionally, glass Sherlock pipes are best for extracting the purest flavor from your herb. If this is high on your priority list, maybe weigh glass pipes over metal or wood. 


    Sleek, super stylish, and cool in more than one way: Sherlock pipes are iconic for a reason. Whether you want a smoother hit or just want to look a little classier, Sherlock pipes are an essential to any smoker’s collection. 

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