They give bigger rips than pipes and you don't burn your fingers
Plus they're just kind of cool. A friend had a three-foot glass one that took two people to operate, one to light the bud and release the carb once the hit got big enough, and the second to actually take the hit. Cool as #### but it was probably expensive as all #### for something you can't use yourself unless your feet are more utile than Kurt Cobain's.
That's aimed at the social smoker, I guess. On a related note it's funny that the media still talk about joints. One of them nowadays is enough to put three people on their asses.
You want a harsh, and very powerful, experience, use a gravity bong. Those are even more of sewer pipes.