Venturing into the world of bongs and needing guidance? Seems like you have ended up in the right place. Today we’ll be discussing bongs, or as some people like to call them, water pipes.
A bong is a filtration device used to smoke tobacco, cannabis, or other materials. It employs water as a filter and is pretty similar to a “hookah”, except they are more portable. With hundreds of companies selling thousands of different bongs, we understand how overwhelming it can be; choosing the right product for you. We intend to save you hours of research by answering all your questions in one place.
Different Types of Bongs By Materials
Bongs come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, colours, and materials. From fancy and glittery bongs to more rugged bongs. The bong industry caters to the taste of all types of audiences.
- Personalized Options
- Hard to clean
Glass bongs are fairly common throughout the world. Their reign in the cannabis industry started from the late 20th century and is still going strong. The ability of glass to be molded in any desired shape is what renders glass to be the best material for modern and sleek bongs.
In terms of performance, the smoothness and the hit that glass bong provides is unparalleled. While it is true that a silicone or ceramic bong may outperform a cheap glass bong, a good quality glass bong will be a comparable product in terms of longevity and be a worthwhile investment.
By far, glass bongs are the most popular bongs available. Click here to view our favourite glass bongs!
- Unsmooth experience
- Limited customization
Taste is something many potheads prioritize over everything else. Metal bongs lack in terms of the smoking experience quality. No doubt they are quite affordable and are also designed for longevity, however; their metal build renders it obsolete in the modern era.
Adding insult to injury, metal bongs are not see-through and usually cannot be customized. All in all, metal bongs are of lower quality than their competitors.
- Sturdy & Unbreakable
- Limited customization & personalization
- Limited Size
Made from BPA-free silicone (that is safe to smoke out of), these rugged bongs are nearly indestructible. So much so that companies are offering a lifetime warranty on purchase.
On top of that, you get fancy designs and the color of your choice; that too at a very affordable price. Although standard silicon bongs don’t offer customization options up to the level of glass bongs, some companies are going to great lengths to provide this option.
Silicon bongs come in standard sizes that are somewhat moderately sized. This can be a negative point for some of you based on personal preference but makes them highly portable.
We envision a bright future for silicon bongs and highly recommend it to anyone looking for a portable and indestructible bong.
- Extremely affordable
- Extremely Fragile
- Poor aesthetics
- Poor smoking experience and taste
- Lack of customization options
Acrylic bongs served as the harbinger of silicon bongs. Made from a hard type of plastic, acrylic bongs come in an array of colors, shapes and sizes suited for different target groups.
From not being able to customize the acrylic bong to them getting shattered quickly, a lot of people have complained about the feasibility of acrylic bongs and the poor smoking experience that they provide.
The main selling point, of course, is the price; a cheap, easy-to-replace product that also gets the job done in a fairly good manner.
- Highly durable
- Large Size
- Lack of customization
Long before silicone and glass bongs dominated the bong industry, ceramic bongs were considered the epitome of luxury among cannabis users. Pottery has remained a fairly popular practice in the time-lapse of civilizations.
The legacy of ceramic bongs still lives on as they offer a fine flavor and an excellent smoking experience to users. The massive rip coupled with its ability to cool down smoke before it reaches your lips is what truly renders this product a timeless classic.
Pottery is an art, therefore, the freedom of creativity an artist enjoys reflects clearly in the aesthetics of a ceramic bong. One downside however, is the inability of ceramic bongs to support extra accessories.
Old schoolers and classic collectors, who are not big fans of modern accessories, usually end up with ceramic bongs.
There are literally a hundred ways you could make a DIY bong at home with the help of materials already available at your home.
Let us briefly outline two materials that are used to make bongs apart from the mainstream materials mentioned above; how you can convert them into bongs at home is a topic for another day.
Long before the western world discovered bongs, people in the east (Thailand and Vietnam) were using cannabis in bongs made out of bamboo. The word bong itself comes from the Thai word ‘baung’ which is used to describe a hollow wooden structure filled with water.
Wooden bongs have also been around for quite some time. Wooden products are a reminder of organic times when synthetic materials hadn’t taken over the world. Few individuals use wooden bongs these days but you could make one for occasional use or the aesthetic.
Plastic – Homemade
Different Types of Bongs by Designs
So far we have classified bongs on the basis of material and now it’s time to familiarize you with the contrasting bong designs out there in the market;
Percolators have become a standard in many of the bongs manufactured these days. Well if not percolator, maybe you’ve heard the word “perc”? The perc of a bong is necessary to make the smoking experience essentially flawless as they cool down the smoke and provide premium filtration. There are different percolator styles and each provides a slightly different effect. Without going into much detail we will just name some of the styles:
- Honeycomb percolator
- Matrix Percolator
- Fritted Disc Percolator
- Tree Percolator
- Inline Percolator
- Turbine Percolator
- Fritted Disc Percolator
- Spiral Percolator
Straight tube bongs are upright shooter bongs that are an iconic bong style. Some people have misconceptions regarding the straight tube bong that it is prone to tipping and breaking. However, most straight tube bongs have a secure base so they will only tip if you knock them. Moreover, if these bongs are made of thick glass it’s not likely that they will break just from tipping. There are a number of beautiful designs available in the straight tube style that are a perfect addition to your stoner kit.
Yes, we know what you’re thinking, and yes you’re right. They do get their name from their laboratory beaker-like shape. The bong with a wide base and a small straight-up tube gives you very strong hits as the base accumulates and concentrates smoke, sending up the perfect hit. It is an old and classic design that doesn’t seem to be going out of fashion any time soon.
Yes, they too are somewhat like the round bottom flask in your chemistry lab kit. However, it doesn’t have a completely round bottom, but rather a curvaceous and a half bubble base, that like the beaker base bong too, collects smoke and sends a smooth and strong hit. The flat and double glass layered bottom makes the bong heavy and its straight, long tube draws in the smoke directly from the base into the lungs for the perfect hit.
A multi-chamber bong is truly a sight to behold. It consists of two chambers that are connected to each other by a third chamber and have a straight or 45 degree tilted tube connected at the top. The double chambers each hold water and so the smoke is filtered twice and also cooled down before reaching your lips, giving you an icy smooth feel.
As an upgrade, we’d also like to mention that there are also some multi-chamber bongs that have 3 water chambers for an even cooler smoke! We would definitely recommend you check these out.
The recycler bong employs two chambers as well. The air in the intake tube pulls the water with the vapor up through the piece before recycling it back down. The effects of the recycler bong are almost as same as the multi-chamber bong where the smoke is filtered twice to produce a more premium and cooled effect. Another highly recommended product!
A bubbler is a mini bong with a small bowl attached to it. The bong works well with both dry herbs and water. Using a bubbler with water gives you the added benefit of a better and smoother hit that does not feel harsh to your throat. Now back to the small bowl that we were talking about. The small bowl at the bong’s bottom leads the vapor down into a chamber. Alongside the cool, smooth hit that it provides, its main selling point is definitely its miniscule size. It can easily fit into any small case and give you a deluxe recycler bong-like smoking experience.
The zong bong is a classy Z-shaped bong that is bound to catch attention. Its base is usually a bubble bottom flask, which, if you’ve read about the round base bong, we’re sure you know accumulates smoke to produce a hard hit. Couple that with an extra-long Z shaped tube neck that further concentrates the vapor and you get Zong, the ideal choice for the more rugged smoker.
The scientific glass pipes offer high functionality and durability. The scientific glass is actually borosilicate glass, which is a high-end, thick glass, resistant to heat and stress. The scientific glass bongs come in various laboratory inspired shapes that have proven their practicality, time and again. Whether you’re looking for firm bases or high-filtered hits, these bongs have it all.
Common shapes include the beaker bottom bong, round bottom bong and zong bong. You can also buy scientific glass hand pipes or dab rigs if you’re looking for high quality options for these products.
The inline percolator bong is the straight tube bong with a twist. There exists a horizontal tube below the water chamber near the base which is the inline percolator. The tube percolator with its saw-like cuts ensures that there is an even spread of smoke through the water.
Percolator bongs, as we mentioned, are being sold more vigorously than standard bongs with no percolators because of how much they elevate the smoking experience for a person.
Dab rigs also go by the name of oil rigs or wax rigs and are used to dab/smoke concentrates. They do not require combustion as a source of energy, but rather high temperature which is provided by a torch-heated nail that vaporizes the concentrates. The result is a smooth, combustion-free, concentrated hit that is not only flavorful but also gentle on the throat. We don’t recommend these for travelling but they sure are a great way to dab some concentrates at home or at parties!
Homemade bongs can be made out of empty glass bottles, plastic containers, metal cans or even your baby’s old feeder! We’ve also mentioned bamboo and wood as options in a section above. They’ve been in use for years and do a decent job with filtering and providing a decent hit. Just remember to never make bongs or bowls with inflammable and toxic products, so as to ensure your safety. All in all, homemade bongs are a good option for smokers who cannot afford to break the bank just now.
The gravity bong, also known as the GB, bucket bong and ghetto bong are a strong way of consuming Cannabis. A large vertical base that builds and stores enough smoke to satisfy a party of stoners and a small narrow tube that concentrates and draws vapor directly into your lungs is sure to give you the raw and strong hit you’ve been craving. The smoke is drawn into the bong by a change in air pressure that “pulls” the smoke downwards, hence the name. It doesn’t really filter compounds from your smoke like other bongs and so it is loved among the stoner community who do not prefer any of their THC in the smoke left out. Most gravity bongs are made of glass to provide that beautiful glass on glass structure like a wine bottle resting in a wide flared glass bowl.
A gravity bong can also be made at home by simply cutting off the bottom of a plastic bottle, drilling a hole in the bottle’s cap to slide a pipe into and submerging the bottle in water. After burning the Cannabis and raising the bottle out of the water, the smoke will be collected in the bottle because of the difference in air pressure, giving you a solid hit.
A waterfall bong is a variation of the gravity bong and is often a homemade smoking device, although you can purchase from the market one as well. Some people don’t even classify the waterfall bong as a bong since the water in a bong filters the smoke to deliver a better quality whereas the water in a waterfall bong serves more as an air pressure difference creator. Like a gravity bong, the smoke is pulled into the bong’s air chamber but it is done by the water in the bong container that “falls” out, creating a difference in air pressure and pulling the smoke in the air chamber.
What is the Best Type of Bong?
It is hard to pinpoint one specific type of bong that can be classified as the best bong you can get however we can narrow our recommendation down to silicon bongs and glass bongs based on customizability and popularity among the 420 community. On the basis of style, we would recommend the multi-chamber and the recycler to anyone looking to enhance their smoking experience at home or with friends; the bubbler is suitable for those who want to smoke on the go and the gravity for the crazy hardcore smokers.
A lot of underlying factors determine what makes a bong stand out in a saturated market. Consider the following factors as general rules of purchase;
- Smoking Experience & Taste
Other than that, you need to keep in mind some specific factors that are discussed in the section below.
Where to Purchase Bongs?
In this age of technological advancements, locating a legit bong seller can be a little overwhelming. From numerous online stores to aesthetically designed brick and mortars, there are so many options to choose from. In this section, we will talk about what to look out for when trying to buy some decent equipment and gear that will resonate with your personality.
Bongs, as we’re sure you know, also go by the name of water pipes, so you need to keep that in mind especially if you’re buying from Amazon or other similar online retailers who usually have bongs listed as water pipes on their website. Other than Amazon there are a lot of other online options such as:
Bong outlet Canada
How Many Different Types of Bongs?
As discussed in the beginning of this article, bongs come in a variety of different shapes, sizes, colors and materials. Following are the different types of bongs in terms of material;
In terms of sizes and shapes, refer to the above-mentioned analogy on the different types of designs that are popular in the stoner community.
Which Bong is Best for You?
As a general rule of thumb, glass bongs fit perfectly in every equation which involves the average consumer. While one answer (which is quite simple) to this question is your personal preference, the other is not that simple.
If you are someone who keeps dropping his/her bong, a silicone or bamboo bong would be the perfect fit for you. But if you are someone who cherishes art, you might just be tempted to buy the aesthetic glass bongs. Nevertheless, all these bongs are still on the market because an audience for each type exists.
We would recommend keeping in mind all the above-mentioned factors while choosing a bong and then leaving it up to you to decide which one is the perfect match for you.
What to consider when purchasing a bong?
- Does Size Matter?
Portability should be the first thought in your mind before you start looking out for bongs. If you’re looking for an outdoor wingman or are just starting out with bongs and thus prone to smaller drags, you should of course look for smaller pipes that are easy to store and carry. (The bubbler should be a good choice!)
For home or everyday usage purposes, we would recommend you don’t buy smaller bongs. Go for one that is at least 10 inches in size, especially if you’re a pro smoker and enjoy huge rips.
- Does Material Matter?
Yes, material plays a decisive role in the longevity and smoking experience of the rig. With the advent of the latest machinery, tools and techniques, man has created synthetic material that can be molded to suit our needs.
Silicone bongs, as mentioned above are durable to the extent that manufacturing companies are offering a lifetime warranty however, there are limitations with reference to their sizes. Cheap glass bongs are fragile and premium glass bongs are heavy, but at the end of the day there is a lot of variety in the glass bongs and they can easily be modified/customized.
Ceramic rigs are inexpensive and more durable than glass rigs all the while competing at aesthetics too. However, they have a short lifespan and can give you a tough time during the cleaning process.
Now if you’re someone who’s really passionate about rigs, wants to make a statement, and also savor them massive rips, then glass and ceramic bongs can serve as a good starting point. Glass rigs will not only let you relish the kush with huge rips but will also preserve the taste giving you an unmatched smoking experience.
- Is the Glass thick?
Thicker glass as with scientific glass flasks (that is made from high-quality borosilicate glass) is like a lifetime bong purchase guarantee. The glass on glass joints in the borosilicate glass are not easily modified by heat or thermal stress; which in itself is a promise of durability and a high level of usability. Thicker glass also means a more sturdy structure, and so you won’t have to worry about it tipping down and shattering on its own.
- How affordable are bongs?
The affordability of bongs depends on their size and the material used. Bongs with a relatively lesser complicated structure and no or simple percolators can even be bought for less than $50. As you move up the ladder and go for more premium brands and look for more features, you will find bongs that offer a good deal and also some that cost an arm and a leg (going up to almost $35,000+). What you choose to buy really depends on your budget and personal preference.
- Does it clean easily?
The answer to that, again, depends on the material of the bong. Silicone bongs, as we mentioned earlier, are nearly indestructible and are very easy to clean. Glass bongs, because of their slippery and fragile nature, require a more sophisticated cleaning process, but are relatively easy to clean with the right materials. Other than that, the more complicated the structure of the bong, the more it will have harder-to-reach points and will become difficult to clean. Always make sure you get a bong that has accessible parts.
- What do you plan to do with your bong?
If you plan to use dry herbs, make sure you buy a larger pipe that comes with a bowl. We’ve mentioned several types above. Concentrates require a nail that needs to be torched to be warmed up, with a 90-degree angle pipe and so you should consider buying scientific glass dab rigs. If you want to dab both, dry herbs and concentrates, then make sure you get a medium-sized bong (at least 7 inches) which comes with an allocated space for a quartz banger attachment and you can thus, switch between dry herbs and concentrates easily.
- The Moving Parts:
If you’re a beginner, a little clumsy or if you plan on traveling with a bong; we suggest you buy a bong that has the least number of moving parts. The more that you have to slide and move parts or the further that the movable parts are away from the core, the higher the chances that you’ll end up breaking your bong or losing one or more of its parts.
Jake Randall is a journalist, author, and student with expertise in all things cannabis (especially edibles), along with knowledge in economics, the environment, and everything in between. Originally from Canada, Jake has taken on the role of a senior cannabis correspondent at The Cannabis School.