Choosing the best bong isn’t an easy thing, especially with all the crazy glass bongs for sale today. It really comes down to preference and knowing what type of water filtration suits you.
Additional filtration from smoke through water can make for a smoother hit in smoking devices. People like water filtration on their bongs because it can do three things: moisturize, cool, and filtrate.
Forcing hot smoke through water can cause some of that water to turn to vapor and moisturize our lungs, making for a more pleasant hit. The water also absorbs some of the heat off the smoke. The filtration comes from polarized smoke contaminants and plant matter making contact with the bong water.
The more surface area the smoke has with the water the cleaner the hit. You can increase that surface area by creating more bubbles (diffusion) with various percolators and smoking attachments. But you should consider how each glass water pipe feature affects your piece:
- Does it add drag?
- Will keeping the bong clean be a problem?
- Is it my daily driver?
- Does it spark joy?
Types of Percolators
If you’ve ever walked through a smoke shop, you’ve probably been overwhelmed by the number of bongs designed with different water filtration systems. So, let’s discuss the different water percolation systems found on bongs and water pipes:
The first point of contact for your bong. Down stems connect your bowl piece to your bong. They typically come in just two joint sizes: 14mm and 18mm. The wider the stem, the heavier the airflow.
Unless you’re choosing a dab rig, your bong will likely be female with a male downstem. A downstem can have slits or holes, making for a lighter pull. Or they may be bulbed or rounded off for a heavier pull. Some might even be a combination of the two.
- Showerhead Percolators:
Shaped like a showerhead, UFO, or tire, they have a tube that connects one chamber to the next. They usually have
- Tree Percolators
Downward facing diffused arms that grab air from a central tube and push it out at their ends. They usually don’t add too much drag but the arms can be hard to clean if they get too dirty. You’ll find these at any smokeshop as their super common.
- Inline Percolators
Imagine a horizontal downstem diffused with slits or holes all the way across. It usually works in place as a downstem and is pretty light on drag.
- Turbine Percolators
Diagonal slits from a thin solid piece that makes water above it spiral. The result is an interesting rhythmic change to the drag.
- Honeycomb Percolators
honeycomb patterned disk that allows a heavy airflow but produces almost a foam from bubbles.
- Spiral/Coil Percolators
A spiral coil with a hole at the end. It can be pretty fun to watch, plus the tube pushes the smoke through a longer path and can make for a much cooler hit. Definitely hard to clean.
- Fritted Disc Percolators
Basically a chaotic honeycomb disk. It adds an enormous amount of bubbles but needs to be cleaned often or it could become a tough drag quick.
- Bonus: Ash Catchers
Glass ash catchers are attachments added to the smoke-end of the bong. Ash catcher features could be any of the described above percs. They’re a great way to keep the bong clean as the first line of percolation always gets dirty fastest.
It’s all preference, so find what you like. Don’t clean your bong often? Stick with something simple. Want an easier pull? Look for greater airflow. Want a cleaner hit? Look for more diffusion.
Use this guide to narrow down your choices and help make a decision.
What are your thoughts? Leave a comment below.