What is a water pipe?
Also known as a bong, a water pipe is a glass pipe that features water chambers which allow you to cool and filter smoke from concentrates or flowers. As you hit it, smoke or vapor is pulled into the bong and through the water chambers and percolators to help smooth out your experience and allow for bigger, better-tasting hits. They come in all shapes and sizes, and may come with additional water chambers, percolators, or filtration devices that bubble and cool smoke from the bowl to your lungs.
What’s the difference between a bong and a water pipe?
A water pipe and a bong are pretty much the same thing. The term “water pipe” is often used to refer to the device in a more formal or legal context, while “bong” is more of a slang term. Both words describe a filtration device used for smoking weed, with water acting as a cooling and filtering agent to provide a smoother smoking experience.
What are bongs made of?
Water pipes can be made from all sorts of materials, including glass, ceramic, silicone, acrylic and metal. Glass bongs are the most popular material since they’re durable, easy to clean, and look nice in most setups. Acrylic and silicone water pipes are more durable than glass and tend to be cheaper, but may alter the flavor of your smoke or vapor. Ceramic bongs are most commonly used for aesthetics and heat resistance, as they tend to be on the fragile side while metal bongs are durable, long lasting and easy to clean but not as pretty to look at.
What are the different types of bongs?
There are lots of different bong styles out there, each with their own unique features that cater to different personal preferences. Here are the most common types of water pipes:
- Dab Rigs: Smaller water pipes designed for concentrates, offering maximum flavor and vapor cooling with minimal percolators.
- Straight Tube Bongs: Simple and beginner-friendly, featuring a straight, narrow body for easy use, large hits, and straightforward cleaning.
- Zig-Zag Bongs: Equipped with a kinked mouthpiece acting as a splash guard, allowing ample water filtration without any water reaching your mouth. They offer a cool look and excellent taste.
- Beaker Bongs: Popular due to their stable, wide bottom, generating substantial smoke for bigger hits and enhanced flavors.
- Round-Base Bongs: Similar to beaker bongs, these offer large hits, but their round shape makes them less stable. Nonetheless, they provide an aesthetically pleasing appearance.
- Gravity Bongs: Utilize gravity to create smoke by drawing an empty chamber away from the water. Glass versions can be flipped, pulling smoke into the chamber as water empties.
- Multi-Chamber (Recycler) Bongs: Ideal for concentrates and flower, these bongs feature multiple chambers and percolators for superior filtration and a constantly recycling smoke and water system.
- Percolator Bongs: Also known as bubblers, they come in various shapes and sizes, offering smoke diffusion through percolators for cooling and filtering purposes.
- Egg Bongs: Also called ball bongs, they feature an ovular or round-shaped percolator within a corresponding chamber, allowing bubbles to dissipate effectively for an exceptionally smooth and flavorful hit.
What to look for when buying a bong
If you’re in the market for a shiny new glass bong, start by thinking about how you intend to use it, your preferred material, the size, and additional bells and whistles that may improve your smoking experience.
1. Intended Use
Knowing what you intend to use your bong for is the first step in choosing one. For example, If you want to use your bong for both flower and concentrates, you’ll most likely want to buy a small to medium sized bong that can be used with both a quartz nail and a flower bowl. You’ll also want to make sure it doesn’t have more than one perc to make sure you don’t filter out too much flavor from your concentrates. At the same time, you’ll want at least one to help cool and filter the smoke from your flower. However, if you just want a bong for flower, go for something medium to large in size with as many percs as you like. Keep in mind that dab bongs should be small and free from too much filtration or percolation.
Bongs can be made from all types of materials. Silicone stays cool and lasts a long time, but alters the flavor of your dabs. Ceramic isn’t see through so it can be more difficult to gauge how big of a hit your taking or when it’s time to clean it, and it might be more fragile than others. Acrylic is the cheapest type of bong on the market, but tends to taste bad and may break after a while. A glass bong on the other hand is always a good choice since they come in all shapes and sizes, are easy to accessorize, stand up to heat well, offer percolation and filtration, and are easy to use and clean. Heavy-duty borosillicate glass bongs are ideal for most uses.
If you want to use your bong for dabbing, you’ll want a small one without all the extra percs or water chambers. If you’re using it for flower, you can opt for a larger water pipe with more filters and percolators. You should also consider how much you’re capable of smoking at once. Just because you can buy a 3’ bong doesn’t mean that it’s practical or ideal. A good, medium-sized bong is great for most uses.
Water pipes feature a glass joint that allows you to slide a bowl or dab nail into or onto the downstem, but not all of them are made the same size. Standard sizes are 10mm, 14mm, and 19mm. However, water pipes and slides can also come with a male or female joint. If you have a male bowl slide, you’ll want to buy a bong with a female joint. If you have a female bowl slide, you’ll want to buy a water pipe with a male joint. Always use the opposite sex of your bong when choosing compatible accessories, and make sure they’re the same size.
Make sure the bong you buy has at least one water chamber for both dabs and flower. If you’re using your bong solely for flower, the more percs and water chambers you have the better. Just keep in mind that dab rigs benefit from a simplistic design. You don’t want a bong that bubbles too much if you want to take dabs out of it.
6. Mouthpiece and Necks
Mouthpieces can be wide or small and they can be fixed to a straight or a curved neck. Small mouthpieces and curved necks are ideal for dabbing since they’re better for amplifying the flavors of your dabs without wasting them. They also allow you to leave the bong stationary on a table while you sit and hit it from a chair. Bongs with wide mouthpieces and straight necks are ideal for smoking flower since they allow you to take bigger hits and pull smoke more effectively. However, you can also find larger bongs for flower with curved necks if you’d rather hit your bong on a flat surface.
How much does a bong cost?
How much you spend on your bong depends on things like material, quality, artistry and design. On the low end, you can get a basic water pipe for around $50. In fact, dab rigs can be as cheap as $20 for their simplistic designs. However, you can spend up to several thousand dollars for a bong with a heady design, a large size, or a ton of different percolators and water chambers. Most quality water pipes will run you somewhere between $100 and $300. In this range, you can find something functional, made from good materials and an attractive design to boot.