Do All Bongs Need Water?

Water is used in a bong primarily to cool down and filter the smoke. Some bongs are made with ice catchers while others are great with multiple chambers. There exist novelty bongs that can house both hot and ice-cold water. The truth is that not all bongs require the use of water, and technically you can use any bong without it—although we wouldn’t recommend it. In this article, we will go over how and why bongs use water, and why some don’t need it.

by: Anthony E. | 04/26/23 1:30PM


Bongs vs Pipes

Bongs are made with an enlarged chamber to hold water. This allows smoke to pass through and get filtered. Pipes on the other hand are very simple and straightforward. They do not use water and are usually much smaller and shorter. Bongs are made for novel but practical purposes while pipes are designed for everyday use.

Bongs can be used every day but are much more prone to breakage due to size and weight. In any case, you can use a bong just fine. Pipes are more convenient in terms of portability and stealth. Water bongs are noticed by their iconic bubbling sound they produce when taking a hit. It is a source of nostalgia for most.


The Purpose of Water in a Bong

Water is used in bongs to cool down a hit. This is especially true if the bong has an ice catcher. Most bongs can accommodate either hot or cold water. Some use cold water to cool down a hit while others use hot to make hits smoother. Hot warm reintroduces moisture and makes the hit easier to inhale.

Water filters out impurities and other pollutants allowing for better flavor and a more powerful hit. The bubbling action in the water breaks up the smoke and allows for more to be inhaled. This is compounded by having a large chamber. Once the desired volume is reached, a carb is released and clears out the chamber. These can produce massive hits.

Dry Hitting a Bong

Not all bongs require the use of water, however. In fact, you can dry hit any bong without water. This allows for even more smoke in the chamber since water will not take up room. The downside to this is that you will likely cough up a lung as they say. The bigger the bong, the more smoke you will inhale.

If you must, you are much better off dry hitting a smaller bong than you are a bigger one. You will waste less and get more out of it. Granted, dry hitting large bongs without water is not really practical.


Gravity Bongs

Gravity bongs are unique in that they require no water but house an enlarged chamber. This allows for smoke to fill in and creates massive hits. They are perfect for parties and social gatherings with large groups of people. You can still use a gravity bong by yourself, though it is much more fun to use one with others.

Some gravity bongs suck in air through the chamber by way of an accordion-like mechanism. The Bukket Pipe is a great example of this. Other classic gravity bongs suck in air through lifting the chamber while immersed in water. This action creates a suction that lights up the bowl and fills the chamber with smoke.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, bongs are very diverse and not all use or require water to operate. Any bong can be used without water. Those designed to use water should ideally be used as such, however. If you choose to use a bong without water, just know that you will likely have a hit that will make you cough.

Water is designed to cool down and filter a hit. Though users still cough even when using water, the hits are much better in terms of flavor. Water filters out contaminants that affect flavor and feel. Water is used to make your sessions better. It is no wonder why bongs are ever so popular and will be for years to come.

Related Blog Posts

How Much Water to Put in a Bong

Is it Better to Fill a Bong with Warm or Cold Water?

How Often Should I Change Bong Water?