Buying a bong can seem overwhelming with all the choices on the market today. There are many different bong attributes to choose between, from how big to whether you want a cool add-on like an ash catcher or percolator bong. Other than this, you have to choose the material like silicone or glass bongs, and decide between a host of other features. Ultimately, you want a design that you really like. Purchasing a bong can be a bit like choosing a piece of art. Of course, you want a bong that has the technical features to provide solid hits, but you also want something that looks nice in your home. This article is intended to outline the different types of bongs and the variety of features available to help you find the best bong for your needs.
Glass and silicone bongs often have ice catchers in the stem. These are small indentations in the stem that are meant to catch and hold ice cubes in the stem of the bong, usually near the bottom of the stem. If you have a larger ice catcher bong, you can often fit several ice cubes above the ice catcher. The ice cools the smoke as it rises through the stem. This means the smoke is smoother on your lungs and allows you to take larger hits than you could without an ice catcher. Glass bongs with ice catchers cool slightly better than silicone as the ice cools the entire bong, including the water at the base.
Bongs work by water filtering and cooling the smoke as it passes through the water chamber at the base of the bong. Percolators are additional water filtration chambers within a bong. Most bongs with percolators are straight stemmed bongs. There are some multi-percolator bongs that have some sort of split stem with multiple percolators that then come back together and form a single stem near the mouthpiece. This being said, percolators must be upright to function properly. The advantage of one or more percolators is the additional filtration and cooling they provide. The disadvantage is a percolator will slightly increase resistance to airflow in a bong. This means you have to pull harder to get the same size hit. You will not notice much difference in a single percolator bong but this becomes more apparent in double or triple percolator bongs. Opinions vary, but in my opinion, single percolator bongs provide the most utility and double, triple or quadruple percolator bongs are designed more to look cool rather than add any utility.
While gravity bongs are not the most convenient for everyday use, they provide a novel smoking experience. A gravity bong works just like it sounds - by using gravity to push smoke out of the chamber and into the user’s lungs. These and glass pipes are two-piece devices and often made of other materials besides glass. The best way of thinking about a gravity bong is imagining the original homemade gravity bong – although the Bukket Pipe Bong is a very popular water-less gravity bong.
An ash catcher is a type of bong bowl piece. Just like it sounds, it is designed to catch ash in a small water chamber before it goes down the downstem into the main water chamber. This means your bong water stays cleaner longer. Changing the water in an ash catcher bowl piece is much quicker than changing the water in your bong. If you have a glass on glass bong, there are two standard size bowl pieces. Make sure the ash catcher size matches the size of the downstem in your bong. In glass on glass bongs, you can easily swap bowl pieces so an ash catcher is the perfect accessory.
Glass bongs have long been the favorite type of bong. Applying a direct flame to glass does not affect taste like it does with metal. Glass bongs can also be blown (or shaped) into cool designs and colors making them as artistic as they are useful. Glass bongs can vary greatly in size and shape and can have various features including ice catchers, percolators, and ash catchers. Many glass bongs are considered glass-on-glass bongs. This means that in addition to the main bong, the downstem and bowl piece are also made of glass. There are standard sizes for glass downstems and bowl pieces to make them easily interchangeable. Most glass bongs have either 14 or 18 mm downstems but some smaller bongs have 10 mm downstems. If buying a glass bong accessory like an ash catcher, make sure to order the size to match the downstem of your bong.
Silicone bongs are new tech when compared to glass bongs. Just like any new technology, there are pros and cons to silicone bongs. They are durable and cheaper to produce than glass bongs and this savings is passed on to the consumer. Silicone has been gaining popularity as a material in the smoking pipe world due to its high heat capacity and durability. Just like glass, silicone can be molded into any shape, making it an ideal material for bongs. You can find silicone bongs in many shapes and sizes and also with some of the same features as glass bongs, like ice catchers and ash catchers. Silicone bongs and also silicone pipes may have a glass downstem. If this is the case, you can use any glass-on-glass accessories that fit the downstem - usually 14 or 18 mm.