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A bubbler, simply speaking, is a pipe that uses a similar water filtration of that of a bong. A bubbler can be a handheld pipe or have a structure with a base that is similar to a bong. Bubblers can also be known as glass bubblers, water pipes, mini bongs, and bubbler pipes. Though they can be called many different things, their function remains the same - producing a rich infusion of flavor in a smooth, quality hit. Bubblers are easy to smoke and are great for beginners, veterans, or anyone in between. Typically bubblers are crafted from glass or plastic but they can also be found in ceramic and other materials. They also can come in a variety of structures, sizes, colors, and shapes across the market.
The Science Behind a Bubbler
How a bubbler works is actually a really cool process. Like we mentioned earlier, bubblers can be handheld pipes or have a base and stand up like a bong. But the mechanics of how the bubbler works, regardless of style, is the same.
When you light the herb in the bowl, you simultaneously cover the carb hole with your finger and place your mouth on the mouthpiece. When you breathe in, you are creating a sort of vacuum within the chamber of the pipe. This vacuum works to pull the smoke from the bowl down into the bubbler water. Additionally, the vacuum displaces the water and allows the smoke to be pulled upwards through the water and towards your mouth. As you continue your inhale, more smoke is pulled up through the chamber and fills the bubbler and your lungs. As soon as the hit is finished, the finger is removed from the carb, which allows air to rush in and disrupt the vacuum’s pressure. This allows the remainder of the smoke in the bubbler to be completely removed from the pipe and to enter the lungs. The water functions as both a coolant and filter for the smoke traveling through and catches unwanted ash from being inhaled.
How to use a Bubbler
We’ve already established the two variants of bubblers and will now lightly touch on how to use each style. With the handheld bubbler, you will fill the chamber with water. You can fill it either through the bowl or through the mouthpiece. Once filled with water, taking a hit is just like any other pipe. As you light the bowl, cover the carb with your thumb and inhale. When you’ve inhaled as much as you can take, remove your thumb from the carb, allowing your lungs to fill with the remaining smoke from inside the pipe. Repeat liberally.
With a bubbler that is more like a bong piece, the process is similar. In fact, if there is a carb the process is actually exactly the same. But if there is a bong bowl piece, however, the process becomes identical to smoking a bong. Light the bowl, inhale slowly, and as soon as you’ve inhaled what you can take, remove the bong bowl to clear the pipe. And, of course, repeat liberally.
How much Water to Add
Knowing how much water to add can be tricky at first, but once you know how to do it, it’s a really simple process. Once you’ve added water into the bubbler, put your thumb over the carb and inhale through the mouthpiece as if you were taking a normal hit. At this point, the water should bubble. When the water begins to bubble, slide your thumb off the carb and continue to inhale. If the water bubbles over and spills out, you have too much water. Pour some water out and repeat this process until water does not splash into your mouth or into the bowl. Perfecting the proper water level is key in determining the quality of your hit. Once you perfect this step, you will a clean and smooth hit. That being said, a bubbler can, in fact, be smoked without water. The water helps to cool, filter, and smooth the hit, so without the water, you’ll be pulling a hit that’s really harsh. Needless to say, smoking a bubbler without water isn’t recommended.
Cleaning your Bubbler
Bubblers can get dirty pretty quickly. After just a couple of hits, the water in the bubbler can be very dirty. If bubblers get dirty they can start to taste and smell bad, so keeping your bubbler clean is really important. It is recommended that you should clean your bubbler after every use to keep the resin from building up. There are several methods you can use to clean a bubbler, all of which will get the job done. One cleaning method you could use is the soaking method. Simply rinse your bubbler out with hot water a couple of times. Once you have rinsed it out, add more hot water- about the amount that you would usually add to smoke, along with rubbing alcohol and salt. Next, let the pipe sit and soak for thirty minutes to an hour. After you’ve allowed it to soak, hold your fingers over the openings and shake it up. The rough abrasive qualities of the salt should act to effectively scrape the gunk off the sides. There will probably still be areas that have resin built up, so you can use a Q-Tip or pipe cleaner to reach inside and scrape it out. This method should work effectively to clean your bubbler so that it is ready to reuse over and over again.
Bongs vs Bubblers
There is not a universal standard for what separates bubblers from bongs, but there are several different criteria that act to ambiguously set them apart. Size is definitely an important identifying factor. Typically speaking, bubblers are much smaller than bongs and thus cannot contain as much water. In addition, you can often find bubblers cheaper than bongs. Bongs tend to get fatter hits than bubblers, so if you’re looking to get a nice huge hit, a bong would be your best bet. In addition, because bongs have a wider base, they are less easily knocked over. This may seem like a trivial matter, but when you lose your herb and soak your carpet with pungent water- it becomes a significant matter. In comparison, bubblers and bongs both have the water filtration mechanism and each provides a similarly smooth hit. Bubblers and bongs are very similar to each other in how they are used.
Pros and Cons of a Bubbler
Bubblers are great if you want a smooth hit. You don’t run the risk of inhaling ash because it’s filtered in the water. They’re small, so they’re easy to take on the go as well. Be careful though, they can be easily knocked over, which means you have the potential to get a splash of nasty-smelling water all over your clothes, car, or carpet. Another con is in the cleaning process – because they are not huge glass pieces, sometimes the intricate corners of the pipe can be moderately difficult to reach. Also, needing water is pretty inconvenient sometimes. If you’re on the go, you might not have easy access to water and it can be a hassle.
Pro Tips for Using Bubblers
Be sure to grind your herb with a grinder before packing the bowl, this will allow for a smoother burn. Especially if your bubbler is glass, it is well worth it to invest in a carrying case of some sort to keep your pipe from breaking. Keep your bubbler clean so that you can avoid a bad tasting and smelling pipe. It’s recommended that it be cleaned after every use. Be sure to use cool water, not hot water, in your bubbler. Additionally, don’t use your bubbler without water. It is definitely possible to do a dry hit, but it’s pretty harsh. And lastly, for beginners- try to take quick hits instead of long hits until you get the hang of it.
Where to buy a Bubbler Pipe
Bubblers have been a really trendy and popular way to smoke for a long time and will continue to be in style for years to come. You can find bubblers in your local head, smoke, or vape shops. Or, if you’re not looking to get out and about, you can easily find them online. At nyvapeshop.com you can find a selection of cool bubbler pipes for a great price!
Whether you choose a bubbler as your primary source to get a clean hit or if it’s just a backup to your preferred pipe, it is definitely a key tool to have in your smoking accessories toolbox.