Even if you’ve never seen weed in real life, you’ve heard of bongs. These handy devices are one of the best smoking tools out there. They have a long history, with a deep connection to Thailand, Laos, and a number of countries in Africa. If you’re ready to invest in your smoking experience, getting a bong is the way to go.
But first: what exactly is a bong? Essentially, a bong is a pipe that uses water to filter smoke. The result is a smoother, more pleasant hit. Cannabis is placed in the bowl and lit. The user then inhales through the bong to start drawing smoke through the stem and into the water. The bubbles are where the bong filters the smoke. Once there’s a decent amount of smoke, the user can then breathe it in to get high.
That’s the basics. However, there are plenty of variations on the basic bong. Different materials and sizes change the experience of using a bong. Choosing the right bong for you involves understanding the differences between bong styles. If you’re looking into getting a bong, one of the following styles will be right for you.
Thick Glass Bongs
Glass is the most common material for bongs due to its heat-resistant and water-proof qualities. For a long time, glass was the only option. Even today, glass is still king for purists. That’s because, unlike other materials, glass doesn’t give your smoke any unwanted flavor or smell. Glass is a little more expensive than other options, but the result is a high-quality piece that will last for years.
With modern manufacturing techniques, glass can come in a range of thicknesses. The thickness of your glass will tell you a lot about how long a piece will last. Thicker glass just doesn’t break as easily. That’s really all there is to it. A thin piece of glass might seem appealing for its delicacy, but remember, delicate means breakable. There’s nothing sadder than accidentally knock over your piece and watching it shatter. The thicker the glass, the sturdier it will be.
The standard glass thickness for many bongs is about 5 mm. Some poorly-made pieces might be as thin as 2 or 3 mm. If you want something that will last the test of time, look for a piece that’s 5 mm or thicker. 9 mm is the gold standard for thickness in bong glass. A good thick bong can even survive being dropped (but don’t test it).
Expect thick glass bongs to start at about $100. Depending on the piece, that price can quickly rise. However, if you know what you want, it’s better to make the investment once than buy something cheaper that doesn’t meet your needs.
If you want something durable and cheap, acrylic bongs are there for you. Acrylic is just about break-proof, and it’s cheap, too. Acrylic bongs are great starter pieces, since they’re not a serious investment. You can find acrylic bongs for just $25, much less than just about any glass option.
There’s one important downside to acrylic bongs: there’s some science to show that heating acrylic is bad for your lungs. Furthermore, most acrylic bongs use metal bowls and mouthpieces that may not be good for your health.
Even if it turns out that these substances are perfectly safe, they don’t taste very good. If you smoke high-quality kush, you might be disappointed with the experience if you smoke it through acrylic. In general, acrylic bongs are great starter pieces. If you’re a heavy smoker, though, you’ll probably want an upgrade sooner or later.
Silicone bongs are the absolute best option if you need an unbreakable piece. Silicone is flexible, bendable, foldable, and uncrackable. Just about the only way to damage a silicone bong is to stag it with something sharp. That makes these bongs perfect for even the clumsiest of users.
Silicone bongs are also perfect for travel. You can stuff your silicone bong into a suitcase without fear, which can’t be said for glass or even some acrylic pieces. Just bundle it up and you’re ready to go.
Silicone does impart a slight flavor onto your smoke, so glass still has it beat there. However, silicone appears to be much safer than acrylic options when it comes to your health. If you’re looking for an affordable option that’s a step up from acrylic, silicone bongs are the way to go. You can find good silicone bongs in the $30 to $60 range.
Inline Percolator Bongs
A good inline percolator bong is the best way to take your smoke to the next level. Bongs are great – they cool down the smoke and filter it so you get high more healthily. A percolator takes those benefits and makes them even better.
Percs can sometimes be found in acrylic bongs, but they’re most common in glass. Acrylic bongs are designed to be basic, after all – if you want something fancy like an inline percolator, glass is definitely your best bet.
A percolator works by increasing the surface area of the bubbles in the bong. Bong water can only absorb smoke that it touches. Basically, big bubbles don’t let the water absorb as much bad stuff from smoke as smaller bubbles. Percolators break up the big bubbles into smaller bubbles and improve your smoke because of it.
Inline percolator bongs are the simplest way to get this benefit. They also tend to look interesting, which is always a plus. An inline percolator is a tube with a whole bunch of little slits in it. This tube is most often built into the bong, to help keep things airtight. The downside is that if your inline percolator breaks somehow, your piece is done. The thin tube is often the most fragile part of your bong, so there’s a serious weak point.
Percolator bongs are generally more expensive. The extra glasswork required to create the percolator bumps prices. A basic inline perc bong can be found for $140, while more advanced models average $200 or more.
Double Honeycomb Bongs
The term “honeycomb” refers to a specific type of percolator. These percolators are thin glass disks that sit in the middle of the bong. The disk is full of honeycomb-shaped holes.
When bubbles hit the disk from below, they are forced to break up into many smaller bubbles instead. That helps the water above the percolator continue to filter the smoke even more thoroughly. A double honeycomb bong has two of these percolators stacked a few inches apart. The result is some of the best filtration on the market.
Honeycomb bongs are more durable than inline perc bongs. The disk is sturdier than a thin tube, so it’s less prone to breaking. Some honeycomb bongs even allow you to change out the honeycomb disks, which makes them easy to fix.
Honeycomb percs are also simpler to make than many other percolators, so they keep prices down. You can find double honeycomb bongs for $100 and up.
A mini bong is just that – a bong that’s smaller than normal. The size of the bong doesn’t really affect the smoking process. The only difference is that a smaller bong has a slightly lower smoke capacity.
Mini bongs can be made from any standard bong material. Glass is the most common, but alternatives like acrylic and silicone are becoming more frequent. They can also involve percolators if you have a preference.
Particularly small mini bongs are sometimes called water pipes. They work the same, but a water pipe is a truly one-person tool. You’re unlikely to find a water pipe with a percolator though, because there just isn’t enough room.
There are two big draws with mini bongs: price and size. Because mini bongs are smaller, they’re less expensive. Depending on the style and material, you can get your hands on a mini bong for as little as $40, although it’s more common to see $60 to $100 price tags. If you’re working on a budget, that’s a little easier to manage than a thousand-dollar piece of art.
The size is also a big benefit. Dorm and apartment living don’t involve a lot of private space for most people. A large piece can be proudly displayed as a work of art if you live on your own. However, if you have roommates, you probably want to be able to put your bong away. A mini bong lets you keep the piece on a shelf, instead of dedicating a table to it. Plus, mini bongs are easier to travel with, if you want to toke on the go.
Bongs are great tools for having a satisfying smoke. If you toke regularly, getting a bong will help keep you healthy and satisfied. Whether you get a basic bong or a sculpture that can help get you high, it’s a worthwhile investment. You can find a bong at any price point, so you can decide how much you want to invest in your piece.
Just watch out – getting your first bong can lead to a lifelong collection hobby!