Glass water pipes and bongs are more efficient, powerful, and easier on the throat and lungs than many other smoking methods, thanks to water percolation. Between glass and silicone water pipes, we've got the best selection on the web.
Smoking from a hand pipe is nice and convenient, and even an old can or an apple can be used in a pinch, but nothing quite compares to the refreshing feeling of smoking from a water pipe. The addition of water to your smoking equipment makes each hit smoother, cooler and more enjoyable. Over time, we’ve moved from simple, straightforward bongs made at home, to a world where the best artists can command tens of thousands of dollars for functional glass art.
Beginners will have a ton of crucial questions about bongs, aka water pipes, like: Who invented bongs? How do bongs work? And most importantly, how do you know which bong is the best for you? We’ve collected a few of our most frequently asked questions, and answer them here.
Water pipes for smoking have been around so long we don’t actually know exactly where or when they originated. Archaeological findings from Africa and Asia show that humans have been cultivating and smoking cannabis for thousands of years. There’s still heated debate on whether humans in Africa or Asia invented the bong first. Archaeologists have found smoking pipes made from stone, ceramics, and even mud!
The bong as we know it comes from Thailand. The Thai word “baung” refers to a tube or pipe made of bamboo, and the term was adopted by American soldiers who were exposed to the simple water pipes during the Vietnam war. Since then, the word “bong” is the most popular way to refer to filtered water pipes.
What’s the deal with bongs anyway? Why is this form of smoking device so popular across the globe? It all comes down to percolation. The standard definition of percolation is when a liquid slowly passes through a filter, like coffee. With water pipes, percolation refers to the process of smoke being pulled through water and broken up into smaller particles.
A percolator is a component to your glass water pipe with holes or slits. As you inhale, airflow moves down the intake stem and through the percolator. The multiple openings in a perc are there to produce evenly sized bubbles of smoke and air which helps break up the nastier compounds. Water filtration also eliminates the harsh heat of dry smoking methods.
There are more types of percs than we can cover here, but they all serve the same purpose: To filter and cool your smoke.
Percs are just one component of a water pipe. Most water bongs share a similar anatomy and accessorize with bells and whistles. The basic anatomy of a water pipe is actually pretty simple.
Water Chamber: This is where the magic happens. The slits in a downstem or percolator have to be submerged in water to work. A larger water chamber usually means larger hits, and beaker bongs are the style of choice for heavy hitters.
Joint: This piece connects the water chamber to your dry herb. In a stemless water pipe, the bowl piece fits directly into the joint. In a beaker bong, the joint fits the removable downstem.
Downstem: The classic bong design includes a downstem. This tube of glass often contains diffusion slits as a form of percolator. A bong’s downstem fits into the 18mm joint, and the top opening narrows to 14mm for the bowl piece to fit in. Downstems are removable to make cleaning easy.
Bowl Piece: This little item holds your dry herb. Many bowl pieces have a small handle on them, making it easier to pull the bowl piece out of the joint and stop your hit from building any further. Bowl pieces come in a range of sizes to suit your needs.
Neck & Mouthpiece: The long tube above the water chamber is known as the neck, and the lip up top is referred to as the mouthpiece. Depending on the style of bong, the neck can be straight or bent.
Ice Pinch: Many classic bongs have an ice pinch or ice catch right above the water chamber. These indentations allow you to drop ice cubes into the neck, which cool your smoke directly as it passes over the freezing surface area.
Body Style: Glass can be shaped into almost any shape you can think of, but for bongs, there are 3 main styles to consider.
Other styles you might want to consider are -
Joint Size: Glass joints can be made into any size, however, there are 4 standard joint sizes for bongs: 10mm, 14.5mm, 18.8mm and 29.2mm. The first three are by far the most common joint sizes, and the easiest to find replacement bowls and accessories for.
Bong Size: One of the most important factors to consider when buying bongs online is the size of the piece. Great big bongs can be an awesome aesthetic with powerful cooling, but aren’t ideal for travel. If you want something more portable, stick to a smaller piece that you don’t have to worry about breaking. Alternately, if you’re looking for an epic piece that will impress, the bigger the better!
At the end of the day, maybe you just want a bong that looks really cool. Treat yourself to a piece you’ll love to keep out on display. Who said you need to choose just one?