What is a Bong – All You Need To Know

by | Jun 4, 2023 | Consumption, Smoking | 0 comments

What is a Bong?

Free Blue Glass Water Bong on Gray Table Stock PhotoA bong is a water pipe specifically designed for smoking cannabis, offering a method to cool and filter the smoke for a smoother and less harsh experience. Modern bongs typically consist of a tube connected to a base that holds water. The base features an angled hole to accommodate a downstem, and a bowl is inserted into the downstem. Smoke is drawn down through the downstem and into the water, where it is cooled, before traveling up through the tube and out of the mouthpiece, allowing the user to inhale. It’s worth noting that although bongs are often marketed as being intended for tobacco use only, they have historical roots in cannabis consumption practices predating the introduction of tobacco.

Types of Bongs

Bongs come in a variety of types distinguished by their size, shape, functionality, and construction. Some bongs incorporate features such as percolators for diffusing smoke, ice catchers for cooling the hit, or constrictions that create pressure differentials to reduce the temperature of the smoke.

In recent years, there has been a shift towards visually distinct and artistically designed bongs that can complement home decor, reflecting the evolving cannabis culture and its broader appeal.

  • One common type is the straight tube bong, which features a simple design with a straight glass tube and an angled hole for the downstem. The downstem holds a removable bowl piece and is submerged in water to filter the smoke before it travels up.

Straight tube bong

Apex 12" Straight Tube Bong – BullfrogVape

Image Source: (https://bullfrogvape.com/products/apex-12-straight-tube-bong)

  • Another popular type is the beaker bong, originally inspired by laboratory beakers. Beaker bongs have a triangular base that transitions into a tube and are known for their stability. They can be enhanced with various features like percolators to further cool the smoke.

Beaker bong

Ueeglass 7mm Thick Beaker Bong with Colored Neck and Matrix Perc - UEEGLASS

Image Source: (https://www.ueeglass.com/product/colored-neck-matrix-perc-beaker-bong/)

Scientific glass bongs, also known as “scientific glassware,” incorporate advanced techniques and scientific principles to enhance the smoking experience. These bongs utilize features like constrictions, Venturi chambers, and percolators to cool and filter the smoke effectively. The use of scientific glass in bong production has led to the development of precision-made specialty products, pushing the boundaries of pipemaking in the past couple of decades.

Scientific glass bongs

The 20 Best Bong Brands for 2023 - Badass Glass

Image Source: (https://www.badassglass.com/blogs/learn/best-bong-brands)

Are Bongs and Water Pipes the Same Thing?

Bongs and water pipes are related, but they have some distinguishing characteristics. Bongs specifically refer to a type of water pipe that is designed vertically, and the mouthpiece is intended to go over your lips.

On the other hand, bubblers are also water pipes, but they have a mouthpiece that goes between the lips. Due to this difference in mouthpiece design, bubblers are typically categorized solely as water pipes and considered separate from bongs.

In summary, while all bongs are considered water pipes, not all water pipes can be classified as bongs. The distinction lies in the specific design and orientation of the mouthpiece.

Are Bongs and Dab Rings the Same Thing?

Bongs and dab rigs share similarities in their use of water filtration for consuming cannabis. However, there are distinct differences between the two. While a bong typically features a bowl piece for combustion of flower, a dab rig is equipped with a nail or banger for vaporizing oil or concentrates known as dabs.

In addition to the variation in heating elements, dab rigs are often smaller in size and incorporate multiple chambers and percolators. This intricate design creates intricate pathways for vapor to travel before reaching the mouthpiece, reminiscent of Dr. Seussian imagery.

It’s worth noting that while any bong can be used for vaporizing concentrates by replacing the bowl piece with a nail or banger, they are not optimized for this purpose. Purpose-built dab rigs are recommended for a better concentrate consumption experience.

Benefits of Smoking Through a Bong:

The primary advantages of using a bong stem from its water filtration system, which helps to cool the smoke and enhance the smoking experience. Users often customize their bongs by incorporating ice cubes or specialized features like frozen glycerine coils to further cool the smoke.

Many individuals claim that bong hits result in a more potent high compared to using a standard pipe or joint, attributed to the larger volume of smoke inhaled during a bong rip.

The use of percolators or diffusers in bongs increases the surface area of the water, leading to improved filtration. This is particularly beneficial for softening harsh hits caused by taking large rips.

By reducing the harshness of the smoke, bongs make it easier for users to inhale more smoke in a single inhalation, providing a more satisfying experience.

However, there is ongoing debate about whether the water in a bong effectively filters out toxins, carcinogens, and irritants present in the smoke. Further research is necessary to conclusively determine the extent of filtration provided by bongs.

Enrico Bratta

Enrico Bratta

Medical cannabis professional based in Phuket, Thailand.


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Enrico Bratta

Medical cannabis professional based in Phuket, Thailand.