If a vape is a quiet and discreet way to get elevated, a bong is the smoking equivalent of a banging drum solo, with an unmistakable sound (and smell!) that’s hard to ignore. But picking out the bong that’s right for you can be a challenge. Below is a guide to the different types of bongs you might consider adding to your collection.
What Is a Bong?
A bong is essentially any water-cooled pipe. When using a bong, you put your flower in the bowl, and when you light it and inhale through the mouthpiece, the smoke travels through the water before it gets inhaled, cooling the smoke before it enters your lungs. It makes for a much smoother smoke with less coughing. Simple water pipe bongs will have a metal bowl for your grass and a downstem that leads from the bowl to the water.
Do Looks Matter?
The shape of your bong is a matter of style preference. Some will look like triangular or round chemistry flasks. Others will look like a tall glass tube. Bong devotees may tell you the shape matters to give you a better hit, but it’s mostly subjective and entirely a matter of personal aesthetic.
Percolators, Carburetors, and Chambers
If your pipe has a network of small winding tubes inside the main piece, that is a percolator. A “perc” gives you another opportunity to cool the smoke before it reaches your mouth. As you inhale it, the smoke travels through the network of tubes and channels, cooling the smoke along the way.
Other models may also have a carburetor, or a “carb.” A carb is a small hole in the side of the piece, not unlike the hole in your favorite glass pipe. Covering or releasing that hole with your finger increases or restricts the amount of cooler fresh air that passes through. Covering the carb makes it hotter but gives you a more substantial hit. Leaving the carb open can mean a cooler draw, but it will be weaker since you’re not strictly inhaling the smoke.
A multi-chamber bong is a water pipe with a series of larger, connected tubes through which the smoke passes. It’s similar to a perc, but the chambers are on the piece’s outside (rather than inside), resulting in a smoother, cleaner hit. Some models also have a second chamber for water, which effectively cools your hit two times. Due to its complicated setup, a multi-chamber piece may be on the expensive end of your price range. A multi-chamber can also be a hassle to clean.