Types of Bongs: What's the Difference?

Where's Weed

Published on 6/13/22

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Regarding cannabis hobbies, stoners love one thing above all else: variety. Sure, everyone has their favorite types of weed to smoke, whether they're the most potent variants or the type they tried the first time they ever toked. However, there's always a new way to enjoy cannabis, and there's always the thrill of finding an exciting new method for getting baked. Just about everyone has taken a bong hit at one point in their life, from the small but reliable types to the 10-foot monsters, but what are the differences between the different bongs available on the market? What makes a good bong, and what is the best for you? This list of the different types of bongs breaks down the mechanisms for smoking through a water pipe and how to best enjoy this particular type of delivery.

Time and Place

Like so much else of cannabis consumption, there are always different ways to go from Point A to Point B. Just as there are different ways to grow cannabis, such as seeds compared to clones, so too are there various types of bongs that get you high in different ways. The choice of material and engineering can affect how high you get or how quickly it starts to hit. There are many aspects of personal preference regarding this choice, especially since you can easily commit a lot of money towards purchasing a bong; prices can quickly run into hundreds of dollars. Types of bongs range in size, power, ease of cleaning, and flexibility. It never hurts to try different ones until you find the Prince Charming with whom you'll live happily ever after.

Cylinder Bongs

The odds are good that if you have ever smoked out of a bong, it was made of glass. That's the case for several reasons. First and foremost, glass bongs are dependable and lightweight, relatively easy to manufacture, and have the proper aesthetic and "feel." Glass also impacts the taste of cannabis the least, leaving behind no residues or aftertastes to complicate what should be a delicious strain like a good Cookie Monster. Glass is also transparent, allowing you to see the smoke as it comes, as well as the levels of water in the holder, and of course the buildup of gunk on the sides. Glass, however, is not durable, as any person with butterfingers may know. Drop a glass bong, and you'll quickly find that you have to go to a head shop to purchase a new set of pipes. 

A straight tube bong is a no-frills experience: the smoke passes through the water at the base to cool it, then goes into your lungs and takes you to the moon. It's the best type of bong for a beginner or the artistic type who wants to show off a beautiful design.

Beaker Bong

If you remember looking at the equipment in high school chemistry and thinking it'd be a valuable set of pipes for smoking, boy, do we have good news for you. Plastic beakers are all the rage in the community now for several reasons. First and foremost, they are easy to clean and can even be run through a dishwasher. They also provide easy references for measuring cannabis and water to find the perfect smoke point. They can be purchased at head shops or online and are inexpensive, usually less than fifty dollars.

Percolator Bongs

Coffee fans will tell you that percolation coffee tastes better than regular coffee because the liquid is mixed more thoroughly. What is true of a coffee percolator is true of bong percolator types: since the smoke goes through a pattern of rising and falling through a filter, you are left with less particulate matter and much less heat than a standard rig.

Recycler Rig

Similar to a percolator, recycler bong types cycle the smoke so that it goes through pockets or filters and delivers a better experience. Unlike percolators, recycler rigs can also take concentrates (also known as wax or shatter) because they have dual-use properties. They are designed to withstand the high heat of concentrates while minimizing the harsh feeling once you take a big hit.

Gravity Bong

If homemade cannabis is your type of thing, a gravity bong may be the best thing for you. That's because this isn't a product you necessarily purchase from a head shop or dispensary. Instead, you do some stoner engineering and let gravity do all the work for you. A gravity bong uses a closed container, like a Gatorade bottle, to drip water out and pull down the air through a weed piece, thus burning through the flower and capturing the smoke in the container. It's the most efficient way to get high because no smoke is wasted.

Furthermore, because there are no rules for gravity bong designs, you can make one. The only thing to consider is the types of bong bowls: you can buy one specifically for the job or snag a socket from a toolset that can be placed into a lid to hold the bud. Total cost: a couple of bucks spent at a nearby gas station.

Do you have a preference for smoking out of a bong? Do you have a collection of nice pipes, or do you prefer a small, simple hookup? Let us know in the comments below!