Ultimate Guide to Water Bongs

by Anne B. Robinson

One of the most recognizable cannabis smoking apparatuses around is the water bong. Every smoker has tried one or tried to craft one themselves at some point in time (probably in college). Some 420 enthusiasts absolutely love water bongs and won’t smoke any other way, while others prefer other methods of consumption like vaporizers, blunts, pipes, or the classic joint.

There are countless types of water bongs out there in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and designs, so it can be a challenge to choose one that’s right for your smoking preferences and lifestyle. This guide will break down the basic shapes and features to make the decision easier.

What is a water bong and how does it work?

Water bongs, also simply referred to as a bong is a cannabis smoking device that is compatible with legal dry herb. While they’re typically made out of heat-resistant borosilicate glass, bongs are also crafted from ceramic, metal, or travel-friendly silicone. All bongs utilize water for filtration, aeration, and cooling. Despite all water bongs looking different, they all work the same.

Smokers will start out by packing a bong bowl with ground flowers and filling the large chamber with water. When the flower is lit, the smoker will take a draw on the mouthpiece, which will pull the hot smoke down into the water, where it creates bubbles and removes large pieces of ash and other contaminants. The smoke will accumulate within the water bong until the bong bowl is removed, which opens up the airpath, allowing the smoker to clear the bong.

Why do smokers use water bongs?

Cannabis smoking devices have been around forever, but the invention of the modern glass water bong is credited to glassblower Bob Snodgrass in the 1970s. Normal dry pipes (smoking pipes) can be extremely harsh on the throat. This is because of their small size, short airpath, and the fact that there is no filtration at all. Water bongs have smoother, softer, and colder smoke thanks to the use of water. This opens the door for massive bong rips that are much more comfortable and won’t cause a coughing fit.

Another reason why stones reach for water bongs is that there are so many options available, from 18-inch big bongs and near indestructible silicone bongs, to cool looking recycler bongs and mini bongs that are perfect for passing amongst a group of friends.

Parts of a water bong

In order to truly understand the inner workings of this type of smoking accessory, it’s important to know the basic features and parts of a bong. It’s actually very simple and straightforward.

  • Bong bowl – It looks like a small cup with a hole on the bottom, where the dry ground herb is held. There are removable and non-removable bowls, though the removable type is the most popular and best for controlling airflow.
  • Downstem – This feature is also either removable or fixed depending on the bong and fits into the bottom of the bowl. It helps guide the smoke down into the water chamber and can be diffused for added percolation power.
  • Base – The base is the part of the bong that will sit on the table. Always look for a wide, large base, so there’s no chance of accidentally tipping it over.
  • Water chamber – This is the main chamber of the bong that needs to be filled with water and is where the smoke will accumulate.
  • Neck and mouthpiece – The large water chamber will usually become narrow to form a tube-like portion at the top of the bong, which is finished off with a mouthpiece. The neck is designed to keep dirty bong water down where it belongs during large rips and may have other features such as splash guards and ice catchers.

Types of water bongs

There are several types of water bongs, each with its own advantages and drawbacks. Let’s jump right in:

  • Straight shooter – This basic style is for those who want the most direct, hard-hitting bong rips with the least drag. Straight shooters are the easiest to tip over due to their vertical design and small base.
  • Beaker bong – This classic style looks like equipment used in a chemistry lab, hence its name. Beaker bongs have a large interior chamber for water and smoke, which is great at producing giant rips.
  • Zig zag bong – Also called a zong, this style looks like a straight shooter or beaker bong, but has a super interesting neck, which forms a zig-zag shape instead of being straight.
  • Percolator bong – For the smoothest, least harsh smoke possible, choose a percolator bong. Percolators are interior water features that help generate additional bubbles for added filtration and aeration. Common percolator types are inline, matrix, tree (also called jellyfish percs), showerhead, honeycomb, UFO, Swiss, and donut.
  • Recycler bong – Super cool to watch, recycler bongs have interior or exterior glass tubes that wrap around the bong and force the smoke back into the water for a second time.

Ready to find the bong of your dreams? Browse the virtual shelves of the EF420 online smoke shop to find the best water bongs discreetly shipped straight to your doorstep. Finally, if you use cannabis, please understand and comply with the relevant local laws and regulations.

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