Bongs have been used for thousands of years in Russia, China and Africa. For instance, Scythian tribal chiefs in Russia smoked cannabis from solid gold…Read more ...
as far back as 2,400 years ago. Interestingly enough, this discovery happened in 2013 during the construction of a new power line.
Every year these chance discoveries shed new light on the plant that we all know and love. The ancient history of cannabis reveals that bongs were a ritualistic and luxurious method for chiefs, empresses and royalty to get high, but that it was customary among commoners as well.
It’s safe to say, if commoners had been buried with the same preservation as the royals, the history of cannabis would have been that much richer.
Different types of bongs
Bongs are classified into different subgroups depending on their shape, size and key features.
A beaker bong features a base shaped like the borosilicate glass beakers used in labs. This iconic bong style has become a classic because it serves a greater function as well.
The wide base allows for more water and therefore more smoke to accumulate so you can take in a greater hit than other styles. Also, their sturdy base makes them much harder to knock over which is something we can all be thankful for as we become more accident prone the higher we become.
Straight tube bong
Also known as a straight shooter, a straight tube bong is essentially one long tube that allows for direct hits. Some feature an ice catcher to cool the hit before it reaches your lips. They are one of the simplest styles available.
Round base bong
Many gravitate towards round base bongs (also called bubble base) for their retro, 1970’s allure. Generally they feature a pedestal base or flattened base directly underneath the spherical chamber.
Another simple choice, round base bongs by nature are less stable than beaker bongs. However, they similarly allow for more smoke to accumulate for larger hits.
Small & mini bongs
Mini and small bongs generally clock in between 4-9” in height, with mini generally coming in between 5- 6” and small 8-9”. A mini bong’s small size makes it a portable, travel-friendly and relatively cheap alternative to larger setups.
While you may not get as large of a hit, mini bongs give you the smooth, filtered hits you’d expect and often pack a punch. Their convenience makes them a hugely popular option for on-the-go toking. For discreet, powerful hits on the road, look no further than the mini bong.
Big bongs, on the other hand, are beasts that clock in at 14” and up. They tend to be heavyweight champions with long necks that allow you to take in massive rips that will make you forget your name.
Tall bongs tend to come either packed with tons of features like percolators and ash catchers, or are clean, simple straight tubes. The most famous huge bong, Bongzilla, is the world’s largest measuring taller than a giraffe at 24 feet. Most are within the 14-22” range so you can still test your lungs and still get a ginormous, giraffe sized hit!
Percolator bongs are another popular choice because they create some of the smoothest hits by filtering smoke. When you inhale, percolators create bubbles that help the water come into greater contact with smoke.
Water attracts polar molecules like itself, therefore the more surface area it has, the more contaminants are removed from smoke. Some of the most common percs are honeycomb, jellyfish and matrix.
Recycler bongs or recyclers are water pipes with arms that recycler water to further cool smoke for smooth, ultra-filtered hits. The loops circulate smoke keeping the hit from becoming stale since there’s less contact with the air which preserves flavor better.
Dab rigs bong
Dab rigs are water pipes made to smoke concentrates like badder. They produce more flavorful and powerful hits than smoking herb from a bong. They go by many names: oil rig, wax rigs, concentrate pipes but they differ from water bong in one major way. Dab rigs are not designed for enhanced filtration. They are made to cool hits while maximizing the flavor of your dabs.
Stoners who spend a good part of their time toking are more than willing to drop a few benjamins on a unique, high quality investment piece. Made by skilled glass blowers with vision and an ability to engineer glass in awe inspiring ways, heady bongs are beautifully made one-of-a-kind works of art.
These pieces are often intricate, even whimsical with gemstone, shell and other embellishments. Many are made using new, revolutionary techniques such as electroforming that are on the cutting edge of craftsmanship. Some artists will even make custom pieces if you’re willing to front the dough.
Ice bongs, also called ice catcher bongs feature a three-pinch on the neck of the bong. The ice pinch lets you drop in a few ice cubes into the water pipe to further cool smoke for smooth hits.
Glycerin coil bong
Although not very common, glycerin coil bongs are one of the best styles available. They produce a similar effect to ice bongs but have the added benefit of lasting much longer than ice cubes do.
Typically, the glycerin coil is removed from the bong, placed into the freezer and then placed once again into the bong before use. The ease of not having to fill up the ice tray every time you want icy, smooth hits, makes them one of the best bong styles around, without a doubt.
Common bong materials
Although bongs can be made from other materials, they are most commonly made from glass or silicone.
Expect the best taste and flavor from glass. Glass generally refers to borosilicate or scientific glass which gets its name from its primary use in laboratories — think beakers, tubes, white coats and an unexpected explosion every now and again.
Borosilicate glass is an extremely durable, heat-resistant glass because it contains a dash of boron trioxide which enables it to handle radical temperature shifts that make normal glass shatter. This scientific style glass is the standard in Michelin star restaurants, wineries and labs.
Food grade silicone is an FDA approved silicone made from non-toxic silica that’s free from harmful fillers like BPA or BPS. It can withstand extreme shifts in temperature from -80 °F to 450 °F and still keep its shape.
It’s a lightweight, portable, travel-friendly and overall worry-free option perfect for on-the-go toking. Its inherent non-stick and antifungal properties make it a cinch to clean.
Ceramic bongs tend to be the most unique and artistic pieces of the lot since they are generally handmade on a potter’s wheel. They aren’t nearly as common as glass so they tend to make an impression, especially if they have unique embellishments or glazes. However, they are much more prone to shattering than borosilicate glass, making them risky business if you’re a butterfingers.
Ceramic also tends to be less versatile than glass, with less features. You’ll rarely if ever see a perc-ed out ceramic bong or one that features a glycerin coil. Never say never though.
Ceramic is perfectly safe to smoke from as long as it’s fired at the correct temps and the glazes are non-toxic and lead-free.
Acrylic bongs are the cheapest option due to their low-cost material and simple shapes. If flavor is important to you’re better off investing in a glass bong. However, if you prioritize pricing, durability and portability, an acrylic bong could be a perfect starting point.
Many question if acrylic bongs are bad for you. And it turns out this BPA-free material is actually less toxic than most water bottles (but no one is going to tell you to drink less water).
However, it can release harmful chemicals if it gets to 572°F so definitely don’t dab with it. Regardless, we recommend glass over acrylic for the best experience.
As you take a hit from your bong, smoke travels from your bowl piece through the downstem into the chamber where smoke is filtered and cooled before it reaches your lips. Downstems feature slits or holes which diffuse smoke before it reaches the bong water for further filtration.
The downstem fits inside the female joint of a bong. They are either removable or non-removable (fixed). Bongs with fixed downstems generally will include percolators such as a swiss, showerhead or honeycomb. Joints come in three sizes: 10mm, 14.5mm and 18.8 with 14.5 being the most common.
If you’re wondering how to measure a downstem length, simply start from the bottom end of the ground joint (the sandblasted part) and measure to the tip of the diffused end.
An ice catcher, also called an ice pinch, is formed by three indentations in the neck of a bong that allow you to drop in a few ice cubes. An ice catcher serves two purposes: cooling smoke for icy smooth hits and acting as a splashguard so you don’t swallow dirty bong water. Ice bongs are extremely popular because their cooling effect makes it easier to take in bigger hits.
There are so many different style of bong percolators: honeycomb, showerhead, swiss, matrix, jellyfish, inline, turbine, spore and the list goes on. Many bongs will include a combination of percs but they are all designed to do one thing: filter and cool hits.
There’s nothing worse than taking in a gulp of dirty bong water along with your delicious hit. Splashguards have a dome structure that keep the bong water at bay but still allow vapor to pass through its slits. However, a bong with a bent neck or an ice catcher can also act as a splashguard and similarly eliminate splashback.
Glycerin is a highly interesting liquid. Commonly used as a sweetener or preservative in foods, this non-toxic liquid made of fatty acids has a gel-like consistency when it freezes. A glycerin coil is essentially a coil made from this liquid that you can pop into the freezer then stick back in place within the neck of your bong for icy cool hits. It freezes fast so you don’t have to wait around for your ice cubes anymore.
If you tend to smoke at night just before watching your favorite stoner series or under the starlight on your back porch, a glow-in-the-dark bong is ideal. The soft glow emanating from the water pipe keeps the good vibes going without having to fumble around in the dark for your lighter.
You may very well already know that nearly any water bong can be turned into a dab rig by simply switching out the bong bowl for a quartz banger.
Well, some bongs can even be used with vapes. Simply adapt your vape to connect with the bong via a vape bong attachment and you get the best of both worlds. Here is an example of vape bong for reference.
What is a bong?
Unlike a pipe, a bong is a smoking device traditionally in the shape of a long tube with a smoking bowl and stem that is filled with water to filter smoke before it reaches your lips.
How does a bong work?
Water bongs include a smoking bowl for ground herb, a stem that is normally slitted to enhance filtration, a base or chamber to fill with water and an elongated neck that the smoke passes through before it reaches the mouthpiece.
How much does a bong cost?
The cost of a bong varies significantly depending on the material, size, features and craftsmanship. Cheaper bongs made from acrylic can cost you as little as $10, a small silicone bong around $20 and a medium-sized borosilicate glass bong around $40 at the lower end. Generally, a quality medium-sized bong will cost you $40-$100.
How to use a bong?
Once you’ve packed a bowl, light the herb and inhale, you’ll notice that the water at the bottom will start to bubble. As you breathe in, the smoke rises from the base through the neck of the bong before the hit gets to you. When you lift the bong bowl and stem, you’ll be able to take in the hit through the mouthpiece. You can follow our step-by-step guide here.
How to pack a bong bowl?
The art of packing a bong bowl can be easily mastered. First, grind your herb up, preferably with an herb grinder so that the consistency is similar that way it will burn evenly.
Pinch a bit of herb between your fingers, sprinkle it into your bowl and use the bottom of your lighter to pack it down lightly.
Tip: you want to make sure it isn’t packed too hard because it can clog the bowl. We recommend packing over a rolling tray or table, so that you can save any herb that falls.
How to smoke a bong?
Everyone can use a bong but smoking a bong so it hits smooth instead of rough requires practice.
First, make sure that your mouth forms a seal with the mouthpiece. You don’t want to put your mouth around the edges, it’s best if your lips form a seal from the inside. As you breathe in and the bowl starts to cherry — turn red — the smoke will fill the chamber.
If you want a smaller hit, remove the bowl sooner and breathe in as slowly as you can. Regardless, you should expect a bong to hit harder than a puff from a joint but it should be significantly less harsh than hitting from a pipe if done with technique.
How to hit a bong?
As previously mentioned, how to smoke out of a bong is fairly simple. The most important part is to consider how big of a hit you want.
Bongs hit stronger than a joint, blunt or pipe does so be prepared for that. If you want a smaller bong, don’t let the herb cherry for long and breathe in more slowly.
If you want to properly clear the bong so that the next person doesn’t have stale smoke, lighting it for less time will ensure that you can fully clear the smoke that accumulates in the bong without taking in too big of a bong hit. Now you know how to properly hit a bong!
How to use a gas mask bong?
A gas mask bong essentially creates a mini hot box all for yourself. Simply fill the bong with water as you normally do, attach the mask to the bong and pack a bowl.
Then, put the mask over your face, light the bowl and clear the smoke from the chamber. You’ll know if the gas mask bong is working if it fills with smoke but doesn’t push smoke back into the bong when you exhale.
Be careful not to knock over your bong and release the straps once you’ve had your fill.
How much water to put in a bong?
It’s often the case that you put too much water in your bong and get lots of splashback because of it which begs the question: how much water do you put in a bong? All you need is enough for the downstem and its slits to be submerged, nearly a ½ above .
How to clean a bong with alcohol?
Generally, the best and most common way to clean bongs requires alcohol. Using a mixture of 1 cup of isopropyl alcohol and 4 tbsp you’ll be able to get rid of the smoky smell, stains and enjoy clean hits from here on out. Once you’ve filled the bong with the cleaning solution it’s best to shake it a few times, then let it sit. To make sure the mixture doesn’t escape, you can cover the openings by wrapping rubber bands around small towel clothes over the mouthpiece and bowl hole.
How to clean a bong without alcohol?
If you want a more natural way to clean your bong, you can swap out alcohol for a mixture of distilled white vinegar and baking soda. You can follow more detailed steps along with the exact proportions on how to clean a bong without alcohol here.
Regardless of if you clean your bong with or without alcohol, you’ll want to make sure you rinse it with warm water a few times so that it’s fully cleansed before smoking it again
How to clean a bong bowl?
Another method to clean both your bong and bowl is to fill your sink basin with boiling water. After you’ve added salt and the water has cooled off slightly, place both your bong and bong bowl in the sink. Let the glass sit until the water completely cools down, remove the pieces and use a pipe cleaner or brush to remove the sticky, hard to remove residue that remains.
Can you use hydrogen peroxide to clean a bong?
Hydrogen peroxide is bleach. Technically, you can but we definitely wouldn’t recommend it because it leaves an awful aftertaste. A mixture of isopropyl alcohol and coarse salt remains the long-standing best way to clean your bong safely and effectively.
How to get rid of bong water smell?
A mixture of 91% or 99% isopropyl alcohol, coarse salt and a freshly squeezed lemon will do the trick. Just shake the mixture inside the bong’s chamber for 5 minute then follow-up with a thorough rinse of warm water and soap.
How to clean a plastic bong?
You can clean a plastic bong just as you would a glass bong. See how to clean a bong with alcohol.
How to clean a percolator bong?
Percolator bongs are notoriously more complicated to clean. You can start by using the method described under how to clean a bong with alcohol, then continue with these tips for how to clean a bong with percs specifically.
Since percs can be more complicated to clean it’s best to let the cleaning solution sit inside the bong for longer than other style bongs, roughly 1-2 hours. You can use res caps to flip the bong upside down and let the solution work it’s magic. Give it a final rinse with warm water and soap and use long cotton swabs once it’s cleared for harder to remove resin buildup.
How to make a bong?
If you’re caught in a bind, there are many ways to make a bong, from water bottles, apples or even rose petal blunts if you simply want to get high and don’t need the force of the bong to be with you.
Learning how to make a homemade bong is essentially a right of passage for stoners. It would be an entirely different matter if you had run out of weed. On the other hand, the possibilities are endless with ganja on hand and the two most common homemade bongs are a water bottle bong or apple bong, which are made from materials easily found in your home.
How to make a water bottle bong?
We would bet good money you have a water bottle somewhere in your home, even if it’s in your kitchen recycling bin. That said, learning how to make a bong out of a water bottle is one of the easiest ways to smoke if you don’t have rolling papers or a bong on hand. You can check out the steps to make a gravity bong here.
How to make an apple bong?
An apple pipe is a natural makeshift pipe that is made using a pen or anything that can poke a hole into it. Make sure the apple is fresh, remove the stem and bore a hole through the top halfway through.
Then, make a second hole ½ inch up from the bottom of the apple. Bore a third hole in the side which will meet with the hole pierced through the middle and become the carb. Carve a bowl at the top, pack it and it’s ready to smoke!
Why do bongs get you higher?
Bongs tend to get you higher simply because the hits are smoother so you inhale more than you are able to via other methods like a pipe. You can learn more about the science behind why bongs get you higher here.