Ganja Guides

Bubbler vs. Bong – What’s the Difference?

bubbler being smoked

Bubblers and bongs are both water pipes, but there are lots of differences between the two. No matter the specific glass or design you want, knowing the the differences between a weed bubbler vs bong will help you make the best choice. That way, you can buy the right piece according to your stoner desires.

Photo: Unsplash

Biggest Difference Between a Bubbler and Bong 

The main difference between these two smoking vessels are the size and appearance. There are a lot of similarities between the two devices, however knowing the ins and outs of  bubbler vs bong functions will help you decide which option is the best for you. 

How Does a Bubbler Work? 

A bubbler is small or medium sized and looks like a hybrid between a regular pipe and a bong. It has a spout to inhale from, which connects directly to the top of the base. The bowl piece also directly connects to the other side of the base.  In other words, you won’t find a bubbler with a removable downstem; the stem and bowl are built into the piece itself. When lighting up your cannabis, the smoke will quickly filter through the water, bubbling up and bringing the smoke into your mouth. Unlike bongs, many bubblers have a carburetor like a pipe does, so that you can cover the hole and let the smoke build up before exhaling.

woman with a bubbler
A bubbler like this may look similar to a bong, but it works differently (Source: Unsplash)

How Does a Bong Work?

On the other hand, a bong is similar to a hookah in which the chamber sits at the very base of the piece. In addition, the downstem and bowlpiece sit at the bottom of the chamber, while the neck stretches up to connect to a mouthpiece. Both the bowl piece and downstem are usually detachable, and you’ll need to pull the bowl out of the downstem when taking a hit to allow to the smoke to travel up towards your mouth. 

man smoking from a bong on couch
Bongs specifically require more steps when smoking, such as removing the bowlpiece to inhale (Source: Pexels)

Bubbler Vs. Bong High

Both bubblers and bongs work in a similar way, where water filters the weed smoke at the bottom of the piece. However, bubblers deliver quicker hits that may take longer to kick in. While a bubbler’s smaller size provides a mellower high, it’s still great for any stoner who likes to take regular weed breaks or just wants a quick but still moderately strong high. Bongs are different in that the hits really pack a punch. The high sets in very quickly and can be intense for those who haven’t used one before. Neither high is better or worse than the other. It just depends on what type of high you prefer. Still, if you’re still a little confused on the specifics of each smoking accessory, this video is a great visual aid that also breaks down the basics.

This video goes through the important differences between a bong and bubbler.

What are the Pros and Cons? 


  • The entire vessel is connected. Therefore, a bubbler can be easier to clean than a bong because there are less pieces to disassemble and scrub. 
  •  Bubblers come in different shapes and sizes. You can opt for Sherlock style bubbler, which looks a lot like an extended pipe with a thicker base to hold water in. On the other hand, there are also bubblers that look more like bongs, but without a downstem inside it. 
  • They are more durable and portable because of their smaller size. You don’t have to worry about everything clanking around and breaking while on the go. 
  • Bubblers deliver a medium level high. This is because of the less intricate build and smaller size. While this may be great for casual or beginner smokers, experienced stoners may want a more potent hit from a piece. 
  • The smoke emitted has a less smooth taste because of the way the smoke hits your mouth faster. Still, it’s a great option for many weed smokers. 


  • With a bong, you can be sure that you will get very high after a hit or so. The thicker glass and all around larger shape makes bongs a great choice for someone who wants a high that’s out of this world. 
  • You can fill a bong with water from either the mouthpiece or the downstem, making refilling a bit more convenient. 
  • Bongs will deliver hits that are larger in volume and smoother in taste. This is because the downstem drags the smoke down further into the water. Also, the larger chamber allows a bong to hold both more water and smoke. 
  • Often, these are harder to clean because of their size and multiple pieces. You may have to disassemble each piece carefully to ensure that they don’t get stuck inside the glass.  
  • Because bongs are less durable than bubblers, they’re also harder to transport. It may not be a great on-the-go staple, but having a bong at home makes for awesome highs on the couch. 

The Choice is Yours!

Now that you’re well versed on the many differences (and similarities) between a bubbler vs. a bong, you can make the best choice depending on your needs. There are so many pieces with amazing designs to choose from. And now you won’t get confused when choosing the ideal vessel for you.


About Olivia

Olivia, our Oakland-based cannabis guides writer, graduated from the University of California Berkeley with a Bachelor's degree in Interdisciplinary Studies. She's an independent writer, cannabis enthusiast and Sales Lead at her local dispensary. She's also a recent grad, history buff, and has a passion for animals. You can reach her at [email protected].