Bong Buyers Guide: Are you looking to buy the perfect cannabis smoking device but not quite sure of how or where to start?
Maybe you’re trying to move up from one-hitters to owning a smoking apparatus. Today, we will explore ways to identify and purchase the best smoking devices in the market.
Enter the bong… A timeless solution to getting high and the most reliable ally in any smoke gear collection. It is a specially designed water-based filtration tool that allows users to inhale filtered, cool marijuana hits with each use.
But then, what type, style, or bong design is ideal for you?
Perhaps you have tried out a couple before that just didn’t work out, or maybe this would be your first time buying a brand new water pipe. Choosing the perfect bong & pipe is a bit similar to buying a vehicle. There are lots of brands and every brand features different models with diverse characteristics. Wandering across the numerous bong-filled aisles of your neighborhood smoke shop or scouring various online weed shops can turn out to be an overwhelming task.
Between understanding the appropriate lingo, concluding on the sort of piece you seek, and figuring out the amount of money you’re willing to pay for it, there are a few things you should be aware of before you fully commit. To answer any questions you may have, we developed this ultimate guide to the best water pipes and bongs, which can serve as a buying guide as well as a handy resource.
Our online shop has bongs and water pipes of different designs and prices, and we are sure you will find a piece you will love.
Let’s begin by defining exactly what kind of item we’re talking about. The bong is essentially a water-based filtration device that produces cooler, smoother and cleaner smoke fumes. By inhaling smoke from dry herbs via a water filter, heavy particle residue along with any water-dissolving molecules is prevented from entering your respiratory canal. Bongs – also known as water pipes – are different from regular hand pipes since hand pipes can be used dry (without adding water).
Whether we’re talking about bongs that are 4 feet tall or hand-held bubblers, there is something special about bongs that simply can’t be experienced with a joint, blunt, or dry pipe. Water pipes are an excellent way to elevate your favorite leisure time activity to full-scale hobby status. Because who wouldn’t love inhaling monster-sized puffs while hearing the crackling water sound. Bongs aren’t popular for their ability to deliver extra intense highs alone; the cool water offers additional filtration and a pleasant cooling sensation to the smoke that is entering into your lungs.
The result is healthier and smoother smoke sessions. Although water pipes are available in a wide array of shapes, sizes, and designs, they all have 3 characteristic features in their assembly.
The Water Chamber: The bong’s base is a bulbous water chamber, which serves as a filter and coolant so that the smoke inhaled feels smoother on your throat and inside your lungs.
Tube: After the smoke has passed through the water in the chamber, it then flows upward within a long, vertical tube and outwards via a mouthpiece.
While these long tubes are usually straight, some bongs are made with elaborate water chambers that will filter the smoke even further and also endow the piece with artistic beauty.
Downstem: This is a slanting stem that protrudes out of a tiny hole located on the tube. The foot of the vertical stem rests inside the water chamber whilst at the top, it flares into a small bowl (to hold the dried herbs).
The downstem draws the smoke and air inside the water as you inhale, which generates bubbles.
Bong History and Culture
The bong is most likely the oldest, most traditional method of consuming cannabis. It is a time-honored, must-have weapon in the arsenal of any true stoner that can be kept in drawers, underneath study notes, hidden in old boxes and shoved between books. Bongs have also featured in several cult-classic movies, being inhaled and handled by many renowned personalities for generations. The first bong use ever recorded was in the African and Asian regions. Some of the earliest bong discovered were excavated from Ethiopian caves and were reportedly used over 2,000 years ago.
The word “bong” actually originated from the Thai expression “buang” which referred to a cylindrical wooden pipe, container, or tube which was cut from bamboo and intended for smoking tobacco or hashish in the region. The widespread use of water pipes started in China and went on throughout the entire 16th century Ming Dynasty period. Bongs have since then been redesigned, transported and distributed to retail stores, online web stores, and tobacconists worldwide.
Today’s water pipes are a trendy and effective way to participate in THC burning sessions and they are available for a few dollars (simple designs) or thousands of dollars (handcrafted glass bongs featuring a triple filtration design). It is believed that the “bong renaissance” happened during the ’70s when glass bongs became more popular than peace signs and bell-bottom jeans. The whole modern-day “bong movement” has been credited to one chap, Bob Snodgrass, the artisan who manufactured and sold a unique type of glass bongs while he followed The Grateful Dead music band on tour.
Bongs have since been used in many student dormitories, and 75 percent of college campuses nationwide. For decades, water pipes have been the favored technique among most adults to swiftly inhale pieces of dried marijuana flower. Today water pipes are still trending and they are manufactured in various shapes sizes, colors, and designs. The most common is probably the glass bong which can be shaped or blown into anything the maker’s mind can imagine.
Are Bongs Legal?
The bong is classified under federal law as drug paraphernalia, making it illegal. On the other hand, there are a few factors that should be established before you can be arrested for having one. If you’ve ever been inside a tobacco store, you may have observed glass bongs on display under the name tag “water pipes,” along with a sign which states that the objects are strictly for tobacco use. There is a significant reason why retailers are doing this.
Any item that can be used to consume illegal substances is recognized as drug paraphernalia; marijuana use is still prohibited under federal law, despite individual state laws. Hence, items that facilitate marijuana consumption, like glass bongs, are categorized as drug paraphernalia. By referring to glass bongs as water pipes and stating that they are for tobacco use only, stores can market these items without breaking the law. However, if an officer of the law wants to detain you because of your bong which you are claiming is a water pipe for smoking your tobacco, you might or might not avoid arrest.
Your detention would depend mostly on whether the police officer believed your story. If you were indeed detained and your case was taken to court, a major deciding element would be if any marijuana residue was found inside the water pipe; meaning you would have to clean your pipe thoroughly for this defense to hold water. However, state laws vary on the issue of Drug Paraphernalia. In a few states, you would have to be caught selling or transporting glass bongs across state borders to get arrested. In other states, any drug paraphernalia found in your possession is illegal; meaning you can get arrested for carrying your glass bong around.
It is always a good idea for you to be aware of drug paraphernalia laws in your locale. States that are less strict with marijuana regulation are also typically more relaxed regarding paraphernalia. Still, if you constantly clean out your bong while calling it a glass pipe, that defense would be viable even in states with strict drug paraphernalia laws, although you will likely be more comfortable tucking away your bong in a safe place to avoid the hassle completely.
There are also Potential Penalties for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. If you are charged with drug paraphernalia possession, you may end up paying a fine or even spend up to 12 months in jail. Jail time is not likely, however, especially if it is your first crime. The charge is usually a misdemeanor, and you will only be required to shell out a fine if you are found guilty. Note that more severe penalties can be imposed on you depending on the conditions of your case. Such heavy penalties are meant for repeat offenders.
You would also be eligible for harsher penalties if you were caught with your bong in a school district. To evade any legal issues, keeping your bong concealed would be in your best interest. Should you be detained for possessing a bong, you must consult with a capable attorney to prepare your defense properly. Your lawyer might be able to dispute that it was indeed a water pipe, therefore, your arrest was unwarranted.
What Makes A Good Bong?
Just like other regular purchases you make, when you want to buy a new bong, you really should consider some major factors which can determine value:
Size – Does bigger always mean better? Not necessarily! Perhaps this is where you should pay attention to your specific needs. Some people prefer larger bongs (at least 2 feet tall), while others want to buy bongs that are suitable for travel.
If you are always on the move, you ought to consider getting a travel bong. Here are some relevant questions you could ask yourself: Storage? Will you have to keep it in a cabinet, on a bookshelf, or place it like a prized trophy on your coffee table? What inhale size are you comfortable with? This is a direct association between your bong’s height and degree of the draw needed to clear it. A few folks have Herculean lungs, while others prefer taking two or three puffs to get their fix, but most people prefer a single seamless experience.
What happens post-smoke? If you’re a newbie to the bong game you might want to be mindful of your inhale levels so you can stay buzzed while going through your daily routine rather than being restricted to a couch. Until you have defined your needs and fully matured your smoking style stay away from bigger, more complex bongs. Smaller bongs are more user-friendly. Even after you’ve assembled a large collection of water pipes of different shapes sizes and designs, a smaller, well-chosen bong will likely be your preferred partner when partaking in an early morning toke.
From our experience, most stoners prefer water pipes of between 8 to14 inches. These are large enough to pack a solid punch, but also small enough to be convenient and realistic.
Durability – Durability is key!
The major difference between the brief lifespan bongs and the bong that never dies is borosilicate glass. Borosilicate glass is integral to high-quality bong construction – think ‘Pyrex’ with its ability to withstand rapid changes in temperature and its firm hefty feel. Previously, stoners couldn’t afford borosilicate water pipes; fortunately in this golden era of bong-making that no longer applies. Also, bear in mind that you can always improve a basic but sturdy bong with elaborate attachments. Flared bases and beaker bases are also features that can stabilize your bong against tipping over.
Beaker bases also amplify the water filtration process by expanding the water’s surface area for the smoke to fizz through. In contrast, flared bases, are common features on inline silhouettes or straight stems which provide a sturdy foundation for the bong to sit on; the broader, the better.
Percolators are cool miniature enhancements that assist with bubbling toxins away while ensuring that your inhales are cool and smooth through diffusion.
Since the main reason for you opting for a bong instead of a dry pipe or a joint is due to the filtration feature, this should be one of your primary concerns. Percolators come in solo, dual, or tri-perc configurations – depending on your preference. They are also available with slit designs at the foot of the downstem. Since there are numerous types of percolators on today’s market, stoners can also mix and match!
YouTube can be an excellent resource for newbies. When you have narrowed down your choices, try to watch some perc users on YouTube before giving it a go. This is because occasionally the percolator specs may look impressive and perfect, but the truth is that certain percolator combinations will increase the resistance (which means your inhales will need much more effort rather than an easy, smooth draw).
Something you might want to remember as you’re being wooed by percolator power is that added perks will make it harder for you to get inside and clean out your device. You should try to keep the pipe unencumbered with a maximum of two diffusers and boost the percolation levels with an attachment as an alternative.
The best way to ensure that your bong will last for as long as possible is by cleansing them frequently and changing the water inside as often as each use.
For stoners who consider this a bit too unrealistic, your best bet would be a water pipe that allows you to reach inside for a good scrubbing. Some characteristics that allow users to deep clean are maneuverable size, a detachable downstem, and fairly simple shape (rather than several nooks and crannies and complicated percolator combos). Another great way to keep your bong low maintenance is preventing build-up by attaching an ash catcher.
Give your new bong an added boost with an assortment of practical attachments that will slide straight into any available joints or slots. When choosing your attachments, always ensure that you select one with matching bracket size (measurement in mm) and angle (typically 45 to 90 degrees). Water pipe attachments help to trap dirt within an easily maneuverable container, boost diffusion, and prevent users from becoming indifferent to the same old style.
We mentioned ash catchers briefly for improved cleanability; here’s the inside scoop. Ash catchers maintain your device’s cleanliness by collecting fallen ash particles before they can enter any tight crevices on your beloved new bong. Lots of them have capabilities beyond just dirt prevention, such as extra percolation.
When you want to sample concentrates without purchasing a full-concentrate kit, try out a nail/dome water pipe attachment. You might also be surprised to discover a fair amount of quality dual-function bongs now entering the market.
These are attachments that are positioned between the water pipe and the bowl. They add extra levels of cooling power to your bong. Pre-coolers can function as additional perc, recyclers, or both! Their designs range from modest to exaggerated silhouettes that can get bong enthusiasts drooling.
If you’re looking to purchase a suitable bong or custom-build your smoking apparatus from scratch, we fully recommend buying a bong mat to serve as a safety measure. Consider it as your pipe’s home base. It may leave, travel with friends or let off smoke, but it will always return home.
Aesthetic and brand reputation – After all the considerations highlighted above (size, durability, percolators, and cleanability) we arrive at which brand reputation and aesthetic are ideal for you! While we love supporting up-and-comers, a stoner’s first foray into buying a top-quality water pipe is not the right time to try unknown brands.
There is always a good reason why certain brands have turned out to be household names – either for unique innovation, quality construction, or even both! Karl Termini is a perfect model of a brand which tried-and-true stoners continue to patronize for their remarkably simple yet first-rate silhouettes. The consequence of investing in well-established bong-making brands boils down to sturdiness and perfect joint construction that will not waste your precious dry herbs by allowing smoke to escape through the seams.
Glass water pipes are highly regarded among stoners. Glass has become the most popular bong making material among manufacturers.
Why We Like Glass: Glass generates a cleaner taste because the glass material doesn’t mix with the smoke at all. Using glass bongs makes it easier for you to observe smoke building up within and it also allows for easier cleaning. Users can even insert ice cubes or snow inside the pipe to enhance the chilled smoke experience. These advantages make glass bongs fairly expensive when compared to similar pipes made using other materials.
Glass based Bongs are our default recommendation for smoking dry herbs. Our top pick is the Clear Micro-Castle from Karl Termini. Its clean, transparent, and functional design is widely established in the stoner community because it has extra smooth percolation action.
Another beautiful piece manufactured from borosilicate (heat-resistant) glass, is the Zhou Dynasty Vase Bong. It offers users a more refined method of bud smoking. Its pitch-black color is highlighted with a complex floral blueprint with a gold-flake design which makes it a gorgeous item in any stoner’s bong collection. This pipe will deliver gentle, cool, inhale, giving users unrivaled opulent smoking experiences. It also looks ornamental enough for decorative purposes.
Ceramic bongs tend to be slightly heavier and stronger than pipes made from other materials. At the same time, they are generally fragile and are not ideal for travelers. Why We Like Ceramics: Ceramics can be easily customized; therefore, ceramic-based bongs are available in various shapes and designs. Ceramic pipes are great for use during special occasions or for display purposes. Our top for pick in the ceramic bong category is the Vase Water Pipe from the Zhou Dynasty.
Bamboo – Bamboo pipes are well-known. Bamboo bong designs range from rudimentary to elaborate. These bongs are popular for their durability and they do not influence the smoke’s taste in any way. Still, they require lots of Tender Love and Care to ensure that they last for a long time.
Silicone – Silicone bongs are virtually unbreakable. They can be dropped countless times, and still, remain well pieced together. The only breakable components on these highly durable bongs are usually just the downstem and bowl: if those are made of glass, they won’t be too costly to replace. When buying a silicone-based bong, we highly recommend that you get some spare glass downstems and bowls to fit it. Twistable, foldable, and bendable, silicone water bongs are nearly indestructible; making them a perfect for carnivals and outdoor environments where bongs often take a beating. These bongs are usually available in two sizes and numerous colors. The only breakable components are the bowl and downstem, which are made of glass.
Plastic – This is arguably the second most common bong-making material. Plastic is ideal for people looking for more affordable bongs that offer excellent durability. They are perfect for traveling since it is very difficult to break or shatter them, unlike ceramics or glass. The only disadvantage with plastic pipes is that they are liable to interfere a little with the flavor of your smoke.
Bong Shapes and Styles
Bongs today are available in various shapes, styles, and sizes, which makes it difficult for stoners to discern the benefits of each. Below are some of the most popular bong designs:
Straight tube bongs – These are the simplest, most common designs available. They come with a simple tube that is sealed at one side with a bowl and a stem sticking out of the other end. Simply pour a small amount of water inside the tube, put your dry herbs within the bowl, and puff. It’s that simple. A great example is the Fumed Flower Tube from Karl Termini. Why do we like it? This old-school classic bong looks like it was dipped in silver and gold. It was hand-blown by Karl Termini, the renowned pioneer with over 20 years of bong-making experience.
Beaker-shaped bongs – These bongs look almost like straight-tube water pipes except that their bottom flares into a cone-shaped design which is similar to a beaker from where it derives its name. The beaker bong is steadier than its straight-tube counterpart since it comes with a larger bottom. The smoking process remains the same: simply add water, marijuana, plus a spark and you’re all set. A great example is the Pleasure Point Slate bong.
Round-base bong – These water pipes look like beaker bongs because they have a base that is wider than the mouthpiece and the tube. Round-base pipes, as the name implies, have spherical water chambers with a flat pedestal. They offer more stability than straight-tube pipes, but they are a little less stable than their beaker bong counterparts since their flat base is smaller. Despite their shape – straight, round, or beaker – the basic procedure of use remains the same.
A great example is the Chongo Marble water pipe.
Why We Like It: This bong represents a timeless piece of cannabis culture. The Chongo Marble water pipe feels like an instrument made during the early ’70s, but it performs like any modern bong.
Carburetor bongs – These water pipes are equipped with a tiny hole somewhere in the middle.
Lots of stoners feel that carburetor bongs deliver a much more powerful high than regular bongs. This is probably because, when you remove your finger from the hole, the carburetor allows for a fresh flow of air inside the bong. This fresh air will propel the smoke rapidly into your throat and lungs, making it easier to breathe in the entire contents of the bong.
Multi-Chamber Bongs – Also known as recycler bongs, these multi-chamber water pipes have a straight tube that is separated into 2 chambers linked by a third chamber or tube.
Both lower and upper chambers contain water ensuring that the smoke gets filtered twice. The outcome is smoother and cooler smoke than any of the other straight, round-base, or beaker bongs can provide. This is also why they are more expensive and difficult to clean.
Percolator bongs – These can appear like any of the other shapes mentioned above.
What makes them different is their percolator component. A percolator is a small bit of glass that scatters the smoke before passing through the water to cause a bubbly effect inside the bong. By dispersing the smoke it will cool it faster and filter it better. The complex nature of this water pipe makes it more expensive and difficult to clean.
You may fabricate a simple bong substitute by using household items such as water bottles, fruit, candy, snow, and building blocks. They may not appear as nice as proper water pipes, but they will deliver the goods in a pinch.
The Bucket Gravity Bong – These water pipes depend on the vacuum left behind by water whenever it exits an enclosed space. You’ve seen them at collage parties and at that one friends house who smokes the most.
The Waterfall gravity Bong – These bongs are related to bucket gravity pipes except that the bottle is pulled up to generate a vacuum, and the water is drained from the bottom.
We are confident that this ultimate bong guide has provided you with enough information on how to get the perfect smoking apparatus. Be sure to visit our bong store for your superior quality water pipes.