Bongs: The Ultimate Guide (2019)

We get it:

bongs header image

They come in all different shapes, sizes, and types as well. You could buy a glass bong, a silicone bong, a mini bong, a helix bong, a beaker bong… shit, there are even gravity bongs. The list goes on and on.

Luckily for you, we’ve been ripping bongs day and night to find the best bongs on the market.

Sure, we may have lost a few – hundred thousand – brain cells along the way, but we have just enough left to write this article.

Without further ado, let’s jump right in!

Oh, and if you think you’re too high to read this, just remember something:

I was too high to write, but I did it anyway.

This bong may look simple, but it works incredibly well. Don’t believe us? Check the reviews!

In addition to a bad ass percolator, this bong also has ice notches which can be used to cool down the smoke passing through the neck of the bong.

Lastly, this bong doesn’t have a carb hole – also known as a shotgun. Instead, you simply remove the bowl piece to clear the bong.

This bong also has ice notches, and they’re placed pretty low on the bong’s neck. This way, you can fill the entire neck with ice cubes from the bottom up.

Think about it:

The more ice you have in the stem, the more surface area there is for the smoke to make contact with the ice, and thus the cooler your smoke will be.

This bong from Black Leaf has a sleek design and a large base. Best of all, it has three bad ass honeycomb percolators placed throughout the body of the bong’s neck.

Each one of the honeycomb percolators filters and diffuses smoke that passes through it, breaking it up into bubbles. The resulting toke is silky smooth, easy on the lungs and throat, yet it’s still smackalicious and powerful.

Silicone bongs are made with FDA approved food-grade silicone, which won’t melt or give off any fumes when you’re using the bong. The bowl piece is made of metal, so your lighter’s flame won’t melt the silicone either.

Silicone bongs are a convenient way to smoke – whether you want to take your piece to the top of a mountain or in your car, a silicone bong is the on-the-go stoner’s best friend.

This mini bong is pretty cheap – for less than $20, you’re getting some pretty bad ass glass. It has a large base for water and smoke to collect, and a curved neck.

We especially like this feature, because it keeps your mouth away from the bowl piece.

Otherwise, your face would be too close to the bowl and lighting the bong without burning yourself or at least irritating your face would be difficult.

All in all, this mini bong punches above its weight class, delivering the best high for your supply!

Best Bongs

Let’s take a look at the best glass bongs on the market.

PIC Bong Type View
best percolator bong Black Leaf ELITE Perc Bong Percolator Read More
best beaker bong Glasscity Beaker Ice Bong Beaker Read More
best honeycomb bong Black Leaf Triple Honeycomb Bong Honeycomb Read More
best silicone bong PieceMaker Kali Silicone Bong Silicone Read More
best mini bong Amsterdam Bouncer Mini Bong Mini Read More

What is a Bong?

According to Wikipedia:

A bong is a filtration device generally used for smoking cannabis, tobacco, or other herbal substances… A bong may be constructed from any air and water-tight vessel by adding a bowl and stem apparatus (or slide) which guides air downward to below water level whence it bubbles upward ("bubbler") during use.

In other words, a bong is a stoner’s best friend.

There are dozens of different kinds of bongs, made from different materials, with different percolation devices, sizes, designs, etc.

Nevertheless, just about every single bong on the market all have one thing in common:

Water is used to filter and the smoke which gathers in a large chamber, until the carb hole is uncovered or the bowl is removed and all of the smoke is pulled into the lungs all at one time.

Needless to say, bongs are an incredibly efficient way to smoke marijuana. They deliver the best high for your supply, and it’s easy to take fat ass rips that get you high as shit.

Stoner Story

On the first day of college, I moved into my dorm.

My Resident Advisor (the guy who lives on my floor who’s supposed to make sure residents are following the rules) told us that we weren’t allowed to have weed in our rooms, much less smoke it.

What did my friends and I do next?

We went to the bathroom, put a towel underneath the door, turned on the shower, put the vent on full blast, packed a bowl, and ripped a bong.

Needless to say, we were baked pretty quickly. We blew all of the smoke in the vent and got away with it.

We thought we were slick, but in reality, our entire floor reeked… Everybody knew we were in our bathroom, 420 blazing.

Turns out our RA was a badass, smoked weed too, and didn’t really care.

What’s the bottom line here?

Now I’m trying to convince our RA to toke with us.

To be continued…

When you rip a bong correctly, you’ll feel the hit going straight to the dome.

The bigger the bong, the more smoke you can pull in each hit. If you’re an OG stoner with lungs of steel, you might even be able to smoke an entire bowl in one giant hit.

Benefits of Using a Bong

Smoking out of bongs has multiple benefits as opposed to other methods of smoking.

For one, water pipes are very effective at conserving cannabis when compared to rollables like joints or blunts. By corner hitting your bowl packs, you can keep that pack green for multiple hits.

Smoking with wraps also consumes the flavor of your cannabis, whereas water pipes retain the taste of the particular strand you’re toking on.

guy hitting a bong

By using a bong, you also filter out polar contaminants as your smoke passes through water.

In addition, water cools your smoke down a bit — adding ice to your water strengthens this effect even further, and if your bong has ice notches, every hit will be cool and frosty!

Lastly, bongs can collect a ton of smoke in their chambers before you remove the bowl and clear the bong, meaning you can take bigger rips and, as a consequence, get way higher.

Do Bongs Get You Higher?

Yeah, bongs get you higher than pretty much every other piece, aside from a dab rig.

With the right attachments, however, you can turn any bong into a dab rig. Bongs are awesome!

How Does a Bong Work?

You pack a bowl, rip the bong, clear the bong, and get baked. That’s pretty basic.

If you’re the kind of person who likes to delve deeper and you want to hash out the details, we’ve created a guide about the science behind bongs.

We cover everything from the benefits of percolation to the chemistry behind it, and we even touch on diffusion.

So, if you find yourself asking how a bong works, check out the guide!

How Do You Clean a Bong?

Bongs can get pretty dirty after prolonged use. Nobody wants to hit a bong with dirty bong water.

Moreover, little bits of grime and shit will collect in the smoke chamber. It looks gross, and it makes the smoke taste gross.

That’s why it’s important to clean your bong regularly, especially if you don’t want your room to smell like bong water.

It may seem like a pain in the ass, but once you learn how to clean a bong quickly, it’s actually pretty quick and painless.

What Are The Best Types of Bongs?

There is no one “best” type of bong per say, but you may like one type of bong more than another.

In this part of the guide, we’re going to take a look at all of the most popular bong types on the market today.

Tube Bong

tube bong

A tube bong is pretty standard, and it’s probably what most people picture in their head when they hear the word “bong”.

Most of them have a cylindrical neck with an opening on the top (the mouthpiece) that goes from the top of the bong down to the base.

Tube bongs are usually basic and don’t always have the fancy features of other bongs, although if you shell out a bit of extra cash for a premium bong, you can definitely find some pretty nice tube bongs on the market.

Tube bongs are reliable, easy to clean, and they hit hard too.

Percolator Bong

Although all bongs percolate your smoke through the use of water, percolator bongs have diffusion devices, or percs.

These percs are usually made from glass and are welded in a water chamber of the bong.

There are a ton of different kinds of percs, but they are all designed to force smoke through small openings (holes or slits).

percolator bong

These openings split smoke bubbles, which increases surface-to-volume ratio of your body of smoke.

An increased surface-to-volume ratio actually strengthens percolation—by dividing smoke bubbles, bong water can cool smoke temperature, increase hydration, and filter polar contaminants more easily.

So all in all, percolator bongs are like all other bongs, but they further diffuse your smoke for stronger percolation.

Beaker Bong

beaker bong

Beaker bongs are near and dear to my heart – the first bong I ever had was a beaker bong, and it was my daily driver for a long time.

Beaker bongs don’t usually involve any fancy contraptions or percolators.

Rather, they look like a beaker you’d find in your chemistry class, but it’s a lot bigger and meant for smoking weed.

Also, your chemistry teacher probably wouldn’t give you a pat on the back if he saw you using one unless of course, he’s Walter White, in which case your chemistry teacher is an absolute badass.

As opposed to tube bongs which have a straight tube from top to bottom, beaker bongs have a large, added chamber at the bottom for extra smoke. Since the bong has more volume, it also has more potential for a bigger hit.

Helix Bong

helix bong

A helix bong can be virtually any type of bong. What makes it a “helix bong” is the incorporation of a Venturi chamber.

Let’s begin with the “funnel” shape of the Venturi chamber. ”Venturi” refers to the Venturi Principle (otherwise referred to as the Venturi Effect), named after late Italian physicist, Giovanni Battista Venturi.

Essentially, it is defined as an inverse association of gas or fluid pressure with the velocity of flow or restriction of passage.

In other words, the Venturi Principle is at play in these helix bongs because of the air intake holes force or restrict the smoke to the center of the pipe as it flows through the mouthpiece.

This is what allows the iconic helix pipe tornado to take shape.

helix tornado effect

Simply put, within every helix bong’s chamber, there are three micro air-intake holes. So, as you take a hit, air also enters the bong through those holes.

This, in turn, cools the air and sort of “filters” it, creating a smoother smoking experience all-around. While the smoke is cooling, the intake holes simultaneously force the smoke to flow through the center of the chamber.

This is what creates the iconic condensed stream of smoke.

Another added advantage of helix bongs is their sheer efficiency – they’ll help you conserve your weed, delivering the best high for your supply. The smoke is preserved in the chamber, meaning nothing goes to waste.

Each “hit” can turn into two or three. This will allow you to save on herb and maximize the efficiency of your cannabis consumption.

Silicone Bong

silicone bong

Most people think bongs are only made from glass, but that’s not the case.

Although the majority of bongs on the market today are glass bongs, some are made from other materials, including silicone.

Silicone has an incredibly high melting point of 572° F (300° C), so you don’t have to worry about silicone melting or inhaling any harmful chemicals.

In fact, most high-quality silicone bongs use FDA approved silicone that’s deemed to be safe for use with cooking and food.

Silicone bongs are especially handy for on-the-go smoke sessions. They’re usually smaller in size, and thanks to their silicone construction, they can even be folded up and stuffed into a bag with ease.

Okay, so they’re portable, but do they get you high?

In short, the answer is yes, yes they do.

One of my college buddies and his girlfriend both had silicone bongs that we often used to hotbox their car. Saying I was stoned is an understatement.

Mini Bong

mini bong

A mini bong is a smaller version of a regular glass bong, and they are usually around 5 inches tall. In general, glass bongs are made from glass or acrylic, but there are also mini silicone bongs on the market as well.

Mini bongs’ small form factor is definitely their most appealing characteristic. Sometimes it’s nice to have a small piece that still gets you high as fuck. Moreover, mini bongs are usually more cost-effective than other bong types, making them great for stoners on a budget.

Recycler Bong

recycler bong

Recycler bongs are one of the most efficent ways to inhale your ganja, as they use advanced technology to improve upon the concept of a traditional water pipe. Recycler bong hits are smooth and more enjoyable than almost any other bong on the market.

Recyclers prevent nasty bong water from splashing into your mouth, something that can ruin an otherwise awesome smoke session.

In a traditional bong, the smoke is only diffused through a percolator (or two, or three percs, depending on your bong) one time before gathering in the collection chamber.

A recycler bong, on the other hand, sends the smoke back down to the diffusion chamber over and over again until you’re ready to clear the bong, making for one of the smoothest, most enjoyable smoke sessions. Since the smoke is so smooth, you can rip the bong for a longer period of time and inhale more smoke into your lungs without your lungs or throat becoming irritated.

What’s the bottom line here?

Recycler bongs get you really high, without making you want to die!

Gravity Bong

gravity bong

Gravity bongs aren’t generally sold online – instead, most people make their own gravity bongs. Although, you can buy gravity bongs online, and they’re crafted to perfection.

They’re not hard to make – all you need is a large container for water, another container for smoke, and something to use as a bowl piece.

The smoke collection chamber is placed in the container of water, with weed packed in the bowl.

Next, the smoke collection chamber is slowly lifted out of the water while the weed is simultaneously lit with a lighter.

By lifting the smoke collection chamber, air is sucked through the bowl piece, and the chamber fills with thick, milky smoke.

Honestly, despite gravity bongs looking a bit ghetto, they get you high as fuck. This cheap method of smoking is economical, easy, and surprisingly powerful.

If you make a gravity bong, you’ll make your weed go a long way. One rip from a gravity bong, and you’ll be on your way to the moon.

Ice Bong

ice bong

Unfortunately, an ice bong isn’t made from ice.

That’s actually probably a good thing, considering it’d melt and ruin your weed…

An ice bong can be any bong with ice notches at the top.

You’re supposed to pop a few ice cubes through the mouth piece, and they’ll be caught by the ice notches towards the top of the bong’s neck.

After your smoke passes through the water and percolators, it’ll also have to pass through the ice in the bong, which will only cool down the smoke even more.

Check out our ice bongs page if you want to learn more about frosty smoking.

Toker Tip

If you also add ice to your bong water before you pour it in the bong, your hits will be extra frosty and smooth.

When this tip is used in combination with ice notches, you'll be able to take rip after rip without burning your throat or your lungs.

Water Bottle Bong

water bottle bong

Water bottle bongs are great when you’re in a pinch. Don’t have a piece at the ready? Make one!

You can use so many different kinds of bottles – 2 liters, water bottles, juice bottles, etc.

All you need is a bottle, a bowl piece, and a downstem.

Sure, a water bottle bong doesn’t have any fancy percolators, nor does it employ any advanced recycler technology, but it’ll still get you pretty damn high, and they can be made on the fly.

Honeycomb Bong

honeycomb bong

Honeycomb bongs come in all different shapes and sizes – what they have in common, however, is their percolators.

Honeycomb bongs have perforated discs in their chambers that resemble a honycomb. They provide more diffusion than regular percolators, making for a nice, smooth hit.

By using the surface area of the glass to force smoke through multiple holes in the honeycomb discs, the smoke is diffused and filtered, making for a cleaner, cooler, and more enjoyable hit.

Bongs for Beginners

Things to Look Out For

Type of Bong

When it comes to deciding which type of bong you’ll bring to a smoke session, there are a ton of variables you should consider.

At the end of the day, though, it really comes down to personal preference. If you’re a beginner in the bong world, it is going to be difficult to figure out which type of bong is your favorite.

After smoking for a while, on the other hand, you’ll become more familiar with each type of bong, how they hit, and you’ll develop an opinion about each kind.

Practice makes perfect, as they say!

Size of Bong

The size of the bong is going to have a significant impact on how much smoke you can inhale per hit. A bigger chamber will allow more smoke to gather before you clear the bong.

In addition, a bigger bong is also harder to transport and conceal. If you often find yourself smoking on the go, you might want to purchase a smaller bong.

Believe it or not, even small, silicone bongs – which happen to be great for toking on the go – can get you pretty high.

I can fondly recall some of the fattest bong rips I’ve ever taken; they were from a silicone bong in my friend’s car. We hotboxed a bit too often and didn’t study often enough…

Oh well!

Number of Percs

In general, if your bong has a lot of percolators, it’ll probably hit more smoothly than another bong. We actually have a whole guide about percolation if you want to check it out to learn a bit more.

Anyway, percolators use diffusion to make your hits more tolerable. Bongs without any percolation devices tend to be a bit harder hitting, and they may cause more discomfort in your throat.

3 percolator bong

My first bong was around a foot and a half tall, and it had two honeycomb percolators. That thing hit like a dream!

I could practically rip the entire bowl without feeling much discomfort in my throat. Keep in mind that, in addition to the number of percolators the bong has, you should also consider the type of percolators as well.

Type of Percs

There are so many different kinds of percolators to choose from, all of which are going to have a different effect on your hit.

Bong Material

Bongs come in all different shapes, sizes and, you guessed it, materials.

Most bongs on the market today are made from glass, but you can also find bongs made from other materials, such as silicone.

Glass bongs are most popular because they look good, and glass is safe to smoke out of. Unfortunately, it’s also easy to break, especially if you buy a cheap bong made in China, as they tend to be made with thin glass.

acrylic vs glass bong

If you’re buying a glass bong, make sure it’s thick and durable.

Silicone bongs are pretty handy – they hit well, they’re usually small enough to be carried with you, and they can’t break like glass. Best of all, most silicone bongs can be folded up and stored in a bag or a backpack, which is great for easy transportation.

In all honesty, the bong’s material won’t have a huge effect on the quality of the bong’s hits, but it will have an impact on the bong’s overall experience. You don’t want to buy a bong made from cheap glass that will easily break.

Bowl Piece

Before you buy a bong, take a look at the bong’s bowl piece. You don’t want a bong with a bowl that’s too small – if that’s the case, you’ll find yourself packing it over and over after every single hit.

Try to find a bong with an average to large sized bowl piece. This way, you can pack a bowl and pass the bong around a few times before you have to pack it again.

best percolator bong

It’s also important to make sure the bowl piece’s hole isn’t too big. Many pieces sold online are advertised as “tobacco pipes” even though they’re clearly bongs or bowls for weed.

In any event, tobacco bowls tend to have bigger holes. If you try to pack a bowl with ground up weed (which is recommended if you’re using a bong), you don’t want your weed falling through the hole and collecting in your bong water.

The first time I bought a piece, it was actually a small glass bowl. The hole was way too big, so I had to use smoking screens to cover it up. It’s basically a tiny little screen that you insert over the hole. It catches weed and lets smoke through, basically solving the issue.

Still, it’s kind of annoying, and easily avoidable. Get a bong with a bowl that’s meant for weed. Checking the size of the bowl and its hole in the bottom may seem strange or a bit extra, but trust me, you’ll thank me later.

Ergonomics

Something that is ‘ergonomic’ is designed to be used comfortably by humans. For example, an ergonomic chair provides proper neck and lumbar support, both of which are crucial for healthy posture.

When it comes to bongs, it’s also important to consider ergonomics. You don’t want a bong that’s hard to hit due to an awkward design.

For example, a poorly designed bong may require you to stick your face right next to the bowl piece where you’ll be using a lighter. Nobody wants a flame in their face.

Other bongs may be hard to hold, especially while you’re trying to hit it.

A great way to determine a bong’s ergonomics is reading its reviews. If people write about the bong being difficult to use and hard to handle, you should probably steer clear.

Discreet Shipping

This one is pretty important, especially if you’re living with your parents and you don’t want them to know you’re smoking weed.

discreet packaging

Even though weed is harmless, some people still think poorly of stoners. If you – for any reason – don’t want people to know about your smoking habit, then you need to buy from an online headshop with discrete shipping.

Most online headshops (including all of the headshops Smokephisticated recommends) have discrete shipping. Rather than mailing a box with a bong or a pipe on it, they seal it up tightly and ship the package in another brown cardboard box.

Nobody – not your mom, your girlfriend, or your postman – will know what’s in your package.

Ratings/Reviews

We know this one kind of goes without saying, but we had to throw it in any way.

Before you buy anything online, whether it’s a new laptop, a backpack, or a bong, you should be reading the reviews before you buy.

Online reviews are the best way to figure out if a product is right for you or not.

Naturally, the person or company who is selling something online – in this case, a bong – is going to gas it up. They’re not going to point out the product’s flaws.

If you want the truth, if you want to know about the product’s pros and cons, you should see what people who’ve already tried it out have to say.

As a rule of thumb, you probably shouldn’t be buying products with a rating below 4 stars, and even then you should comb through the reviews to make sure it’s a solid product.

Bong Price

Bongs can vary significantly in price. Before you start looking for a bong, determine how much you are willing to spend on it.

You can usually find pretty good bongs on a budget if you’re short on cash, but if you’re buying a bong, it’s because you want a great smoking experience.

It may seem a bit over the top to spend a few hundred on a premium bong, but you definitely get what you pay for. If you’re already shelling out for a bong, you should be getting a good one.

Still, the most important thing is getting the best bang for your buck. You should be more concerned with performance per dollar, as opposed to merely sheer performance. You can get a great bong for $50, and you can also get a great bong for $500. It all depends on your budget.