When it comes to smoking devices, bongs are one of the most popular choices. With so many different types, materials, styles, and brands available on Headshop.com, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one for your needs. This beginner’s guide will help you make an informed decision by breaking down each category.
In our Bong Buyer’s Guide, you'll learn how to choose the right bong based on your preferences. Whether you're looking for a tall straight tube bong that offers the biggest rips or something smaller and more discreet that you can take with you on the go, you'll have a better idea of your next steps by the end of this blog post.
You’ll learn about all the different factors to consider when choosing a bong, as well as all the different types of bongs, materials, styles, along with the advantages and disadvantages of each. And, depending on what type of bong you prefer, we'll help you choose a bong based on your preferences. Whew, we have a lot to cover in our Bong Buyer's Guide!
Why You Should Read Our Bong Buyer’s Guide Before You Buy a Bong
Have you ever bought a bong that you ended up being disappointed with? It’s a fact that not all water pipes are created equal. Depending on what type of experience you're looking for or how you plan on using your bong, the best bong for every individual will vary.
One of the reasons it’s so important to choose the right bong for you in the first place is because some online headshops and brick and mortar stores have strict no-return policies on glass. Why? Because glass is fragile. Even a tiny micro-abrasion can lead to a broken bong. And, it’s hard to tell whether or not the bong has been used. Most stores aren’t willing to accept a return of a tainted bong, so you’ll be stuck with your purchase. So, in order to make the right purchase, we're happy to ease any doubt you might feel about how to choose a bong. Our Bong Buyer’s Guide will give you the confidence you need to shop for the right bong the first time around.
Now, let’s dive into what to look for in a bong!
Bongs come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and styles, so there are a lot of different types of bongs. Different types of bongs are designed to offer different smoking experiences. Some bongs are designed to provide a smoother, cooler smoking experience, while others are designed to maximize the flavor of the smoke. Additionally, some bongs are designed for convenience, portability, or aesthetic appeal. Ultimately, the variety of bongs available allows users to find the bong that best suits their needs and preferences.
- Glass Bongs: These are the most popular type of bongs and you can get them in a wide range of shapes and sizes, even decorated with colorful designs. Glass bongs are easy to clean, and their transparency allows you to see the smoke as it fills the chamber.
- Silicone Bongs: These bongs are made of food-grade, heat-resistant silicone, which makes them very durable and easy to clean. Silicone bongs are easily portable. The silicone body may come in a variety of colors and have either a straight or beaker shape.
- Acrylic Bongs: These bongs are made of plastic and are the most affordable option. However, they are not as durable as glass or silicone bongs and can be harder to clean.
- Ceramic Bongs: These bongs are made of clay and are often handcrafted in various colors, shapes, and sizes, making them a great choice for those who want to express their individual style. Ceramic bongs are unique, but fragile and can break easily.
- Metal Bongs: A metal bong is a smoking device typically made from metal, such as stainless steel, aluminum, brass, or copper. Metal bongs are very durable and vary in size and shape.
Bong materials vary for a number of reasons, including aesthetic appeal, durability, heat resistance, smoke filtration, and cost. Different materials provide different smoking experiences and can add to the overall enjoyment of using a bong. Some materials are better suited for beginners while others are better suited for experienced smokers.
- Glass: Thick American-made borosilicate glass is the most common material used for bongs because it is easy to clean and doesn’t affect the taste of the smoke.
- Silicone: Silicone is a durable and flexible food-safe material that is nontoxic and can withstand high temperatures.
- Acrylic: Acrylic is a type of plastic used for bongs that is affordable but not as durable as glass or silicone.
- Ceramic: Ceramic is a delicate material that can break easily, but it can also be beautiful with unique designs.
- Metal: Metal bongs are durable, easy to clean, don’t retain any odors, offer cooler hits, and come in a variety of styles and sizes.
There are many different styles of bongs available because different shapes and styles can provide different levels of performance. Some bongs are designed with unique shapes that allow for more efficient smoke filtration, while others are designed to be easier to use and to look more aesthetically pleasing. Additionally, certain bong styles can also be used to enhance the flavor and strength of your smoke.
- Straight Tube Bongs: This is the most common style of bong, featuring a straight cylinder with a bowl and downstem. Straight tube water pipes are just straight tubes. They’re a classic choice - particularly for those who love huge rips, as these can stack a lot of smoke in the tube! However, they’re less stable - and are more at risk for being knocked over.
- Beaker Bongs: Beaker bongs have a wider base that narrows as it goes up, giving them a stable foundation and allowing for a larger smoke volume. They also offer great filtration. Beaker bongs are also easier to clean because of their shape.
- Bubblers: The main difference between bongs and bubblers is that bubblers are much smaller than bongs. This makes bubblers more portable, more discreet, and more appealing to smokers who like to take smaller hits.
- Ice Bongs: Ice bongs use an ice chamber as a cooling agent to provide a cooler, smoother smoking experience as the smoke passes through the ice chamber and is cooled before being inhaled. This results in a cooler, smoother smoke that is easier on the lungs.
- Percolator Bongs: Percolator bongs use an additional percolator to disperse smoke and water as it passes through the chamber. The percolator acts as a filter, diffusing and cooling the smoke, resulting in a smoother and more enjoyable smoking experience. Percolator bongs can be made from glass, ceramic, or silicone.
- Gravity Bongs: These bongs use gravity to pull the smoke down into the water chamber. There are two types of gravity bongs - bucket gravity bongs and waterfall gravity bongs. Both offer a unique smoking experience that you'll have to try for yourself to understand! This kind of bong takes more setup than the other styles.
Bong accessories are items that enhance the smoking experience and make the bong more customizable. Some common bong accessories include replacement parts, cleaning supplies, downstems, glass bowls, ash catchers, percolators, ice catchers, diffusers, and adapters.
- Bowls: Bong bowls or slides are typically made of glass and have a wide, hollow base with a stem extending down from the center. Bud is placed into the bowl and lit, allowing the smoke to fill the bong and be inhaled.
- Ash Catchers: Ash catchers are accessories that fit between the bong and the bowl. They are designed to catch any ash or debris before it reaches the bong water, keeping your bong cleaner and your smoke smoother.
- Flavored Bong Water: Flavored bong water is infused with various flavors, such as fruit, candy, or other types of flavoring and used in bongs to enhance the flavor of the smoke.
- Pokers: Bong pokers are smoking tools that include bong pokers, bong brushes, and bong scrapers. Pokers are used to break apart and handle weed that is smoked in a bong.
- Lighters & Wicks: Bong lighters are usually refillable lighters designed for lighting bongs with a long wand-like shape. Bong wicks are used to light the bong bowl, which helps to ensure a consistent flame and a cleaner smoke.
- Cases: Bong cases are designed to make it easy and safe to transport your bong or water pipe between locations. They typically feature a durable exterior with interior padding to protect your bong from any bumps or drops.
- Cleaners: Bong cleaners are products designed to clean out bongs and usually come in the form of a liquid solution, which can be added to the bong and agitated to remove resin, oils, waxes, and other residue.
- Screens: Bong screens or filters are small, perforated metal or mesh discs that are placed in the bowl of a bong to keep the contents from entering the water chamber, preventing the user from inhaling unwanted ash.
The size of your bong should be based on what kind of experience you're looking for and how you'll be using your bong. For instance, if you want a water pipe that you can easily take with you on the go, look for something small and discreet.
However, if you're looking for a tabletop bong, there are more options. Now, consider your preferences: The biggest, most intense rips or the smoothest, cleanest hits.
When it comes to sizing your bong beyond portability, you should consider how different sizes perform. Tall bongs can deliver bigger hits than mini bongs (but they can also be more harsh). Many people prefer smaller bongs, those under 12 inches tall. Smaller bongs are not only smoother, cleaner, and easier to hit, but they also offer more flavor. If you really crave the taste of the complete flavor profile of your flower, go for a smaller piece.
How to Choose a Bong Based on Your Preferences
Now, considering all the above factors, you should be feeling more confident about choosing a bong based on your preferences. We know that your budget is a consideration as well. Premium quality glass can get expensive; however, this is not a purchase you should skimp on. You could end up paying more in the long run by replacing a cheap glass bong than if you invested in a quality glass piece in the first place. Here are a few things to think about:
- If you prefer small hits that are smooth and flavorful, then go with a small glass bong.
- If you prefer lung-busting hits that push all the limits, then a large bong is your best bet.
- If you plan to keep your bong on the coffee table at home, then a large glass bong is the way to go. But, if you want to take your bong with you whenever and wherever you go, then go with a smaller bong made of shatter-proof glass, stainless steel, and/or anodized aluminum.
- If you want to be able to smoke flower AND dab concentrate from your bong, then you’ll get more versatility with a smaller piece.
If you can follow through on the above insights, it shouldn’t be a problem for you to choose a bong that meets all your criteria. Keep reading if you’d like a few brand recommendations, although we carry most of the top brands.
- GRAV Labs is a popular brand that offers a wide range of high-quality glass bongs.
- Marley Natural is a premium brand that offers both glass and wooden bongs.
- Prism is a brand known for high-quality custom modular glass bongs.
- Eyce specializes in silicone bongs that are durable and affordable.
- Chill and Freeze Pipe specialize in ice or chiller bongs for ice cold hits.
- VITAE Glass and Stündenglass offer high-end glass and gravity bongs respectively.
- My Bud Vase is a brand that offers artisan-made ceramic bongs disguised as vases.
In conclusion, when choosing a bong, consider the type, material, style, and brand. Headshop.com offers a variety of options to fit every budget and preference. We hope this Bong Buyer’s Guide helps you make the right choice!