Bongs, bongs, bongs! Everyone remembers their first bong. An overpriced beaker bong (probably) you bought at your local smoke shop. Long gone are the days of overpaying for simple bongs!
With the power of the internet you now have access to thousands of reasonably priced bongs. But with so many different options it can be intimidating to choose. How can you be sure you are making the right choice?
This guide will explain ALL the types of bong materials and designs so that you can make a decision that is perfect for you. Read carefully to make sure you leave understanding every single type of bong!
With this guide as well as our guide on how much bongs cost you will never overpay for a subpar bong again!
Different Types of Materials Used to Make Bongs
Before getting into the nitty gritty about specific bong features, we first have to understand the different types of materials that can be used in a bong.
We will start this article by discussing the pros and cons of the 5 most popular bong material. Just keep in mind, there are much more than 5 materials that can be used for a bong. In reality, nearly anything that can hold water could be used as a bong (more on this later!)
Glass Bongs - Our Clear Favorite
This is the most common and simply the best material to make a bong out of. Glass bongs take the award for the best bong material to date.
You can see the smoke pass through
They don't affect the taste of the smoke
They are easy to clean over and over again.
Glass bongs are the gold standard for all bongs and water pipes. The main downside of glass bongs is that they can look quite gross if not cleaned often. So make sure to clean your glass folks! They are also not indestructible and can break if dropped.
Higher Quality Glass: Scientific Glass or Borosilicate Glass
Despite Glass bongs being the clear favorite here at Golden Leaf, there is no denying that there are different levels of quality to glass. These will typically be determined by the thickness of the glass.
If you're looking for the next step up in quality, make sure you are buying "scientific glass" or "borosilicate glass" bongs. This type of glass does not react as much when exposed to rapid changes in temperature and is therefore much stronger than regular glass. Some glass bongs are so thick that they can be thrown without breaking!
Silicone bongs are relatively new in the bong market, but they are quickly becoming the preferred choice for many stoners. A huge benefit of silicone bongs is that they are indestructible, making them the perfect option for those of us who are clumsy or just don't want to deal with broken glass ever again.
Another benefit of silicone is that it is resistant to heat, so the bong can be used over and over again. Many silicone bongs also come with a "dishwasher safe" guarantee, making them very easy to clean and maintain.
Despite silicone being a great option for a life-long indestructible bong, there are a few downsides to using this material. For one, silicone bongs lack the beauty and aesthetic of a hand blown glass piece, causing many glass heads to talk down on silicone bongs.
Another apparent downside of silicone bongs is that that they rarely come with additional filtration methods like percolators or multiple chambers. Regardless, silicone bongs act as a great starter bong or even a travel bong that you can put in your backpack, just make sure it has a glass bowl!
Acrylic Bongs are usually nothing fancy, just a straight plastic tube with a metal bowl. These bongs are highly durable and are probably the cheapest out of any material on this list.
These bongs can be brightly colored and may have a carb on the back to help clear smoke from the chamber. Although these bongs deserve a spot in stoner history, I think everyone would be happier with a glass or silicone piece.
Despite the limited advantages of an acrylic bong, they are perfect when you need a lightweight and indestructible bong as in the case of the gas mask bong. A silicone or glass bong may be too heavy and therefore uncomfortable in this case.
The main disadvantage of acrylic bongs is that usually come with metal bowls which can compromise the taste of your herbs. Also, it is difficult to clean and the plastic may become damaged under high temperatures.
Most stoner's in the 21st century may have never encountered a metal bong, and there is a good reason for that. Although these bongs are highly durable, they can have a negative impact on the taste of the smoke.
These metal bongs can be from aluminum, brass, steel or other materials. In reality, there is no real benefit to metal bongs compared to the other types of durable bongs such as the silicone bongs or acrylic bongs. These are generally better options if you are looking for a very affordable option.
Another downside of metal bongs is that you cannot see into the chamber, so you cannot prepare for the size of hit you are about to take. This is another reason that glass bongs are our preferred type of bong here at Golden Leaf.
Ceramic bongs are typically the rarest out of the materials we have mentioned but they deserve a spot on this list because of their unique style and beauty. Not to mention, archeologists have found ancient pipes made of clay and pottery, making ceramic a time-tested smoking material.
These types of bongs will vary greatly in shape and color and can also be very expensive depending on the artist that made them. Ceramic bongs are durable, thick and rare to come across.
The one drawback of using a ceramic bong is that it is opaque, meaning you cannot see through it. Similar to the silicone and metal bongs, you won't be able to see how large of a hit you're taking, so be prepared!
Different Types of Bong Designs and Features
Now that we understand the different types of bong materials, we are now going to moving onto the different types of bong designs and features.
It may look like a long and complicated list, but don't worry, we have provided pictures as well as simple explanations that anyone could understand!
Beaker Bongs are one of the most popular types of bong and for good reason. They are stable, tough, easy to understand and they get the job done every time.
The wide, flat base in a beaker bong keeps it in place so you don’t have to worry about knocking them over. In addition, they are usually made of thick glass to add to the durability.
The most simple beaker bong will consist of just a stem and a glass bowl. More advanced beaker bongs may feature an ice catcher, multiple chambers, and various percolators. One drawback to beaker bongs is that they can be harder to clean because of the wider base.
Straight Tube Bongs
Straight tube bongs are exactly what they sound like, they’re just a tube or bong featuring one straight chamber of blown glass. They are simple water pipes, and allow for easy cleaning and maintenance.
These bongs can come in various shapes and sizes, but they are usually taller ranging from 10 inches to even two feet or more! Straight tube bongs can have ice catchers, percolators, multiple chambers and other cool features.
One drawback to straight tube bongs is that they are usually less durable than their beaker bong counterparts. This is due to the thinner base that a straight tube bong will have.
Round Base Bongs
Round base bongs have a very similar design to beaker bongs except their water chamber is significantly larger. They have a round water chamber, while remaining flat on the bottom.
One advantage to round base bongs is that round base allows for more water to be used, which can provide better filtration and smoother hits.
These bongs are typically paired with Zong Bongs or “zig-zag” bongs, which will be explained later in this article.
A percolator bong is any bong that contains at least one percolator. These are a must have for anyone that wants the cleanest and purest taste they can get. These bongs are usually more expensive but are definitely worth it.
The term "percolator bong" covers a wide variety of different bongs. The next few sections will dive deeper into the most popular types of percolators and what they look like.
A general rule for percolators is that the more holes it has = the smoother smoking experience.
Tree Percolator Bong
A tree percolator bong is any bong that contains a tree perc. A tree perc looks like a tree with a main stem in the middle and several branches surrounding it.
The smoke travels up the main stem in the middle and then flows out of each branch causing the smoke to "diffuse" or split. These branches may also have several holes/slits at the end which will further diffuse the smoke.
These, along with showerhead percs, are some of the most popular bong features. They are a step above regular beaker bongs in terms of smoothness.
One disadvantage of tree percs is that they are harder to clean than a regular bong, but nothing the right bong cleaner couldn't take of. Another disadvantage of tree percs is that they are prone to breaking when they are made of cheap or thin glass.
Showerhead Percolator Bong
This bong has a percolator that resembles a showerhead. It looks like a disc with small holes and slits attached to a vertical tube. Showerhead percs are some of the most common percolators on the market today.
These percolators are a great option for someone who is new to percolators and looking to get something simple that they can understand. Showerhead percolators can normally be found in bongs that are not too expensive.
Honeycomb Percolator Bong
Widely considered to be the best form of filtration in bongs, the honeycomb perc is an amazing option for any bong. Honeycomb percs are exactly what they sound like: a small disc with dozens of holes to diffuse the smoke.
A big advantage of using honeycomb percolator bongs is that they don't affect the drag much, making the chamber very easy to clear.
Honey comb percolators are typically mixed with other percolators because of their small size. These percs can even be stacked on top of each other to create double or even triple honeycomb bongs. Imagine how smooth that would be!
Inline Percolator Bong
An inline percolator bong is a specific type of bong characterized by a long horizontal chamber with slits for smoke to pass through. These bongs are great because they offer amazing smoke filtration without sacrificing any airflow.
These bongs are typically larger in size and therefore more expensive than your average bong. Inline percolators are commonly found in multi chamber bongs mixing various types of percolators together.
Matrix Percolator Bong
This is any bong that uses a matrix percolator, the BEST PERCOLATOR available today (or at least my personal favorite).
The matrix percolator combines a disc percolator and a showerhead percolator to give you the smoothest hit you have ever taken in your life. It looks like a 360-degree mesh that turns your smoke into thousands of little bubbles.
These bongs are incredible if you are looking for maximum smoke diffusion. The smoke must pass though numerous little holes which allows for that instant cooling effect.
If you are interested in experiencing this mind-blowing smoothness for yourself, check out our double matrix bong by aLeaf that contains not one, but two matrix percolators!
Multi Chamber Bongs
These bongs will typically look intricate and difficult to understand to the novice bong user. A multi chamber bong is any bong that holds water in more than one compartment.
Multi chamber bongs are typically larger and more expensive than your normal beaker bong, but trust me, it is worth every dollar. Once you smoke out of a multi chamber bong you will never want to go back to your single chamber bong.
These multi chamber bongs will usually have various percolators throughout the bong ensuring that every hit is extremely smooth and milky. These bongs provide superior filtration and diffusion.
These bongs don't stop at two chambers. Multi chamber bongs can have three, four, five or EVEN MORE chambers depending on how smooth you want your hit to be. These are the best option for someone who is chasing a smoother hits.
A recycler bong utilizes a very unique form of water filtration, and no, its not made from recycled materials. These bongs get their name because they recycle the water through multiple chambers.
When you hit a recycler bong the water travels from the main chamber to another chamber. And once you finish the hit the water will slowly make its way down to the original chamber.
This means that the smoke is filtered twice with the same water, leading to a much smoother hit. These bongs are typically more expensive than a regular one but they are well worth it because they can provide massive hits without needing a huge chamber or a ton of water.
Cyclone, Tornado or Vortex Bongs
Cyclone bongs are a truly mesmerizing thing to watch. These bongs are special because they cause the water to swirl around in a spiral pattern. These bongs can also be called tornado or vortex bongs.
Not only are these bong fun to watch, but they are also extremely functional. The spiraling of the water causes the smoke to be cooled much faster, leading to very smooth hits.
A mini bong, also known as a small bong or a mini water pipe, is a smaller version of the traditional bong, which is used for smoking cannabis or other herbs. Mini bongs are typically smaller in size and can be more portable and convenient for individuals who are looking for a more discreet smoking option. Despite their smaller size, they still manage to produce equally the same strong hit as any full-sized bong making them a very popular choice.
They may also be less expensive than larger bongs, which is great for someone who is looking for a budget friendly option. Some mini bongs may also come equipped with percolators, ice catchers, and diffusers to cool and filter the smoke. Because of their compact size, there is more stability when handling the bongs.
Although mini bongs will produce a comparable hit to their larger counterparts, the downside to mini bongs is that they will not have the same levels of filtration due to having less water. For this reason, it is recommended to find a mini bong with a percolator or some other type of filtration to enjoy a smooth hit.
A bubbler is like a bongs little brother. Not to be confused with a "mini bong," a bubbler typically does not have a removable bowl or stem. It is basically a larger version of a hand pipe that you can add water to.
Although a bubbler is not technically a bong, we still had to include it on this list just to point out the difference. Bubblers are usually inexpensive, but like any bong on this list, they can certainly go up in price depending on the craftmanship.
Benefits of a bubbler is that they are highly portable and discreet like a regular pipe, but they offer superior filtration due to the ability to add water. The disadvantages of using a bubbler is that they won't have as much filtration (because of less water) as a standard bong. And they get dirty pretty quickly.
Zong Bongs - Zig Zag Bongs
A Zong bong is a type of bong that is characterized by its unusual bent shape. The bent design works to help cool and filter the smoke as it travels through the pipe, creating a smoother hit and a more pleasant smoking experience. The design is also intended to make the bong more aesthetically pleasing.
Zongs are considered a unique and artistic bong design that is also functional. The cool design allows more space for the smoke to cool down and avoids any splash back of water. That extra space and extra water also allows larger hits because the chamber can be preoccupied with more smoke.
A glycerin bong is a type of water pipe used for smoking marijuana or other herbs. Glycerin is a clear, odorless, and sweet-tasting liquid that is frozen before use to provide a cooling effect to the smoke. This will make the smoke less harsh on the throat and lungs providing a smoother hit.
It works by freezing faster and staying frozen longer than water, plus there is no added pressure placed on the glass of the bong because glycerin does not expand or contract. This is a better alternative than to add ice to your bong.
To use a glycerin bong, start by placing the bong in the freezer. Once, the glycerin is fully frozen, you are ready to enjoy a smoking experience like no other.
Coil Bongs are bongs that feature a coil, a spiral like feature for smoke to travel through. These bongs may or may not contain glycerin.
A coil extends the amount of time the smoke has to travel, therefore allowing the smoke more time to cool. Also, they look dope.
A gravity bong is a type of homemade smoking device that uses the force of gravity to pull smoke into a chamber. It can be made from a variety of materials like plastic bottles or containers and typically a bucket of water or a sink. There are two types of gravity bongs, bucket bongs and waterfall bongs.
A bucket bong is made by cutting the bottom off of a plastic bottle, creating a bowl on the top and sticking it through the lid of a bucket. The bucket is then filled with water, and the bottle is lit while slowly pulling it out of the water, creating a vacuum that draws smoke into the bottle.
It should be noted that gravity bongs are often considered to be less efficient and less healthy than traditional bongs. They can produce a lot of smoke quickly, which can be overwhelming for some users who want to preserve their cannabis.
Waterfall Gravity Bong
On the other hand, a waterfall bong is made by punching a hole near the bottom of a plastic bottle and filling it with water. The bottle is then placed in a larger container of water, such as a sink or a bucket, and the hole is covered with a finger. The finger is then removed, and the water flows out of the bottle and into the larger container, drawing smoke into the bottle as it does so.
A laser bong is a type of bong that uses a laser to vaporize the substance being smoked. This allows for a unique, visually stunning, and smooth smoking experience.
Currently, the most popular and widely used laser bong on the market today is the Hitoki Trident. This type of bong works by firing a concentrated laser beam into the weed. It is a more concentrated hit than a lighter causing a stronger vaporization of the herb. Laser bongs are known for producing a smooth and compact hit that really packs a punch.
Heady bongs (or heady glass) is a term used to describe very high-end bongs. These pieces feature various bright colors and small unique details to make one-of-a-kind breathtaking art. Heady bongs are also handmade by glass blowers.
These bongs combine beautiful art with smoking functionality, but just like real art, they can be extremely expensive. Heady glass bongs can range anywhere from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. Some of these more expensive pieces are better left on a shelf than to be used for daily or even weekly smoking.
The advantages to having a heady piece is that they are beautiful and great conversation starters. They can also be passed down as lifetime pieces just like a painting or another piece of art would. The cons of Heady Bongs are their high price tag and that some of the more detailed and complex designs are prone to break easily.
Dab rigs deserve a spot on this list because: any dab rig can be made into a bong and every bong can be made into a dab rig. The only difference is the piece at the end.
Dab rigs have a nail or banger at the end instead of a bowl. They are typically smaller and contain lots of percolators because concentrate smoke can be rather harsh.
A dab rig setup contains a lot more pieces than a bong setup and if you're interested in learning more check out our guide on how to use a dab rig.
Home Made Bongs (DIY Bongs)
The last type of bong we will be discussing in this guide is the home made bong or home made pipe. Most of us have long since upgraded from making our own bongs but it still deserves a spot on this list.
Homemade bongs can be made of fruits and vegetables such as apples, bananas or even pumpkins. They can also be made from bottles, cans or anything you can get creative enough to use.
The main drawback of using homemade bongs is that they will quickly deteriorate and they may be hazardous to your health depending on the material you use.
Summary of the Types of Bongs
Overall, as you can tell by this article, bong technology has came a long way from just beaker bongs. In the end, its important to remember that a bong is just a tool for smoking herbs with water filtration. As complicated as they may get, they all serve the same purpose.
Here are our Key Takeaways:
Glass Bongs are the best overall bong material
Silicone Bongs are a great option if you want something that does not break
Bongs with percolators will provide smoother hits. The more percolators the better
Laser Bongs and Heady Bongs are perfect for someone who wants a cool and unique piece (and has the budget for it!)
Bongs come in all types of shapes and sizes with various different features. Determine your budget and find something that works for you!