How to choose a bong?

May 16, 2023

A bong is a device used for smoking tobacco or other mixtures, filtering and cooling the smoke for a smoother experience. Choosing the right bong, available in various sizes, materials, and designs, significantly impacts your smoking experience. This article covers the key components of bongs, different types, usage, and maintenance tips for long-term quality.


What is a Bong?

Historical Overview of the Bong.

Bongs have deep historical roots, their predecessors appeared thousands of years ago in various parts of the world. However, the word "bong" comes from the Thai term "baung", which means "wooden pipe". The earliest bongs known to mankind were discovered by archaeologists in various parts of Asia and Africa. With the advent of new materials and technologies such as glass and acrylic, bongs have become even more diverse and accessible.

Explanation of How a Bong Works.

A bong, in its classic form, is a device for smoking tobacco and various mixtures. Its main parts include a bowl, which serves as a water reservoir, a vertical tube (shaft) connecting the bowl to the mouthpiece. The bowl usually takes the form of a beaker, a ball, or it can be straight. When the mixture is ignited (in the bucket), you should apply your lips to the mouthpiece (the place where the smoker inhales the smoke after it has passed through the water) and take a drag, covering the turbo hole with your finger (usually located near the bowl). The smoke passes through the diffuser joint (a pipe that connects the bucket where the smoking mixture is placed to the bowl) and enters the bowl with water, where it cools and filters before rising up the shaft and into the user's lungs.

Advantages of Using a Bong Compared to Other Smoking Devices.

One of the major advantages of using a bong compared to other smoking devices is the water filtration system, which not only cools the smoke but also filters out larger particles that might otherwise end up in the smoker's lungs. This results in a cleaner, smoother, and more refined smoke, which many users find more enjoyable and less irritating.


Main Types of Bongs.


A variety of materials are used to create bongs, including wood, bamboo, clay, ceramic, acrylic, glass, silicone, and metal. The most in-demand are bongs made of borosilicate glass, as they do not absorb odors and are easy to clean. Let's take a closer look at the most popular materials:

  • Acrylic or Plastic Bongs: These bongs are lauded for their durability, lightness, and affordability. They're an excellent option for beginners or those who need a robust and travel-friendly bong.
  • Borosilicate Glass Bongs: Known for their premium quality, borosilicate glass bongs are favored for their excellent flavor preservation and visual appeal. They're usually clear or colored, allowing users to watch the smoke's journey. 


  • 10-20 cm: Mini bongs, ideal for travel and easy cleaning, but potentially harsher smoking due to less efficient smoke cooling.
  • 20-35 cm: Medium bongs, balancing portability and functionality. More effective smoke filtration and cooling than small bongs, providing a smoother experience.
  • 35-45 cm: Large bongs, less portable but offering superior functionality. Enhanced smoke filtration and cooling, often with additional features like percolators.
  • Over 45 cm: Extra-large bongs, stationary home pieces with maximum smoke filtration and smoothest experience. Require more cleaning effort and lung capacity.


  • A beaker-based bong is favored primarily for its stability. Its design, which tapers towards the bottom, provides a wider base and increases the stability of the bong, minimizing the risk of tipping.
  • A round-based bong offers a larger water capacity, which can help smooth and cool the smoke before inhaling, providing a more pleasant smoking experience. This makes the smoke smoother and tastier.
  • A straight-base bong provides simplicity and functionality. This design facilitates the cleaning and maintenance of the bong, as it doesn't have complex bends or angles. Moreover, it provides a quick and direct path for the smoke, allowing for greater concentration and flavor intensity.

Upgraded Bongs.

Let's tell you a little about the main upgrades for bongs:

  • Precooler (Ashcatcher): An ashcatcher is an additional chamber that can be attached to a bong; it provides extra filtration and cooling of the smoke before it enters the main chamber. An ashcatcher enhances the smoothness of the draw but complicates the cleaning process. An ashcatcher may include a percolator.
  • Percolator: A percolator is a device used in a bong that diffuses smoke into small bubbles, increasing the surface area, making cooling and filtration easier. While a percolator significantly enhances the smoking experience, it can make the bong more fragile and challenging to clean.
  • Ice-catcher: These are indentations in the bong tube that hold ice cubes for extra cooling of the smoke. Ice-catcer provide smoothness and coolness to the smoke, but they can sometimes hinder air flow if the ice blocks the tube.
  • Kick-hole: A kick-hole in a bong provides control over air intake, allowing the user to adjust the intensity of the draw. This can ease inhalation and help achieve optimal smoke intensity.
  • Splash guard: A splash guard or Dome percolator in a bong is a feature designed to prevent water from the base of the bong from reaching the smoker's mouth during use. It's essentially a barrier between the water chamber and the mouthpiece, enhancing the smoking experience by ensuring that only cooled, filtered smoke - not water - is inhaled.


How to Choose Your Own Bong?

When choosing a bong, consider your budget, as prices can range from inexpensive to high-end pieces. The size and shape of the bong should align with your lifestyle and preferences, with smaller pieces for portability and larger or beaker-shaped ones for stability and a smoother smoke. Material is also a key factor, with choices like glass for durability and clean taste, and plastic for more robustness. Features such as percolators and ice pinches can provide smoother, cooler hits, though they may require more maintenance. Ultimately, the selection should reflect your personal aesthetic and practical needs, balancing appearance with functionality. 


Tips for Caring for Your Bong.

How Can I Clean My Bong?

Regular cleaning is crucial to maintain the performance and longevity of your bong. Start by disassembling your bong. Use specialized cleaning solutions, one of the most effective and versatile being isopropyl alcohol, which can also be handy for other household needs. There are also powder cleaners that can be mixed with hot water inside the bong. Use brushes to scrub the interior surfaces. Once cleaned, rinse thoroughly with warm water and let it air dry.

How Often Do I Need to Clean the Bong?

The answer to this question will depend on how often a person smokes. However, it is recommended to change the water in the bong as often as possible, because pieces of ash settle in it, and it gets dirty quite quickly. With moderate consumption, you can clean the bong once a week, but if you smoke very rarely, this period can last for months.

As in any wet and damp environment, standing water in a bong, similar to water pipes, is prone to the effects of bacteria and fungi. Have you ever noticed pink film or black spots that appear in the shower or bathroom? This pink film is a fungus, and some of the same kinds of fungi can grow in your bong.

So please treat this issue responsibly. A good rule for everyone: if it starts to smell unpleasant, change it!

Rules for Transporting a Bong.

Before transporting a bong, it's essential to clean it thoroughly to prevent any unwanted odors. A specialized carrying case or bag is recommended for safe transportation, providing protection and reducing the risk of damage. To further prevent potential harm, ensure that the bong doesn't freely move within the vehicle during transit. Lastly, disassembling the bong and securing each piece separately within the carrying case or bag.

Storing Your Bong.

Proper bong storage begins with thorough cleaning, which prevents residual smells and maintains hygiene. Once clean, the bong should be stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. A bong bag or case can be used for added protection, an especially important consideration for more fragile glass bongs. When possible, disassembling the bong for storage can help prevent accidental damages to smaller parts, thus ensuring the longevity of the bong.


Frequently Asked Questions about Bongs.

What material is best for bongs?

Glass is often considered the best material for bongs due to its durability, taste neutrality, and ease of cleaning.

How often should I clean my bong?

The frequency of cleaning the bong depends on its use, but it is generally recommended to clean it after each use to achieve optimal taste and performance. However, at least thorough cleaning should be done weekly if you use the bong daily.

What should I use to clean my bong?

Isopropyl alcohol is an effective and commonly used cleaner. Specialized cleaning solutions and brushes designed for bongs are also available. Always rinse thoroughly after cleaning.

What is a percolator in a bong?

A percolator is a component in a bong that helps to further cool and filter the smoke by breaking it into smaller bubbles, increasing the smoke's surface area for improved filtration and a smoother hit.

What is a precooler for a bong?

A precooler is an additional chamber that can be attached to a bong to provide extra filtration and cooling of the smoke before it enters the main chamber, enhancing the smoothness of the hit.


Top 3 Popular Bong Manufacturers:

Black Leaf: this German company is renowned for their high-quality glass bongs. They offer a wide range of products, including classic glass bongs, as well as more innovative designs.

Phoenix Star Glass: this Chinese company specializes in the manufacture of glass bongs and other smoking accessories. They are known for their high-quality and attractive design products.

Grace Glass: this European company manufactures bongs and other smoking accessories. They offer many different models and styles of bongs, combining functionality and aesthetics in their products.


Choosing the right bong requires considering factors like price, size, material, and functionality. Portability, durability, cleaning ease, and special features should all influence your decision. Safety and cleanliness are paramount in usage. The ideal bong aligns with your lifestyle and maximizes enjoyment. Share experiences, ask questions, and explore various options.