Bong buyers guide - How to select a style or type of bong

Published Feb 18, 2019 06:37 p.m. ET

Whether you are an experienced bong user who is searching for a product or a newbie to cannabis culture trying to decide how to buy a bong, then we are here for you. This bong buyers guide will cover everything from the various styles on bongs available, to how much they cost on average and what they are made of. While picking a bong may at first appear straightforward. You know, buy a bong, use a bong, sounds easy right? The thing is many folks find themselves browsing the selection at their local head shops or online and find themselves quickly overwhelmed. There are so many to choose from all with a different shape, features, and price tag to consider.

Materials bongs are made with

The type of material used in the making of any bong is going to have an impact on several things. From what you can safely use to clean it, to how long it will stand up to constant reheating, and then of course how breakable it will be. All of which can add or take away from the expected lifespan of a bong.

High-Quality Glass Bong
A high-quality glass bong will be made using a thick shatter resistant glass. They can stand up to an impact when jarred or dropped and require thinner glass accessories like bowls which tend to be the main component that breaks and degrades. Thick glass can be cleaned with anything if it is rinsed well but will likely come with a higher price tag than any other competitors.

Thin Glass Bong
A thin low-quality glass bong can often offer the same experience as a high-quality one but will not last nearly as long as they tend to break just from moving them when they are being used. Something as simple as setting it down too hard on a surface could be its downfall so if you choose to save money and go with one of these be extremely careful how you handle it.

Something to Remember: Either type of glass bong will offer the most superior flavor experience when compared to other material options.

Ceramic Bong
A ceramic bong is a rare find as the tend of using them is just recently growing in popularity. They almost always come painted and shaped into cute bright colored designs that at first glance could be mistaken for a simple ornament. Ceramic bongs come equipped with a carb and are water tight and air tight. The most significant benefit you will get from buying a ceramic bong is the ability to smoke out of it dry or with water. Unlike their glass counterparts, ceramic bongs do not utilize the water and function just as well if not better without it. A ceramic bong is porous meaning while it can be cleaned, it should only be done using natural rinses like salt as harmful chemicals will linger.

Plastic Bong
Plastic bongs are almost never recommended. This is because it is incredibly difficult to tell by eye what grade of plastic is used in the making of them. A plastic bong will function similar to a glass bong and will require a fair amount of water. They cannot be cleaned using most traditional bong cleaners are much more disposal than most other types of bongs.

Metal Bong
A metal bong one of the most affordable of all durable options. The taste of some of the metals that are used is known to affect the taste which some users can’t stand while others prefer them due to how durable they are. A metal bong can be cleaned using any type of bong cleaner but will take longer to dry once finished. They also tend to heat up so aren’t great for extended smoking sessions. Metal bongs are most often enjoyed by outdoorsy folks who require something that can handle travel without shattering.

Does a bong’s size matter?  

Once you decide on material you would like your bong to be made of you will need to settle on a design. To do so, you must keep in mind your lung capacity. While more seasoned cannabis users may pull a great haul off a towering long bong, someone who can’t handle larger tokes or is new to the experience may be better suited for a smaller more efficient design.

Bong types

The type of bong you choose should suit your personal preference. Consider what you want your bong to be able to do. Do you want it to be heavy duty and durable or pretty with a higher price point? Are you looking for something fast and easy or one that will offer a cooler more flavorful hit? Each bong design will come with its pros and cons. Here is a list of the bongs you will likely come across while browsing and an explanation of how each one works.

Long Bong
A long bong is a new luxury type of bong that doesn’t quite fit into any of these categories. There are three different types of long bongs with one that more resembles a water pipe and two more similar to traditional bongs. Both utilize multiple chambers and require water to use them, but none are equipped with any manual carburetors as they do the work for you.

Carburetor Bong
A carburetor bong will almost always utilize the resistance that water provides. If you find a bong with a hole in it to allow in the air than it is a kind of carburetor bong, the presence of a carburetor enables the user more control over the intensity and size of each hit and are often preferred over carbless versions.

Straight Tube Bong
These are made using a fundamental design. They are made of one straight tube that either stands alone or has a small glass plate as a base. They also have a bowl that is generally removable and requires at least a small amount of water to work well. While they tend to be cheaper than other designs they are easily broken as they aren't very stable.

Beaker Bong
A beaker bong is a straight tube bong with the addition of a wide flared beaker shape that is wider than the mouthpiece. This design is preferred over the straight tube one because of its broader base and low center of gravity making it more difficult to knock over.

Round Based Bong
A round based beaker bong is a similar design to both the straight tube and beaker bongs. The difference is that it has a large round spherical shaped base that is wider than the mouthpiece. They are kind of in between the last two as far as stability goes but will function the same way.

Multi-Chamber Bong
A multi-chamber bong AKA recycler bong is a design that is based on the straight tube bong that uses multiple chambers. There are two chambers within that will hold water and one in between them that is meant for the smoke to travel through. This filters any smoke that flows through it two times which will provide a much smoother hit than a single chamber bong. Since their design is a bit more complex, they are often more expensive and difficult to clean than their single chamber counterparts.

Percolator/Bubbler Bong
A percolator bong can be designed using just about any shape you can think of. The only qualifying feature is the addition of a percolator which is a small glass piece that slows the smoke down a bit creating large bubbles and allowing slower filtering of it. A percolator can be located almost anywhere in a bong, but its purpose is to cool the smoke faster. Percolator bongs are not easily cleaned or repaired and are often quite expensive.

Bucket Gravity Bong
A gravity bong is designed to utilize both water and gravity. They are usually cylindrical and have a mouthpiece with a detachable bowl. The bucket gravity bong is generally made at home using a pop bottle and a bucket with its bottom removed. A bowl is fed through the lid that screws onto what will also be the mouthpiece. The bottle is set in a bucket that is filled with cold water. The herb is lit, and the bong is slowly pulled from a bucket that is full of water. The force of the water leaving is enough to draw a thick cloud of smoke inside. Once it’s finished the bowl is removed, and the user can inhale it. While it may not be fancy, this is one of the most common homemade bongs, and there are even a few rare professional models if you are willing to pay the price.

How much is a bong?

Unfortunately, there isn’t one right answer to how much a bong will cost you. That will depend on a variety of factors listed above alongside others like decoratives, the maker’s name, where you buy it, and its overall popularity. Bongs that take the most time to make tend to cost more, where most basic designs tend to be more widely available with a lower price point. The truth is for a low-quality bong you are looking at paying between $15-$40. A decent quality bong will cost closer to $60-$120, and high-end pieces can run into the hundreds quite easily. Keep in mind, all of these numbers are modest minimums, and it isn’t uncommon to pay more. To find a low-cost, decent quality bong then your best bet is to order directly from the supplier online.  

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