Bongs and Water Pipes 2018
As cannabis continues its arc toward the mainstream, the number of choices available for achieving the enhanced state you desire has exploded – from using it recreationally to relax to using it medicinally to fight pain or the side effects of destructive cancer treatment.
To a cannabis connoisseur, one of the most personal methods of weed consumption is the bong, also known as a water pipe.
Often, it’s such an intimate part of either a solo or shared cannabis experience that they become part of your inner circle, complete with a name sometimes and almost always attentively cared for.
What’s in a Name?
With the soaring number of choices for cannabis consumption, innovative types are creating a better cannabis experience in a variety of ways.
And that means countless choices. They’re crafted in a myriad of colors, from one of a plethora of materials, and with extras and add-ons that make for a truly individualized sesh every time.
So what exactly is it? And how is it different from a water pipe?
Essentially, a bong is just a tube with a diameter of about 1-3 inches and sealed base. And although a variety of accessories and extras can be added on or purchased with the bong or waterpipe, it usually consists of three basic features – water chamber, tube, and downstem.
It’s typically fashioned from a variety of materials, with common ones being the following:
- Glass Bongs
- Acrylic or plastic Bongs
- Wood Bongs
- Metal Bongs
As long as the tube holds water, it’s normally considered a bong. A bowl, where you put the weed to be smoked, is attached on the down-stem near the base of the device.
To consume cannabis from this apparatus, just inhale at the top of the tube as you heat up your smokable with a type of combustion – a lighter or another type of heating mechanism. Draw the smoke downstem from the bowl into the water and up through the tube into your lungs. Once you cash the bowl into ash, remove the bowl to open up the carburetor hole.
A water pipe is essentially the same, but the features are inverse to the bong. The bowl is usually at the top of the tube, and there’s a straw or pipe protruding at an upward angle from the side of the water pipe near the bottom.
As you heat the bowl of weed, draw on the straw or pipe. The smoke is pulled downstem into the water, up into the water pipe, through the straw or pipe, and into your lungs.
In either a bong or water pipe, the device is filtered with water for a smooth, clean, cool hit of your favorite dried flower. The water filters out residue, particles, and more – no one wants those to enter your lungs or respiratory system.
Our Favorite Best Bongs and Water Pipes for 2018
Bongs are a statement of you and your toking preferences, regardless of whether you’re a serial solo smoker or a pass-the-bong-or-joint party partaker.
As we mentioned earlier, the most common materials from which pipes and bongs are made include:
- Acrylic (plastic)
Although the materials can be used to compose the water chamber, tube, downstem, and bowl, we usually refer to what the bulk of the bong is fashioned from, which usually means the water chamber and tube.
Glass is typically more expensive and has far more choices than the bongs from the other materials. Wood is generally more naturally attractive while ceramic allows the maker to display their artistry and innovation more freely. Acrylic ones are popular due to their portability and value for the money.
What Kind of Smoker Are You?
Although most people will choose a bong based on how it looks or smokes, it’s a good idea to take into account what type of smoker you are.
- Do you smoke every day? Or just a few times a week?
- Are you a heavy smoker? Or do you toke only 1-2 times a day?
- Do you regularly solo sesh? Or do you share your sesh?
- Are you a homebody? Or are you always on the go?
Size also matters, as you’ll want to consider pieces that match your lung capacity, the size of weed nugget that you normally smoke, and more.
Best Glass Bongs
Glass is classic and smooth. It’s durable and good-looking – and it’s tough to beat the quality of toking and seshing from a glass water bong.
In doing research about the best pipes and bongs, we found what every else knows – it’s not easy to rank them because of the wide variety of them. Mini-bongs, beaker bongs, straight upright types, double chambers, complex attachments that make for hybrid alien spaceship-Persian hookah bongs, and more.
There’s also size, price, and extras to be considered.
To complicate matters is the explosion of glass bong makers, all of which are churning out their own versions of standard glass devices as well as being so creative that new categories are being invented seeming every month.
So, we decided to break down several not-too-outlandish glass bongs and what makes them so great. A more elaborate breakdown of only glass pieces might be a future post.
Impressive Glass Bong Manufacturers
When talking about glass, it’s good to start with the makers that are changing, or at least influencing, the industry. Among the best and most popular glass bong makers that we’ve run across include the following:
- Grav Labs
- Empire Glassworks
- High Tech Glassworks
- Burner Glassworks
- Honey Supply
- Hi Si
- Pulse Glass
- Nexus Glass
4 Glass Bongs We Recommend
1. Grav Labs Basic Beaker Bong
GRAV LABS BASIC BEAKER
- Dual-purpose ice catcher
One of our favorite makers of glass water bongs is Grav Labs. They offer a wide variety of spectacular as well as simple ones. One of our favorites from them is the basic beaker type.
The beaker bong we checked out was 16 inches in height of hand-blown thick, clear borosilicate sitting on a large beaker-type base. It had a 14.5mm female joint, diffused downstem, and an ice catcher.
The simple, sturdy, effective glass bong to date is iconic because of its simple aesthetics. Recommended for newbies as well as connoisseurs, this bong is easy to clean, as well.
This Basic Beaker bong is very sturdy and can handle the accidental bumps and tips due to being bottom-heavy. The beaker bong also comes with percolators, which make smooth hits even cleaner.
If you’re on the simpler side of your bong designs, then this basic beaker water bong from Grav Labs might one to consider.
2. Helix Beaker Bong
- 20% Saving
Too many people in the cannabis industry, this is among the best smoking devices you can find. Period.
Another innovation of simple elegance and technology from Grav Labs, the Helix Beaker Bong we looked at was 9 inches of exceptional lightweight function.
The secret to Helix Beaker Bong’s amazingness is its enhanced Venturi swirl design, which simultaneously aerates and cools the swirling smoke for easier, smoother tokes. Almost all top quality glass makers incorporate this into the design of their water bongs, but the Helix design stands apart.
Constructed of lab-grade borosilicate, the Helix is durable but, like all glass bongs, still shouldn’t be your first choice for taking a bong on a camping trip. You can get it in a clear or black design with a nice X-cut downstem. The matching bowl completes the beautiful aesthetics.
Designed for experienced bong users, there is a learning curve that isn’t too steep. It’s a masterful bong that is as fun to behold as it is to use.
3. The Gravitron
- Available in different colors
Gravity bongs are cool and very popular. They’re called such because they use gravity to keep minimize wasting the smoke. The smoke remains suspended in the chamber until you finish your pull.
From Grav Labs (who else?) comes the Gravitron. Available in large (13.5 inches) or XL (14.5 inches), it’s a versatile bong available in a variety of colors, and it’s perfect for newbies and connoisseurs alike due to its sleek simplicity. It’s also efficient, as the effect of gravity allows you to conserve your weed.
The Gravitron is a must-have if you’re into gravity bongs and water pipes.
4. Domed Showerhead Beaker Bong
DOMED SHOWERHEAD BEAKER
- Clean-Ripping Bong
From UPC comes a 14-inch-tall hand blown glass bong with a single dome and a 14.5mm female joint, all of which sit on a large beaker base.
With a diffused downstem, ice catcher, and domed percolator, the UPC Single Domed Showerhead Beaker Bong is a clean-ripping bong. In particular, the percolator makes deeper, faster hits more possible and without the coughing and bad aftertaste.
Furthermore, the bong comes with small holes at the end of the downstem that rests inside the beaker. This provides initial filtering before the percolator is needed. You get all the flavor and none of the harshness with every toke.
Atop the showerhead perc is the ice catcher for added coolness to the smooth intake. With more interaction between ice, water, and smoke, you get a toke that’s hard to beat. And with the distinctive wide mouthpiece, every toke has better flavor and minimal harshness.
Best Acrylic Bongs
Acrylic (or plastic) bongs are popular because they’re usually low-maintenance and less expensive. They also come in a variety of shapes, designs, and colors to suit your individual style and smoking preferences.
Acrylic water bongs are also usually durable, as the downstem and bowl are usually made of material that doesn’t break easily, such as metal or plastic. Overall, because the materials are thick, yet lightweight and durable materials used, acrylic pieces are easily portable for those on-the-go or outdoor seshes.
Yet, plastic bongs also carry risks because of the toxic fumes given off when heated. More importantly, though, they often mask the great taste of your weed.
Even though bongs made from other materials, such as glass, don’t cause the harmful fumes that acrylic ones do, acrylics are excellent for both beginning bong users and veterans alike. One of the best such manufacturers is Headway Plastics.
3 Acrylic Bongs We Recommend
The acrylic bongs we recommend are all from Headway, which makes light, portable bongs that are easy to clean and carry. Each of them comes in a rainbow of colors that surely means you can find one that suits you.
1. Straight Upright Acrylic Bong
- Ideal for Beginners
This straight upright tube we checked out is 18 inches tall and comes in purple, black, yellow, red, green, clear, and more. Its lightweight design is easy to carry and can be used anywhere.
This water bong comes with a removable glass downstem that is securely fastened in its place with an airtight rubber grommet. The pullout bowl is made of glass and comes with a handle. The black base is wide so the bong rests steady and firm when not in use.
2. Double Bubble Acrylic Bong
- FREE Features
The upright tube we checked out is 14 inches high and comes in orange, yellow, purple, black, green, red, clear, pink, blue, and more. It’s lightweight yet durable, which you’ll appreciate when you take your seshes on the road.
As with the upright bong from Headway, the double bubble bong includes a removable glass downstem, which is affixed securely fastened in place with a rubber grommet, as well as a pullout metal bowl complete with a handle. The black base is wide so the bong rests steady and firm when not in use.
The distinctive feature of the Double Bubble bong is the double chamber, both of which shaped like a bubble. It’s definitely a personal statement, especially when you choose your favorite color.
3. Honey Bear
- FREE Removable Mouthpiece
Everyone is familiar with the iconic bear-shaped container that honey comes in. Now there’s a twist on the classic container – a honey bear-shaped acrylic bong.
From Headway Plastics comes the Honey Bear Hookah. With a 5-inch base and at six inches high, this water bong is technically a mini-bong. It comes with a removable metal downstem, bowl, and mouthpiece. The cap is a snap top that comes in various colors and is easily cleaned and simple for storing your herb.
Each mouthpiece on the above acrylic bongs come is plastic, so be aware of the harmful effects of having an acrylic bong as the bong of choice for your sesh.
Best Wood Bongs
Wood bongs are simple, often undecorated, and thoroughly gorgeous. Many popular, beautiful wood pieces are made from bamboo. They are stylish, durable, and authentic.
As we researched bongs, we saw a variety of simple wood pieces with a natural appeal. Although a variety of figures, shapes, and designs are popular, we noticed a theme that we liked: wood bongs in the form of a superhero or supervillain from movies, television, or even computer games.
For example, we saw the following that we consider among our favorites:
- Spider Man
- Iron Man
Each is a bust of the torso and head with a wooden bowl at the base where the character’s chest or stomach would be. From the back of the head or neck, the mouthpiece sticks out.
Although many wood bongs are simple and efficient, many have design and craftsmanship that are amazing to behold.
Yet, the most common type of wood bong is one fashioned form bamboo.
Best Bamboo Bongs
Genuine bamboo bongs are almost always beautiful. Fortunately, they’re also functional. A bong crafted from bamboo is smooth to touch and easy to use. The bamboo also affects the flavor of your weed, as the fibers of the bamboo enhance the taste of your rip.
Natural bamboo bongs are meant to be dry pieces, meaning that no water should be poured into the chamber.
3 Bamboo Bongs We Recommend
1. Hairy Coconut Bamboo Bong
HAIRY COCONUT BAMBOO BONG
- Herbs Bong
From Herb Tools comes the hairy coconut bamboo bong.
Yes, the base is made of a real, a hairy coconut for a unique sesh statement. It’s an attention getter and conversation starter, but don’t let that distract you from your sesh!
The coconut sits directly on a wood base, and from the top of the coconut, the bamboo tube sticks straight up for ease of convenience when pulling from the mouthpiece. The downstem is made of metal and wood and is topped by a wood bowl. One hit from the wood bowl and you understand why wood bongs are so popular.
Each piece of the bong is sealed with rope, finishing the overall effect with a flair.
2. Bamboo Dry Bong
BAMBOO DRY BONG
- Herbs Bong
Another Head Tools piece, this bamboo bong is either beautiful or stunning, depending on the type of finish – a regular one is attractive while a burnt finish really is spectacular. Not only does the piece look good, it delivers tasty rips, as well.
This simple yet straightforward piece delivers a direct hit straight up the tube. The herb bowl is metal and affixed to the bong with a flexible downstem made of synthetic material.
The wood actually gets more attractive with more use, as the darkens to a rich hue that is often mesmerizing
3. Bamboo rope bong
- Herbs Bong
Another dry bamboo bong from Herb Tools. No two bongs are the same because each bamboo tree is distinctive. What’s unique about this bong is the rope wrapped multiple times around the tube right above the wooden base. This gives it a unique look yet does not take away from its practicality.
Because of how this simple bong is constructed, taking a toke from it is akin to hitting two or three pipes at once. The bowl is metal, and the base itself has extra grip for easy carrying.
This simple and aesthetically-pleasing bong offers clean hits that bring the effects you’re looking for with a nice flavor.
Best Ceramic Bongs
Ceramic bongs provide the creator with a smorgasbord of choices for shapes and figures.
- Naked figures
- Aliens and alien heads
- Ships and submarines
- Snakes, elephants, fish, tigers, and more
- Red, yellow, light blue, black, and every color imaginable
- Striped, tie-dyed, patterned, polka dotted
Ceramic pieces are some of the most fun and creative smoking devices you can find. Often, they are more a work of art than a smoking piece. You can put them on a shelf or table without anyone being the wiser.
They are also very functional, being both water- and air-tight with a stem that guides the air below the water level and a packed bowl. With the unique shapes and designs, carb holes can hide in plain sight.
The ceramic bongs with water allow you to rip to your heart’s content without that burning sensation in your lungs and throat.
4 Ceramic Bongs We Liked
1. Grim Reaper Bong
- Hand Painted
Even though this might be a little on the dark side for some, the one we saw stood just under 10 inches tall and it looked very cool. In the Reaper’s hands is not his usual life-taking scythe but instead a chalice acting as the metal bowl for your weed.
The mouthpiece at the top of his hood allows you to take the Reaper from behind. There’s also a covert carb hole in the Reaper’s back.
Eye-catching. Hand painted and finished. Sturdy and durable. Smooth clean hits. every time. It’s not often you survive skinship with the Reaper, so enjoy this sesh!
2. Dragon Water Pipe
DRAGON WATER PIPE
- Stable Base
Although the one we saw looks more like a sea horse, the dragon holds a bowl that is, well, your weed bowl. It had magnificent detail and intricate hand-painted designs, often a hallmark of ceramic bongs.
At the top of the dragon’s head is the mouthpiece, while its tail is perfectly curved so you can “grip and rip” or take your sesh on the go. As with most ceramic bongs, the dragon sturdy and durable and its clean and smooth every time. The removable metal downstem and bowl make it easy to clean and maintain this bong.
3. Smiley Face
- Metal Downstem and Bowl
What collection of bongs would be complete without a smiley face to represent the culture of love and peace?
The smiley face bong we came across had the face as the base, from the forehead protruded the bowl, and from the back of the neck or head the protrudes the mouthpiece. It’s a simple design that delivers a happy hit – if only because the bong itself is a smiley face.
4. Magic Mushroom Water Pipe
- Carb Hole on Back of Pipe
Magic mushrooms come in a variety of sizes and designs, but the one we looked at and sampled was 4.7cm tall and featured a trio of mushrooms jutting up from the base – one tall mushroom beside two smaller ones.
One of the smaller mushrooms serves as the bowl when you lift off its cap while the cap off the tall one reveals the mouthpiece. A stealth carb hole is at the back of the pipe.
To most people, with the caps on the shrooms, this looks like nothing more than a cool, kitschy souvenir piece that sits on a shelf or table. They’ll marvel at the various colors and detailed paint job while never realizing that they’re holding a fully functional bong in their hand!
A Brief History of Bongs Worldwide
Bongs have been around for centuries and, as you might imagine, have a fascinating history.
The word might actually come from the Thai word “baung”, which is defined as a round tube made of made of bamboo. Nowadays, of course, a bong is a cylindrical pipe made for smoking dried cannabis flower (or other plant material).
The use of a water pipe for smoking dates back centuries in places all over the world:
- Ming Dynasty in China
- Tribes in various African countries built such devices into the ground from earthen materials
- Accounts of pure gold bongs dot the ancient history of a warrior race of nomads in what is known now as Russia
- There’s also a popular relative, the Persian hookah, which is used to smoke flavored tobacco through a hose for a mouthpiece; this device is designed to be shared from a single packed bowl.
These days, bong makers add their own personal touch, like an artist, to make unique, one-of-a-kind water pipes using both artistic and scientific principles. The results are often amazing – a beautiful, functional statement of your personality.
Necessity Is the Mother of Invention
You thought you were going to read only about bongs and water pipes, didn’t you? Particularly ones that have been designed, created, and crafted from various materials that look and smoke great.
And you will.
But an article about such smoking devices isn’t really complete without at least a mention of the truly unique ways that cannabis connoisseurs get their sesh on when they don’t have a bong (or papers, vaporizer, blunt wraps, cigarettes, etc.) to have a proper smoke.
We’ve all been there. And we’ve all had our moments where we impressed even ourselves by fashioning a makeshift, simple bong in lieu of a conventional one.
Records indicate that a common smoking “device” centuries ago in some cultures was a gourd. But if you don’t live in an area bursting with gourds, don’t despair.
Commonly, a simple “bong” can be created from the following:
- Fruit (e.g., apple, watermelon, orange, pineapple, etc.)
- Vegetables (avocado, pumpkin, cucumber, etc.)
- A soda or beer can
- A water bottle
- Toilet paper and tin foil
- Film cannister
The Anatomy of a Bong
Let’s take a look at the three basic pieces:
At the bottom is its base, which usually includes a bulbous, bubble-shaped chamber for holding water, hence the term “water bong”. It’s this part, when filled with water, that filters out residue and unwanted particles while also cooling the smoke.
The end result is a smoke that is smoother on the throat and easier on the lungs. For many people, the effects are also clearer and more noticeable.
When you draw from the heated bowl of weed, the smoke passes through the water chamber and streams up into a vertical tube, through the mouthpiece, and into your lungs.
Usually, tubes are straight and upright. However, truly inspired and creative bong makers tend to create tubes with various chambers that are often elaborate and intricately linked for further filtering of the smoke. It’s also a major reason it is considered artistic, beautiful, innovative, and/or valuable.
The purpose of the downstem is, when you inhale, to draw air and smoke into the water, which creates bubbles.
The downstem protrudes diagonally from a small hole near the base of the tube. The top of it is where the bowl rests, usually flared into the right shape to hold your dried weed. The bottom part of it sits in the water chamber.
A stationary downstem includes a carburetor, a small hole located above the water line. The carb is covered while inhaling, usually with your thumb, and then released when you’re ready to clear the tube as you finish your toke. A slider downstem, on the other hand, functions differently, as the stem is pulled out instead.
The bowl can be large, medium, or small according to your sesh preferences. If the maker was in a particularly creative bent, the bowl can be as decorative as the chambers and other parts of the device.
Some people consider the bowl and carburetor basic parts, so they describe a bong as having five pieces.
Advantages of Bong Smoking
Smoking using a water bong has several advantages that illustrate why it’s such a popular smoking device.
Advantage 1: Smooth Pulls
One of the main advantages that attracts smokers is the bong’s ability to filter and cool the smoke as it percolates through the water. This makes for a smooth pull even when you inhale a lot of smoke.
Advantage 2: Cleaner Hits
Smoking from a bong is cleaner than smoking a joint or firing your weed up in a small pipe. Your throat and respiratory system don’t suffer as much from these hits, yet you still can enjoy the aroma and flavor cannabis is known for.
Advantage 3: A Fluid Experience
Using a bong is usually a more fluid experience than other means of smoking dry herb, which means there is less chance of getting clogged or dirty.
Advantage 4: It’s Social
Although a joint can easily be a shared experience – “pass the grass, dude” – not much is more shareable than seshing with a gaggle of your BFFs.
There are disadvantages, as well. One is that bongs are bulky and often awkward, especially if designed with an assortment of intricately linked chambers. Although mini-bongs are easy to carry around, bongs in general are not portable. There’s always a risk of one breaking into a gazillion pieces.
So, while we don’t recommend bongs for traveling or smoking on the go, it’s hard to beat such a sesh at home.
Best Type Of Bongs
There are several things that must be considered before you make such a serious choice:
- Are you a daily smoker? Heavily so?
- Are you a couple-times-a-week type?
- Is it just for you? Or do you sesh and share with others regularly?
- Are you constantly mobile? Or do you prefer a home sesh?
To truly choose the right bong for you, your smoking habits should be heavily factored in.
As is sometimes the case when describing cylindrical apparatuses, size matters. In this case, however, it can refer to more than one aspect of your sesh:
- Lung capacity (can you fill the chamber with smoke and then clear it all or are you leaving room in the chamber and/or having to hit it a 2nd time?)
- Nugget to be smoked
Now that you’ve clarified the size of your needs, it’s time to consider the various materials that bongs are commonly made of.
In general, there are two basic categories of materials – traditional and modern.
Glass is easy, smooth, and classic – it looks great, offers a clean smoke, and can be used every day.
There’s always the risk of breakage with a glass bong – and this is true of a soft glass water bong, where the glass is thinner and weaker. Although popular, it might not last too long with heavy daily use.
However, there are plenty of glass bongs that are sturdy and powerful, making them ideal for everyday use. Good strong glass makes it sturdy, durable, and popular.
Nearly any glass bong can be personalized with an assortment of attachments that fasten or attach onto it for a unique sesh experience. Such attachments include:
- Ice catchers
- Splash guards
- Ash catchers
- Extra bowls
- And more
Although extras can customize your sesh experience, cleaning is more time-consuming and detailed. Yet, clear glass bongs allow you to see the degree of cloudiness in your water. This means that, despite the drawbacks of cleaning, you always know when it’s time to clean it, especially if you’re the type who’s obsessed with clean smoking devices.
Acrylic or plastic has always been popular because it is generally cheaper. Most plastic or acrylic bongs include a carburator, which also adds to their popularity. They’re also durable, which also makes them good value for the money.
Despite their popularity, plastic bongs come with risks, as more and more evidence states the harm they can cause to your health when regularly used.
For most cannabis connoisseurs, however, that might not be the most important thing; that plastic bongs minimizes the great taste of the weed is!
Wood bongs are gorgeous. They are typically made from bamboo for a more durable, stylish attention-getter. For many smokers, a wood device is thought to be an authentic way to sesh, as it’s been used for smoking in Thailand for centuries.
Though simple, undecorated wood bongs have a natural appeal, they can be made with ornamentation or intricate, creative designs and colors for a more personal style.
Ceramic bongs are fantastic. First, they usually come in a variety of creative, fun designs that can be a funky center of attention. Common figures include:
- Naked figures
- And more
For a clean, pure-tasting hit, a ceramic water pipe or bong is fantastic. Many cannabis connoisseurs say no other material is better.
Ceramic is heavy, so smoking devices are usually smaller. This makes them difficult to clean. It also makes them better for infrequent use of special occasions.
Lastly, the water in a ceramic water bong is hidden, so frequent use can make the water dirty without your even knowing it.
If you’re looking for a short-term solution, and can’t buy a bong right now. Check out our homemade bong ideas!