April 22, 2019
Bongs 101: Bong Basics
A Bong is one of the most common forms of consuming cannabis, especially dried cannabis. I’m here to fill you in on the basics.
First things first, are you going to be smoking flower or dabbing with concentrates? While it’s not usual to see a lot of crossovers, generally setups intended for concentrate will be a lot smaller.
A quick note on names, shops will sometimes refer to bongs as water pipes and have signs indicating they are for tobacco use only. As times (and laws) change this sort of confusion has started to disappear.
Every bong shares the following characteristics:
A mouth piece – somewhere for you to create the suction required for the piece to function.
A bowl – this is where the cannabis is placed and is where the heat will be applied. For concentrates, this is referred to as a nail or a banger.
A stem – a cylinder that connects the bowl to the main body of the bowl. The stem is always angled downwards.
The chamber – where the magic happens. The chamber is where the smoke (or vapor) will be filtered through the water.
The following are features often appear on bongs but aren’t strictly necessary:
A carb hole – this is a hole that needs to be covered (put your finger over it) in order for the bong to function. Once you’re happy with the size of your hit, remove your finger and clear the bong. Pieces that don’t feature carb holes can be operated in a similar manner by removing the bowl from the stem.
A percolator – these are a series of small holes or channels that reduce the size of the bubbles coming up through the bong. This feature cools the smoke faster as it creates more surface area interacting with the water.
Ice pinch – grooves or protrusions in the neck of bong that allow ice to be held above the water. This cools the smoke and produces a cooler hit.
Straight tube – probably the simplest type of bong you’ll find. A straight glass tube that usually comes with a removable stem.
Beaker – very similar to a straight tube but flares out the base letting you use more water. Beakers will be more stable than a straight tube due to the wider base.
Bubbler – typically the smallest and simplest style of bong. Bubblers are almost always a single piece and cannot be taken apart.
Klein – refers to a relatively new style of bong that shares its name with the rather mind-bending bottle first described by Felix Klein in 1882. While the design takes inspiration from Klein’s single surface 3D shape.
Fab Egg – This style of bong has a unique double-walled chamber that is hollow in the center. As a result, the smoke is percolated in a unique way. Though the design is more about the aesthetics than the function.
Now that you’re all caught up on the ins and outs of bongs, what features are you going to be looking for? Let us know in the comments below!
Bongs 101 – Brands
With so many choices for bongs out there, it can be difficult to find the right one for you. This list is comprised of some of the best brands for quality glass, with a healthy balance between aesthetics and functionality.
Now, I know Grav Labs catches a lot of flack for outsourcing their glass to places like China. At the end of the day, though, they still put out great glass and at a price that’s more reasonable than most high-quality brands.
Plus, very soon they hope to offer tours of their South Austin warehouse facility. Imagine, driving around in a golf court with a stoner tour guide!
They are one of the few brands which demonstrate their gratitude to certain customers, through what they have called their Superhero discount. For veterans, active service members, firefighters, teachers, and other real-life superheroes – they offer a discount code. A superhero discount is a way they give back to some of the hardest working members of our society.
Beyond their community service, they have built out a multiple brand company. Grav isn’t just Grav either. They host a whole line of badass glass, like Helix and Jane West.
Since ROOR was started in 1995 by Martin Brizzle, they have been known as world-renowned glass. Often imitated, but never replicated, ROOR is a four-time winner of the High Times Cup.
Their glass is thick and flawless. Most of their designs build of a straight tube and are pretty simple, but the way they hit is almost heavenly.
But they do have an extensive collection filled with heady pieces. Martin is extremely anti-mass produced glass. And you can see it come through in the quality of the glass.
They are so against mass-production and large scale poor quality products, they’ve given their customers a task: With a pipe created by RooR, you comprehend smoking as a culture, not as a mere way of consumption.
If you ask HiSI what they bring to the glassware market that other brands don’t, they’ll probably point you to their four-part mission statement.
First, they deliver possibly the cleanest scientific designs on the market today. Most even have the laboratory measurements on the side of the beaker to put you in the scientific mood. They make sure nothing gets in the way of design, including any unnecessary features or their branding.
Second, they focus on providing functionality for value. Ever have a bong that had perc on top of perc on top of perc for no reason? If HiSI included a feature into their product, it’s for a good reason. They don’t just keep adding accessories and unnecessary components to make it more expensive for the end-user.
Third, they test every design before approval, meaning there is maximum diffusion of smoke without any drag. Their bongs deliver possibly the cleanest smoking experience on the market. And fourth, their products are hefting in the best way possible, to make them durable for long term use.
Bong brands are always innovating and have strict quality control that they live by.
They stand behind their product, and you can tell once you have one of their bongs in your hands why their bongs are well-loved.