Buying a bong for the first time or even the 100th time can be daunting. There are so many different styles, percolators, designs, glass thickness it’s hard to know where to start. This quick guide will help you narrow your search down so you can be smoking in no time. Let’s start with the style or look of the bong that you would prefer. The main types to choose from are straight tube, beaker bongs, and recycler. Straight tubes have dense smoke and clear quick. Beaker bongs have more volume and less dense smoke, harder to clear but bigger rips. We have a guide on the difference between beaker bongs and straight tubes if you would like more information. Recyclers are mostly used for smoking concentrates, which recycles the water. As a beginner I would stick with either a straight tube or beaker bong.
Glass thickness is very important because it decides on how long your bong lasts. The thicker the better obviously but also try to take into account the environment the bong is going to be in. If it’s going to be safe and stay in only one room, don’t worry about thickness as much. If you plan on bringing it with you everywhere or have clumsy friends, try to get the thickest glass. The thinnest glass starts at 2-3mm then moves up to 3-5mm is your average thickness. Then glass 5-7mm is pretty darn thick and hard to break. Choose anywhere above 3.5mm glass thickness and you should be fine.
Percolators is a hot topic because there are no clear winners of which one is the best, everyone just has a favorite and sticks with it. There are two things you look for in a percolator the smoothness it provides from filtration and the amount of drag it gives from pulling smoking through the tiny holes. If you are new to bongs and smoke you do not need a percolator but they are nice to have. Try not to buy a bong with to many percolators, it may seem like a good idea but the drag from all the percolators will be hard to clear the chamber. If you would like more information check out our percolators blog.
Here is a brief rating of popular percolators.
Honeycombs: Great filtration and very minimal drag. Very popular choice.
Tree: Great filtration and very minimal drag. Another popular choice.
Shower heads: produces mediocre filtration and smoothness and provide very minimal drag.
Inlines: Pretty good filtration and average drag. Great for dab rigs.
Turbines: produce mediocre filtration and have a bit more drag than shower heads.
Clean Your Bong
You need to take into account of cleaning your new bong. Eventually your bong is going to get dirty and filled with tar and smoke residue all over the glass. If you choose a simple bong with no percolators cleaning will be simple. If you choose a bong with a percolator with even 2 or 3 of them cleaning will not be so easy. If you do want to buy a bong with percolators, get an ashcatcher. Its much easier cleaning an ashcatcher instead of your bong.
Joints (not the kind you roll) come in two common sizes 14mm and 18mm. There are a few other sizes which we cover in our joint sizes blog so check that out. Try to buy a bong with the same size joints as this will make your life easier because if you break a slide or downstem you can mix and match and they will all fit together.
Add-ons – buying a bong with these are a plus but not needed.
Splashguard– Blocks dirty bong water from getting into your mouth
Ice pinch– holds ice to cool the smoke down
Ash catcher– another level of filtration. Catches all of the ash.
Percolator – cools the smoke for a less harsh hit.
Looking to buy a bong? Start with something simple like these:
This is a simple beaker bong with a tree percolator and ice pinch. Has great filtration and large volume for huge hits. This Grav Labs straight tube is another great starter bong to buy because of the high quality thick glass. Cleaning for these bongs is very easy. These both have ice pinches to cool down the smoke.
Not enough fire power for you? Check out these: This Grav Labs Stax kit comes with a large beaker base and diffused downstem. It connects to a coil percolator and a three prong ice pinch. The bong on the right also has a large beaker base for great filtration and volume to hold huge hits. It comes with a Helix top which creates an amazing swirl effect for extra cooling and filtration. Helix is one of the most popular designs for a reason. Both of these bongs are made with extra thick glass to prevent any breaking.
This is a simplified guide, with the help and knowledge from the best online headshop, to help you buy a bong that will best suite your needs. You can dive a little deeper into our blog for more information or ask us anytime by email, chat or phone. Check out our bongs, bubblers and dab rigs.
Looking for a dab rig? Take a peek at our article on what to look for in a dab rig.