Consuming cannabis via bong is a cannabis culture mainstay, so common that there are YouTube videos dedicated to showing scenes featuring the practice. Though the word “bong” is short and simple, the device itself is a bit more complicated than its short name suggests, coming in models from basic to plain to glass to plastic to very small and very large.
Though there are a number of different types of bongs out there, at the end of the day they are composed of the same parts (accessories optional): a small bowl that holds dried cannabis flower, a mouthpiece from which you inhale, a tube, and a base. When you inhale combusted cannabis, the water in the bottom of the bowl bubbles to cool the smoke. That’s all there is to it.
Nonetheless, picking the bong that’s right for you is not as easy it sounds. Whether you’re a seasoned consumer looking to switch up consumption methods or trading your old bong for a new one, or a new consumer trying to figure out where to start in your bong search, we’ve done the dirty work for you. Here are some pro tips on how to choose a bong.
A classic glass bong is the most familiar, but bongs come in many other materials, including acrylic, ceramic and silicone.
Glass: Definitely the most popular kind of bong. Look for one made of borosilicate glass for their ability to resist heat and their durability. Glass bongs come in a variety of sizes and are a good material for add-ons such as ash catchers, downstems, and percolators. Bonus: Glass pieces are easy to clean – a best practice for the smoothest experiences (also, change your water before each sesh).
Plus, if you’re someone who appreciates one-of-a-kind cannabis accessories, glass is a creative medium, and there are more than a few glassblowers making really cool glass art.
Acrylic: One benefit of acrylic bongs is that they are very affordable and come in many different colors and designs. But acrylic is fancy talk for plastic, and an acrylic bong is unlikely to provide a high quality experience. It’s also difficult to add accessories to acrylic bongs, and there’s little smoke diffusion and a not-awesome taste given the plastic medium and metal bowl.
Ceramic: Super durable, they are less likely to experience fractures or break if dropped. Ceramic bongs provide a very neutral taste experience, though they are not very versatile.
Silicone: A relatively new bong innovation, silicone bongs are a good combination of durability, reasonable price, and customization. They’re also very portable and easy to clean – you can put them in the freezer and knock the slush out or even put them in the dishwasher! But note, if putting in the dishwasher, it may leave an aroma in the air. They can also withstand high and low temps and won’t break when dropped making them a good option for people who like to leave their equipment outside.
Small, Medium, or Large
Large bongs are great for those who like to keep cannabis consumption close to home. Also, the longer distance for the smoke to travel up the tube cools the intake more and could provide a smoother taste experience. A larger bong may also have a larger bowl, an added benefit if you enjoy consuming with friends.
Medium bongs are a more practical choice and a good point of entry for a newer consumer. Easier to handle and move around, they come with all the basics while still being affordable and easy to customize.
Small bongs, aka mini bongs, are a good option for those on the go or may want something at a lower price point. However, they frequently come with less functionality and deliver harsher hits.
To Accessorize or Not to Accessorize?
Bongs can be dressed up with all kinds of accessories, such as diffused downstems, percolators, ice catches, or ash catchers. These are all nice-to-haves (and some newer, larger bongs come pre-loaded with these), but not necessary to get the most out of your bong experience.
Now that you’ve got the lay of the land, here’s to happy bong hunting.
How do I Pick The Right Bong?
We suggest figuring out where you plan to consume, your budget, and the quality of experience you’d like to have.
Does the Shape of the Bong Matter?
Yes and no. Straight tubes are easier to clear (inhale all the smoke) which can provide big hits. Zig-zag bongs (the neck/tube is twisted) create a longer path for the smoke, cooling it. Beaker bongs with a wider base produce more smoke than a straight tube with a much smaller base. Adding accessories like percolators are likely to make a difference with any bong regardless of the base you started with.
What Should I Look For in A Quality Bong?
Durability (how stable does it sit on the counter), ease of use, portability (if needed), and good quality material (check the thickness of the glass).
What Size Bong is Best?
We’ll go with the middle of the road and suggest medium, say 8-16 inches.