Here at Smoking Outlet, we've got any bong you'd need! Glass water pipes and bongs are still the most popular way to smoke your legal herb or tobacco, and for good reason: They're more efficient, powerful, and easier on the throat and lungs than many other smoking methods, thanks to water percolation. Whether you prefer glass or silicone bongs, we have a huge selection of bongs and water pipes to choose from.
Bongs are the ultimate tool for dry herb combustion. These beloved water pipes have been used for centuries in many different forms, and constant innovation has made them the most widely-used tool for smoking green. Over time, we’ve moved from simple, straightforward bongs made at home, to a world where the best artists can command tens of thousands of dollars for functional glass art.
Beginners will have a ton of crucial questions about bongs, like: Who invented bongs? How do bongs work? And most importantly, how do you know which bong is the best for you? We’ve collected a few of our most frequently asked questions, and answer them here.
Water pipes for smoking have been around so long we don’t actually know exactly where or when they originated. Archaeological findings from Africa and Asia show that humans have been cultivating and smoking cannabis for thousands of years. There’s still heated debate on whether humans in Africa or Asia invented the bong first. Archaeologists have found smoking pipes made from stone, ceramics, and even mud!
The bong as we know it comes from Thailand. The Thai word “baung” refers to a tube or pipe made of bamboo, and the term was adopted by American soldiers who were exposed to the simple water pipes during the Vietnam war. Since then, the word “bong” is the most popular way to refer to water filtered pipes.
What’s the deal with bongs anyway? Why is this form of smoking device so popular across the globe? It all comes down to percolation. The standard definition of percolation is when a liquid slowly passes through a filter, like coffee. With bongs, percolation refers to the process of smoke being pulled through water and broken up into smaller particles.
A percolator is a component to your glass water pipe with holes or slits. As you inhale, airflow moves down the intake stem and through the percolator. The multiple openings in a perc are there to produce evenly sized bubbles of smoke and air which helps break up the nastier compounds. Water filtration also eliminates the harsh heat of dry smoking methods.
There are more types of percs than we can cover here, but they all serve the same purpose: To filter and cool your smoke.
Percs are just one component of a water pipe. Most bongs share a similar anatomy and accessorize with bells and whistles. The basic anatomy of a bong is actually pretty simple.
Water Chamber: This is where the magic happens. The slits in a downstem or percolator have to be submerged in water to work. A larger water chamber usually means larger hits, and beaker bongs are the style of choice for heavy hitters.
Joint: This piece connects the water chamber to your dry herb. In a stemless water pipe, the bowl piece fits directly into the joint. In a beaker bong, the joint fits the removable downstem.
Downstem: The classic bong design includes a downstem. This tube of glass often contains diffusion slits as a form of percolator. A bong’s downstem fits into the 18mm joint, and the top opening narrows to 14mm for the bowl piece to fit in. Downstems are removable to make cleaning easy.
Bowl Piece: This little item holds your dry herb. Many bowl pieces have a small handle on them, making it easier to pull the bowl piece out of the joint and stop your hit from building any further. Bowl pieces come in a range of sizes to suit your needs.
Neck & Mouthpiece: The long tube above the water chamber is known as the neck, and the lip up top is referred to as the mouthpiece. Depending on the style of bong, the neck can be straight or bent.
Ice Pinch: Many classic bongs have an ice pinch or ice catch right above the water chamber. These indentations allow you to drop ice cubes into the neck, which cool your smoke directly as it passes over the freezing surface area.
Here’s the real question: How do you find the right bong for your lifestyle? There are a few key qualities you should weigh when choosing your bong.
Size: The range of sizes available in bongs is astonishing. You should consider how often you plan on using the piece, and how it will fit in your available space. If you happen to have a secure cabinet with room for an 18 inch bong, great! Go for it! But if you anticipate you’ll need to stash your piece somewhere smaller, you might want to filter your search to Short and Medium pipes.
Shape & Style: First, decide whether you want a bong with a downstem or one with a fixed stem and perc. You’ll find downstems are the most common setup for bongs, especially the classic Old School beakers. However, you can also get a straight tube bong with a downstem.
Beaker bongs offer the best stability thanks to their low center of gravity. More water equals more milky smoke, but it’s harder to clear. Straight tube pipes offer minimal drag and smoother percolation due to less water resistance. They are faster to clear, and hits are a straight shot.
Function vs. Ease: The more percs you have, the more drag and resistance there is to your hits. Certain percolators, like honeycombs and matrix percs, tend to increase drag more than percs with larger slits like a showerhead.
A three chamber water pipe with three different percs will deliver astonishingly clean and cool hits, but you’ll have to put in a little more lung work than you would with a simple beaker or straight tube.
Material: All of our glass bongs are made from borosilicate glass, a specific formulation of glass which is more durable than your average table glass. Although they are all made from the same material, the quality of that borosilicate does vary. Brands like Diamond Glass, Illuminati Glass, Lookah Glass and Aqua Works Glass deliver gorgeous glass quality every time.
There’s nothing wrong with a cheap bong, but the lower the price, the lower the quality of the glass. Small scratches, bubbles, and other very minor imperfections are more common in the lower end of the price range, but they don’t affect the pipe’s functionality.
We also offer bongs and water pipes made fully or partially from silicone. Silicone pipes bring durability to bongs, so you can rest easy when travelling with your piece or handing it to your clumsy friend. Aqua Works Glass makes their gorgeous Flex Hybrid bongs with a glass chamber housing a powerful perc.
We know it can still be a little tough to choose, so we’ve rounded up some of our favorites in two blog posts, called The 5 Best Bongs Under $50, and The 5 Best Bongs Under $100! If you’re looking for something specific, please hit us up on chat or shoot us an email. We’ll do our best to find the best bong for you!