Do you want to make your smoking sessions more interesting? Are you searching for a way to wow your friends? If so, we suggest looking into bongs—the next best thing to joints. They offer many benefits to cannabis enthusiasts, and the community loves them.
Some deem bong-making an art in itself. Specific manufacturers specialize in handmade bongs, while others implement interesting techniques like glass blowing and handmade ceramics. So, every smoker can revel in the hundreds of options at their disposal.
Read our guide about bongs below to discover bong facts, tips, and tricks! Hopefully, you’ll later be able to decide whether these smoking devices can soothe your soul and spice up your smoking sessions.
What is a Bong?
A bong is a water-filtering device with a simple yet creative design. People use it to smoke various dry herbs, including tobacco and cannabis. However, people mostly associate bongs with the weed culture, especially in the 90s.
The main reasons why the community loves them so much are their sleek design, smoother and cooler hits, and dense smoke clouds. One could say a hit from a joint is nothing compared to a bong hit.
Bongs also go by the name water pipes, but these two terms can refer to different types of smoking devices, as you will discover below.
Parts of a Bong
Gravity bongs, bamboo bongs, handmade glass bongs, you name it! There is an enormous list of bongs on the market, and each has its beauties and downsides.
Still, all of them consist of four main constituents:
- Bowl – a tiny bowl that is part of the main body of the bong (chamber). Here, you place and light up the dry herbs;
- Downstem – a tiny tube that is open at both ends. It connects the bowl to the chamber, allowing the smoke from the burnt dry herbs to travel from one place to the other;
- Water chamber – This is an essential part of the bong. You fill it with water before each session. When the dry herbs start smoking, the smoke goes directly into the water, which cools and smooths it out;
- Mouthpiece – The mouthpiece is on top of the chamber. That is where you place your mouth to inhale the filtered smoke from the water.
The History of Bongs
Many people think that bongs are an invention of the 20th century. However, archeologists have found bongs made of gold in a Scythian grave in modern-day Siberia. They are thought to be old over 2,400 years and are the oldest bongs we know of so far. Many ancient civilizations used them for smoking, especially in Asia and Africa.
Bongs were also widespread in India, Asia, and the Middle East during the Middle Ages. They were traded through the Silk Road and remained well-liked in China until the 19th century. Empress Dowager Cixi loved them so much that they buried her with three of them!
However, we must note that these bongs were not the ones we know today. Smokers made them either of metal or bamboo, and some even buried them underground. It’s better to refer to them as water pipes than bongs.
Who Invented Bongs?
Bongs have a long history that dates to ancient times, so we will never know who first thought of the concept of a bong. However, a few people contributed to the evolution of modern-day bongs and forever revolutionized smoking.
A crucial figure is a physician from the 16th century named Hakim Abul Fath. He discovered tobacco and popularized bongs in India which was critical for their worldwide popularity.
Another one is Bob Snodgrass, a fan of the Grateful Dead. He was a glassblower who first had the idea of creating glass water pipes, i.e., bongs. His contributions and ideas are the basis for modern-day glass bongs.
Where Does The Word Bong Come From?
We can trace the root of the word ‘bong’ back to Asia during the 16th century when, as we mentioned, bong smoking witnessed skyrocketing popularity. The word comes precisely from the Thai language since the Thai made a one-of-a-kind bong out of bamboo called ‘bong’ or ‘baung.’
Bong vs. Water Pipe | What’s The Difference?
There is not a significant difference between bongs and water pipes. As mentioned in the intro, most people use these terms as synonyms. However, the latter is a more socially-accepted term and the one preferred by the artists who make these devices.
In addition, water pipes are a much broader term as one can use them to describe many smoke devices with water filtration systems like hookahs, bubblers, and dab rigs. Many people even limit bongs to devices specifically meant for cannabis smoking.
Are Bongs Legal in The US?
There is no federal ban on bongs, but there is a federal bill that classifies cannabis as a Schedule I drug (same as heroin and LSD). However, each state regulates the use of bongs separately.
Law enforcement is stricter with selling and using cannabis rules in some locations. If law enforcement finds you own a bong in these states, they can inspect it for drug traces.
On the other hand, in states where cannabis is decriminalized and legal, you will have no problem using a bong. You can find many shops where you can upgrade your new smoking gadget and learn more tips and tricks.
Since smokers also use bongs for smoking tobacco and other herbs, you can even travel with them and bring your bongs on a plane, as long as they are clean and meant explicitly for tobacco use. However, the authorities might confiscate them if they see fit.
The Legit Age of Buying Bongs
As mentioned, the stances on tobacco and cannabis differ depending on the state. Some are more accepting, while others have strict regulations. That is why the minimum age for purchasing a bong is different across the USA.
So, your specific location determines whether you’ll be able to buy a bong. However, no state permits the sale and consumption of tobacco and cannabis-related products to people under 18.
Do You Have To Be 18 To Buy a Bong?
Smokers must be at least 18 to buy a bong. However, this number will vary among states.
In some locations, authorities require you to be over 21 to purchase a bong. If you are unsure about your state’s stance on these smoking devices, your safest bet is to double-check online.
The story is different with online cannabis/tobacco shops. However, most of them have pop-up windows that ask your age to ensure you are eligible to purchase from them.
How Much Do Bongs Cost?
The price for bongs varies based on the manufacturer, quality, design, shop, size, and features. The average cost is between $50 and $100, but you can find small and cheap bongs for $5 to $20.
On the other hand, if you want a unique centerpiece like a homemade bong made by experienced artisans, expect to pay well over $250. The cost is also higher for bongs with more parts like built-in screens and percolators.
Keep in mind that the cost speaks about quality. The less you spend, the higher chances of having issues with your pipe.
Where Can You Buy Bongs?
There are many places where you can find your perfect bong. Some places to start are your local cannabis and tobacco store, an online headshop, and even sites for handmade products like Etsy.
Whatever you choose, make sure to purchase from a reputable shop with many satisfied and regular clients. You can check for online testimonials or ask for recommendations from friends and relatives.
Why Do Bongs Smell?
One of the chief disadvantages of using a bong is that you have to clean your bong routinely. Otherwise, it will start to develop an unpleasant smell.
The chief reason is that bongs work with water. As the smoke filters through the water in your chamber, it leaves harmful substances behind. In addition, you leave your bacteria behind because you put the entire mouth in the bong’s mouthpiece.
When you don’t replace the water, the bacteria inside it will start to spread. The increased moisture levels make things even worse because where there is moisture, there is also mold.
Don’t worry; you can take precise steps to minimize the risks of foul odors and mold.
- Replace the water after each session;
- Make sure your bong is dry when you don’t use it;
- Clean your device once or twice per week;
- Don’t reuse stagnant water.
How To Get Rid of Bong Smell?
Don’t worry if your bong has already developed a filthy odor. Unless you have entirely neglected bong hygiene for months, you can still salvage the situation.
The only way to eliminate the unpleasant smell is to clean all the parts of your bong thoroughly. Despite the various bong materials, the cleaning methods are the same.
Here are some of the most foolproof methods to clean any bong and kill bacteria:
- Dish soap and hot water;
- Isopropyl alcohol;
- Commercial pipe cleaners.
For a typical cleaning session, we recommend the first option. You use commercial cleaners or a popular DIY method for a deeper clean. Simply pour 99% isopropyl alcohol inside your bong and mix it with rock salt. Shake for a few minutes, then rinse everything with soap and water. You can do the same with vinegar.
After cleaning up your bong well, maintain adequate hygiene by regularly cleaning it. That means throwing bong water after each session, rinsing your bong, removing residue, etc.
Even the tiniest parts of your bong require maintenance and care. You can use cotton pads or small brushes to clean the down stem and the carburetor.
Do Bongs Get You Higher Than Joint?
The experiences of many cannabis enthusiasts all point to one thing—bongs get you higher than joints. The logic behind this is simple. A bong allows you to inhale more smoke and get a more flavorful, denser, and quicker hit.
Since the water filters out the smoke, the hit is also smoother. For this reason, you won’t feel a harsh throat sensation and can inhale more smoke per hit, getting a high quicker than with a joint.
In addition, the bong size affects the potency of the hits. However, there is a lack of thorough research on this topic.
Many scientists disagree with the previous assumption. They think bong hits have a less intense psychoactive effect because bong water filters specific quantities of THC, while THC in joints is 100% unfiltered.
Are Bongs Safe?
Yes, bongs are safe if you use them correctly and strictly purchase from a certified and experienced manufacturer. Still, some people may have an allergic reaction to a concrete material like silicone or acrylic, which you can also find in bongs. So, if you have similar allergies, learn about the bong’s material beforehand to avoid any risks.
How Often Should You Change Your Bong Water?
It’s best to change your bong water after each session. However, if you don’t take as many hits per day, you can change it daily.
Changing the water is a super-important part of bong cleaning. It reduces the chances of contracting harmful bacteria, improves flavor and smell, and prevents mold.
Different Types of Bongs
Bongs have existed for millennia, so it’s no wonder why there are so many intricate designs today. Plus, the cannabis industry is one of the most creative ones. New and upgraded products are constantly launching. You can even find bongs shaped like Starbucks cups and rocket ships.
What may further fascinate you are the various bong materials currently available. To take a sneak peek at this broad topic, here is what you should know about the five most important ones.
Glass bongs are undoubtedly the dominant bong type. They have the most appealing designs and boast a rich history.
They are most popular because they provide the purest flavor and the smoothest hits. The downsides of glass bongs are that they are more expensive, easier to break, and more vulnerable to heat.
A silicone bong is like a glass one’s older, more resilient brother. It also provides a pure and satisfying taste.
Unlike a glass bong, a silicone bong is not prone to breaking and melting. In addition, silicone bongs are simpler to clean and maintain. These advantages make them the perfect addition for first-time stoners who tend to be clumsier.
Many smokers kickstart their bong journey with acrylic bongs. That is no surprise since these bongs are affordable, durable, and have a more flexible design. However, acrylic has some disadvantages that may put off potential users.
Acrylic is transparent plastic, which means it’s not an eco-friendly option and is more harmful to your health. Acrylic bongs also don’t provide as pure taste as silicone and glass. They emit even worse odors when they are unclean.
Ceramic bongs are ideal for smokers looking for an authentic experience. Since ceramic is a very flexible material to work with, these bongs push the boundaries between art and smoking.
You can even find ceramic bongs with 3D shapes like aliens, mushrooms, and fairies on their surfaces. Their downsides are that they provide very quick and potent hits and are easy to break like glass ones are.
Besides different types of bong materials, there are also unique types of product designs. And in this category, beaker bongs have the upper hand.
These bongs got their name because they look like beakers. They have a straight tube and a large base, providing stability and storing more water. In addition, manufacturers usually make them with borosilicate glass, which is sturdier than regular glass.
Other popular bong designs are straight tube, carburetor, round base, multi-chamber, and percolator bongs.
What To Consider If You’re a Beginner?
Figuring out bongs can be challenging at first, but everything becomes easier with time. Once you get a hold of all the bong basics, you can soon become a maestro.
Nonetheless, you must know what type of bong to select to start your journey on the right foot. The most important characteristics to consider are size, materials, quality, and portability if you are a novice.
Here is what you should focus on about each:
Size and Portability
There are three bong sizes: mini, small, medium, and large. The product you purchase will influence hits and practicality. Mini bongs are smaller than 10 inches and ideal for frequent travelers.
On the other hand, large bongs (over 14 inches) will provide smoother hits. You can draw less or more smoke with large bongs, which is excellent for gradually adapting your lungs. In addition, most of them have extra features like ash and ice catchers.
Medium bongs are the perfect blend of mini and large. They also have extra features like large ones but are practical, portable, and easier to understand. For these reasons, we highly recommend them to newbie bong smokers.
We have already discussed the various bong materials and their characteristics in detail, but the question of which is best for beginners remains. We can say that personal preference is vital here.
However, it will take time to adjust yourself to bong smoking. That’s why newbies break bongs more frequently than veteran smokers do. So, starting with a more durable material like silicone or acrylic might be best.
You should also consider bong cleaning. You want a material that it’s easier to maintain and clean, at least until you accustom yourself to the process.
Choosing high-quality bongs is extremely important for having a safe and satisfying session. Don’t purchase your bongs from a shady online shop merely because they have a discount. Usually, surreally low prices point to something not being right.
Ask for advice within the smoking community to find the best bong shop. You can also read online reviews and join forums or subreddits to spare hard-earned money.
How Many Bong Hits Should A Beginner Take?
A common beginner bong mistake is to take too much or too little. To make things more complicated, the number of hits you should take depends on many factors such as strain, temperature, and bong type.
General practice is to take one to two hits if you are a newbie. To have an optimal first session, we recommend you start with one hit and wait for ten to 15 minutes to see how you will feel.
If nothing is happening, take another hit but deeper this time. Chances are you will obtain your desired high faster this way.
The Pros and Cons Of Using A Bong:
- High visual appeal;
- Cooler & smoother hits;
- Easy to use & clean;
- Quick high.
- Easy to break;
- Needs frequent cleaning;
- Filters out more THC.
How Much Water Should You Put in a Bong?
The amount of water you put in your device depends on the size of the bong—the smaller your bong, the less water you will have to pour. A rule of thumb is to fill the chamber until it slightly covers the down stem. It’s also essential to cover all slits that allow air to pass through.
The amount of water will also influence your hit. The water level is too high if the water starts splashing you when you inhale. If the water is not reaching your downstem, you must add more.
Feel free to get creative until you find what fits you best. For example, if you want a more extreme sensation, you should pour less.
Remember that you are free to add and remove water during your session. That is standard practice for beginners as long as they don’t overdo it.
How To Fill a Bong With a Percolator?
Don’t fret if you’re unfamiliar with the know-how of a percolator bong. Even though such bongs are mesmerizing, these bongs are more complex and are known for confusing newbies. However, filling a percolator bong is easy as doing this with a regular one.
Just like regular bongs, you should start pouring water from the mouthpiece. You should cover all holes with water, fully submerging the percolator.
To succeed, you should pour the water extra-slow as you want it to flow gently and evenly from the percolator to the chamber. If not, you could overfill the chamber and underfill the percolator.
How To Smoke a Bong?
Smoking from a water pipe might seem complex at first, but it is a straightforward process with a few main steps:
- Fill the bong with water;
- Grind your herbs;
- Put your herbs in the tiny bowl attached to the bong;
- Heat the bowl with a lighter or with matches;
- Put your mouth inside the mouthpiece;
- Slowly inhale the smoke;
- Exhale immediately;
- Control smoke quantity by taking out the down stem.
Is Bong Water Good For Plants?
We don’t recommend using your bong water for anything after you’ve finished smoking. Watering your plants with bong water might seem practical, but it’s far from that. The stagnant water is susceptible to mold and bacteria; if you water your plants with it, it will kill them. In addition, it sometimes contains CBD and THC residue, which are also not recommendable for plants.
Which Gyroid Looks Like a Bong?
If you enjoy your cannabis and happen to be an Animal Crossing player, we have a surprise! In Animal Crossing, you can find Gyroid bong players like to call “Byroid.” Many gamers speculate whether the object is genuinely a bong, but its distinct shape strongly resembles a glass bong, which means they could be right after all!
What Happens If You Drink Bong Water?
Drinking bong water is not a good idea. Contrary to popular opinion, it will not increase your high. One thing you can expect is nausea.
In addition, if your immune system is down, you might catch a virus. If you feel unwell, try to calm your digestive tract with mint tea or go to the ER.
Can You Buy Bongs Online: Is It Legal?
Besides smoking cannabis, people also use bongs for smoking tobacco and other dry herbs, which are federally legal. That is why buying bongs online is permitted in the USA. However, there are two rules: you must be over 18 years old, and the shop must be legit.
Even though you can purchase a pipe, many states prohibit cannabis usage. If you want to avoid any risks, focus on learning all cannabis-related laws where you live before making a purchase.
Can You Put Your Glass Bong in The Dishwasher?
Technically, you can put thick glass bongs in a dishwasher. However, we advise against this. The dishwasher can damage your bong in the long run or after the first cleaning session.
Some people consider bong maintenance a sacred ritual they should perform with great care, while others take it for granted. It’s best to take the middle route. Don’t be too careful with your bong, but don’t put it in the dishwasher.
Can You Smoke a Bong in Public?
Whether you can fire up your bong in public or not depends on your state’s cannabis and tobacco regulations. Most states prohibit public cannabis smoking altogether, while others allow it only in specific settings like cannabis coffee shops, etc.
A general rule in most states is that you can’t smoke cannabis in places where smoking tobacco is prohibited. You can ask your city for more information about your specific location.
Why To Use Screens With a Bong?
Pipe screens are little filters you put in the bowl below the weed. They are crucial if you want a comfortable and ash-free session since they prevent ash and weed particles from entering your water and lungs.
You can use a glass or mesh filter, and both boast their advantages and cons. You can also purchase a bong with a built-in screen or make a DIY screen from pocking aluminum foil.
How To Fix a Broken Bong?
Nobody likes seeing their bong shattered on the ground, but this is common. Luckily, there are a handful of ways to fix a broken bong. However, whether you can fix it depends on the scope of the problem.
If your bong suffered irreparable damage and shattered into more than ten pieces, it’s best to purchase a new bong. On the other hand, you can use DIY methods for minor cracks and breaks.
Here are some that smokers swear by:
- A food-grade silicone – This is the safest and easiest option as food-grade silicone is non-toxic and easy to use. However, it is not recommendable for fixing major cracks;
- Two-part epoxy – This is a flexible and heat-resistant material with two disadvantages. It works only on clean cuts and can peel off when in water for long periods.
- Loctite Glass – This product effectively glues glass pieces and is water and heat-resistant. However, it’s not a long-term solution since it has toxic chemicals. To avoid risks, you need to replace them often.
- A blow torch – Probably the best solution as it will melt the glass and allow you to “remake” the bong. It’s best for smokers who are already crafty or experienced artisans.
How To Get Bong Water Out of The Carpet?
It’s not rare for people to spill their bong water. We can only imagine the mini heart attack of spilling this dirty water on your favorite table, chair, or carpet. There’s no need for panic, though! There are many ways to remove bong water and return your precious item to its original look.
Here is the best way through five easy steps:
- Put paper towels on the stain;
- Press them with your hands so they can soak up as possible;
- Vacuum the spot with the upholstery attachment;
- Put a bit of baking soda and let it sit for half an hour, or spray the stain with white vinegar;
- Rinse the spot with warm water and vacuum the area;
- Use a carpet cleaner and go by the instructions on the label.
Should You Put Ice in a Bong?
Whether you put ice in your bong is entirely your choice and solely depends on personal preferences. If you put ice, it will cool the smoke, making inhaling easier, according to more experienced smokers. On the other hand, many bong users like hotter bong water because it provides more moisture and smooths out the hit.
If you like the idea of an icy session, here are the five steps to adding ice to your bongs:
- Fill your bong with regular water (a little bit less than usual);
- Take out the down stem to prevent the ice from breaking it;
- Gently put the ice cubes through the mouthpiece;
- Return the down stem to its place;
- Wait for things to cool out for a few minutes, and hit your bong.
Can I Boil My Bong?
There are many ways to deep clean your bong, and boiling is one. However, you need to be cautious when boiling your bong.
Here are some precautions you should tick off on your list:
- Choose a pot that is larger than your bong;
- Don’t put the bong in already boiling water like it’s some random potato. Instead, put it in the water from the very beginning and slowly increase temperatures;
- Leave it boiling for 30 minutes tops;
- Don’t rinse it with cold water; wait for it to cool down independently.
Does a Bong Smell Less Than a Pipe?
It depends. For example, both can have an equally off-putting smell if you don’t maintain your smoking products regularly.
However, bongs can smell more than pipes because of their water filtration system. Water is susceptible to moisture and mold, so a dirty bong with stagnant water is worse than an unclean pipe.
Does Bong Water Freeze?
Bong water is regular water, meaning it can freeze when in a low-temperature environment. Besides the water, your bong can freeze as well. So, whether full or empty, never leave your bong at below-freezing temperatures.
If sometime in the future your bong water freezes, don’t try to break it with ice picks or knives because this might damage the bong itself.
Luckily, there are more peaceful methods such as:
- Using a hairdryer;
- Placing it in a warmer room to melt on its own;
- Pouring room-temperature water on top of the frozen one.