Your 2021 Bong Buying Guide

Are you contemplating buying a new bong?

Of course, you are; what stoner isn’t on the lookout for a new bong to smoke. Maybe your last piece got broken, or it’s a pain in the ass to clean. Perhaps you got a pay rise or came into a little extra money and want to upgrade your smoking experience. Even if you’re happy with your existing water pipes, you’re probably secretly wishing to add to the collection, right?

Without even getting into pipes, vaporizers, chillums, or other devices used for smoking, shopping for a new bong can be overwhelming. Online headshops like Lookah are just one of many companies that offer a large range of bongs.

There is just so much variety to choose from, for instance, what material to go with: Glass, ceramic, acrylic/plastic, silicon, and wooden (bamboo, for the most part).

Glass is, of course, the classic choice and hard to go wrong with unless you drop it.

Plastic bongs are probably the cheapest option but still effective. Ceramic bongs sport some crazy designs that can be simply jaw-dropping. In comparison, bamboo is a nod to the past and boasts that old school style while being durable.

Ultimately, buying a bong comes down to personal preference. Knowing all the options available, including their pros and cons, can take years of experience. In this article, we want to distill that knowledge and experience for you, giving you a better idea of what’s available and what type of bong will best suit your needs.

Perhaps the most essential question to ask is, what do you want to use this bong for? Okay, we all know “smoking weed” is the obvious answer but be more specific. Where will you keep it? How often will you use it? Will it be a personal piece or one you pass around when having a smoking session with friends? Will you take it on any road trips? Do you want percolation or fancy recyclers? How often are you willing to clean it, be honest?

All of these answers will factor into your decision-making process when choosing the best bong, be it your first or tenth piece.

Smoking a bong

Big Bongs or Small Bongs.

Will this be your first bong? If so, be mindful of lung capacity. If you buy some massive bong with several percs and recyclers, you’ll struggle to clear it easily, which will likely leave you unsatisfied. If the chamber in your bong doesn’t fill with smoke, then you’re not maximizing its potential. Likewise, if you fill the chamber but don’t have enough capacity to clear it in one hit, then you’re left with smoke that’s not fresh and may taste stale taste on the second hit.

The dimensions of the chamber and mouthpiece also change how the bong smokes.

Bongs that change diameter along the chamber’s length can be difficult to clear, particularly if they narrow towards the top.

A mouthpiece or chamber that’s too wide will also inhibit the control of your hit. These are all considerations to look for in the size of bong you decide to buy.

Bigger isn’t always better, well, not in the world of bongs at least. A big bong takes up more room and is more likely to get knocked over and break. While they can be great to hit if you have the lung capacity, you’ll need a safe place to store it, and it’s impractical to take it anywhere, so consider where you want to smoke it. Also, will you be sharing it with friends? A big bong with a large bowl can be nice to pass around between friends, but ensure they know how to handle and use it properly. Friends who don’t know how to hold the bong properly, remove the down stem, or think they can just drop ice onto the ice-catcher are the leading cause of broken bongs.

Leaving your bong out on the living room table or standing on the floor increases the risk of it getting knocked or kicked over than keeping it stored in a cupboard. And yes, we love to show off our fancy pieces to friends, so if you fall into that category, some suitable shelving or display cabinet would be a worthwhile investment.

Technical Percolator Bongs.

If you will be the only one using your bong and take care of your water pipes, then treat yourself to a technical glass bong with intricate percolators and recycler chambers. These bongs don’t come cheap, but they offer the cream of the crop for cool, clean hits with outstanding THC absorption making them well worth the extra money. 

Generally made from glass, these technical bongs will have diffusers, percs, splash guards, ice catchers, and more, all intricately woven together in a beautiful design. The downside is that all these extras make them more vulnerable to damage from knocks, but if looked after will bring you years of smooth hits.

Glass Bongs

Don’t be put off from buying glass because of its breakability. There are many durable glass pieces out there that use thick borosilicate glass, making them great daily drivers.

The classic straight neck glass beaker bongs are typical examples and make great group session pipes as long as you don’t get the huge 3 ft ones.  

When it comes to glass bongs, keep in mind the attachments for any ash catchers and bowls or upgraded down pipes. Ensure you get the right size and gender joints for any of the existing equipment you want to use for accessorizing with the bong.

Even within the subset of glass bongs, there is a considerable range of variety. If you want to be able to see the water and function of the bong, then you can get a clear glass bong. If you want to be able to take hits while laying back in a lazy boy, then a bent neck bong that directs the smoke back towards you without you having to sit upright is for you.

If you want a bong that’s easy to clean’ then avoid extra percs and complex recyclers. If cool refreshing hits are your thing, then make sure you find a bong with an ice catcher or ice pinch.

If you want some colorful bong, then you’re in luck as glassblowers have made bongs in just about every color combination imaginable.

Ceramic bong

Ceramic bongs are often smaller than their glass counterparts but still offer pure tasting hits. Just like glass, they come in a range of colors and because there are no limitations when it comes to painting the ceramic surface.  With a wide selection of funky and artistic shapes, they make great display pieces but can be challenging to clean due to their irregular shapes.  Of course, you can get ceramic bongs in generic shapes as well, and they are often less expensive than glass, as well as more durable.

One disadvantage is that with ceramic bongs, you can never see the water inside them, making it hard to know when it starts getting dirty and needs changing. Thankfully, ceramic bongs are easy to clean! Here’s a great guide to cleaning ceramic bongs.

Plastic bong with easy access carb

Plastic or acrylic bongs are most often translucent, so you are able to see the quality of bong water. The downsides to plastic bongs are they don’t have the percolators and filtration chambers that you get with glass.

However, plastic bongs can be an excellent investment if you’re short on cash or need a durable bong for road trips, music festivals, or camping by the lake. Perhaps you don’t trust your friends or yourself with an expensive glass bong at parties but want to get blazed, plastic bong no worries because if dropped they bounce more often than not.

Wooden bongs are typically made from bamboo.

Bamboo is one of the earliest bong materials. The word bong even comes from the Thai word “baung” which was the quintessential Asian water pipe that’s been used for thousands of years. They are not much heavier than plastic and probably more durable. So, if you want the authentic cultured stoner look use a bamboo bong. If you look after them and don’t leave water standing in them, they will last you a long time. They can be used with a metal or glass bowl and down stem. They can also be very ornamental with etched or carved designs on them.

Now that you have a good idea of the bong buying options available, the only thing to determine is how much money you are willing to spend. Bongs can get expensive but needn’t be. Check out if there are any deals or sales at online headshops or local stores. If you shop around, you’re likely to find a good deal, which only leaves one question remaining, who’s taking the first hit?

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