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Bong vs Pipe: Which is Better?

by Angel Ferrer 9 min read

Bong vs Pipe: Which is Better?

Choosing between a bong and a pipe depends on your priorities. Bongs offer much larger hits that are smoother and cleaner from water filtration, providing a much more intense experience. Pipes deliver unfiltered and dense smoke, that is much easier to manage on the inhale making them easier to use, and far more affordable.

There is no correct answer on whether a bong is better than a pipe because it all depends on your personal preference. In this article, we highlight all the pros and cons of owning a bong or a pipe and compare the two side by side so you can find the best smoking device for you.

Short Answer:

  • Bongs allow you to take much larger hits in a single inhale which makes them stronger
  • Bongs use water filtration to cool, clean, and smooth hot smoke
  • Pipes are much easier to use, inhale, clean, and store compared to bongs
  • Pipes are much more affordable and durable than bongs


The difference between a bong and a pipe

difference between bong and pipe


The two key differences between a pipe and a bong are:

Water filtration: Bongs are pipes differ primarily in their use of water. Bongs have percolators in the water chamber that cool and filter smoke for smoother hits, while pipes offer no water filtration for a direct, unfiltered smoke experience.

Size: Bongs are also much bigger and bulkier, which gives them more smoke volume capacity for larger hits, while pipes are smaller and more portable, but don’t offer as strong and as large of a hit as bongs deliver.


Is a bong better than a pipe?

is a bong better than a pipe


A bong is often considered better than a pipe for smoother, cleaner hits due to its water filtration system. This process reduces heat and filters impurities, making the smoke less harsh and more flavorful. However, pipes are more portable and discrete, making them perfect for on-the-go, solo smoking.

Below we’ll compare a bong and pipe based on all the most important factors from cooling, portability, filtration, hit intensity, and cleanliness:


1. Why bongs are cooler (literally) than pipes


Summary: Bongs have more cooling power than pipes with a longer travel distance for hot smoke to cool, water absorbing heat, and the percolator diffusing hot smoke for an overall smoother experience.

One of the biggest perks of using a bong over a pipe is how it cools down the smoke before you inhale. Bongs give the smoke a longer journey (giving it time to chill out), with a pit stop in a water chamber where filtration and more cooling take place.

The water chamber in a bong absorbs the heat and diffuses (splitting apart) hot smoke with the percolator to cool it even more, making each bong rip way smoother and less harsh.

Pipes are considered dry pipes and are more like a straight shot of smoke. No water, no cooling, and a much shorter travel distance. This means the smoke can be hotter and a bit rougher on the inhale. The smoke is much denser and unfiltered, so if you’re all about a smoother experience then bongs are the way to go.


2. Pipes win in portability and durability


Summary: Pipes are much more portable and at times durable (thicker glass), making them much easier to handle, transport, and hide compared to the bulky size and weight of water bongs.

Pipes win hands down when it comes to portability. Their compact size makes them easy to store, hide, and carry around, making them ideal for on-the-go smoking. Bongs are bigger and often more delicate at sensitive points. While they offer much more when it comes to the overall experience, they are much larger and bulkier, so lugging one around isn’t exactly practical.

If you need something portable and low-key, a pipe is the smarter choice. Bongs take up more space and require careful handling, which isn’t always convenient for those who like to keep things simple, mobile, and clutter-free.


3. Bongs offer superior filtration and smoothness


Summary: Pipes offer zero filtration of smoke from ash, tar, resin, and other byproducts, whereas the percolator and water in a bong can filter out many byproducts delivering a much smoother, cleaner, and tastier hit.

Bongs have a huge edge over pipes when it comes to filtration and smoothness. The water in a bong acts like a natural filter, removing ash, plant particles, and some tar and smoke by-products. This means the smoke you inhale is cleaner and less harsh on the inhale.

Hand pipes don’t offer any water filtration, meaning you’re likely to inhale more impurities along with catching some ash and burnt plant particles in your mouth. This can make the experience harsher and more irritating. However, pipes give far less intense hits compared to a bong rip, which we’ll discuss next.


4. Bongs are much stronger than pipes


Summary: Bongs deliver much stronger and bigger hits in one single movement whereas pipes deliver smaller more controller bursts. Stronger and bigger hits require a deeper inhale and result in more THC absorption, which is why bongs hit so hard.

The difference in intensity between a bong and a pipe hit is very significant. The science behind how bongs work is that a bong creates a pressure change that pulls all the smoke up in one large, intense burst, which is much more smoke than a pipe delivers in one single hit. This can be a bit much for some people but very satisfying for those who are looking for stronger and more impactful hits.

Pipes provide a straightforward delivery of smoke that shoots directly to your lung, resulting in smaller, more controlled hits. This is great for smaller doses and a more manageable experience with your strain. If you’re after powerful, robust hits, then bongs are your best bet. But if you prefer a gentler, more controlled experience, pipes are a better choice.


5. Pipes are easier to clean


Summary: Pipes require much less time, material, and effort to clean making pipes much easier to clean than bongs. Pipes, however, get dirtier much faster than bongs and require more frequent cleaning.

When it comes to cleaning and maintenance, pipes are generally much simpler to manage than bongs. A quick soak and rinse with isopropyl alcohol and sea salt usually does the trick, and their small size means you can clean them much faster than bongs, with far fewer cleaning materials. The only downside is a pipe usually needs to be cleaned much more frequently than bongs.

Bongs have multiple parts that can usually be removed such as the bowl and downtsem, which each require individual cleaning to avoid resin buildup. Bongs are also much larger and require more cleaning solutions, which means cleaning a bong can cost significantly more in material and time. Many percolators in bongs have tiny holes, frits, or slits that can clog with resin over time, which require a much more effective bong cleaning solution than IPA.

Pro-tip: Make sure to check out our guide on how to keep your bong cleaner, and longer to reduce cleaning frequency with bongs and avoid nasty mold growth.


6. Pipes are much more affordable


Summary: pipes are much cheaper than bongs

When it comes to price, pipes are generally the more budget-friendly option when compared to bongs. Their simple design requires far fewer materials which makes them much cheaper to make and buy.

Bongs, especially those with intricate designs and extra features like multiple percolators, can increase the price quickly but are well worth it. The cost of a bong depends on many factors such as size, material, cooling features, brand, and artistic design, and if you’re open to investing a bit more for a much smoother and more powerful experience, a bong is worth considering.


7. Flavor and Taste


Summary: A bong uses water filtration which helps protect flavor terpenes which are sensitive to heat. Bongs will give you a much tastier experience when compared to a pipe.

The flavor of your smoke comes from the terpenes and flavonoids in your cannabis strain. Terpenes, which give cannabis its unique aromas and flavors, are sensitive to high temperatures. Bongs use a water-cooling system that helps preserve these delicate compounds, resulting in a smoother and tastier hit.

Pipes deliver unfiltered smoke directly to your lungs, which can be flavor-rich, but the unfiltered smoke can sometimes overpower the subtle flavors of your cannabis strain. If you prioritize flavorful hits, glass bongs can be the better choice because of their ability to retain more of the plant’s natural taste.


Which is easier to use a bong or pipe?


Summary: If you’re seeking simplicity and ease, a pipe is a perfect starting point, but if you’re willing to invest a little more time in learning, a bong can provide a much superior experience.

If you’re new to smoking and what a straightforward hassle-free time, starting with a pipe is a great choice. Pipes are simple to use, with minimal parts and an easy-to-understand design. All you need to do is pack the bowl, light it, and inhale while covering and then releasing the carb hole.

Bongs, while not overly complicated, do require a bit more know-how. You need to make sure the water level is just right to get the best filtration from your percolator and you need to have all the different bong parts properly assembled and airtight. The larger size of bongs can also be a bit daunting for new smokers, however, it gives bongs the structure and capacity to excel in cooling, filtration, and flavor which is also a much more comfortable experience for newcomers.



When comparing the durability of glass bongs and glass pipes, pipe usually have the upper hand. Glass pipes are typically smaller, have thicker glass, and far fewer weak points that can break when compared to bongs.

Glass bongs are often made thinner to be more cost-effective for customers, making them more fragile. Areas such as the joint and recycler arms are particularly vulnerable and can easily shatter upon impact with solid objects.

Pro-tip: To turn up the durability factor for both bong or pipe, try choosing materials like high-quality borosilicate glass, silicone, or steel. These materials offer greater resilience and longevity.


Social smoking

When it comes to social smoking, bongs are often the star of the show. These hefty devices don’t just deliver smooth hits, they turn a regular smoke session into a communal ritual. The act of packing, lighting, and passing around a bong becomes a very personal event, sparking conversations and laughter.

Pipes have their own charm. They’re the introvert of the smoking world - perfect for solo sessions or intimate hangouts. While they can be shared, they lack the grandeur of a bong. Pipes are more about personal enjoyment, offering quick, hassle-free hits without the need for much setup.

Summary: If you love the idea of a shared smoking setting, that’s more about the experience and connection, a bong is your best bet.



If keeping things on the down low is your game, pipes are your new best friend. Their compact size makes them easy to stash away in a drawer or pocket, and they produce far less smoke and odor, which is perfect for a more stealthy session when needed.

Bongs are larger which makes them much harder to hide, and the sheer volume of smoke they produce can fill a room in no time. Plus, bongs often have more intricate designs, which can make them far more delicate which really makes bongs best placed in a dedicated open space.


Design and feature variety

When it comes to design variety, both bongs, and pipes offer many options, but bongs often take the cake for far superior filtration, cooling, and artistic designs like horror bongs. Bongs can feature everything from multi-chamber structures and elaborate percolators to stunning hand-blown glass art that turns each piece into a visual masterpiece.

Pipes, while also available in a range of styles, generally lean towards simpler, more functional designs. They come in different shapes and materials like glass, wood, silicone, and metal, but they typically lack the artistic flair that bongs boast.

Bongs offer a world of variety and creativity, with a much wider range of artistic expression you can get a full-on Gummie Bear bong or a Cactus bong. Here at Hemper we design and engineer all of our bongs in the U.S. and offer a wide range of very artistic bongs, that not only function as an amazing water pipe but also beautiful home decor.



1. Why use a bong instead of a pipe?

Using a bong instead of a pipe provides a smoother smoking experience due to water filtration, which cools and filters the smoke, reducing harshness and irritation. Bongs also allow for larger, more intense hits and trap unwanted particles, resulting in a cleaner, more powerful smoke.


2. Do bongs make you higher than pipes?

Bongs can make you feel higher than pipes because they deliver larger, more concentrated hits. The water filtration allows for smoother, deeper inhalation, which can lead to a more intense and immediate effect. This increased intake of smoke in a single hit can amplify the overall experience.


3. Do bongs make you higher?

Bongs can make you feel higher compared to other smoking methods. The water filtration cools and smooths the smoke, allowing for larger, more potent hits. This results in more THC being inhaled at once, which can intensify the high. The cooling effect reduces irritation allowing you to take much larger rips than you could with a pipe.