Blog Menu

The Complete Visual Guide to Bong Part Names

by Angel Ferrer 9 min read

glossary of bong parts

Whether you’re a seasoned smoker or new to the world of bongs, understanding bong part names is essential to getting the most out of your water pipe. From the bowl where you pack your herb to the downstem that begins the water diffusion process, each component plays a crucial role in delivering a smooth yet powerful hit that no other smoking device can deliver.

In this guide, we break down the anatomy of a bong and explain how each part works together and how they function independently. By the end of this article, you’ll know all the expert bong terminology so you can find the absolute best bong to match your exact smoking needs.

Key Takeaways:

  • Bowl: Where you pack and light cannabis in a bong
  • Joint: Holds the bowl in an air-tight hold with a grommet
  • Downstem: Pulls the smoke from the bowl into the water chamber
  • Percolator: Creates bubbles to cool the smoke by dispersing it
  • Water Chamber: Catches ash, resin, tar, and absorbs smoke heat
  • Neck: Filtered smoke rises up the neck as you inhale
  • Mouth Piece: Where smoke exits to be fully inhaled


The full anatomy of a bong

anatomy of a bong


A bong’s anatomy includes the bowl for packing and lighting herbs. Smoke travels through the bowl’s joint, down the downstem (sealed airtight with a grommet), and into the water chamber for filtration. The percolator cools smoke through water diffusion before it rises up the neck to the mouthpiece for inhalation.

A bong's different parts function together to deliver a cool and filtered hit. For a complete guide on the physics and science of bong functionality check out our guide on how bongs work.

Below we’ll discuss each part of the bong and how it impacts the overall experience when smoking a bong:



what is a bong bowl


The bowl is a glass container for packing and lighting cannabis, often an inverted cone or rounded basket, with a small airflow hole at the bottom. It’s connected to the downstem via a glass joint, channeling smoke into the water chamber for filtration.

Pick a bowl size that fits your smoking style. Big bowls deliver larger hits, while smaller ones are perfect for more moderate tokes. Bowls come in glass, ceramic, or metal and can be easily removed from the bong for quick cleaning or to clear the smoke from the chamber.



what is a bong grommet


A grommet is a rubber edging on the joint where the bowl fits and prevents air leaks in bongs by sealing the bowl to the downstem. Air leaks can disrupt the vacuum effect needed to draw the smoke smoothly up the neck of the bong.

Many glass bongs are custom-fitted to prevent air leaks and do not require a rubber grommet. A reliable grommet delivers effortless bong rips from your water pipe, preventing leftover stale smoke in the chamber. When choosing a bong, pay attention to the quality and fit of the grommet by making sure the male and female sizes match.


Glass joint

what is a bong joint


The glass joint is the tapered connection where the bowl fits snugly into the downstem. It provides an airtight seal, occasionally with a rubber grommet, to allow smoke to move from the bowl down into the downstem and into the water chamber.

Glass joints are usually measured in millimeters, with 14mm and 18mm being the most popular. They can be male or female, with male joints fitting into female ones. Selecting the correct size is key to preventing airflow loss, as the bowl, grommet, and glass joint need to form an airtight seal for the bong to function at its best.



what is a downstem


A downstem is a cylindrical 3-5 inch tube made of glass that sits angled connecting the bowl to the water chamber. The bottom is submerged below the waterline and has precision-cut slits that produce bubbles to filter and cool smoke.

When inhaling through the mouthpiece, smoke flows down the downstem into the water and disperses through the slits, cooling dense smoke and creating bubbles. The smoke glides across the surface of the bubbles, further reducing temperature and delivering a smoother bong rip. Downstems can either be built directly into the bong or removable for easy cleaning.



what is a bong percolator


Percolators, or “percs,” are advanced filters at the end of downstems, replacing stock slits with more holes or frits. They divide smoke into multiple paths, producing thousands of micro-bubbles. This results in a much smoother, cleaner hit with reduced harshness, delivering a much smoother bong rip.

There are many different types of percs including tree percs, honeycomb pers, and showerhead percs, each offering unique benefits in terms of water diffusion, filtration of smoke, and a gentler smoking experience.


Water Chamber

what is bong water chamber


The water chamber holds bong water, filtering and cooling smoke with the percolator. Water chamber sizes affect the result depending on the shape of your bong. For example, a beaker bong’s larger reservoir filters and cools better than a narrow chamber like a straight tube bong.

Maintaining the right water level is critical. Too much water can cause splash-back, while too little can reduce the functionality of filtration. Try different levels to find your sweet spot. Most importantly, change your bong water after every use to prevent mold in your bong from growing.


Bong Neck

what is a bong neck


The bong neck, a vertical glass tube, links the water chamber to the mouthpiece. It lets filtered smoke travel to the mouthpiece for inhalation. Longer necks cool smoke more due to the extended distance traveled, giving hot smoke more time to cool.

Some bongs feature additional cooling enhancements found in the neck such as glycerin coils, and ice pinches, or can be positioned at a 45-degree angle, which we’ll discuss below:


1. Ice pinch in the neck

different type of bong neck upgrades


Ice pinches are small indentions or protrusions inside the bong’s neck, meant to hold ice cubes for extra smoke cooling. As hot smoke passes over the ice, its temperature drops, leading to less irritation in the lungs and providing a much smoother and gentler bong rip. Bongs that feature an ice pinch are called “ice bongs”.


2. Glycerin coils in the neck

Glycerin coils are winding glass coils surrounded by frozen glycerin. Hot smoke is forced to travel through the winding coils and is cooled up to 300 degrees due to the frozen glycerin. Glycerin chambers are usually attached to the bong's neck through a keck clip and can be easily removed to refreeze after use.


3. Sidecar neck

The sidecar is a side-mounted mouthpiece that angles the neck of the bong at 45 degrees. A sidecar neck prevents water from reaching the mouthpiece, reducing the risk of splashback and dirty bong water from entering your mouth. The positioning of the neck reduces a bong by half the size making it a great space saver.


4. Splash Guard

Splash guards are features found in bongs designed to prevent water from reaching the mouthpiece during an inhale. They typically consist of a dome-shaped or slotted barrier located above the water chamber in the neck of the bong, diverting any water that splashes from the percolator back down into the water chamber. Splash guards are great on micro bongs where bong water can easily enter your mouth.



what is a bong mouth piece


The mouthpiece is the part of the bong where you place your lips to inhale the smoke. Mouthpieces come in different shapes and sizes, from smaller fits to more ergonomic wide designs that accommodate larger bong rips.

When cleaning your bong, make sure to use bong cleaning plugs, which are universal inserts that cover the mouthpiece so you can flip your bong upside down and let the bong cleaning formula clean the neck of your bong.



what is a bong adapter


Bong adapters are accessories that allow you to customize and expand the functionality of your bong by connecting different bong accessories like bowls and joints that normally would not fit. They come in various shapes and sizes, from dropdowns that lower the joint size of your bong to accommodate different bowls, reclaim catchers, or ash catchers.

Many other adapters can be used to convert the joint sizes or genders allowing your bong to be compatible with any accessory.

Pro-tip: Investing in the right adapters can unlock a world of possibilities with your bong setup, including turning a glass bong into an electric bong or upgrading to a larger bowl size.


Ash catcher

ash catcher add on


Ash catchers are attachments for bongs designed to trap ash and debris from your smoke before it enters the main water chamber. This can help a bong stay cleaner longer reducing the frequency of cleaning by up to 20 times saving you time and money!

Ash catchers are usually external attachments that are inserted into the joint of the bong. They come in various shapes and styles including inline, and shower head, and can improve the taste and smoothness of your hits by increasing filtration.


Keck Clip

what is a keck clip


Keck clips are small, spring-loaded, or tension clips used to secure glass-on-glass joints in bongs and glassware specifically bongs with removable downstems. They provide added stability in modular bong pieces by holding joints together, preventing accidental detachment.

Keck clips help by ensuring a tight seal and smooth airflow throughout your session. Investing in a quality keck clip can help prevent spills and breakage, and increase the quality and power of your bong rips.



what is a stemless bong


Stemless bongs do not feature a removable downstem like traditional bongs, instead, the downstem is integrated directly into the bong’s design. Stemless bongs don’t require any joints, or clips, and usually have a reduced drag because fewer air pockets can be created from joint leaks. The downside to a stemless setup is they are harder to clean.


Common bong terminology

Micro bong: A very small bong

Bong rip: An ultra-dense burst of smoke you inhale in one hit through a bong.

Bong water: the water found in the chamber of the bong.

Borosilicate glass: Contains 5% boric oxide for resistance to both heat and chemical corrosion. This glass is durable and highly resistant to damage from temperature changes.

Bubbler bong: A hybrid between a weed pipe and a bong. A small, hand-held water pipe. While both a water pipe a bubbler and bong have some major performance differences.

Dry pipe: A bong when used without water in the water chamber.

Water pipe: A pipe that uses water to cool the smoke which includes bongs, bubblers, dab rigs, and hookahs (which is designed for molasses tobacco, not cannabis)

Vaporizer: For vaporizing, not smoking, dried herbs, concentrates, or oils.

Filter/ Screen: A metal screen that fits in a bowl and keeps ash and herb particles from being inhaled or entering the water chamber.

Atomizer: The heating element of a vaporizer that can be used to convert a bong into an electric bong.

Dewar’s Joint: Allows for a recessed style joint for a cleaner look and to save space.

Recycler: A bong or rig with pathways that allow the smoke to be refiltered and re-cooled multiple times while preserving the integrity of the flavors of each hit, creating a smoother, tastier experience. This style is preferred for dabbing.



1. What is a bowl weed terms?

In weed terms, a bowl is where you pack and light cannabis in a bong. It looks like an inverted cone or rounded basket with a small airflow hole at the bottom. Bowls are made of glass, ceramic, or metal and are detachable from the body of the bong.


2. What are the parts of a bong called?

A bong has several key parts: the bowl (where cannabis is packed), the joint (connects the bowl to the downstem), the downstem (channels smoke into the water), the percolator (filters and cools), the water chamber (holds water), the neck (where the smoke travels up), and the mouthpiece (where you inhale).


3. Why is a bong called a bong?

The term “bong” comes from the Thai word “baung,” which refers to a cylindrical bamboo tube used for smoking. This word was adopted into English, and over time, “bong” has become the standard term for water pipes. The first recorded use of the word “bong” dates back to the 1940s.


4. What do bongs do?

Bongs are used for taking large hits of cannabis while filtering and cooling the smoke. The smoke passes through water, often via a percolator, which creates bubbles that cool and filter the smoke. This process allows for stronger, smoother hits that are less harsh on the throat and lungs.


5. Why is my bong not bubbling?

If your bong isn’t bubbling, the water level might be too low - it must cover the holes and slits in the percolator. Clogged perc holes from resin buildup can also block airflow. If all else fails, check for air leaks with mismatched bowl and joint sizes that leak air which disrupts the bubbling effect.


6. Why does my bong bubble up to my mouth?

If your bong bubbles up to your mouth, the water level in the chamber might be too high so start by reducing the water in the water chamber. Splashback is common with shorter bongs, so consider using a splash guard or reducing the water to the bare minimum needed for your perc to create bubbles.


Final Thoughts

In this guide, we broke down the full anatomy of the water pipe and took a look at how each part functioned together and on its own. From the bowl, where cannabis is packed and lit, to the downstem and perc that filter and cool the smoke, every part of the bong plays an important role in delivering a smooth and powerful bong rip. When it comes to all your cannabis needs, Hemper Online Headshop has everything you need.