A decade ago, buying a glass bong meant taking a walk to the nearest headshop and picking one off the shelf. The shop, while cozy, would generally have no more than a dozen or so hand blown bongs available at best.
The majority of shoppers would make their decision based on appearance or simplicity or what looked easy to use. These handmade bongs would usually last for years, and a replacement would only be considered when a clumsy friend would drop it accidentally during a coughing fit.
Cut to today, and the explosion of interest in the cannabis market has resulted in a multitude of options flooding the market. Consumers now have hundreds of size, shape, color and design combinations to consider.
Options are great. But with options also comes confusion. Which bongs are right for you? Are certain styles or features better for your style or smoking preferences? Is that premium bong with the new innovative features worth the extra money, or are you better off sticking with something simple?
That’s where we step in.
Our team of experts has curated a collection of some of the best glass bongs on the market, made available at affordable prices that won’t break the bank. But before you browse our digital shelves, read on to learn more about the steps you can take to choose the perfect glass bong.
The shape of the bong is important
Before we get into the more technical side of things, let’s talk about the most basic aspect of bong selection, the shape.
Like we said earlier, you might be greeted with bongs in abnormal shapes.
But for now, here are the most popular ones.
Straight tube: These are the most basic bongs with a neck, a cone, a downstem (set at 45 or 90 degrees) and a chamber. Can range in size from a few inches to several feet.
Beakers: Remember the Erlenmeyer flasks from Chem class? These are designed to resemble those. These typically have 45-degree downstems. The base can be rounded or square.
Bent neck: These have a bent neck that prevents the water from rising up the neck and into the smoker’s mouth. Sort of like a breaker mechanism.
Recyclers: Recyclers are undoubtedly, the lookers of the bong world. The smoke passes through multiple glass chambers before reaching your mouth. Some recyclers also filter the smoke twice through water.
Egg water pipe: The new kid on the block with a unique design that splashes the water similar to a percolator. Throw in a perc to the mix and you have one of the most distinct pulls ever.
Size Matters – with glass bongs that is
Getting the sizing right can be as simple as picking what works for you (pocket-sized, medium-sized, mammoth), or working your way with numbers that are used to denote the size of the tiny joint where bowl meets the downstem.
10, 14 & 18mm are the standard sizes. And there are even sexes (male and female) attachments to consider.
The numbers and the sexes are clearly best left for seasoned bong users who use it to determine the amount of air that they can pull in one go. 18mm gives more pull than a 14mm one.
If you are just starting off, ignore the numbers and select a size that corresponds with your usage.
Do you travel with your bong? Pick a portable one or a folding one.
Are you a stay-at-home bong user? The sky is the limit for you. You can choose gargantuan-sized bongs with multiple percs that have ornate designs.
Gentle swirling curves, an array of swirling pipes, looks straight out of an Egyptian treasure chest.
However, the more sophisticated the design, the higher the cost. Also, the more difficult it will be to clean.
We saw a 9-foot bong once. Wonder who used it. Andre the giant maybe.
Remember that your choice of a bong should also depend on your lung capacity. The larger the chamber, the more difficult it will be to clear it in one pull.
Any smoke left in the chamber will quickly lose flavor.
Accessories: do you need them?
First time bong shoppers might be inundated with technical jargon thrown around by salesmen.
These are usually used to describe additional accessories that are used to alter the quality of smoke before you inhale it.
Here are some of them.
Percolators: Also called Percs, these are used to diffuse the smoke further after the first water filtration. Depending on the design of the percolator, it will swirl the smoke or use bubbles to create extra diffusion. Some of the popular percolator designs are inline, honeycomb and shower head. Some bongs contain multiple percolators which results in a thick, dense and smooth smoke.
Multi-Chamber: The smoke will pass through multiple chambers each with its own percolator or water tank.
Recycler: Interlinking chambers where the smoke is filtered multiple times through a loop. Delivers a cooler hit.
Fat can bases: Used for straight, tall bongs which are at a risk of tipping over and crashing. These bases provide stability.
Bent neck mouthpiece: Pretty much what we mentioned earlier. Will prevent water from entering your mouth and will keep your face away from the flame.
Ice catch: A mechanism that holds ice in the neck to further cool the smoke before it reaches your mouth.
Not all glass is the same
We asked some old timers about their take on cheap imported glass bongs and they nearly ripped us to shreds.
The quality of the glass, they said, was of penultimate importance in the entire experience of smoking from a bong.
But some of our younger buddies care a hoot about how the glass is made as long as it’s cheap and does the job.
To each their own. But if you can swing it, we highly recommend American made Borosilicate glass. This glass contains 5% boric acid and undergoes a procedure called ‘Annealing’ which strengthens it.
We can’t vouch for imported glass though. It may or may not be annealed. Moreover, we have noticed tiny micro-fractures in and around cheaply made bongs which weaken the structure and make them prone to damage a lot sooner.
There’s more to a glass bong than the style or the size. We hope that this article allows you to make an informed decision while selecting one of these.
When you’re ready to find the perfect glass bong to add to your collection, consider checking out our expertly curated digital store. And if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re always happy to help!
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