Complete Guide to Percolators
Whether looking for a new all-in-one bong or simply an addition to your growing collection of smoking apparatus, finding the right percolator can be tricky with so many options available.
Though arguable, some believe percolators provide a smoother, better smoking experience by cooling down the smoke before it is inhaled. The bubbles from the heated water inside percolators work to refine the smoke because the smoke is filtered through those bubbles.
This also makes the practice healthier as it removes some toxins and is easier on the lungs.
A Healthier and Purer Alternative
While using a vaporizer is still arguably the “healthiest” option, making sure that clean water in a clean glass piece is used is also a very good way to reduce impurities and toxins. Smoking through a water filtration system also adds a third benefit: moisture. Smoke can be harsh on the throat because it is dry when it is inhaled. By forcing the smoke through water, some of the then heated water is transformed into vapor. This adds moisture to the smoke before it hits the throat and lungs, making it more comfortable to breathe in.
THC is not removed during the filtration process, and further filtration is difficult to accomplish past two percolators. In order to achieve full water filtration, the surface area of the smoke must be less than or equal to the surface area of the bubbles that form in the water. Because smoke is many times greater in surface area, this high percentage of filtration is very difficult to reach.
Virtually Unlimited Design Options
While the basic function remains the same, there are many options that provide different benefits. Some percolators are built into bongs while others are add-ons that can be fitted to your favorite pipe or an additional percolator for a second filter and even smoother pull.
Consider the design of your glass to best suit your use. Apart from the functionality itself, styles can range from bent necks and beak-shaped bases to patterned or clear glass. Consider the practicality of the glass and whether the ability to modify the bong is of importance. The ability and level of difficulty that comes with cleaning some glass should also be taken into consideration when choosing and buying glass. Read through our complete guide to percolators to find the perfect piece.
Types of Percolators
Popular for its power, disc percolators produce a lot of bubbles, each of which diffuses the smoke. FIlled with tiny holes to create all of those bubbles, those holes can get clogged, which might make this option more difficult for beginners. It requires a long, deep pull for the filtration to be worth the effort.
Similar to disc percolators, circ percs come in a variety of shapes and combinations and come equipped with slits around the edges rather than tiny holes. Some might be domed while others are stacked, though many are located at the bottom of a downstem percolator.
Connected directly to the downstem, a barrel perc can positioned upright or sideways within the rig. With more holes than most percolators, the cylindrical perc and its gridded slots allow for increased diffusion. The additional bubbles that are produced as a result of those holes are what make this perc ideal for those looking for a thorough filter in an all-in-one.
Using a smaller tube connected to a primary chamber, the larger tube pulls smoke through a variety of holes – sometimes similar to those of a barrel perc – and down into the rounded base. This allows maximum diffusion to take place while minimizing drag.
The design of the Swiss perc is unmistakable. This percolator is made with holes in the bong's body like Swiss cheese. Forcing the air to move around the holes in the body, the drag on the pull is lessened while the style of the glass breaks down and cools the smoke. Those familiar with Faberge Egg bongs will recognize these.
These percs feature flat discs – studded with holes, which usually appear in pairs within a stacked design to create multiple chambers. In line and parallel to the base of the bong, the bubbles have a direct path through the chambers. For cooler and more highly filtered smoke, choose more discs that will create additional chambers for the smoke to pass through. This ensures a cooler hit without slowing down the process of smoking.
With a flared base, UFO percs are known for their efficiency and the ability to easily clean them. This type of percolator places a downstem within a bubble-like glass body but facing upwards. Pulling the smoke through slits at the base, the larger space allows for greater diffusion and cooling to take place.
Though some are actually in the shape of a donut, these percs are simply Swiss percolators, but instead of many holes, the body only features a single hole. Glassmakers can place the hole anywhere along the base, the main purpose is, again, to pull the smoke through the space around the hole with allows it to cool before it is inhaled.
Diffused Downstem Percolator
The most basic type of perc, a diffused downstem percolator is perfect for beginners and often used with water pipes. These percolators can be purchased as additions to bongs or already fixed within the construction of a bong. With slits at the base, the perc extends from the bowl, making it look like a vertical pipe. Resting under the water, the smoke is cooled within the perc before traveling up the bowl.
Similar to honeycomb percolators, ratchet percs feature a more intricate design of discs, but instead of having holes scattered across the entire disc, the holes are deliberately placed along the edge of the discs near the wall of the body. Without the center holes, a downstem can run through the center of the discs to cross through the filtration layers to accommodate a small pipe or bubbler.
Among the most extravagant percolator designs, coil percolators can include one of two types of coils. The first is a physical glass coil with two openings that winds around the center of the chamber. The second type is a glycerin coil. While both diffuse smoke well, the glycerin coil can provide a cooler hit. To achieve this, freeze the coil. No matter the type, coil percs prove to have a striking aesthetic while giving a longer and smoother drag than many other percolators.
Matrix percs might have the most varied array of designs with regard to percolators. Combining the style of disc percs with the slashes and holes of barrel percs, matrix percolators are cylindrical. The number, location, size and direction of holes within the chamber can vary. The holes toward the top do not provide much resistance, so lower holes may have trouble bring in enough smoke to inhale.
Stereo Matrix Perc
This variation on a matrix perc simply includes a second matrix percolator stacked on top of the first to create a second chamber. These can be directly stacked or separated by a downstem or glass disc. Again, the additional layer provides additional filtering and cooling time for the smoke.
At the base of the body, an inline perc features a horizontal tube with slashes all along its walls. The more holes there are for the smoke to move through, the smoother the pull will be. This style of percolator is particularly recognizable and looks similar to an oil lamp. These percolators are often paired with other types that can be added above them, such as a showerhead perc.
Also known as pillar percs, tree percolators stem from diffused downstem percolators. With a similar design, these percs simply add more vertical columns or tubes. Just as any other percolator, the more space there is for the smoke to pass through, the more filtration occurs. Following that logic, the higher the number of glass columns present, the large the increase in filtration. Choose a strong material as this type of perc can easily break.
For a well-designed and visually pleasing percolator that offers high-quality filtration, a turbine perc is an ideal option. A single disc with angled slits allows water to pass through and create a whirlpool within the next chamber. As the water moves and impresses, it also works to cool and diffuse smoke.
Fritted Disc Percolator
This type of perc is by far the most powerful. Similar to a honeycomb percolator, a fritted disc perc features tons and tons of tiny holes, which can be very difficult to clean. For many, the trouble is worth it as the many holes provide plenty of smoke for each hit.
NO matter what type of glass piece smokers select, a percolator will surely improve the smoking experience. A long, continuous hit will feel wonderful thanks to the water filtration, cooling effect and added moisture.
Remember to consider the functionality, practicality and the level of difficulty the glass with demand when cleaning – and cleanliness is important for the quality of the smoking session. Consider your likes and dislikes and find the perfect glass piece to add to the collection, whether it is a full, one-piece perc or a modification piece to a go-to
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