If you’re just getting started on your cannabis journey, you’re most likely accustomed to basic tools like hand pipes. Although these pipes are great for beginners, they come with one key disadvantage: smaller hits and harsher hits. Some people may like the burn they get at the back of their throat, but it isn’t for everyone. For those looking to remedy these issues, you’re going to want to purchase yourself a water pipe.
Water pipes come in a wide variety of types, and it’s crucial to understand these different types in order to find the perfect product for your needs. In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at the water pipe to better understand the various options on the market and which considerations you’ll need to make along the way.
What's a Water Pipe?
A water pipe is used to describe a piece that’s more frequently called a bong. However, this term may also be used interchangeably with other types of water-based smoking tools, such as bubblers and dab rigs. However, in this article, we’ll be using water pipes and bongs. Water pipes are tools that use water to cool down smoke and vapors and filter contaminants out so that you have a more pleasant experience. If you don’t already have a water pipe, you should definitely add one to your collection!
What to Consider When Buying a Water Pipe
The basic bongs that you see online-only scratch the surface of the different types of water pipes available on the market today. Here are some of the key considerations you should be making when you plan on purchasing a water pipe for yourself.
Types of Bongs
There are several types of bongs that you will encounter while shopping. Let’s cover some of these main types so you have a better idea of what these are while you’re actively looking at water pipes.
Straight tubes are bongs that are cylindrical in shape and maintain the same shape from top to bottom. Does this impact functionality? Absolutely not! The straight tub bong can be the perfect beginner bong and you can find these types of bongs anywhere. If you’re looking for a basic product to help you smoke your cannabis, straight tubes are the way to go.
Beaker bongs best resemble the types of beakers that you may have seen in science environments. What’s the difference between these types of bongs and others? Besides the difference in shape, there’s a flared base with more room for water. This helps keep your bong in place (in comparison to thinner bongs which may be more easily knocked over). If you like the look of a beaker and need something a bit more steady for your smoker sessions, consider a beaker bong.
Bubble base water pipes are much like the two previous suggestions, with the exception being that these have a “bubble” at the bottom instead of the other two shapes. The bubble base is a bit of a mix between the straight tubes and beakers, giving you some stability but not as much due to the shape of the bottom of the bong. When it comes to the bubble base bong and the other two options we’ve covered so far, it’s mostly a matter of personal preference when you’re looking at these types of designs.
Multi-chamber bongs, also known as recycler bongs, provide a unique experience that’s tailored to those who prefer a smoother experience than some basic bongs have to offer. Aptly named, recycler bongs have multiple filtration chambers that hold water to cycle smoke through water twice rather than only once. This further cools down the smoke and gives you a far less harsh experience than simply letting your smoke pass through the bit of water at the bottom of your straight tube bong. If you’re someone who values quality in every hit, go for the multi-chamber bong.
Percolators are pieces found within certain water pipes that help to dissipate smoke before it ends up going through the process of being filtered through the water. As with the above concept, this makes it more filtered and cooler by the time that it reaches your lips. The only thing to remember is that the more features that are added onto a water pipe, the more expensive it may be and the more difficult it can be to clean when it comes time to get all the built-up residue out of your bong. Make sure you think about this when you decide to add a new piece to your collection.
Some features are directly integrated into every bong design. Others may be additional features that you should look into if you’re looking for a certain experience when you smoke your cannabis. Regardless of which features are in the bongs that you’re looking that, knowing what these features are and what they help you achieve is integral to finding the best possible water pipe. Here are some of the key features that you should know about before you begin shopping for bongs online or at smoke shops in your area.
The downstem is the piece of glass that connects your bowl and the smoke being produced by it and the internal water chamber of your water pipe. When you inhale through the top of your bong, the suction pulls the water through the downstem and into the water and through your bong. Downstems can be permanent or removable, although the latter makes it far easier to clean your bong effectively.
In the case of the recycler bong or the bong with the percolator, these additional features make it possible to get a much smoother, cooler hit when you use your water pipe. However, that’s not the only feature that can achieve this. In some bongs, there’s a feature known as an ice catcher. An ice catcher keeps ice cubes in place to cool down the smoke as it travels through them, which results in a much cooler smoking experience. If you find most hits to be too harsh for you, this feature can be very desirable.
As you may have already guessed, a splash guard serves to prevent the bubbling in your bong from reaching up and hitting your mouth and face as you take hits from your bong. This is a common problem in products like straight tube bongs where everything is located in one central place. This may or may not be something you want, depending on how often you get hit with water and whether or not it’s a big issue for you.
Ash catchers are additional tools that can be attached to your bong to prevent ash and resin from making their way into your bong water. Although this is unlikely to be too big of a problem, it can make the overall process less desirable and may be necessary for some users.
The bowl is the attachment in your bong where you insert and light your weed. The major thing to look for is the right bowl size. If you have too small of a bowl, you will end up having to fill it frequently, which can be a pain. If it’s too big for you, you can either end up having trouble inserting it into your bong or getting way too high. Either way, you can always buy a bowl that fits your needs separately from the bowl that came with your original water pipe.
Now that we’ve covered the different types of bongs and the many features that may be equipped with your water pipe, we have to cover the final and most important topic: materials. Some of the materials that you may find your water pipes in include:
Glass is the most popular material for bongs. This is due to the fact that glass doesn’t add any contaminants to your smoke while you’re using your water pipe and that it preserves the flavor as it travels through every component of your bong. The only disadvantages of choosing a glass bong over other materials are that they can be more difficult to clean, they’re generally more expensive, and they can easily break if you’re not careful enough.
Plastic or acrylic bongs are very popular among budget connoisseurs and those who may not entirely love the overall look of glass bongs. These types of products are very colorful and are a little bit more difficult to break (although it can certainly happen if you’re not careful enough). They may also be much easier to wash than their glass counterparts.
Looking for something sturdy and sustainable? Some bongs will use materials like bamboo to offer both a unique look as well as a more durable body that can last for years to come. These types of products are harder to find, but if you can get your hands on one and it’s within your budget, this is likely a bong that you can keep forever. Just make sure that you’re ready for the level of upkeep that these products demand.
Understanding your water pipe and how it’s intended to perform helps you get the right bong. But even so, there are a lot of unanswered questions that you may still have despite having done your research. If you can relate to the above, here are some FAQs that often accompany water pipes and their use.
Difference Between Glass Bong and Silicone Water Pipe?
If you’re looking around at different materials, you may be asking yourself, how do these vary? For example, take glass and silicone. On one hand, you have glass. Glass is known for keeping your herbs flavorful and offering an enhanced experience. However, as we’ve addressed above, glass bongs can be expensive, difficult to clean, and easy to break. Meanwhile, silicone still offers a great experience but is often much more colorful, cheaper, and is easy to clean. Silicone can be boiled to get rid of caked-on residue, frozen to smash it into pieces, or cleaned normally if the mess isn’t too bad.
When you start shopping, make sure to keep these comparisons in mind!
Joint Sizes for Bongs
Joint sizes only play a major role if you’re shopping for a new bowl. 14mm seems to be the most common joint size for bongs, although they can run a bit smaller and a bit larger than this. They also offer male joints (for bongs where you insert your bowl into the bong) and female joints. Make sure to ask your smoke shop owner about this when you’re speaking with them or to look it up on the additional information under the product if you’re shopping online.
How to Use a Bong
Using a bong is like using any other tool. The directions are simple.
- Fill the bong with water. You should have it to the point where the downstem isn’t completely submerged and the bubbling is sufficient.
- Grind your herbs and fill your bowl. Once your bowl is filled and inserted into your water pipe, begin prepping the herbs by introducing them to a flame from a lighter or another heat source.
- Once your herbs are lit, place your mouth over the mouthpiece to start pulling smoke from the bowl into the bong.
- When you’ve gotten enough smoke, take the bowl out of the bong to reveal the carb and clear the chamber.
Directions may vary from piece to piece, but this is the general gist!
Water pipes introduce an entirely new smoking experience that is much tamer. However, no two water pipes are the same. If you anticipate purchasing your first water piper adding another water pipe to your collection and need to know more about these products ahead of time, this guide above will give you all of the information you need on water pipes to make an educated decision when you finally decide to add one to your collection!
Bongs & Water Pipes have been popular for decades to provide a smooth deep smoking experience. In ancient times bongs were made from ceramic, bone, and even wood. Today the number one material used for contemporary water pipes is glass.
Bongs have always been popular for their filtered smoking effect due to being filled with water. Unlike dry pipes, bongs use water to add a level of filtration that enhances the smoking experience. The water acts as a filter to clean out impurities and allows the smoker to take deeper, larger hits than with a hand pipe.
Some bongs have the ability to cool the smoke through additional percolators and chambers. There may be only a slight noticeable cooling effect with basic perc water pipes, but when you jump to larger multi-percolator bongs, the cooling effect can be magnified immensely.
Do you start selecting the right bong with so many choices in styles, shapes, and designs?
Choosing the correct price point is where you want to start your bong search. Our main categories for bongs are bongs under $50 & bongs under $100. Mile High Glass Pipes carries starter bongs under $20 that perform well for lighter smokers or beginner bong users. You don't have to spend a ton of money to get a high-quality, user-friendly water pipe.
What are Percolators?
Basic water pipes have a reservoir chamber filled with water, a down stem is inserted into the water, and the bowl is then inserted into the downstem. This is the most basic of water filtration found in pyrex glass bongs. For more complex filtering and the smoothest smoke, possible glass artists have created different percolators' different styles to add to the smoke's filtration. In these bongs, you will still fill the base up with water, but there are typically other chambers with percolators built into them that hold water. So instead of one water filtration point, your smoke may go through 4, 5, 6, or even more.
Percolators come in an endless array of designs and sizes. Some of the more basic styles of percs are dome percs. It is nothing more than a glass tube inserted into a dome-shaped piece of glass. Tree percs, showerhead percs, honeycomb percs, and frit percs are other well-known percolator styles. Some artists mix and match the percs to combine 3 or more of them in the same piece. This will offer one of the smoothest smokes most users have ever experienced.
Other options to consider on a bong.
Old school bongs always had bowls that were sealed with an o-ring. They are inexpensive to make and functioned well. As glass artists have honed their skills, the introduction of glass on glass bowls changed the use of o-ring based bowls. There is no need for the o-ring to seal the bowl to the down stem with glass on glass hardware. Both the bowl and the female or male fitting are sandblasted to create a rough sealable textured surface. The cohesive properties of sandblasting glass make gong attachments a great alternative to o-ring based hardware.
There are numerous materials used to make bongs these days. The most popular is pyrex glass. This type of glass comes in tubes that glass artists shape into a final bong shape. Some of these bongs are made by hand, and some are made on a glass lathe. These glass tubes come in the clear, and any colorwork will have to be added by the artist.
Soft glass is a different type of moldable glass that gets its name from its texture. This glass can be blown into molds, spun on long rods, and even cut with scissors. Soft glass by nature can have bright, bold colors made into the bong during the molding process.
Lesser used these days is acrylic for bong manufacturing. Acrylic is durable, easily cleanable, and comes in bright colors. They will typically have a metal bowl and down stem. The bonus with acrylic water pipes is their price. Acrylic bongs can be manufactured for much cheaper than most similarly sized glass bongs. Be sure when cleaning an acrylic bong, you use the proper bong cleaner that will not deteriorate or destroy the bong.
Ceramic bongs have been around for thousands of years. They started as basic vessels that held water with a bowl inserted into them. There has been a Renaissance of ceramic bong makers in the 2000s. Smaller companies have brought back the art of ceramic water pipe manufacturing, making high-end bongs that are just as useful as a collector's art piece.
When talking about contemporary bongs, silicone is at the forefront of the industry. Silicone bongs have only been around for a few years, but they have begun to dominate the market. The obvious benefit of silicone bongs is they won't break if you drop them. They can be bent and kinked with little to no harm. There are options of glass down stems or silicone down stems. Most modern silicone water pipes come with glass bowls, and cleaning them can be as easy as putting them into the dishwasher.
Over the last few decades, the world of artistic heady glass has dominated searches among functional glass users. Heady glass refers to pipes that emphasize artistic skill and materials over basic function.
These glass masterpieces demonstrate a breadth of technical talent and human imagination's height, combining both in astounding proportions. There are weed pipes are functional glass pieces that you can use to smoke, and there is also non-functional glass that is purely artistic.
Functional glass art is relatively new, and consumers have been slow to embrace it. Still, between cannabis legalization, rescheduling, and the explosion of social media, functional heady glass art has found its place.
Glassblowers have established aesthetic styles that have transcended functionality. Glass pendants are non-functional art pieces highly revered by collectors in the cannabis space. Browse our new and growing collection of affordable heady glass pipes. Buy Heady Glass bongs and pipes here.
Pyrex Glass Bongs and Soft Glass Bong Available From Mile High Glass Pipes Online Smoke Shop
Mile High Glass Pipes carries a large selection of pyrex glass bongs and soft glass bong pipes. Our selection of bongs come in many different styles and sizes. The main objective of using a bong is to filter the smoke through water for a smoother hit and take a much larger hit. Our bongs achieve this goal with percolators and water filtration. Some of our more basic soft glass bong models contain a single downstem going into the water to filter the smoke. You can take this one step further by adding different styles of percolators to the glass bongs. Inline percs (percolator) are usually lying down on their sides. They offer a great way to filter the bong smoke while not taking up too much space.
Dome prices are one of the more basic percolator designs seen on water pipes. They have inner percolation with a dome placed over it. They are easy to make and do not add a lot of expense to the final product. Tree percs are a variation of the dome percolator. Tree percs typically have inner perc with arms(or trees) coming off of it. They can range from 3 arms up to 12 or more arms. Many bong styles even go a step further from these with upside-down percs, spinning parts, tornado percs, and honeycomb perc.
When you want to really get the most from your pyrex bongs stacking perks can make the experience even smoother. Stacked percolators on a glass water pipe mean to have more than one percolator for filtering the smoke. Your bong may have inline percolation at the bottom and go into tree perc or a honeycomb disc percolator. The different styles and combinations of glass percolator bongs are truly limitless.
Whether you need a basic soft glass bong or a more complex multi-perc pyrex glass bong Mile, high Glass Pipes has a wide range of bong pipes to fit your smoking needs.
Why Buy A Bong From Mile High Glass Pipes?
When choosing your next bong or water pipe, buying from Mile High is a no brainer. We have a diverse selection of styles, colors, and models that are ever-changing. All of our US-based orders ship out for free. Your local smoke shop can't touch our prices. You can literally shop from home while sitting on your couch, enjoying your favorite flower. We offer 100% customer satisfaction. If you are not happy with your purchase, you can return the item for a full refund. We ensure that every order will make it to you intact, and if ANYTHING breaks in shipping, we will replace it with no questions asked. All of our packagings is nondescript, and no one will ever know what you ordered.