How does a bong work?

A bong is almost the same as a water pipe, but a bong has an extra-large tube specifically for smoking hash or weed. The idea is to suck on the mouthpiece of a bong so that you inhale the smoke of cannabis. The material of a bong is glass and the water provides filtering and cooling of smoke. 

Through the pipe, you fill the bong with water and the weed you put in the bong bowl. Then you put your mouth around the mouthpiece and light the weed, to inhale the smoke. You keep your finger on the carb hole while doing this. Does your bong not have a carb hole? Then you remove the bowl when the reservoir is filled with smoke. 

That’s a brief answer to the question, “How does a bong work?” Below you will find more information about the different parts of a bong. I will also explain how to use a bong.

The different bong parts

A bong has several parts, all of which are important for a good smoking session. For optimal use of your bong, you must know what these parts are for, this also helps you pick the best bong.

1. Bong bowl

A bong bowl, or the smoking tobacco bowl, is recognizable by its shape with a protruding bowl. In the bong bowl you put the hash or weed. At the bottom of the bowl is a screen that prevents the cannabis from falling through. 

2. Downstem

The pipe that leads from the bowl to the water is the downstem. Sometimes the downstem is called a downpipe, which is the same thing. In some bongs, the downstem is attached to the bong bowl, but in some bongs it is a separate part. The advantage of separate parts is that they are easier to replace if one part is damaged.

3. Pre-cooler

A downstem is often enhanced with a pre-cooler, also called an ash catcher, which ensures that the smoke is additionally cooled and filtered. This makes for a more pleasant experience. A pre-cooler extends your bong and is available in different colors and shapes.

4. Filters

Several filters are available for bongs, such as a percolator, diffuser, honeycomb and recycler. Of these filters, the percolator is the best known. A percolator bong has various pros and cons. One of the advantages of a percolator bong is that the smoke is extra filtered in these filters. With a filter like a diffuser, it is located in the downstem and not in the bong. 

5. Dab nail

There are also special bongs that can be used with concentrates, oil or dabs. The bowl of these bongs differs from a standard bong in that it has a dab nail, which makes it possible to smoke dabs better.

Nails are available in many variations. It is important to heat a dab nail with a dab torch before use. This is a gas lighter that has a blue flame. By the way, a banger can also be seen as a bowl that is specially designed for concentrates, in the form of a tray.

Summary of the different bong components

  • Bowl
  • Screen
  • Downstem/downpipe
  • Pre-cooler
  • Bong gravel (SG for size indication)
  • Special filters (percolator, diffuser, recycler, honeycomb)
  • Dab nail or banger
  • Dab torch

Size of bowl and downstem

The size of the bowl and downstem has the designation bong gravel, with SG indicating the size. SG14 is the most common size for a bong, with the diameter of the fitting in this case being 14.5 mm. Another common format is SG19, which implies a diameter of 18.8 mm.

Glass bong

Glass bongs are the most popular version for smoking weed. A bong made of borosilicate glass has several advantages, such as its transparency. This allows you to keep an eye on the water and easily see if your bong water is dirty. In addition, glass is known not to affect the taste of smoke. Furthermore, a glass bong looks great when you are not using it. Often a glass bong is placed in a prominent place in a room because glass bongs are true works of art. It is important to handle a glass bong with care because if you bump into something, the bong will break quickly.

Bong made of silicone, stone, ceramic, bamboo or acrylic

Not all bongs are made of glass; materials such as acrylic, bamboo, ceramic and silicone are also used. 

Silicone bong

A silicone bong has the advantage of being long-lasting and less breakable than a glass bong. In addition, a silicone bong can withstand heat well. You just can’t see through it, but that’s not possible with a stone bong or one made of ceramic either. 

Ceramic or stone bong

Ceramics and stone are known to be materials that affect the taste of smoke. Therefore, ceramic and stone bongs are less popular. The advantage of ceramic and stone bongs is that they are sturdy and stand well in place. They also last a long time.

Acrylic bong

The cost of a bong is low with an acrylic bong, and the bong lasts a reasonably long time. Again, however, the material affects the taste. A bamboo bong has the same effect, but looks nice and is not vulnerable to breakage. The advantage of an acrylic bong is that the bong is very sturdy and does not break easily. This makes it an ideal bong for transportation.

Cleaning parts of bong

Besides knowing how a bong works and what its parts are, it is also essential to know how to clean your bong. You do this with a bong cleaner or with a pipe cleaner. A bowl with screen already prevents dirt from getting into the bong, but you do need to clean it regularly. It is also useful to use pipe cleaners to get dirt out of the corners.

Bong cleaning supplies

  • Bong cleaner
  • Pipe cutlery
  • Screens 
  • Pipe carriers
Henry Sullivan from Smoke Around
About the author

Henry Sullivan, born in 1988, is an avid cannabis user. Henry has worked in cannabis dispensaries since the age of 18. His favorite strain is the Jack Haze strain. Henry studied at the University of Denver, since then, he lives in different places in the USA. His favorite cannabis cities are Amsterdam and Calgary.

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