Wondering what type of bong to get for your next smoke sesh? Bongs or water pipes come in various styles and designs, with each one intended to give you a unique smoking experience. Whether you’re a first-timer or a semi-regular stoner, choosing from the different types of bongs available can be challenging due to the nuances between each one, particularly in terms of function, durability, taste, and other factors.
Bongs basically do the same job of filtering and cooling the smoke that comes from your burning weed. But if you’re wondering what makes these bong types so different and which one is best for your needs, this guide is for you.
What Kind of Bongs Are There?
Also known as your bubbler, binger, or billy, a bong is essentially a tube-shaped water filtration pipe that allows the smoker to take large hits of cannabis without wasting smoke. It has long evolved from being a simple bamboo tube to these colorful, more complicated bowls and chambers to provide ease of use and to give it a more sophisticated look.
To help you understand what makes one type of bong different from another, we break down the different types of bongs out there by material and by design.
Types of Bongs By Material
To give you an overview of the many different types of bongs, let’s first differentiate them by their body material.
Glass is the most popular choice out there. Why? Because despite being the most expensive, glass bongs deliver the smoothest and purest taste, since the material doesn’t affect the flavor of the smoke in any way. And because of its transparency, it’s much easier to check a glass bong for any dirt buildup—not to mention it’s more aesthetically pleasing to look at, especially when the smoke builds!
Some bongs that are made of borosilicate glass, which is a type of heat-resistant glass, are sometimes called Scientific Glass Bongs. It provides all the benefits of a glass bong but is harder to break, which is not the case for plain glass bongs that undergo rapid temperature changes.
Pros & Cons of Glass Bongs
|Widely available||Most expensive|
|Smoothest and purest taste||Fragile|
|Easy to accessorize|
Next to glass, plastic is the most used material for bongs, thanks to its durability and affordability. It’s also more lightweight and easier to bring with you wherever you go.
You can expect to still make a mess when you accidentally break your plastic bong while getting blazed, but it’s at least less troubling to clean than broken glass pieces. Be warned though—some people don’t like the fact that the plastic can affect the taste. Nonetheless, it’s still a very popular choice.
Pros & Cons of Plastic Bongs
Silicone bongs have become very popular in the last decade or so for their flexibility, extreme durability, ease of cleaning and packing, and very low price tags. There’s also a good variety of silicone bong designs and colors available, and they’re very safe for use.
But because they’re usually smaller than glass bongs, they don’t allow much room for certain processes like cooling and filtration. It would also help to choose those with quartz bowls wrapped in silicone instead of metal bowls to avoid tainting the flavor.
Pros & Cons of Silicone Bongs
|Very durable||Size doesn’t allow much cooling and filtration|
|Easy to clean||Very little to no percolation|
|Easy to pack|
Ceramic bongs can be pretty heavy compared to glass and plastic ones. Because it’s easier for crafters to mold the material, it comes in many different shapes, sizes, and colors.
Think twice before using this on a daily basis, since it’s more expensive than plastic and will definitely shatter when you get totally bouldered and drop it by accident.
Ceramic bongs are quite aesthetically pleasing, making them a perfect option for collectors. They make great decorative pieces for any stoner’s home.
Pros & Cons of Ceramic Bongs
|Many shapes and designs||Heavy|
|Makes stylish decor||More expensive than plastic|
Bongs still come in classic bamboo tube designs, and many people choose them for their traditional look. Aside from its appearance, a bamboo binger delivers a natural taste, is lightweight, and is actually pretty durable, so it makes for a great piece that’s worth keeping. You can also add some metal accessories, garnish, paint, and even carvings to customize it to your liking.
Perhaps the only real difficulty with bamboo bongs is that it requires much gentler cleaning methods since the bamboo’s beeswax inner lining can’t be disrupted by hot water or harsh cleaning materials.
Pros & Cons of Bamboo Bongs
|Great for travel||Harder to clean|
|Pure, clean taste|
Acrylic bongs are made of hard plastic and come in many different shapes, sizes, and colors. Like their regular plastic counterpart, bongs that are made of acrylic are quite affordable, making them the most practical choice if you need something that is inexpensive but can get the job done.
It’s important to note that some smokers have complained about the taste, and some have reported a weird odor when the acrylic material is heated. Keep that in mind if you’re considering this type of bong.
Pros & Cons of Acrylic Bongs
Metal bongs are known to last long and can be quite affordable since they can be mass-produced and don’t have to be made by hand. However, they are not very popular since the material can create a more obvious difference in taste and smoothness.
They can also be harder to clean, particularly since the material is completely opaque and you can’t easily see when it’s getting dingy.
Pros & Cons of Metal Bongs
|Durable||Can influence taste|
|Inexpensive||Harder to clean|
|Not easy to find accessories for it|
Types of Bongs By Design
You’d be surprised to find out that there are more than 10 designs of bongs out there. Most of these are available in both ceramic and glass, while acrylic, metal, and silicone are usually limited to beaker-type designs. At the same time, some single bongs can have multiple design features, which you’ll also find below.
Now that we know the most commonly used materials for bongs, discovering the different types of bong designs available will help you find the best one for you.
The straight tube bong design is pretty straightforward. It comes in various types of materials and features a tube with a mouthpiece on one end and a bowl placement underneath.
This type of bong may also include other features, such as percolators, diffuse downstems, and/or ice catches above the water chamber.
A straight tube bong’s normal height ranges between 8 to 24+ inches, but if you want a fairly short one for personal use, the Slyng Renegade 8.5” Straight Tube ($49.99) is a practical choice.
Beaker bongs are simply those with a beaker design. It’s a popular option as the wide base offers more stability plus its neck can vary in height, allowing larger hits and more space for percolators.
The shape also allows more surfaces for customization and added designs. For example, you can find American artist Keith Haring’s iconic artworks on the neck of the K. Haring Beaker Water Pipe ($149.99) for that added oomph.
Not to be mistaken with a plain-looking beaker bong, this design features a percolator to cool down the smoke and filter it further before you’re able to take a puff.
While you’ll find other designs below that help improve the quality of the smoke, the percolator bong commonly comes with a minimalist single chamber.
If you’re interested in purchasing this type of bong, check out our list of the 5 Best Percolator Bongs.
Similar to beakers, bongs with round bottoms feature a wide base to allow stability for taller designs. The top is usually a straight tube or a percolator.
For a more classic and minimalist look, the Renegade Retro Line 10″ White Bubble Beaker 9mm ($179.99) is an attractive, shiny glass bong with a ceramic exterior coating on its round, bubble-designed bottom.
As glasswork becomes more complex, the more expensive the bong becomes. An example of this would be the multi-chamber type of bong, which is skillfully designed to transfer smoke from one chamber to another so as to purify and cool it at the same time.
Higher-end bongs with connected chambers often go for more than $100, especially if it’s made of glass and has a one-of-a-kind design. But you can still find more affordable multi-chamber bongs, like the Slyng Acrylic 2-Chamber Recliner and Bubble Bong ($39.99).
The recycler bong is another type of multi-chamber bong. It doesn’t recycle the smoke through the same chamber, but transfers it to another. But before it does, it filters the smoke using water through the first chamber and percolator a few times (about 5-10 cycles in a matter of seconds) to ensure absolute smoothness.
Just by looking at a recycler bong and knowing how it works, no wonder the Slyng 13” SOLAR Recycler Rig ($395.00) bears a hefty price tag.
Bubblers are miniature bongs that include water pipes and bowls in the same smoking device to make it easier to use. They also provide smoother smoke without being too pricey. This type of bong is also very portable and can be used as a hand pipe if you’re in a rush.
One thing to note is that they often don’t feature percolators and can’t be accessorized. But if you’re looking for the best of both worlds, the K. Haring Pipe Bubbler ($85.00) offers smooth smoke without the bulk.
Dab rigs are attractive, innovative pieces used for dabbing wax concentrates. In other words, it’s the next generation of bongs. Because of its unique purpose of handling the heat and intensity of dabs, its structure stands out among the many different types of bongs and pipes.
Its intricate designs help improve the airflow and cooling process. And with the addition of accessories, dab rigs also provide you with other ways of smoking.
Check out The Rio Portable Dab Rig by Stache Products ($199.99) for an aesthetically pleasing, portable wax rig that doesn’t rely on coils.
What is the Best Type of Bong?
With bongs coming in so many shapes, sizes, designs, and materials, it’s hard to pinpoint which one is best. The answer likely depends on your smoking preferences (like taste and frequency of use) and your budget.
But judging from what the majority of potheads go for, the most sought-after materials are scientific glass for its durability and silicone for its convenience and affordability. And as for the design, the percolator with thick, heat-resistant glass is often preferred for smoother hits and bubblers for on-the-go smoking.
We’re sure you’re already excited to try new bongs to level up your next weed sesh! If you have friends who own a particular design that you’re interested in, it would be practical to give that a test drive first. That way, you can experience different kinds of bongs and figure out what you want to get for yourself.
You can also check our extensive line of products at Slyng for some of the best pieces you can find online!