The best bongs provide much more than a customary strong hit.
With intricate creative designs and ingenious add-ons, they’ve come a long way since the simple water pipes they once were. As a heavy-hitting, fast-acting method of administration, bongs appeal to many patients. But one of the most critical factors in choosing a bong is selecting the material.
What Are the Best Bongs Made From?
Glass is the material of choice for today’s best bongs. It doesn’t alter the taste of the herb, and provides a clean-tasting hit. Due to its transparent quality, it’s easy for patients to monitor for the buildup of resin, and it’s also straightforward to clean with everyday household items. On the downside, glass bongs are often expensive, and extremely delicate.
While glass dominates the bong market, alternative materials include plastic, ceramic, metal, and bamboo.
Plastic, while transportable, cheap, and tough, can also alter the taste of the flower. Ceramic is fragile and bulky, but given that it’s exceptionally malleable and easy to work with, some intricate designs often result. With its perfect cylindrical form and its long-lasting, durable nature, bamboo is an ideal material for bongs with few drawbacks.
While metal is cheap and lasts a long time, it often imparts an undesirable taste that many patients dislike. And unlike glass, it’s often difficult to know when it needs a good cleaning.
Eight of the Best Bongs
Bongs have come a long way from their inception some 2,400 years ago. Starting out as simple water pipe designs on central Asian steppes to smoke opium and hemp, they’d ultimately make their way to Europe via the Silk Route. They found their place in cannabis culture, where through the creative pursuits of many glassworkers, ever more intricate designs captured the attention of patients across the world.
Also known as a carb hole, shot hole, choke, or rush hole, the carburetor serves an important function in bong design.
As a patient draws smoke into the neck, their finger covers the carb hole to ensure minimal dilution of the smoke. By releasing the finger once the neck is full, patients inhale the smoke and the fresh air that enters via the carb hole.
Generally located on the back or left side of the bong, they are essential on bongs that don’t have a pull-out glass bowl.
Straight Tube Bong
Straight tube bongs are also known as straight shooters and for good reason. They may lack the intricate details of many modern designs, but they still remain a firm favorite. With a firm base and thick glass, their easy-to-use cylindrical design and removable stem and bowl make them a simple and effective solution for patients who require a potent hit.
Coming in various sizes and styles, the long neck ensures they’re easy to grip, something that also provides glass artists with an easy to work surface area where they can get creative.
As the name suggests, the bottom section of this bong takes the form of a beaker. The broader base provides better stability and an increased capacity for water—something that leads to more effective filtration and improved cooling.
Beaker bongs have an elongated neck just like a straight bong, and aside from the cone-shaped base, they function identically.
Round Base Bongs
Also known as bubble bottoms, round base bongs borrow from the classic hookah design. Similar to beaker bongs, they provide a high-capacity water chamber but are slightly less stable due to the rounded base.
The mechanics of their use is identical to both beaker and straight tube bongs.
Also known as a recycler bong, a multi-chamber bong separates the neck into two separate chambers that then connect to a third. The two chambers in the neck contain water and act as a double filtration system.
While the longer distance from the bowl to the lungs ensures a cooler, crisp hit, it also makes multi-chamber bongs harder to clean.
The biggest complaint that patients often have regarding bongs is that they provide a harsh hit. Percolators serve to make the hit smoother by cooling the smoke and improving filtration. Percolators dissipate the smoke as it passes through and thus induce a cooling effect.
Several types of percolators exist. The most common designs are tree, honeycomb, turbine, matrix, and inline percolators. While percolators are not a strict requirement in bongs, their inclusion is quite common nowadays.
The gravity bong describes both the bucket and waterfall bong, both of which rely upon the same vacuum principle. The gravity term may be misleading as these bongs rely on the difference in pressure between two containers.
The simplest form comprises a plastic bucket filled with water and a plastic bottle with the bottom removed. With the plastic bottle immersed in the bucket, patients light the bowl in the cap, and gradually pull it out of the water. This creates a vacuum that fills with smoke as the bottle rises. Once removed, patients can remove the bowl and inhale through the cap.
A waterfall bong requires a single bottle with a bowl in the cap and a hole drilled in the bottom. When filled with water, smoke from the lit bowl will accumulate in the bottle as water drains through the hole. Patients later inhale the smoke from the bottle through the cap.
Heady Glass Bong
We saved the best for last, as these high-end glass bongs are often one of a kind pieces. Cannasseurs sometimes pay upwards of $25,000 for a single bong.
Heady glass pieces feature intricate and colorful designs painstakingly crafted by glass artists that truly stand out. Often coveted by collectors and considered an investment, the value of heady glass bongs tends to increase as the artist gains further recognition.
Heady glass bongs are some of the best bongs available, and while glass workers place great emphasis on their visual appearance, they also build them to perform the intended purpose.
Bongs Can Be one of the Best Ways to Inhale Medicine
While bongs provide an intense hit, they are often overpowering for many patients. Further, the repeated inhalation of hot smoke may be detrimental to lung health over time. To help soothe the hit, many people place ice in the chamber to cool the smoke further. And of course, for those who feel any respiratory irritation, some non-combustion methods of administration include edibles and tinctures.