What is a Bong?

08/12/2009 – 4:20


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A bong or water pipe is a smoking apparatus most commonly used to smoke marijuana.  Bongs provide a different level of elation and sedation in one pull.  Bongs are used by light to heavy smokers.

Many marijuana smokers choose the Bong as the preferred method to consume.  Bongs are available in many shapes, sizes, colors, and materials. Bongs are also available in plastic, ceramic, wood, and other materials.  Bongs are larger and more expensive than most pipes.  Bongs prices range from the cheaper, $20 plastic, to the large, multi-chamber, $500 glass.  Regardless, smokers attest to this method.

The use of a bong requires water when preparing a session.  Other liquids can also be used.  The smoke, when inhaling, passes through the water providing a filter for smoother pull.  Pulls can range from one-hitter quitters to puff, puff, pass.


Glass bongs are available in different thickness and are also available with ice catcher and multi-chambers.  These types of bongs are usually more expensive.  The ice catcher is used to place ice cubes down the bong and it remains in place to cool the smoke prior to entering the lungs.  The ice catcher prevents the ice from mixing with the water while cooling the smoke.  Ice catchers, when looking down into a bong, will show notches, bumps, twists, or uneven indentations.  This allows bigger inhalations.  Ice catchers provide excellent pulls, but like all ice, the ice melts.


Multi-chamber bongs are also available for the bong users.  When inhaling through a multi-chamber bong, the smoke passes through more than one chamber filtering the smoke even further.  Usually, the more chambers available in a bong, the larger it is.  Large bongs sometimes take two inhalations for the smoke to be inhaled,  depending on your experience, your tolerance, and your preference.

A bowl is where the marijuana is placed to smoke. Bowls, like bongs, are available in a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes.  The bowl in a bong is a very important part of the entire process of using a bong.  Size matters when it comes to a bowl.  Some large bowls can contain a few grams or more.  Puff, Puff, Pass?


Slider bowls are also available in different sizes that fits the down-stem in your bong.  Bowls are available in 9 mm and 14.5 mm stems.  Verify the size of the bowl stem to be inserted prior to purchasing one. Do not lose the rubber grommet attached to the stem.  This will assist in better pulls.

glass on glass

Glass-on-glass bowls are also available.  These also are available in different sizes.  A common size for the insert is 18.8 mm.


Not all bowls are removable.  Classic bongs have a carb, much like most marijuana pipes and bongs today when available.  This is usually a small hole  located somewhere.  The carb is covered with your finger when beginning the inhalation and released to inhale the collected smoke in the chamber.  The longer you cover the carb, the more smoke is collected in the chamber.


Some prefer to use screens to prevent the ashes from entering the chamber and mixing with the water.  Screens allow you to maintain the cleanliness of the water and the bong in general.  Glass screens, shaped like stars, are used in glass bowls.

Snapping the bowl means the entire bowl has been consumed, inhaled through, and left clean.  The ash will remain in the water of the first chamber.  This is practiced by many to have a ready-to-pack bowl after someone takes a hit.  This practice causes the bong to retain the ashes in the chamber, changing the taste the dirtier it becomes.  Users that practice snapping the bowl also practice cleaning their bongs often.


Ash catchers or pre-coolers are just that.  It is a small, removable chamber with a bowl that also contains water that catches the ashes snapped and cools the smoke.  This maintains the smoothness of the pull and cleanliness of the bong overall.  When cleaning the bong, it is the only part that has to be cleaned.  It will catch all the ashes, if snapped.


Diffusers are for glass on glass bongs.  Diffusers are used to extend the length of the glass on glass bowl down the bong to reach the water, when the bong is tall.  Verify that your glass on glass fits.  There different sizes again.

With that said, as shown, a bong can grow in size depending on the parts and accessories.  Parts or accessories are many times interchangeable.  Most of the time, bongs are too cumbersome to be portable.  It is mainly used at your home.  Some smaller bongs, bubblers are designed for portability but still require water.

Again, why use a bong?  Bongs provide a quick and easy way to take a hit or two that is filtered by water.  It produces smoother hits allowing the lungs to increase the capacity of the inhalation.  More filtering is done if the smoke passes through more chambers, when available.  Some prefer the smoother inhalations.  Some say it decreases the overall effect of marijuana by filtering it.  Life long bong smokers attest to the elation that the bong provides.

Please use “WATER PIPE” when purchasing, bongs are illegal (US).

  1. 6 Responses to “What is a Bong?”

  2. why is ist so dofficult to order a pipe

    By R ANNESI on Oct 22, 2012

  3. Great article, so descriptive, thank you for sharing!

    By bubblers on Jun 13, 2016

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