What is a Percolator Bong and How do Percolators Work?


What is a Percolator Bong and How do Percolators Work?

You will undoubtedly have seen percolators on bongs, water pipes, and dab rigs but may not understand how they work or what they do. This article will give you a clear picture of how Percolators Work.

How do Percolators Work?

Put simply, a percolator directs the smoke or vapor through the water as a method of filtration. This filtration cools the smoke, resulting in smoother hits that are much less harsh and cough-inducing than they would be otherwise. 

They come in many different designs, but all ultimately accomplish the same thing. If like us, you prefer smoother hits, or maybe you just want a healthier way to smoke, then percolator bongs and water pipes are worth investing in when buying your smoking piece. 

Benefits of using filters?

The percolator, as a unique smoking tool, has three major benefits that can significantly enhance your smoking experience, in addition to its attractive appearance. I will expand on these three major benefits below:


When the herb is combusted, the resulting smoke can be very hot. A simple lighter can be 600F. Some lighters can even get as hot as 3600 F / 2000C. So as you can imagine, the smoke is scorching as it comes from the bowl. 

The percolator sits beneath the water in your pipe. As the smoke is dispersed through the is it slows down, allowing the heat to dissipate.

The smoke that exits the water and travels to your lungs is cooled down by its interaction with the water resulting in a smoother hit. 


Taking hits directly from a joint or pipe without any water filtration can be incredibly harsh because the smoke is very dry. 

Forcing the smoke to percolate through water will cause some of that water to vaporize a little and join the smoke. This interaction with water moisturizes the hit, so the smoke is not as harsh on your throat or lungs. 


Filtration occurs as the smoke comes into contact with the water. Impurities remain in the water cleaning the smoke as it passes through. 

The more bubbles the percolator creates, the larger the surface area of smoke and water. So the more filtration you have.  

H2O or water is what we call a polar molecule. This means that as the smoke and water interact, the water magnetically attracts polar contaminants, filtering them out of the smoke. 

Water Filtration won't remove all contaminants, but in addition to the cooling and moisturizing, filtration makes for much smoother hits and lass coughing fits.

Understanding the Different Types of Percolators

If like us, you love your cannabis, then you've most likely already heard of percolator bongs. But you may not be sure about what they're for or how they work. So we'll take a look at different percolator bongs so you know which will work best for your needs.  

Yes, you can get a water pipe that works fine without a percolator, but we believe a perc bong will take your smoking experience to the next level. 

Diffused Downstem

The most basic type of perc is the diffused downstem. These can be divided into two categories: Those with the downstem fixed in place and those that can be removed from the bong. 

They look like a vertical pipe that extends from the bowl joint down to the main chamber and has slits.

The lower end of the downstem, with the slits in, sits under the water level. As the smoke flows down from the bowl, it is forced through the water, which cools it. The smoke then travels up and out of the mouthpiece at the top of the bong. 

beaker bong

Circ Percolators

Circ percolators are small circular discs that look vaguely like a rounded hockey puck and feature slits around the outside. These are also known as disc percs. 

These percolators are normally attached to the bottom of the downstem leading from the bowl into the water pipe. They are very common in smaller bongs and dab rigs.

Swiss Percolators

A Swiss perc is named after the Swiss cheese it looks like. These percs are like barrels that feature different-sized holes in and around the outside. 

They are a little similar to Faberge egg percs. When inhaling, the smoke gets forced around the holes, filtering and cooling the smoke as it goes around them.

Donut Percolators

Donut percs work more like a recycler. It is a donut-shaped tube in your bong or rig. The smoke comes in one side and is filtered around and through the donut, which helps cool the smoke, giving a tasty, smooth hit.

Inline Percolators

An inline percolator is a horizontal tube with several slits in. The greater the number of slits, the more bubbles the inline percolator creates. 

This increases the contact area between smoke and water for better diffusion and cooler hits. 

inline perc bong

Honeycomb Percolators

As you can guess by the name, a honeycomb perc has a multitude of small holes in it. This round disc-shaped perc fits snugly in the tube of the bong.

As the smoke passes through it, the many holes divide and diffuse the smoke with excellent efficiency without slowing down the smoking process. 

honeycomb perc bong

Tree Percolators

Tree percolators are a fairly straightforward design. Within the bong, the are a number of rods, each resembling the limb of a tree. 

Each limb has multiple slits on it, which creates an even distribution of smoke and plenty of diffusion. 

tree percolator bong

Jellyfish Percolators

Jellyfish percolators are similar to tree percs but a little simpler. It has a cluster of rods, like tentacles, all descending from a central chamber. Unlike with three percs where the slits on spread out along each limb, the jellyfish perc has a single hole at the end of each rod. 

The smoke is focused through each of these rods and diffuses into the water. The effectiveness varies depending on the number of roads and their size. 

jellyfish percolator bong

Sprinkler Percolator

Like a sprinkler head, this percolator has a number of short tubes exiting from a central disc or tube. 

There are numerous variations of this percolator. It can look like an upside-down jellyfish perc or the tubes could spread out horizontally. The final result depends on the number of tubes and width.  

sprinkler perc bong

Fritted Disc Percolators

The fritted disc percolator is the most powerful of all percolators. It's a more intense version of the honeycomb perc, 

However, the greater number of holes will fill your water pipe with bubbles, producing a high smoke level. 

The only drawback to this powerful per is that cleaning it is a time-consuming task. For the water pipe connoisseur, the super cool hits are well worth the effort. 

percolator bongs

Showerhead Percolators

Named after a showerhead, these percolators function in a similar way to tree perc. They have a single vertical tube that widens at the base into a disc-shaped chamber. 

This disc has several slits that provide filtration. The slits on the base vary in terms of size and number. 

This variation is a factor in smoke diffusion into the water. The result is clean filtration with very little drag. 

showhead perc bong

Spiral Percolators

Spiral percolators also called coil percolators, use a spring-shaped spiral of glass to increase the cooling potential. They can be visually impressive and offer smoother longer drags. 

spiral perc bongs

Turbine Percolators

This is one of the fanciest and most functional percs ever created. They add a great aesthetic to any water pipe. The percolator's shape is designed to whip the water into a whirlpool, which is where it gets its name. This cyclone effect looks best when used with dry herb as the smoke is thicker than when using concentrates. 

It creates a mini-tornado in your water pipe. The diffusion isn't as good as with some other percs due to a smaller number of diffusion holes. 

Often combined with other percolators, the turbine perc can reduce the chances of splashback as it only allows water through a few carefully angled slits. 

If you long to show off a cool water and smoke display in your water bong when you're ripping hits, then a turbine perc bong is a must for you. 

Matrix Percolators

Matrix percolators are located in the center of the water pipe, with plenty of space around them. They are, in a way, similar to the showerhead percolators. 

They have cross-directional slits that diffuse the smoke into an array of tiny bubbles, which gives a smooth and thick smoke.

matrix percolator bong

Faberge Egg Percolators

At first glance, the Faberge egg percolators appear more decorative than functional. By themselves, they don't seem to do a lot.

Their main benefit comes when placed near another percolator. They are basically a means of further breaking up the bubbles and dispersing the smoke for finer filtration after the smoke has passed through a previous percolator. 

 Faberge egg percolator bongs for sale

This is by no means the full list as there are dozens of variations of these percolators, but it should give you a good idea of the main styles and types of percs you're likely to find on a water pipe.  

How to tell if percolator bongs have a good filtration system?

Five key factors to evaluate the filtration system is good or bad: how to judge whether the filtration system is good or not, we summarize the following five key factors to evaluate the filtration system for you:

1. Filtering Effect

 effectively reduces tar and particulate matter and enhances smoke purity.

2. Cooling Effectiveness

 Adequately cools the smoke to minimize throat and lung irritation.

3. Design and material

reasonable water flow design, safe and durable material.

4. Cleaning and Maintenance

 easy to disassemble and clean, easy to maintain the filtration effect.

5. User rating and brand

 good user feedback, well-known manufacturer.


I believe that after reading our article on percolator bongs have a deeper understanding of it! I hope that after reading this you can pick the most cost-effective percolator bongs!