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What To Look For When Buying Your Next Bong or Water Pipe

Lookah Bongs

What To Look For When Buying Your Next Bong or Water Pipe


With the growth in cannabis booming since legalization and online shopping, the choice of bongs and water pipes is overwhelming.


When I was in college some 20 years ago, buying a bong was a simple affair. You'd travel to a smokeshop; hopefully, you didn't live too far from one. Once there, you'd be presented with perhaps a dozen options to choose from, normally straight bongs or beaker bongs, and the buying choice was mainly made on aesthetics as they all functions reasonably much the same.

Now with hundreds of shapes, sizes, prices, colors, and designs to account for, you have a countless choice of bongs available, all just a couple of clicks away—That's where we step in, with this helpful shopping guide for buying your next bong.

The first thing you need to do is work out what you want? What sort of budget do you have? Do you have a preference for material? Do you want to dab or smoke herb? 

 small glass bong

Cheap Bongs or Expensive Bongs


In general, you can expect to pay between $60 and $150 for a good quality bong. There is plenty of larger bong on the market for less than $100.

Generally, anything over $100 is considered a high-quality bong. Some heady glass bongs and handblown water pipes will cost more than $500. And on the other end of the scale, you can get some cheap glass bong or silicon pipe for 30 bucks or less. Although cost should not be the only factor in deciding what bong to buy, it will affect your purchase. Think carefully about how much you would be willing to pay and consider it an investment. Remind yourself that the upfront costs will not be the same as the long-term costs. If you regularly use a bong, you may want to add accessories to the basic bong or purchase one with percolators recycle chambers or extra parts like ash catchers; all this will add to the cost.

If you choose a cheap and flimsy bong, not only do you increase the chances of it breaking, but you'll also likely be dissatisfied with its performance. It will end up costing you more in the long run as you'll want to replace it with a better one quickly. So by spending a little extra money on a durable and reliable water pipe, you save in the long run.

Cool glass bong


Look online for deals and don't be afraid to shop around. check out coupon sites like Wethrift for promotions and discounts or wait for a special shopping day like Black Friday when you're more likely to find bigger discounts, especially when shopping online. 


Bong Shapes


The shape of the pipe matters

Before diving into the technical aspects, let's discuss the most basic aspect of water pipe selection, which is the shape.

Straight pipe: These are the most basic style bongs. They range in size from several inches to a few feet.

Beaker: Remember chemistry class? These are designed to be similar to those beakers you remember from high school. These usually have a straight neck leading down to a 45-degree flared chamber at the bottom, forming the base. The shape can help prevent splashback and also helps collect all those ash and tar particles. The larger this beaker chamber is, the more surface areas there is for cooling the smoke. 

Bent neck: These necks are bent to prevent water from rising from the neck to the smoker's mouth. It's kind of like a circuit breaker mechanism. They also offer a more laidback smoking experience.

Fat Can Bases: These provide stability and are common on tall narrow bongs, which can be top-heavy and prevent the pipes from falling over.  

In addition to these, LOOKAH has some aesthetically unique and cool bongs. Check out the tataoo glass pipes; there are mushroom shape pipes, octopus glass pipes, and all manner of groovy shaped smoking pipes to choose from.

Different bong shapes

Credit for photo


Big Bongs or Mini Bongs

However, said size doesn't matter wasn't talking about bongs. Getting the right size bong for your needs is going to affect how often you use it and where you can use it.  The joints on pipes are classified as male or female. They will typically be 10, 14, or 18mm. It's important to know which you want so as you can make sure bowls, banggers, and ash collectors will be sure to fit.  

The water pipes themselves can also are in range, mini pipes that fit in the palm of you and all the way to monster bongs that stand 7ft or higher. Now needing a step ladder to get to the mouthpiece and a friend to light the bong so you can use it isn't practical but it did look really cool.
Obviously size will determine how heavy and also how portable a bong is.  If you want to hang at your buddies, then carrying around a 3ft bong isn't very practical. The most popular size seems to be from 7 to 14 inches. This will have plenty of space for water filtration and won't be a chore to use or clean. If you want to take your bong with you to parties, then a smaller mini bong could be just the ticket. 


Percolators and Recycler Bongs


Percolation is a hot topic because there is no clear winner, which one is the best, and everyone has a favorite and sticks to it. In an osmotic filter, you need to look for two things: the smoothness provided by the osmotic filter, and the resistance from smoking through the holes. You don't need percolators if you're not familiar with bongs, but they're good. Try not to buy a pipe with many percolators. This seems like a good idea, but all the percolator resistance can make it harder to draw your hits.

Water is an important element in any bong because it is used to cool and filter smoke. It is said that it is healthier for your body because harmful pollutants are filtered out before the smoke reaches your lungs. You only need to look at the dirty water left behind to see that they benefit your lungs. In addition to filtering, the water cools the smoke considerably. This means you can take a big hit, make it smooth and cause less irritation to the throat and lungs. In essence, the more bubbles you can create, the more comfortable it is to hit.

This is a shortlist of the more popular percolators. For a complete list, check out our article on how percolators work.

Honeycomb: Excellent filtering effect and minimum resistance.Very popular choice.

Tree: Good filtering effect, little resistance.Another popular option.

Showerheads: Produce moderate filtration and smoothness, and provide minimal resistance.

Inline: Fairly good filtration and average resistance.Ideal for light rigs.

Turbine: Medium filtering effect, more resistance than the showerhead.

In most cases, all percolators will make your smoking experience smoother. However, due to the complexity of some types of percolators, their cost may be higher.

Therefore, if you do not want to use a high-end filter like the propeller PERC, it is better to buy a more basic filter like the tree PERC. This can help you save a lot of money and get the same value from the new pipe.

 Percolator bong

Bong Material


Glass is the most popular material used in water pipes. It provides a clean and pure taste because the glass does not affect the smell of the smoke. Because glass is transparent, it is easy to monitor resin buildup. It is also easy to clean when the accumulation is a problem. Because of these factors, glass bongs are usually more expensive than bongs made of other materials. 
There's nothing quite as disheartening as watching an expensive glass bong shatter when your clumsy stoner friend drops it. So if someone you smoke with falls into that category, you may want to opt for something more robust. 

Plastic/silicone is probably the second most popular material because it is very durable. You can drop plastic bongs while coughing, and the only damage is water stains on the carpet. Compared with other materials, plastic pipes are also relatively cheap. Bongs made of plastic are ideal for travel because they do not break easily as glass or ceramics do. The only downside of plastic/silicone bongs is that they may slightly affect the taste of your smoke.

Ceramic bongs tend to be heavier and more robust than the other materials on the list. For this reason and their overall vulnerability, ceramic bongs generally do are not suitable for taking places. However, because clays are incredibly malleable and easy to use, they do come in a variety of novel shapes, sizes, and colors. Ceramic bongs are usually more expensive than silicon ones because of the work required to make them. While ceramic bongs may not be your daily smoker, they are undoubtedly suitable for special occasions or display on cabinets or shelves.

Bamboo is another popular material for water pipes, and many of the first bongs were made from bamboo. Bamboo smokes range from the basic (just a tube of bamboo sealed at the bottom) to elaborate finishes incorporating metal, varnish, and paint into the design. Bamboo is also very durable, meaning that if handled properly, it will last a very long time.

Metal can also be used to make bongs, although this is not as common as glass or silicone. Metal is very durable, and it's also reasonably cheap and easy to machine and mold. The downside of metal is that it can affect the taste of your smoke, and you never know when to clean them up.