Whether you're an avid smoker or a newbie, you've most likely pondered the question, how does a bong work? Yes, we all know it gets you high, but what in the world are all those bong parts and what do they really do?
Have you ever taken a massive rip and just stared at your bong wondering how it all works? The more you stare, the more your bong begins to look like a giant hamster tube tunnel with crazy designs.
Are all those intricate parts even necessary and what are they even providing in terms of your smoke experience?
I know that mystified look all to well, but no worries, we're going to give you an in depth break down of the smoke as it travels through every piece of the bong. Not only that, we are going to tell you what each smoking accessory does to enhance your bong experience.
Welcome to bong anatomy 101!
After reading this article, you will have confidence in all there is to know about a bong, all of its many functions, and what happens to the smoke as it makes its way through.
But before we can cover the bong anatomy and all of its parts, you first have to know what a bong is and it's importance in your health and your bank account.
What Is a Bong and 2 Reasons You Need to Know
So what is a bong and what are the benefits in knowing what it is? To fully understand the bong anatomy and all its intricate parts, you have to understand how smoke even travels and whats happening to it as it passes through each filtering section.
Above is a diagram pertaining to all the accessories and parts of a bong along with their functions. We will be breaking these parts down and diving into each of their purposes as well as what happens to the smoke as it moves through the many different bong parts.
Two important benefits of understanding what is a bong:
1. Bong Filtering for Health and Smoke
Of all the many ways to smoke, a bong is the best direction to go just because of the amount of modifications you can do to it, such as, reducing the amount of hot smoke that is inhaled into your lungs. By using a percolator or downstem, you can allow for optimal smoke filtration and ensure a smoother tasting hit. If you get your hands on a beautiful bong that comes already equipped with a downstem, percolator, or even ice chamber, you can be rest assured that smoke of yours will hit smoothly, reducing less throat and lung irritation.
2. Finding the Best Bong Saves You Money
Finding a bong that contains the necessary parts for a bomb smoke sesh doesn't have to always make a dent in your pocket. There are plenty affordable bongs and if you know the functionality of all the parts, you will have no issue determining which ones are essential for the smoke experience you want and which ones aren't. Understanding every part of the bong is important so you don't waste money on accessories that don't fit your custom needs in a bong. Also once you find the perfect bong, no need to spend money on smoking alternatives that don't do you any justice. A bong not only delivers an awesome high, but it's cleaner and better for your lungs than a blunt, vape or even joint.
Bong Parts and How the Smoke Travels Through
There are four main bong parts that are involved when smoking that are important to understand.
Ever wonder whats happening to all that smoke as its passing through those bong filters, chambers and percolators? From the moment the bowl is lit to the the time the smoke reaches you, the smoke gets filtered through a number of filtration systems.
Talk about a thorough cleaning cycle. The smoke gets filtered out four times before hitting your mouth!
Smoke is instantly inhaled down into the bowl where it then fills the rest of the bong and into your lungs. But how and when is all that filtering action taking place?
Let's jump right into how smoke travels through a bong:
1. Bong Bowl where the smoke starts
When the bong bowl is lit, smoke is immediately formed and pulled down into the airway below it. Depending how soft or hard you pull, the amount of smoke built up will vary. It is best when you pull slower so that you allow enough time for the smoke to build up and therefore letting it take its time as it gets filtered through the other passageways.
2. Downstem Filters Smoke First
The downstem is considered a basic type of percolator, which carries smoke in from the bowl piece into the water chamber, allowing it to cool the smoke down as its cycles through. Since the downstem is always touching the water chamber, the water acts as an aiding agent in order for the downstem to do its magic. It creates small bubbles which allows more surface area coverage for more cooling effects as well.
3. Water Chamber Second Primary Smoke Filtration and Cooling
A water chamber works simultaneously with a downstem although can work without one. In this case, smoke will travel from the downstem and immediately into the water chamber where the water allows for the smoke to cool before reaching its next point.
4. Percolator (Optional) Advanced Bonus Smoke Filtration
Percolators are listed as optional but can be very vital to your smoking experience. It acts as an extra water chamber with multiple slits and holes through the device which allows smoke to get optimally filtered. By this point, hot smoke is generally cooled down by twice the amount it was when it was first lit because it creates more bubbles than your standard downstem.
5. Ice Chamber (Optional) Extra Cooling on Smoke
Smoke has now traveled its way to the ice chamber where the ice itself acts as a cooling agent. As soon as smoke hits or touches the ice, smoke is literally chilled once more, before making its way up to you.
6. Splash Guard - Smoke to Mouth Without Water
Splash guards are generally found in higher end bongs that have heavy percolation in place. It takes a dome like shape with multiple slits and cuts which allows smoke to pass through while trapping the unwanted water inside the chamber. After hitting the ice, smoke will travel right into the splash guard before making its way into your lungs. The result? A crisp, smooth, and tasting hit.
Different Types of Bongs and How They Work
In this section, we are going to get into the many different types of bongs and a more in depth description of their purpose and functions.
There are so many add ons and intricate bongs these days, that it can start to get real confusing, real quick, especially if you don't have a solid understanding of these bong parts. Some of these bongs come equipped fully with no add ons needed resulting in an entirely different bong set up. These different style bongs include chambered bongs, percolators, recyclers, and straight tubed bongs
And you guessed it, we're going to break down all the different types of bongs:
Chambered bongs are the best type of bongs for ensuring a clean and smooth hit. They come in many styles and fun designs and are generally referred to as multi chambered bongs. The chambers are equipped inside of the bong itself and is stacked on top of each other. Each chamber contains a separate water chamber to amplify the filtration process depending on the amount of chambers there are.
This provides the highest smoke filtration as the smoke is filtered not through just one water chamber instead double or sometimes triple the amount. This allows the smoke to be filtered back to back through the slits and holes as it moves in an upward direction.
There are numerous styles and designs for percolator bongs as well. Similar to multi chambered bongs, percolators work alongside these chambers in helping the smoke that is traveled in it to be efficiently cycled before reaching the chamber. It to, has many slits and holes for extra air flow and circulation which allows the smoke to cycle in a circular like motion creating a large amount of bubbles, resulting in an cleaner and cooler feeling rip.
An example of a unique percolator design would be a triple matrix perc bong. This has three levels of independent water chambers and each of these chambers have a very highly efficient percolator, which enables an optimally balanced smoke diffusion and water filtration to take place within the bong.
Recycler bongs are very unique pieces simply because of the type of design and how it filters smoke remarkably well. Typically, a recycler bong possesses a two chamber system that recycles water through a loop like motion.
The looping of the water filtration allows for less time for the vapor to come in contact with air. How does this benefit your experience? The longer smoke is interacting with air molecules, the more stale your smoke will become, as a result, it reduces the amount of dryness in your hit. The loop also acts as a natural splash guard, making it nearly impossible to let water hit you. By using a recycler, not only are you getting the most optimal smoke filtration but you're getting the smoothest and tastiest hit out of your bong piece.
Bong Anatomy 101: Did you know that with a recycler bong you can let the smoke cycle and filter as many times as you'd like before deciding to hit it? This allows you to take your time with each hit, or save it for later without the chance of your smoke running dry and stale.
Straight Tubed Bongs
Straight tubed bongs are what you would call the more classic or old fashioned style type of bong. They are a simple tube design with nothing but a water chamber at the base of the bong which minimally filters the smoke. The straight tube allows for the smoke to shoot straight up directly into your lungs from the bowl piece. Although this style bong is not recommended for pro longed or every day use due to low smoke and water filtration, they can still make for an efficient bong by doing its sole job. Getting you stoned.
Now that we've covered all the parts of a bong, functions, and how smoke travels through each accessory, you should now hold your head up high knowing you are knowledgeable in the fundamentals of a bong.
Glass bongs, water pipes, and bowls can come in many shapes and sizes but you no longer have to worry about any confusion on your end when being able to distinguish what each ones does, and which one will best fit your lifestyle.
Whether shopping at a head shop or your local cannabis store, you now have all the information you need in understanding the entire anatomy of a bong.