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10 things that make a GREAT bong.

Discussion in 'Bongs, Bubblers, Water Pipes' started by Senechka, Apr 27, 2012.

  1. Hello everybody!!!

    First-time writer, long-time reader here. I'm an experienced, daily toker, using many different varieties of smoking tools. I own several pipes (metal, wood, plastic and glass) a table-top vaporizer and a few bongs, well, actually only one bong, but let me give you a foreword before getting deep into the thread.

    For the last couple of years I've been mostly using one bong (15", bent tube with a metal stem and a tiny bowl), which was perfect for a quick, one hitter "punch" smoke. RIP :( "The Fu#$er Upper" was shattered recently due to a a certain furry animal, that almost ended up on a BBQ because of that.

    The unfortunate demise of my favourite tool forced me to pull out "The Icebreaker", which is a simple, 18" straight tube with a pull choke and a mid-size bowl. This bong SUCKS! It is harsh on the pull, sends a weird aftertaste, heats up the smoke instead of cooling it and a BITCH to clean.

    After giving some thought to the matter, I realized that I've purchased both of my bongs at a variety store for $50 over four years ago and it is time for a serious upgrade.

    As of now, I've spend hours researching stuff online, and going to some headshops to see what the difference in prices, quality and availability is like.

    So far, this GC has some of the best variety, but there is also grasscity.com (which I find a little more difficult to navigate) and there is tons of info on the forums, but it's kinda scattered and very brand specific.

    What I want to achieve with this thread is some better understanding of the bongs that are out there. I'll start with 10 things to consider when buying a bong. This is NOT a list for beginners, frankly, a Gatorade bottle with a bamboo tube will work fine for starters. I'd love to get some comments and some answers, as well as advice from the people of this forum. So here goes, in no particular order:

    1. Percolator

    This is a necessity at this point of bong production, at least that's what I get from all the info. I've tried a few perc bongs in my life, but haven't had a good enough chance to give them a solid go. How many percs is too much? Is it better to get a tree perc or a dome? Is it better to have a one 12-tree perc or two chambers with 6-tree percs? I'd love some advice on that from people who've tried both. Also, are percs worth the hassle of filling and cleaning them? Or am I better off with a tube full of ice?

    2. Diffuser

    Similar to a perc, but usually located on the downstem, creating more bubbles for a better surface coverage of the smoke. What's a showerhead diffuser? Does it make much of a difference? Does it make a difference in smoking?

    3. Beaker Base vs. Tube base

    Personally, I feel like anything that has a tube base is just simply not enough room for my smoke to accumulate. Am I being stupid? Maybe. How about stability of the Tube compared to a Beaker?

    4. Ice Notches

    I've had a bong with ice notches before and I gotta admit that I didn't use the feature as often as I wanted, mainly because I would forget, ice would melt and bongwater spillage was imminent. Who swears by them and why?

    5. Ash Catcher

    Never used one, but never really needed to, mainly cause I had an easily cleanable bong. Do they work well?

    6. Size

    Obviously there are all different shapes and sizes, but the majority of bongs come in 12"-20" height. Any preference on sizes from the users, and why? Any size that you just would not do?

    7. Price

    At the level of income that I'm at right now, I just cannot justify to spend more then $300 on a new bong, but it doesn't mean that I won't save up for a pricier one in the future. How much would you spend?

    8. Horizontal (Lazy Bongs)

    Saw a couple of those kicking around online. Interesting idea, and frankly with my history of breaking bongs it seems like a great tool that would be less "breakable" But I have never tried one of these things and don't quite get the concept: does the water pour out if you rest it on its side? Would I have to dump the water after each use?

    9. Cleaning!!!

    Off course, we all know, that don't matter how good of a bong you have, or what kind of crazy filtration system it has set up, if the bong is dirty and the water is old: your smoke will be disgusting and harsh. I HATE cleaning bongs, it is always a hassle and I can never get it super clean. I've purchased some cleaning liquids, and still it is not the easiest (now, mind you, I'm using a crappy, straight tube, skinny, long bong, so that could be the reason). Thinking back to my old "Fu#$er Upper", it had a removable rubber base and easy access to the bowl.

    I've stumbled on some 2/3 piece bongs: BLAZE has a "mix & match" line and HOSS makes some of the same. These seem like a godsend for cleaning purposes, but how good are they on durability and seal? The more joints you have, the more chances of a break in a seal somewhere, no? Does anybody have a two-piece and can share, that would be appreciated.

    10. Overall Durability

    I don't see a lot of bongs with less then 3mm thickness anymore, well, they're definitely out there, but that is not that I'm in the market for. So, how much of a difference is it between a 5mm and 7mm glass? How about all those intricate percs on the inside, are they susceptible to cracks? As mentioned earlier, I have a furry creature that likes to get his paws into a lot of different places, so I need to know if a 5mm will stand up to tipping, or is 7mm a better option.

    Bonus: Beauty as an Art Piece.

    There are some SICK bongs out there. I saw a 6 foot stand up piece with a full skeleton like structure for over 4 g's, but that's a piece that you wouldn't smoke everyday. And this also depends on the smoker and his/her living conditions. Not everybody can "display" their pieces, and not everybody has physical space for a 6 foot bong. As much as I appreciate these pieces and they definitely are a good party conversation, but they're not usually very functional, or don't include any extra filtration systems.

    Here's the story. I would love to hear some opinions on different bongs and their options. Throw some pics of your favourite pieces on here too. Hope to hear from you guys soon.

    Peace & Love.
  2. #2 Teed Woker, Apr 27, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 27, 2012
    A few things less experienced bong owners don't understand is that more percs is not always better. I personally prefer a simple tube with no additional percs.(Cleaning becomes a huge pain with even 1 perc, but if there are multiple percs, its quite a process)

    Between beaker and straight tube is purely preference. Beakers allow more smoke, but also have a bit more drag and a different pull. Nobody will be able to tell you which you like better til you try em both.

    The difference between 3mm, 5mm, and 7mm is the thickness. Some lesser quality brands don't exactly blow the glass as well and its not even all the way through, which causes weak spots in the glass(commonly happens near the joint). A 5mm piece blown well will be more durable than a poorly blown 7mm piece.

    My suggestion is to get a simple tube and upgrade it with a nice downstem and maybe an ashcatcher/carbon filter. Stemless are also really nice. Usually come with great diffusers. May run you a bit more than some other pieces, but its probably worth it. Don't buy anything to expensive before you know what you really want, though. Glass on Glass is also a must.

    Hope this helps
  3. my current tube for flowers is a MGW mini showercap with a k-nine circ ashcatcher, and it cost me about 310 total- stemless is the way to go in my opinion, but if you can find a stemmed bong that will float your boat, then whatever makes you happy.
  4. I gathered information on this forum when I went to buy my first good bong. I was told to avoid percs. Keep it simple. Thick glass. Diffused downstem. Ice pinches.

    I took this information to my LHS and asked what he recommended. He immediately went and grabbed a HiSi straight tube. It had all the requirements. I paid $135.00. I had budgeted for $200.00 so I took the extra money I saved and bought a matching HiSi ash catcher. I love the bong. The ash catcher works fine, but it's kind of unnecessary in retrospect.

    I would recommend the HiSi bong (the simple model that I got), though. They're made in California and I've read they have very good customer service. I've never had to test that so far.
  5. First off if you are from the states I would look into Aqua/lab/technologies or nvs/glassworks. Grass city is more based out of Europe and can take weeks to get to you.

    1. I consider percolation a necessity anytime when smoking bud. It's just too harsh without it for me. I'd try to stick to 1-2 percolators per piece, 3 max if adding an AC or if you find something crazy rare like a toro triple froth or circ or a syn triple showercap.

    2. A shower head downstem has slits running vertically around the bottom of the downstem. A shower head downstem definitely adds a bit more diffusion then a basic downstem.

    3. Your going to find different answers all day long on this one. It's really all personal preference. There's smalls pros and cons of each.

    4. To be honest I don't ever find it worth it to use ice. It just fucks with your water levels.

    5. I would say Carbon Filter>Ashcatcher since your on a budget. A carbon filters going to keep your piece cleaner and a good ashcatchers gonna cost you 100-200 bucks.

    6. The bigger a piece the more time the smoke has to cool but a smaller 14" bong with lots of diffusion vs a 20" bong with little diffusion the smaller one would win so it's kind of preference.

    7. I think $300 could get a quality piece. I wouldnt spend more then that until you are a little more experienced with bongs.

    8. No idea what your talking about.

    9. Cleaning is super easy. It only gets hard if you let it get dirty over time. I clean mine after every use but at the very least you should change it every day. First empty it and rinse it with hot water, I use an 18mm stopper and fill mine to the brim with simple green, let soak however long you want, then rinse again with hot water and it'll look brand new.

    10. I would go atleast 5mm thickness. Lots of quality glass makers actually reinforce their Percs. Look at toro glass for an example except they will be outta your price range.
  6. 1. I like the new single perc stemless tubes. Like stemlines, waffeles, inlines, showerheads/caps you can get two percs if you really want. 2 chamber tubes are about as far as youd wanna go. a ton of tree percs is not as effective as one good solid perc.

    2. Diffused downstems will make a really big difference in the pull of a normal tube. If you do get a tube that's not stemless get Glass on glass joints.

    3. A beaker will add a little volume and kinda chug to it. When you clear it the water gurgles where as with a straight tube it kinda just pops and clears fast and hard.

    4. Ice notches are a benefit if you like to use ice but it messes with your water levels when it melts and can leave residue or resin. 2 of my 3 bongs have Ice pinches

    5. Ash catchers are a great addition. They add volume and diffusion so you have alot cooler smoke. The AC on my little 12" beaker made it probably 75% smoother. I've never hit a stemless with an AC

    6. It depends on how much lung power you have. When you hit a big tube you have to pull the full volume of the tube in your lungs before the smoke reaches you so sometimes it can be hard to clear in one go. I have a small medium and big bong and i love my big one it's a 50mm can SG stemline and it takes some good lungs

    7. There are sites and blowers where you could pick up a badass stemless piece with the perc of your choice maybe even 2 for 290 or less. You can either buy from a big store like aqua labs or you can buy from individual artists like SSFG, APIX, AGO, etc

    8. unless you hit your piece on a couch or laying down it can be annoying to tilt.

    9 All you need is to buy a bottle or two of Simple Green concentrate from a store and soak your pieces in that over night. They come out sparkling and you can save and reuse it!

    10. With durability YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR!!

    As far as art the sky is the limit :smoke:
  7. 1. Percolator
    I personally prefer strait tubes over Percs. If you are going to buy a bong with a perc don't buy a cheap one. Percs do add some drag, especially ones with 3-4 arms. They also can get clogged if you don't keep them clean. I wouldn't want more than one perc personally. I'm thinking about getting a bong with a perc too. I found a nice 12 arm one that hardly adds any drag. Just gotta wait til payday.
    2. Diffuser
    I love diffused downstems. I feel like they make the hit so much nicer and instead of the normal "chugging" sound you get more of a smooth pull. I have a pearl diffuser and its great.
    3. Beaker Base vs. Tube base
    I've owned both, I prefer a beaker base. More of a chamber to fill and I personally think they look better.
    4. Ice Notches
    Almost all the bongs I've owned have had ice notches. I don't really use ice alot, it melts and overfills the bong, I've had a couple times where the ice has melted and I didn't notice and ended up getting a nice splash of water in my mouth.
    5. Ash Catcher
    Never really use ash catchers alot, had a cheap one that broke a couple weeks after I bought it (really thin glass). If you really want to keep your bong clean get a decent one but I've never really liked them alot.
    6. Size
    Mines just under 16" and I find it the perfect size for when your sitting on the couch. Also not too big to transport if you want.
    7. Price
    Everyone's different on how much they want to spend, I've never spend more than $200.
    8. Horizontal (Lazy Bongs)
    Never hit one, one of the head shops around here have a couple, one had a glass "handle" that kept it upright enough so it won't spill out. Another one came with a little metal stand. Doesn't look like something for me.
    The more often you clean it the easier it is. I like to keep mine clean, I made a post the other day on simple green. I like it because you can just fill your bong up with it and let it soak overnight and then rinse it out in the morning. I don't really like the idea of the build a bong. Seems like someone would probably not hold it right when they pick it up or something and the bottom would fall
    Off onto the ground ( I guess you can just buy the new peice instead of a whole new bong though). I've also never held or hit one before but I don't plan to ever buy one.

    10. Overall Durability
    I'd never get anything less than 5mm, preferably 7. Even though my bong stays at home and never really gets dropped onto hard ground or anything but shit happens. I also love picking up a bong that has some weight to it.
    My lhs has alot of custom blown bongs that look really sick but looking at them they don't even look like they would hit as well as a normal bong that's half the price.
  8. Get a precooler its great . Acts as a perc and an ashcatcher. All you need is that and a shower head diffuser

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