I'm driving down to my LHS on Thursday when I get paid to buy my very first bong, I'm unbelievably excited. I'm planning to spend around $250-$300 on it. I've got 4 LHS'es, only one of them sells really high quality glass (Hoss and Gear, best brands you can find up in Canada). From what I understand Hoss is higher quality, but they tend to sell out of it very quickly so I may have to settle for less than the best. I plan to get the bong, and upgrade to a showerhead downstem. As far as the qualities I like in a bong, I like being able to take big rips without it getting too harsh, and I don't like a ton of drag but I don't like having almost none either. It cannot be more than 18 inches, I'd prefer to keep it to 14/16 though because my hiding place I plan to use will be a VERY tight squeeze at 18. I only mention this because I feel the height might affect which is a better choice. So I've got a couple questions that hopefully can be answered more easily with the above criteria: 1. 5mm or 7mm? Hoss comes in 9 but the added price is overwhelming. Hoss seems to be 7mm almost standard, whereas Gear tends to be 5 but they do have some nice 7mm pieces. 2. Straight tube or beaker/bubble base? If I'm dropping this much on a piece which one is better when it comes to high quality glass? 3. If I get Hoss, percs or no percs? Gear percs aren't that high quality, but Hoss' tend to be nice quality trees, so if I go that route, do you guys prefer having a perc or no perc with a showerhead downstem? Do they add a TON of drag? Do they really make that much difference? 4. 2 separate questions about disc-diffused slides: 1) Do they even need a screen of some sort (I'm guessing if they do you need a metal screen)? and 2) Would it be a good upgrade along with the showerhead downstem? Thanks all you glass experts out there!