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Bong Science 101: What Are They and How Do They Work?

Bong Science 101

Bongs are one of the most popular methods of enjoying a relaxing smoke. It is known as a water pipe, and it can be called a binger or a billy. The bong is known so well that some users choose to name their bongs and turn them into a personality in their smoking circle. 

Past Uses of Bongs

“Bong” is believed to have come from the word “baung” in the Thai language. It refers to a wooden, round tube made from bamboo and now also refers to a round smoking pipe.

Some people believe that using water in a pipe to cool and filter smoke goes back to the Ming Dynasty in China. Others believe that it was first used in Africa, where tribes would create bongs from earth, using the same principles that modern bongs use. Others believe that bongs were first made by nomadic people in Russia, who made them from pure gold.

The bong is related closely to the hookah, which is another kind of water pipe that is used to smoke flavored tobacco. A hookah has a hose for the mouthpiece, and it can be designed so that multiple people can enjoy having one smoke from a large bowl.

Today, you can find bongs in a range of sizes and shapes, and the most common ones are blown by hand using glass. The artists who make them blend art and science to create masterpieces that are functional and beautiful. However, this was not always the case. The bong has also been made from ceramics, hand-carved wood, plastic, and bamboo. Many people like the fact that they can make nearly anything into a bong, including watermelons and soda bottles. 

What Does a Bong Consist of?

There are several basic parts that go into bongs, although their appearance can vary widely. 

The Bowl

This is a bulbous attachment where you can put the dried flower in and then combust it. You can often remove it so you can have it function as a slide or pull carburetor. 

The Bowl

The Carburetor

This piece is often known as the carb, and it is a small hole where the user can clear the smoke from the whole chamber. This will complete the bong toke. A common kind is the slide or pull carb, which is found on glass bongs. When you remove the bowl, you can see this carb. 

The Downstem

This piece is a small tube that lets the smoke move from your bowl down to the base of the device. Then, it can percolate through the water. 

The Base

The base is at the bottom of your bong, and it can come in many different shapes, depending on the bong’s style. Some bases might be shaped like bubbles or beakers, and these are often used to make the water chamber where your smoke can cool as it moves through your water. 

The Tube

This piece ends in your mouthpiece, and it is a chamber that you can fill with smoke after filtering it through your water. There might be other features, as well, such as an ice pinch. 

Depending on the function of your bong, each part can be in various designs, colors, and shapes. For example, some smokers replace their downstem or attach it to many percolator designs to get more separation of the smoke or more diffusion. 

How Do You Use a Bong?

Operating a bong does not have to be complex, and it can offer you a better smoking experience. First, put the water in the tube. It should be enough to cover the last third of your downstem, but it should not be so much that you end up sucking the water in. 

Now, fill up the bowl of the pipe, but make sure that you leave a bit of room for the air to pass through it. Put your lips around your mouthpiece and then light your bowl. Cover your carb hole a bit if you have one to make sure that all the smoke will go into your mouth well. Take small hits as you go. You do not need to hold your smoke in your lungs very long since you can exhale as normal. 

You can make your hits more pleasant by adding some ice or even other liquids to the water. For example, add fruit juice or tea for a new flavor of smoke. You should clean and maintain the bong, so you can continue to have a good experience. 

Types of Bongs

Types of Bongs

There are many shapes and designs of bongs. Each one has slightly different functions.

Carburetor Bongs

Any bong that has a carb hole can be considered a carburetor bong. The carb hole is often in the middle, so you can put your finger over it easily. The fresh air can enter the pipe when you release your finger, and that can give you a stronger hit when you draw it. 

Straight-Tube Bong

The name suggests its appearance. It is a straight tube that has a stem and bowl. It is straightforward and simple to use. 

Round-Base Bong

This is a more stable variation on straight-tube bongs, and this type has a water chamber that is shaped like a sphere. It offers a solid foundation. 

Beaker-Shaped Bong

This is similar to the round-base bong, but the chamber is shaped like a beaker. The base is flatter and larger, so the bong is stabler than other types of bongs

Percolator Bong

This is also called a bubbler bong, and the base can be of any shape. These bongs often have percolators to filter your smoke a little more. When you take a hit, the smoke will begin to bubble as it goes into the water. It will give you a smoother hit, but it can be harder to clean.

Multi-Chamber Bong

This is also called the recycler bong. It has several chambers, and they are connected by another tube or chamber. Each chamber has water in it, and it can filter your smoke twice. This style can produce a smoother hit, so having an extra chamber to clean can be worthwhile. 

Materials Used in Bongs

Glass is a very common material, but you can get different effects from other materials. 

Acrylic Bongs

Acrylic makes these bongs very durable, and you will not have to worry about breaking one when traveling. Even if it does break one day, it is a cheap type of bong, and it is easy to clean. However, the acrylic can affect the taste.

Ceramic Bongs

If you want your bong to double as a piece of art, consider a ceramic bong. These come in many colors and shapes, and they can complement the interior of the piece. Usually, they are bulky or heavy, making them hard to pass around. However, they are perfect for special occasions. It can be hard to travel with them in some cases since they tend to be more fragile. 

While they can be more expensive than acrylic bongs, they might not cost you as much as glass ones do. However, the intricacy of the design can play a role in how much you can expect to pay for one. 

Ceramic Bongs

Bamboo or Wood Bongs

You can get a bong made from wood or bamboo, which is durable and fairly cheap. If you take care of it, it can last for a long time. You can even get a simple one to decorate. However, these bongs can be hard to clean. 

Metal Bongs

These bongs are not as common as acrylic or glass pieces, but the material is durable and sturdy, and it is not very expensive. However, you can’t tell when you need to clean it, and the metal may affect the taste. 

Why Smoke from a Bong?

One of the main reasons that so many people choose to use a bong is that it can filter and cool your smoke through your water. That will help you to take a smoother draw, even if you inhale a lot of smoke. When comparing bong use to other methods of consumption, the benefits can vary. 

For example, a bong offers better percolation than other methods while offering a more pungent spectrum of flavor and aroma for your smoking experience. Or if you usually use a standard pipe, then you can get a smoother hit that is not as harsh and that is easier on your lungs or throat. A pipe usually has more of a dry, hot heat. 

On the other hand, if you use a bubbler, you will have the convenience of a hand pipe and also get water percolation. But many people find that a bong offers a more fluid experience than bubblers do, and the smaller parts of a bubbler might get dirty or clogged. 

When you use a bong, the smoke will be smoother, and that can be easier on your lungs or throat. This is the optimal way of enjoying the aroma of the smoke, and it often does not require as much preparation. 

Common Myths about Bongs

Bongs are often used, so it makes sense that there are some myths about them. 

Bongs Make You Feel Higher

This is not entirely true. Bongs might make you higher than typical methods of smoking. This is because if there is a bigger chamber in the bong, more smoke can enter the area. And if you inhale all of the smoke there, you will become high off of just one hit. However, it will not be likely to get you higher than other methods of consumption. 

Smoking a Bong Is Better for the Lungs

The smoke from a hit from your bong might feel smoother than other methods of smoking. However, that does not mean that it is better for the lungs. The smoke just is not as hot, so it is less likely to make you cough. However, you are still putting smoke in your lungs.

Smoking a Bong Is Better for the Lungs

Bongs Are Not Clean

This is a popular myth about bongs, but they are not any dirtier than other methods of consumption. A big risk that many users face is sharing bongs among their friends. That can spread germs. Just remember to change your water out regularly and clean the bong. If the water is dirty, you will not have a good taste when smoking. You might want to use filtered water and avoid using tap water. 

The Only Option Is Expensive Bongs

If the price is slightly higher, the bong might be sturdier or be made of stronger materials. It might also be made using a percolator, which is a filter that can cool down your smoke even more. However, with a more expensive bong, you might just be getting a larger or more decorative price. But if a collectible piece is what you want, this might be worthwhile for you.

Inexpensive bongs can work just as well as more expensive ones. Do your research and find out the price options before you get a bong.  For around $5 to $20, you can get a small bubbler, which might be good for easy transport to a friend’s house. For $20 to $80, you can get a high-quality, medium bong. You can find larger, more artistic ones in the $80 to $300 range, while more artistic ones with lots of accessories can often be found for $300 and up. If you’re an avid user, a larger one might be for you.

Closing Thoughts 

Now that you know a bit more about how bongs work and how you can find the best one, you can compare them depending on your desires and personal needs. Do your research on the ones that you are the most interested in and look at the pros and cons of each one. Consider the way that you will use the bong and whether you want to use it at home or take it to a party. Of course, your budget will also play a role. Each of these variables will help you narrow down your search for the best bong for you.

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