Best Bongs for Beginners: How to Choose a Bong
Are you new to the world of bongs? Have you recently smoked a friend's bong and decided you’d like to buy a bong of your own?
By now you may be exhausted from scrolling through the endless amounts of products while trying to find the right bong for you. This is totally understandable.
Bongs come in a wide range of sizes and are made from a variety of materials. Let’s not forget all the confusing features like carbs, ash catchers, and splash guards!
Buying your first bong is an exciting step into this classic smoking method. Making an educated decision can help you to avoid experiencing dreaded buyer’s remorse.
Stick with us to find out more about bongs and to find out how to choose the best bongs for beginners.
What Is A Bong?
A bong is a vase-like water pipe that consists of a chamber, a neck, a downstem, and a bowl. A bong contains water that filters and cools the smoke before it reaches your mouth.
The term “bong” has been bandied around for decades. While the exact origin of the word remains hazy, the word bong refers to a water pipe. Water pipes may date as far back as the Ming Dynasty.
Bongs should not be confused with glass pipes. Generally speaking, glass pipes do not use water to filter smoke the way bongs do.
It is also important to note that a dab rig is not a bong. Dabbing refers to the smoking of concentrates while bongs are typically used to smoke dry herb.
Consider Your Bong Size
Bongs are available in an overwhelming range of sizes. From 19” towers of glass to 6” acrylic shorties.
Let’s face it, bong size matters. But not in the way you may think. The size of bong you choose will depend largely on your lifestyle, specific needs, and your ninja-like bong smoking skills.
Let’s dive in and take a look at the main bong sizes, their benefits, and how size affects your bong smoking experience.
Small or mini bongs usually measure around 4” to 7”. These bongs can be easier to handle for beginners but they do not offer the ideal capacity for water filtration.
If you’re often on the move and are looking for something portable, then a small bong is the way to go.
Small bongs do not draw a lot of attention so they can offer a discreet smoking method for those looking to keep things on the down-low. Because of the compact nature of a small bong, it can be easily stored away.
Smaller bongs are also easier to clean. This is something to consider if cleaning things is not your strong point.
Medium bongs range from about 8” to 17”. This is the most popular size as they offer the perfect capacity for water filtration.
If you’re into accessorizing medium-sized bongs are great as they support a wide range of smoking attachments. The chamber capacity on these bongs offers a traditional full-size bong hit that will suit beginners and pros alike.
If you feel like a total noob, don’t be scared off by the size. You will grow into a medium-sized bong as you become more comfortable taking bigger hits.
With a bit of practice, you’ll soon become an iron-lunged ninja-bong smoker! From the casual smoker to the everyday bong-hitting king, this size range is ideal.
Large bongs start at about 18” and go way up to mammoth size. But like, how the heck does someone actually smoke that thing? It looks like you’d need an extra pair of hands just to light it!
But people do in fact smoke these monstrosities and there are benefits to consider here. While they usually appeal to large-lunged veteran bong smokers, they are ideal for sharing with close friends.
Because of the sheer size of large bongs, there is virtually zero splashback! No more having bong water slap you in the mouth. Suffice to say that these super-size bongs are not ideal for carting around from place to place. They do, however, offer a sturdy coffee table piece that is great for home use.
Different Types of Bong Materials
When it comes to selecting a bong material, there are a few things to consider. For instance, your budget, lifestyle, and specific needs.
With all the different materials out there, the process of selecting your first bong can be overwhelming. Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of the materials used to make bongs.
This will help you to narrow down your options for your perfect beginner bong.
Glass bongs are considered a premium option. They are generally more expensive but as the saying goes - you get what you pay for.
The nature of glass does not impart any flavor to your smoke. This makes for an exceptionally clean hit. The transparency of a glass bong allows you to keep tabs on the water quality and build-up resin of your bong.
Glass is easy to clean but care needs to be taken as glass does not take kindly to being knocked around!
Silicone bongs are ideal for travelers who are looking for durability. You can easily drop a silicone bong into a backpack and hit the road without the fear of it breaking.
Just don’t forget to empty the water first! Higher quality silicone bongs offer easy cleaning too. The opacity of silicone makes it difficult to keep an eye on the state of the bong water and the resin build-up. Durability is the main perk of the silicon bong.
Read our silicone vs glass bongs guide for the differences between glass and silicone.
Ceramic bongs come in a ton of different designs and shapes. You’ll find ceramic bongs in the shape of snakes, dragons and even the ever-chilled Buddha.
These pieces are great for collecting and make for an interesting conversation starter.
Like glass-ceramic, bongs do not impart any flavor to your bong rip and are often cheaper than glass. Ceramic bongs are breakable so they’re not the ideal travel companion.
The opacity of ceramic bongs makes it difficult to monitor the resin build-up and the quality of the water.
Metal bongs can be heavy! They are the ultimate in durability and sturdiness but can influence the flavor of your hit. There is a chance that you will be left with a metallic taste in your mouth, which could disappoint the more discerning toker.
Unless the bong is made from stainless steel it could be prone to tarnishing or even rust. Metal’s lack of transparency makes it challenging to monitor resin build-up and the condition of your bong water. Although stainless steel can be very easy to clean.
Bong Styles for Added Personality
The number of bong styles available could leave you wide-eyed and paralyzed for choice. While there is an overwhelming amount of different bongs to choose from, each one offers unique benefits.
By this point, you should be settling on a size and a material that best suits your pocket and lifestyle. Now it is time to figure out your unique style.
Most websites that sell bongs have a wide variety of styles, but don’t freak out, below is a breakdown to help you to decide which style of bong is best for you.
Straight Tube Bongs
As the name suggests, straight tube bongs are straight and totally tubular. They are the same width from the mouthpiece to the base. Straight tube bongs have a sleek and simple design that is easy to clean and easy to handle.
Typically the stem and bowl protrude from about a quarter way up from the base. This design is great for both the novice and veteran bong toker.
Beaker bongs are similar to the straight tube bong in that it has a straight, tubular neck. The difference is that it flairs out near the bottom of the bong which offers a slightly larger water capacity.
Because of the lower center of gravity beaker bongs are more stable than their straight tubular sibling. These bongs are also an ideal beginner bong option.
Zong bongs are similar to most classic bongs except for one eye-catching feature. The neck zig-zags instead of remaining straight from mouthpiece to base.
This is more than just a novelty bong. The zig-zag shape of the neck prevents splashback and can even prevent a spill! On top of that, the “Z” shape of the neck forces the smoke to travel a further distance which in turn further cools the smoke before it reaches your mouth. All this makes for a smoother bong rip.
Round Base Bongs
Round base bongs are much the same as beaker bongs in that they offer a slightly larger water chamber than straight tube bongs. But it is important to note that they are not as stable as beaker bongs because of their round base.
They function much the same as any other bong and come in a range of sizes. Round base bongs offer a classic look and are ideal for the pro and noob alike.
No, this contraption will not make coffee. Although you’re welcome to try! These types of bongs feature internal percolators, which accelerate the diffusion of smoke and thus cooling the smoke down before it reaches your lips.
This innovation makes for an ultra-smooth toke. Percolators also look cool, like something out of sci-fi film.
Percolator bongs have their pros and cons, but most people tend to prefer them.
While on the top of sci-fi films, the multi-chamber bong takes it to the next level. These are usually complicated-looking pieces of apparatus but they function similarly to traditional bongs.
The multiple chambers cool the smoke as well as further purify the smoke before reaching the mouthpiece. Be aware that these high-end bongs can be expensive.
Customize Your Bong with Attachments
From multi-chamber bongs to percolators, bong manufacturers will stop at nothing when it comes to elevating the smoking experience. Bong attachments are the essential parts that you attach to your bong.
Some are considered a specialty and others are considered standard. Let’s take a look at the attachments that you should be aware of.
A bowl connects to the downstem and holds your ground herb in place while you light it. Some feature handles that allow you to easily slip the bowl out of the stem and back in as needed.
And if you want to keep your ground herb from being sucked into the water chamber, opt for a glass bowl with a built-in screen. Double-walled glass bubble-shaped bowls will keep things cool and prevent finger burns.
Your downstem is an important part of your bong. It feeds the smoke from your bowl into the water chamber where the water is filtered. Your downstem must fit both your bong and your bowl.
An airtight seal is needed between the stem bong and bowl. A poor fit can lead to air leaks and a less than ideal bong hit.
While not totally necessary, ash catchers can enhance your smoking experience.
Ash catchers can be built in but often attach between the stem and the bowl. This can keep your bong cleaner for longer as it catches ash and resin build-up before it enters the bong.
This simple attachment can also add an extra level of filtration, which makes for a smoother hit.
When buying attachments for your bong the size of the joint is important. And no, we’re not talking about the joint you smoke, we’re talking about where your attachments will join. The most common joint sizes are 18.8mm, 14.4mm, and 10mm.
If you have bought the wrong size attachment you can always get an adapter. Use a dime to gauge the size of your joint. A dime is about 18mm in diameter. If your joint is smaller than a dime it is either a 14.4 or a 10mm.
To avoid fitment issues, be sure to check out the specs before buying an attachment.
Top 5 Beginner Bong Recommendations
By now you should have a fair idea of what you’re looking for. We have covered everything from size and shape to the material and attachments. You may, however, still be unsure about which bong is the right fit for you.
To help you make a decision and send you on your bong smoking adventure, we have handpicked a few that we feel are the ideal beginner bongs. Let’s take a look.
1. 8" Beaker Bong (best bang for your buck)
This premium glass bong offers the best bang for your buck as it is jam-packed with features. The size is easy to handle and not too bulky. The 5mm glass offers durability and the beaker shape gives it a sturdy footing on your coffee table.
But wait, there’s more. Enjoy a cool and smooth hit with its percolating downstem and built-in ice catcher. If you are looking for value for money in a sturdy and compact bong that is smooth on your throat, this is the one for you!
2. 10" Straight Tube Bong (for the daily smoker)
This 10” Boss straight tube bong offers a sleek and classic look for the beginner smoker. It features an ice catcher with loads of room in the neck for ice for those smooth bong hits.
There is no need to buy attachments as this Boss straight tube comes with a LoPro downstem and bowl. This medium size bong is ideal for a beginner who is looking for a smooth and full-size hit from their bong.
3. Tree Perc Beaker Bong (for the smoothest hits)
Bougies Glass’ Tree Perc Beaker Bong is a smooth-hitting all-star. It is one of the most expensive bongs on this list but with the higher price tag comes durability and great features.
This thick-walled glass bong stands 14.5” high and has an interchangeable downstem that allows the beginner to venture into the world of dabbing if and when that time comes.
This is a percolating bong that features a total of 8 arms on its percolator and three slits per arm. This makes it the smoothest hitter on our list.
4. Silicone Glass Bong (for the clumsy toker)
If you have butterfingers or are a bit heavy-handed you may be concerned about breaking a glass bong. But there is no need to sacrifice the smooth-hitting and easy-cleaning aspects of glass.
This compact 6” glass bong is sheathed in silicone. This protective layer can be removed when cleaning the bong.
This bong is ideal for the beginner toker who is concerned about the fragility of glass but wants all the benefits of glass-like easy cleaning and smoothing hits.
5. Double Matrix Water Pipe (go big or go home)
Are you looking to go all-in on your first bong purchase? Then you can’t go wrong with the Diamond Glass Double Matrix straight tube.
While it is the most expensive bong on our list it is also the largest and offers premium features to match. You’ll have to pick your jaw up off the floor at the sight of this masterpiece of towering glass.
The dual matrix percolators feature numerous perforated slits that offer the very best in percolation. Kick it up a notch by tossing in a few ice cubes to cool things down even further.