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Role of Bong Downstems in Enhancing a Smoking Session

Role of Bong Downstems in Enhancing a Smoking Session

Does your bong really need a downstem to deliver smooth and powerful hits? Let’s find out!

Your love for your bong is understable; after all, it lets you enjoy cool, clean, and flavorful smoke. However, do you know that it might not get the job done right if the main component responsible for filtering the smoke is absent? Yes, we are talking about downstem and its role in your smoking gear.

With a tube-like structure featuring small holes, a downstem effectively filters the smoke from the chamber, delivering smooth, flavor-rich hits to your mouth. 

In this blog, we will explore the different types of downstems, their importance, and some crucial tips for choosing the right one. Further, we’ve also covered a step-by-step guide on how to clean and maintain these valuable bong accessories - stick around!

What is a Downstem?

A downstem is typically a long tube-shaped piece of glass connecting the bowl of a bong to the water chamber. The tube usually has two openings on both ends. The top hole connected to the bowl allows the smoke to be pulled into the downstem, while the hole at the bottom leads the smoke into a water chamber where the smoke is cooled and moisturized before going to the mouthpiece. Without a downstem, it can be difficult to smoke. 

It is important to note that some bongs have permanently attached downstem, while others need you to get one separately in a local or online headshop. They come in a variety of sizes and designs, so it's up to you to choose one that fits your bong perfectly. 

The Importance of a Downstem

Pure Flavor 

Every cannabis user can attest that a tampered flavor can ruin the whole smoking experience. Each plant from the marijuana seed has unique characteristics in terms of taste, smell, and cannabinoids. The most common flavors are fruity, earthy, and floral. If your bong doesn't have a downstem, these flavors will be ruined due to the presence of impurities.

Bong downstems provide maximized filtration, removing unwanted particles that cause harsh or unpleasant flavors. So whether you have added flavors or you are relying on the natural flavors on the strain, you can expect the purest.

Improved Filtration 

This goes even without saying: A bong with a downstem will always deliver smooth, flavorful, and potent hits thanks to the added level of filtration. As the smoke from the bowl goes down into the downstem, it is directed into the water chamber. Water breaks down the smoke into smaller particles, filtering all the present impurities, including ash and tar. 

Wondering how the water breaks the smoke? The small bubbles that form as you inhale through the mouthpiece facilitate the breakdown. Moreover, as the smoke passes through the water, it has a cooling effect, which is much needed for your lungs.

Cool and Smoother Hits 

Without a bong downstem, it's impossible to form the bubbling effect of the water. When this is the case, the smoke that gets into your mouth will have a choking sensation, which may, in turn, ruin your smoking experience or, even worse, lead to health risks. The small tube-like structure connected to the bowl and water chamber facilitates a suction pressure that results in the formation of bubbles. The bubbles, in return, break down the smoke, delivering smoother hits as you inhale.

Types of Downstems

Standard Downstem

Standard downstems are the most common type available in most head shops. They feature a joint at the top and a hole at the bottom. With a wide range of classic designs, these types of down stems make a perfect fit for individuals who want the normal level of filtration.

Diffuser Downstem 

A diffuser downstem is more like a regular downstem, except that it has a different design. Instead of having two openings on both sides, the bottom parts have slits and openings, which provide a large surface area for filtration. Moreover, the design allows for the formation of smaller bubbles, which provide a smoother and cooler toke.

Metal Downstem 

If you have a knack for breaking things, we recommend you get yourself a metal downstem. They are usually made from anodized high-quality aluminum thus they are highly durable and heat resistant. No matter how many times you drop your bong, you can expect this downstem won't crack or break.

Glass Downstem 

Glass bongs are always a masterpiece, and it's no exception to glass downstem. They deliver the smoothest and purest flavors thanks to their heat-resistant borosilicate glass, which is free from impurities that tamper with the flavor. Glass down stems are a bit pricey compared to other types, but they are worth every penny given. They deliver the cleanest smoke, and they are also durable.

How to Measure and Buy the Right Downstem

The last thing you want is to spend your hard-earned money on a pricey downstem only to find that it's too big or too small for your bong. The downstem has to fit perfectly for the ideal rip. So, how do you measure? Downstems are measured from the top, which connects to the bowl, to the bottom, which fits the water chamber. To be entirely sure you are making the right purchase, here are a few things you need to consider.

Identify the Gender of Your Bong

Male and female? Yes, that's precisely what it means. Bongs can be either male or female. Experienced smokers probably know of this, but what's the difference? It's easy to identify the difference by looking at your water pipe. 

Here is our simple trick: Have a look at your bong and ask yourself this, "Do you put the bowl onto the joint or into the joint?" If it's into, that's a female bong, as all accessories are inserted into it, and the opposite is for the male.

Identify Your Bong's Joint Size

Most bongs online will feature a bong size of 10mm, 14mm, and 18mm. The joint size is essentially important as it's the part where the downstem is inserted or goes over, depending on the gender of your bong. 

To measure the joint size, just grab a dime and place it over the end of your water pipe. If the joint is slightly smaller than the dime, that's 14mm. If it's significantly smaller, the joint is 10mm. If you can fit the dime through the joint, it's 18mm.

Confirm Your Downstem Length 

The downstem length is typically measured from the top, where the con piece should be, down to the bottom part, which sits on the water chamber. Too long or too short a downstem can affect the level of filtration. If you don't have a downstem to help you measure, you can just insert a pencil into the joint and push it as far as you would like your downstem to fit. Then, hold the pencil against the place where the joint meets the inside of the water pipe and mark both sides to get a length. Downstem lengths vary between 2.5 and 6.5 inches.

Identify the Cone Size

Like the joint sizes, cone sizes come in three sets- 10mm, 14mm, and 18 mm. You need to ensure that the downstem fits the size of the cone piece you wish to attach. You can use the same approach demonstrated when measuring joint sizes to determine the perfect size.

Downstem Size and Other Common FAQs

How do I measure the downstem?

As mentioned earlier, you need to know the gender of your bong for accurate measurements. But generally, downstems are primarily fit for bongs with female joints. 

To measure the length of the downstem, you will need to use the pencil method and make marks from the bottom of the cone piece to where you wish the downstem to where it should connect to the water chamber. The acquired measurement should be your guiding compass.

Will the downstem work if it hits the bottom of the water chamber?

No, the downstem should be underwater by about half an inch. When it hits the bottom, it is hard to pull, and the water may splash your mouth. So, how do you ensure it doesn't hit the bottom? We recommend measuring when the water chamber has water. Next, you want to keep in mind that measuring starts from the end of the ground joint. This way, you can estimate where the end should be once the pencil is underwater. 

If you are still uncertain about the length, consult experts in your nearest head shop.

Does a wrong downstem size affect the smoking experience?

Absolutely yes, incorrect size means you will have poor sealing, and the water bubbles responsible for breaking down the smoke will not form. When this happens, the smoke you inhale will be harsh. Incorrect sizes can also damage your water bong, so ensure you use the dime and pencil method to measure the length and the width, respectively.

How Do You Clean a Downstem

You probably know that a dirty bong ruins the smoking experience. Thus, you need to ensure that the bong downstem is thoroughly cleaned for maximized filtration. 

To clean the downstem, you will need hot water and equipment like Formula 420, isopropyl alcohol, and a pipe cleaner. The next step will be detaching your downstem from the bong and soaking it in hot water mixed with formula 420 and isopropyl alcohol for 30 minutes to an hour. Once fully soaked, give it a good pipe using your pipe cleaner and rinse it with hot water before leaving it to dry.

A bong downstem is an indispensable accessory if you value the quality and flavor of your smoke. If you need a new downstem or you need to replace your current one, visit our website We have a wide range of designs and sizes, from 10mm, 14mm, 18mm to 19mm. Make a quick search and explore our wide collection of downstems today!
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