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Types of Percolators: A Beginner's Guide

Types of Percolators: A Beginner's Guide

Ok, so you’re ready to buy your first bong. You’ve got a lot of options! When it comes to bongs, there are three main factors. Size, material, and percolators.

The first two are pretty straightforward. How big do you want it to be? Do you want it made out of glass, ceramic, or silicone? Percolators are where things get a bit tricky.

What is a percolator anyway? What does it do? What kinds are there, and which is the best? No worries fam, we’ll answer all your percolator-related questions.

What Is The Purpose Of A Percolator?

A percolator, or a “perc,” is a contraption within your bong that helps to cool down the smoke.

When you smoke from a bong, the smoke filters through the water. This cools down the smoke and gives you a smoother hit.

A percolator enhances that effect by forcing the smoking to filter through the water multiple times. It’s common for high-end bongs to have multiple percs.

Percolators mainly come in glass bongs. There are many different shapes and styles of percolators.

12 Types of Percolators

Now you understand the basics of what a percolator is. You understand that it creates an extra water chamber for smoke to filter through. Now let’s take a closer look at the many different types of percolators.  

1. Tree Perc

Tree Perc

Tree percs are easily one of the most common types of percolators. It’s called a tree perc because of its design. It has one major trunk in the center and many branches coming off the trunk. A tree percolator can have anywhere between 4 and 10 branches.

Tree percs are very good at diffusing smoke. There’s a downside to this though. They are very difficult to clean. They are also easy to break while cleaning if you are not careful.

2. Inline Perc

An inline percolator has a much simpler design than a tree perc. It’s just one horizontal tube with slits in it. You mainly see inline percs on stemless bongs. It’s also common for inline perc bongs to also have an additional percolator.

By themselves, they aren’t the most effective perc. But inline percs make strong team players. If you’re looking for a bong with multiple percolators, inline percs are a great choice!

3. Honeycomb Perc

Honeycomb Perc

Honeycomb percolators are a highly sought-after type of perc. It’s basically a plate of glass with a bunch of tiny holes in it. This gives you great filtration without adding additional drag to the hit.

Because honeycomb percs have a flat design, it’s easy to put 2 or 3 in a bong. They are also very easy to clean, which makes them a favorite among frequent bong users.

4. Diffused Downstems

A diffused downstem is the most basic form of percolator. A normal bong comes in three parts: the body, the bowl, and the downstem. A diffused downstem has slits in the bottom to create more bubbles to filter smoke better. If you’re looking to add an accessory to get a smoother hit, a diffused downstem is a great add-on.

It is also very common for a bong to have both a diffused downstem and extra percolators. Much like the inline perc, it’s ok on its own, but strongest in conjunction with other percs.

5. Matrix Perc

The name sounds intense. “Matrix” in this instance refers to its grid-like design, not the groundbreaking 1999 movie. The matrix perc is a glass cylinder that’s filled with tiny holes, delivering incredible filtration in your hit. It also functions well as a splash guard.

6. Fritted Disc Perc

“Fritted glass” is glass that’s made of a ton of coarse glass particles all fused together. So a “fritted disc” is a disc of glass that’s made from a bunch of tiny parts, and thus has a tone of teeny tiny holes.

Fritted Disc Perc

It’s basically the next level up from a honeycomb perc. They have all the advantages a honeycomb perc has. It gives you a smooth hit. It’s easy to stack or more of fritted disc percs in one bong. It’s also pretty easy to clean. 

7. Swiss Perc

A swiss perc is named for its strong resemblance to swiss cheese. A classic swiss perc is a vertical glass disc filled with holes. Smoke gets forced around the holes, which cools it down, There’s also a swiss pillar design. These are pillars also filled with holes.

Swiss percs not only filter your hit. They also look incredible while you smoke them. A swiss perc is great for a smoker who wants a balance of function and aesthetic.

8. Circ Perc

Circ Perc

You may have guessed it from the name. Circ percs are shaped like a circle. A circ perc is either one or many rings with space in between the rings and slits on the outside of each ring. They are similar to showerhead percs, but slightly different.

You might find a circ perc as part of a bong. Some glassblowers like to put them at the end of a downstem.

9. Showerhead Perc

Showerhead percs were some of the first percs to appear on the glass scene after tree percs. The classic design resembles a showerhead. However, the design is extremely versatile. It can be incorporated into art glass bongs.

A showerhead perc looks like a simpler version of a circ perc. Showerhead percs only have one circle with slits or holes in it.

10. Turbine Perc

A turbine perc is a cooler-looking version of a honeycomb perc. It’s a glass disc with slits in a circular pattern that resembles a turbine on an airplane.

The water and smoke make a cool swirling motion when you hit it. It also acts as a splash guard since water comes through it at an angle.

Donut Perc

11. Donut Perc

A donut perc is like a scaled-down version of a swiss perc. It’s a vertical donut of glass in the middle of the bong. Water and smoke get filtered around the donut, giving you a smooth hit.

Most donut percs have an additional percolator underneath them. It is common to see donut percs with inline or showerhead percs.

12. Cross Perc

Cross percs are also called screw percs. They consist of little glass knobs with a slit on each with a cross pattern. These are easy to put on ash catchers, if you’re looking for an accessory to add more percolation.

What Is The Smoothest Percolator?

When it comes to percolator smoothness, there are three factors. They are diffusion, number of percolators, and cleanliness.

Diffusion is the number of bubbles the perc makes. More bubbles means a smoother hit. Tree percs, matrix percs, and honeycomb percs all provide excellent diffusion.

How many percs also affects the smoothness of the hit. More is better. A bong with a diffused downstem and a tree perc will perform better than just the diffused downstem.

Another factor that affects the smoothness of a hit is how clean the percs are. Honeycomb percs are popular among smokers because they diffuse well and are easy to clean.

Best Types Of Percolators?

Ok, we’ve done a deep dive on the different types of percolators. But we know you want answers. Which percolator is the best?


When it comes to glassware, it’s always a matter of taste. That said, here’s a few recommendations. If you want ultimate diffusion, go for this 17” Double Tree Perc Beaker Bong. It’s got two 8-arm tree percs, a diffused downstem, and an ice catcher.

If you prefer honeycomb percs, try this 12” Triple Honeycomb Bong. It has three honeycomb percs and an ice catcher in a stemless tube bong.

We hope you enjoyed this guide to the different kinds of percolators. When you know your percs, it’s easy to find right bong for you.

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