What is an Ash Catcher?
When using a bong, over time the ashe and charred remains from your flower make their way into your piece. It’s a hassle to clean, but leave it there too long and you’re ultimately left with resin sticking to the walls, floating in the murky water, and maybe even clogging your percolator. Not only does it look and smell gross, but the flavor of your herb will be significantly degraded. To help keep your piece cleaner, longer, you can employ the use of an ash catcher.
What is an Ash Catcher?
An ash catcher is a bong attachment designed to work exactly as the name implies. It’s an extra filter for your piece made to catch any ash or gunk that gets sucked through your bowl. These double jointed attachments fit into/onto your bong’s joint and your bowl will sit on top. Many ash catchers also utilize the addition of a percolator, providing an extra layer of smoke diffusion on top of keeping your bong clean.
Keep in mind that ash catchers don’t eliminate the need to clean your piece, you just have to clean it less often. Some resin may still get through, especially if your ash catcher is starting to get dirty. These attachments aim to reduce your workload and make the process quicker. In a pinch you can even remove the attachment and run it through a warm faucet to clear some of the debris without sitting down for a deep clean.
Why Use an Ash Catcher?
The most obvious reason to use an ash catcher is to save you the trouble of cleaning your bong or dab rig as often. This extra level of filtration means cleaner smoke, too, for a more enjoyable experience. For this reason, ash catchers are recommended as low-maintenance accessories for those who find the smoke from regular bongs is too harsh.
Ash catchers are an excellent way to upgrade a standard piece without having to replace it with an expensive unit with built-in percolators. While sizes vary, ash catchers are also easily removable, so they can be used with all your pieces without needing to buy multiples.
When used in addition with other accessories, like standard percolators or diffusion slides and stems, ash catchers provide a premium, clean, cool smoke that’s just not possible with a typical bong. If you hate cleaning your piece, and prefer a cooler, gentler smoking experience, then an ash catcher is an essential accessory.
Different Types of Ash Catchers
While all ash catchers aim to keep your piece cleaner, different designs have made it possible to achieve this in multiple ways. As mentioned above, some ash catchers feature percolators to help further diffuse your smoke on top of keeping your bong clean. These are the most popular style of ash catcher as they are multi functional. The ash and smoke are both filtered through the water, as it would be through a regular bong, before the smoke continues through your piece.
Some ash catchers only act as a water chamber to catch debris and don’t offer much in terms of cooling your smoke. Some don’t use water at all, such as dry ash catchers, so there is less drag when hitting the pipe! Choosing which works for you is a personal choice and does not affect the ash catcher’s cleaning ability, but you do need to make sure it’ll fit your pipe.
Fitting the Ash Catcher with Your Pipe
The easy part is deciding you want to add an ash catcher to your setup. To find the right ash catcher for your bong, to begin with, you'll need to know a few things. First, what is the angle of your bong’s joint. Second, what size is your bong’s joint. Finally, what is the joint gender. You’ll need all three to pick an ash catcher with confidence. It may seem complicated, but most manufacturers create pieces in standard sizes and shapes to ensure compatibility with extensions and attachments like ash catchers.
- Angle: Typically, joints are either sitting at a 90 or 45 degree angle. Ordering the wrong angle will render your ash catcher useless as it could prevent the ash catcher perc from functioning properly, make the bowl difficult to remove, or simply make contact with your bong. Custom pieces may have an irregular angle so make sure to measure.
- Size: There are three standard joint sizes: 10mm, 14mm, and 18mm. You’ll need to match your bong’s joint size to that of your ash catcher for them to fit. If you already have an attachment, but it doesn’t fit your bong, or maybe you bought a new piece with a different size joint, you can always apply a joint converter to help. For more info on how to tell the size of your joint, check out our blog here.
- Gender: Your piece will either have a male or a female joint, which you need to match with its opposite. Male joints fit inside female joints and female joints fit over male joints. While most bongs have a female joints, and most attachments like ash catchers use a male joints to fit inside, it’s not uncommon to find dab rigs with male joints. As with different sizes, adapters and converters can also change the gender of your joint if an attachment or bowl you have won’t work with your current setup.
Now that you’ve established these three things, you’re ready to find an ash catcher, there’s just one more thing to consider - Weight.
Ash catchers can be large or small, but the bigger the attachment, the heavier and more unwieldy it becomes. When buying an ash catcher, consider its weight (with water, if applicable) against the counterweight of your bong or rig. If the ash catcher is too heavy, it may topple the whole bong. This especially becomes a concern with some inventive smokers who like to use multiple attachments at one time. Always be sure that your bong or rig has a strong, sturdy base before adding attachments that could potentially throw off its balance.
If you’re content with your current setup and cleaning routine, you don’t need an ash catcher, but we definitely recommend one if you’re on the fence. These attachments are a great addition to any smoker’s collection of smoking accessories. It keeps your bong and your smoke clean so you can spend more time relaxing and less time coughing and cleaning.
What more could you ask for?