There are different ways to enjoy cannabis flower, but one of the more popular methods for smoking is with a bong. A bong helps provide a smooth, cool smoke that is filtered through water.
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What is a bong?
A bong, also known as a water pipe, is a filtration device used for smoking cannabis. Because the water serves as the filtration element, all bongs need water. Bongs come in many different sizes and designs that require different amounts of water. The bong’s size, shape and percolators will impact how much water is needed to provide the best smoking experience.
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Do all bongs need water?
While bongs don’t technically require water to ignite cannabis, using a bong correctly requires water. Those who rip bong without water typically do so because they forgot to fill it up! Dry bong hits are harsh and typically very unpleasant. If you are interested in a more effective piece for a “dry bong” kind of hit, we recommend one of our Steamrollers!
Why do you put water in a bong?
The water in a bong serves two purposes.
- Water provides filtration (capturing ash, tar, and other particulate matter to keep it from being inhaled)
- Water serves is as a diffuser (as smoke is drawn through the water, it is dispersed into tiny bubbles inside the bong)
The size of the bubbles is often dictated by the type of bong used. This helps cool the smoke before it goes into your lungs. Smaller bubbles increase the surface area interaction between the water and the smoke, cooling and cleaning it more.
Why does bong water level matter?
The amount of water in the bong matters because it will not operate effectively with too little or too much. With too much water, it will be difficult to smoke from it. That means your lungs work harder to create more suction needed to draw smoke through the water, it risks causing water to pop up the mouthpiece into your mouth, and it interferes with the diffusion properties of the bong. If there is too little water in the bong, there is not enough filtration and aeration. This results in harsher and hotter hits off the bong, much like you would experience from a dry hit off of a hand pipe.
How much water should you put in your bong?
Some personal preferences will always affect how much you fill your bong. If you like a chuggy, rumbly hit, you can add some extra water to the chambers. If you like your bong to fire as fast and hard as possible, you’ll be able to find a perfect sweet spot in the water levels with a little trial and error! In general, follow these simple basics to make sure your bong functions well!
Filling a small bong
The amount of water needed in a bong is just enough to submerge the downstem into the water by a half inch. In a small bong, as long as the downstem is submerged, there is enough water. If your downstem is a diffused downstem with slits at the base to further aerate the smoke, then make sure the water is high enough to fully submerge all of the slits.
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Filling a beaker bong
If you have a beaker bong that features a wide bottom that resembles something from science class, the amount of water needed is just enough to submerge the downstem in the bottom. You can add the water from the top of the bong where there is an opening. The same is true when determining how much water to put in a straight bong, which is not as sturdy as the beaker bong because it does not have the wide bottom. For a straight bong, just make sure the downstem is submerged slightly in water.
Filling a bong with percolators
It can be a little more difficult to fill a percolator bong that has several chambers. A percolator forces the smoke to filter through the water. There are two reliable methods to fill bongs with multiple perc chambers:
- You can remove the stem and then blow through the mouthpiece to force the water into the middle and lower parts of the bong and then top up the bottom chamber to the appropriate level,
- You can overfill the bottom chamber and pull the excess water up into the top perc chambers.
Lightly tilting the bong also helps the water run down into the bottom to even out levels. Allow the water to settle and make sure all the percolators are submerged evenly.
A stemless tube is a bong without a removable downstem. These can come with single chambers in the bottom, or feature multiple chambers. Many of these bongs have a water level dictated specifically by the type of perc in the tube. Filling is similar to other perked bongs. Single percs can be filled as normal, with the water level just above the holes in the perc. Multiperc designs can be filled from the bottom or the mouthpiece, with excess water either blown down or pulled up into percs.
Read Next: How to Figure Out the Size of Your Downstem