The Bern Gallery

How to Smoke a Bong

Bongs are a great way to smoke, but not everyone knows how to properly use them. Whether you’re a newcomer to glass or a veteran, here’s a guide on how to smoke a bong from the artists that make them.

How to Properly Smoke a Bong

Smoking a bong is a fairly straightforward process, although there are some considerations to keep in mind (see below). To properly smoke a bong, follow these steps:

  1. Clean: Begin with a clean bong so that you can have maximum enjoyment. If there’s any residue leftover from previous use, clean out the bong.
  2. Water: Fill the base of the bong with water, which will help cool the smoke. Every bong has a different ideal water level, and many allow for user preference when it comes to selecting water levels. Lower levels will offer an airier experience, while higher levels offer a chuggy, rumbling hit. Experiment to find your favorite water level!
  3. Herbs: Pack some of your preferred herbs in the bong’s bowl and compress them down slightly. Ground herb tends to burn better, so we recommend using an herb grinder!
  4. Close: Close all of the holes in the bong. Place your mouth over the mouthpiece to seal that off, make sure your slide is sealed into the downstem, and use a finger to seal off a carb hole if one is present (see below).
  5. Light: Start inhaling and light the herbs and get comfortable. Use either a lighter or hemp wick (see below).
  6. Inhale: Continue inhaling from the moment that you light the herbs. Continue inhaling until the bong’s chamber is filled with smoke. Remember not to let the smoke stop moving, or it will become stale and unpleasant! Keep pulling until you are ready to clear.
  7. Clear your hit: Once the chamber is filled to your desired level with smoke, release the carb hole or pull out the bowl, so fresh air can flow through the chamber. Inhale the smoke for a hit, and hold it in your lungs for a short time before blowing out to enjoy the maximum effect. Remember to clear all the smoke out, or blow the excess out after your hit, before passing the bong!
  8. Clean: When you’re ready, clear out the bowl and base. Clean all pieces so they’re ready for your next use.

Considerations for Smoking Bongs

The above instructions on how to smoke a bong will have you started with your glass piece. As you gain experience, these other considerations will help you further refine your enjoyment.

Beaker Bongs vs. Straight Tubes

Beaker bongs look like flasks from a laboratory, while straight ones don’t have the flared bottom. Beakers are more stable, which is an especially important consideration if you have an ice catcher that makes the unit top-heavy. Straight tubes have less water in them and offer an “airier” hit. 

Bongs with Percolator vs. Bongs without Percolators

Percolator bongs contain inner glass features that cause the water to circulate around the smoke. This produces little bubbles, diffusing the smoke, cooling it more and further removing impurities. Bongs without percs are a little more durable and typically cost less because they aren’t as complicated to make. Bongs with percs are easier on the lungs, look awesome, and are great for smokers with more sensitive throats and lungs. However, percs are more difficult to clean than traditional pieces, and tend to come with an added price tag.

Lighting up with a Lighter vs. Hemp Wick

A lighter is a convenient way to light up, and there are cool lighters to match different style bongs. Most glass aficionados prefer to light hemp wick because it burns cleaner and doesn’t cause any butane to enter your lungs. For avid users, hemp wick is a healthier option as there’s no consistent butane inhalation.

Using an Ash Catcher with your Bong

Ash catchers are separate glass pieces that attach to your bong and filter ash that is sucked through the bowl piece from entering the bong. Like bongs, ash catchers come in a variety of shapes, sizes and quality. Ash catchers are smaller and easier to clean and keep your bong free of any herb residue. They are also available in the recently invented “Drycatcher” or DC configuration. This style adds no additional filtration, offering only a small catching chamber to contain the ashes. This comes at the advantage of not adding any restriction to the bong!

Ice Catcher

An ice catcher further cools the smoke, making it easier on the lungs. This is another feature that can be especially helpful if you’re new. Most bongs these days feature ice pinches as a standard. 

Personal Piece vs. Party Bong

Whether a personal bong or a party bong is a better choice for you depends entirely on how many people you plan to use the glass with. The differences are size and the size of the slide. Some smokers prefer to share a bowl using a technique called “cornering” where one smokes only a part of the pack at a time. Others prefer a method called “snapping” where the entire bowl is packed with the exact sized hit the smoker wants, and then the entire bowl is consumed in one hit. The bowl is then repacked fresh for the next smoker. 

Small Bong vs. Large Bong

Do you want your bong to double as a centerpiece in your living room, or are you looking for a convenient piece to travel with? Small bongs require more cleaning, but are more portable. The ideal bong size is dependent on your intended uses.