Get the Best Bong for Your Buck: How Does a Water Bong Work

Get the Best Bong for Your Buck: How Does a Water Bong Work

Get the Best Bong for Your Buck: How Does a Water Bong Work

At some point, you've probably been to a party where people were smoking out of a bong. So how does a water bong work and will you get the best high?

Keyword(s): how does a water bong work

The word "bong" comes from the Thai word, "baung" which refers to a tube of bamboo that has been converted into a smoking device. They have been around for centuries but have recently risen in popularity as the medical marijuana demand in the United States rises.

If you go on YouTube, you can find all sorts of videos of people smoking large and complex water pipes. But even with these videos for instruction, you may be asking yourself, "How does a water bong work?"

Before your next smoking sesh, let's talk about what's really going on when you hit a bong.

The Basic Anatomy of a Bong

Bongs use water to create tension filling a chamber with smoke that is released when you release the carb.

To create this tension they must be sealed around the bowl and downstem. Not sure what that means? Let's look at the basic anatomy of a bong.


The bowl is the part of the bong that you fill with marijuana flower. They range in sizes, but the typical bowl allows you to pack it full enough to take a few hits before it's all burned up (also known as "cashed"). 

When you are buying a bong, you should select one that has a decent sized bowl, but also pay attention to how large the hole is at the bottom of the bowl. If it is too big, your marijuana can travel down it and into your pipe.

To prevent this from happening, you can purchase a screen for your bong made out of either metal or glass.


The carb is the term for the small hole that you cover with your thumb or finger when you are trying to take a hit. By plugging the carb, you make the bowl the only source of new air for the bong and the chamber will begin to fill with smoke. 

When you buy a bong, pay attention to the location of the carb and make sure it's comfortable for your natural hand placement.


The downstem is the small glass tube that protrudes from the bottom of your bowl into the base of the bong. This is a fairly basic part of the pipe, but you should pay attention to how easy it is to clean.

Also, find out what size the downstem is when you purchase the pipe so that you know if you need to replace it down the line. You won't be able to bring a dirty downstem into a store to find out.


The base of your bong is the larger portion that sits on the table. Popular setups often have "beaker-bottoms" similar to what you would see in science class. These bottoms are great because they concentrate the heavy water in the bong at its base making it more sturdy and less prone to breakage.

Other bongs have flat discs of glass secured to their bottoms. These tend to get a little top heavy and can break more easily.


The tube is the straight portion of the pipe that carries the smoke to your lungs. The only thing you need to pay attention to in the tube is how wide the mouthpiece is and how long it is. Find what feels right to you.


Percolators are glass devices inside the bong that are used to create additional bubbles inside the bong breaking up the smoke cloud and creating a more pleasant experience.

For some, the more percolators, the better. But percolators are also very hard to clean, so if you are concerned about keeping your bong resin-free, it's best to invest in a percolator attachment.

Ice Catcher

The ice catcher is the term for the section of your tube that is pushed in. This is meant for people who put ice in their bongs to cool the smoke. It prevents the ice from dropping onto the downstem and breaking it.

Types of Percolators

There are many different types of percolators. Some of them are inside the water bong, while others can be purchased as attachments.


An inline is a lateral percolator typically composed of a lot of small slates in a tube of glass within another tube of glass.

They are fun to look at while the smoke travels through your bong and they also prevent marijuana particles from entering your bong since they are most often sold as attachments that go between your bowl and downstem.

Tree Percolators

Tree percolators are tubes of glass that are slatted in a circle around one end and sticks up like a tree. They are very interesting looking and create a light airiness to your smoke.

Showerhead Percolators

Showerhead percolators are honeycomb-like discs inside a bong that diffuse the smoke into a showerhead of small bubbles. They are the most efficient form of percolator and create a very smooth hit. 

How Does a Water Bong Work?

When you get your new water pipe, you need to add water to it. Try to fill it to a level where when you breathe into the mouthpiece, no water enters your mouth. Yet not so shallow that the smoke is able to travel around the water rather than through it.

Next, put a screen in your bowl and fill it with marijuana. Now you are ready to take a hit. 

Inhale while you plug the carb (if your bong has one) or just pull the pin on the bowl when you feel like you've taken in all the smoke you can. 

Where to Buy a Great Bong

Now that you know the answer to, "How does a water bong work?", you can make an educated decision when you purchase your own. 

Check out our selection of great bongs today.

Leave a comment

Name .
Message .


Sold Out

Spin to win Spinner icon