To fall under the category of a ‘bong’, a smoking pipe must feature the inclusion of water to filter out the smoke before it is inhaled into our lungs. So if a pipe features water, then it is technically a bong, and this makes it so that there are multiple categories of bongs for cannabis consumers to choose from:
Bubblers, water pipes, carb bongs, and anything in between.
But one of the most popular, common, and effective bongs is a type known as a ‘percolator bong’. If you have ever wondered exactly what a percolator bong for weed is, how it works and why it works so well, there are so many reasons that set this type of bong apart from the others in its ability to provide smooth, clean smoke of which we will get into now!
What is a percolator bong?
A percolator weed bong, to be named such, must not only feature the inclusion of water, but it must also feature a piece known as a percolator.
As we inhale and pull air from the outside of the bong through the burning flower and into the bong, this creates bubbles within the water resting in the base of the bong. The bubbling allows the smoke to pull through the actual water, therefore granting it benefits of filtration as the smoke is cleaned out, and it is the reason why bongs produce such a smooth hit.
The more bubbling present within a bong, the more effective this filtration then becomes. Kind of like why a washer machine moves around so much, as the more the smoke moves around within the water the cleaner it will be.
To enhance this bubbling then, this little percolator contraption (or more than one) is placed within the base, chambers, and/or stem of the bong.
How does a percolator work?
A percolator is essentially another small glass piece that sits within the water of your bong. Decorated with an array of tiny little holes, a percolator will intensify the bubbling effect as it creates higher amounts of pressure as we inhale the smoke. And I mean it really intensifies it!
When we inhale, before we allow air to enter by letting go of the carb or the bowl, the percs work hard to funnel the smoke through the water. And when we finally open up air through the bong, the percolators will react with insane bubbles that send the smoke right up to our mouths with that classic slurpy sound we all know and love!
Why do percolators matter?
If you have ever smoked a water pipe without a percolator, then chances are the hit felt extremely harsh and dry. The main benefit of a percolator is the fact that it makes for a much smoother smoke for two reasons.
The first is that the bubbles allow for increased filtration within the water. As they send the smoke through, this removes a ton of nasty particulates that our lungs don't like, and when they are removed the smoke becomes a lot more clear and a lot lighter, therefore smoother on our throat.
Just as how you can feel the difference between polluted city air and fresh mountain air, it's pretty much the same!
And not only does this filtration add to the smoothness of the hit, but it lends for healthier smoke as well. Because nasty chemicals are removed (and you will see these accumulate in the form of resin on the side of the bong), we are only left with the good stuff. For consistent smokers, this is really important, as the healthiest means of smoking is always the best!
But as well as enhancing filtration, the percolators aim to cool the smoke down. Because percolators usually exist in a separate water chamber, this means that the smoke will have to pass through a few different areas of water. Every time it passes through it is further cooled down, and cooler smoke equals a smoother smoke!
The bubbles from the perc also provide a much greater surface area for the smoke to travel, again further cooling it down. As you allow airflow to enter the bong, you will notice the bubbles rise up and against the sides of the bong. As they rise, they take the smoke with it, providing the smoke with more room and more time to cool!
Although bongs can look intimidating, a percolator bong is actually a great way for someone who has never smoked before to receive a hit that doesn't hurt their throat too bad.
Percolators provide bongs with a ton of personality and how a bong delivers smoke really relies on the percolator itself. There are a ton of specific types of percolators, and to name a few:
Honeycomb, tree perc, disc perc, barrel perc, etc.
Each a unique design that allows for increasing bubbling for different reasons, so not only do percolators affect your smoking experience, but they also affect the way a bong is shaped and the way it looks! If you want to visualize the difference between percolators, simply hit the bongs without weed and only water.
You will hear and see the different kinds of bubbling of which the percs create, and by testing it out you can try and determine what you think feels best for you.
Thanks to percolators, bongs are cleaner and more effective than they have ever been, and a percolator bong will always maintain a podium finish as one of the best types of bongs.