What’s the difference between all the different kinds of bongs?

What’s the difference between all the different kinds of bongs?
Photo: Leonid Eremeychuk, Bigstock.

A bong is essentially a smoking device that filters the smoke from tobacco, marijuana and other substances through water, which cools it down, filters it and makes it more pleasant to inhale. An online bong store such as Ozbongs will display lots of options when you are looking for a bong – so what is the difference between the different types?

Standard glass bong

A bong is a device that filters the smoke from tobacco, cannabis or other herbal substances. It generally has an airtight burning container that is connected to a larger, water filled chamber by a pipe. The bong works by burning the herb in one chamber and using a pipe to guide the smoke below water level in the main device. The smoke bubbles through the water and is inhaled by the user.

A bong can be made out of virtually anything as long as the airtight heating chamber, pipe and water chamber are there. This DIY Aussie classic, for example, uses an aluminium can (a coke can, for example), a length of hose and a plastic bottle.

A properly made glass bong, however, avoids the impurities that you risk with burning metal and plastic, as well as being a lot more reliable and efficient. It isn’t hard to get your hands on one and so if you smoke through a bong regularly then it is well worth the cost.

Hookah

A hookah is a medieval type of water pipe from Persia (Iran) and India that is usually used to smoke sweetened or flavoured tobacco. The tobacco (or less legal herbs) is vaporised above the water and the smoke passes through the water before it reaches the smoking pipe. There can be more than one pipe/mouthpiece from a hookah pipe, so people can share the smoke.

Because the smoke passes through water to reach the pipes and users, it is much cooler than smoking from a cigarette or regular pipe. This reduces the risk of burning the throat or lungs, and makes the process smoother and, for most people, more enjoyable. Because multiple people can often use the same hookah it is also a social device.

Double-chambered bong

A double-chambered bong has two chambers (naturally) which are full of water. The first chamber is the same as a normal bong, with a pipe drawing smoke from the vaporising chamber underwater to filter through.

The filtered smoke then goes through another pipe (or more than one) to an upper chamber, which is also full of water. After the second chamber the smoke comes out of the bong to be inhaled. This means that the smoke is filtered twice, which makes it even cooler and smoother than smoke through a standard bong.

These are the most common types of bongs, although there are more available. There are many different types of shape for the water chamber, for example, as well as different kinds of ornamentation. All bongs, however, use largely the same principles to cool and filter the smoke.