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Percolators: What They Do & What Are The Benefits

If you’ve been smoking for a while, then chances are that you’ve heard the word “percolator” or “perc” before. Even if you are a veteran smoker with plenty of experience, the word percolator might still be shrouded in mystery. However, percolators are critical to smoker culture. Though they are not required in a bong, they have become somewhat standard. Here, we’ll discuss the purpose and function of percolators, and the various types that can be included with water pipes.

This post has been updated from its original version in 2017.

What is a Bong Percolator?

The goal of smoking out of a bong is to make the smoking process feel much smoother. In contrast, the goal of dabbing is to isolate and enjoy flavor. A percolator aims to further that goal by cooling down the smoke, and provide premium filtration. There are several different types of percolators, and each has a slightly different effect.

Why Use a Bong With a Percolator?

For some who are not familiar with bongs, the prospect of smoking out of one may be slightly intimidating. The cultural stigma around bongs causes them to appear somewhat more potent than other smoking instruments. And, in a certain sense, they are.

While the smoke will lose some of the effect going through two chambers of water, the intake will be far easier. This will enable most people to ingest more smoke than they normally would. For most, this trade-off will be well worth it.

10 Styles of Percolators

All percolators will provide an additional layer of filtration for the smoke, making for a much more enjoyable and smooth smoking experience. However, different percolators will accomplish this in a different manner. They will also contribute a different aesthetic touch to each piece. These are some of the most common styles of percolators.

1. Honeycomb Percolators

The shape of honeycomb percs give them the functionality they need to filter smoke with such efficiency. The round discs fit perfectly in the tube of the bong, and the small holes excel in diffusing the smoke. Most of all, they accomplish this without slowing down the smoking process.

This piece has 3 honeycomb percolators, providing ample filtration and guaranteed cool hits.

2. Tree Percolators

Tree percolators are fairly simple. Within the tube of the bong, there is a collection of rods that resemble tree limbs. With a few slits per “limb”, there will be plenty of diffusion.

At Toker Supply, our premium online headshop has several bongs with tree percolators. While many tree percolators are easily broken, this one constructed from borosilicate glass is much more durable.

3. Inline Percolators

Inline percolators are simply horizontal tubes with several slits in them– the more slits there are, the more percolation takes place. They often complement other percolators above them.

This piece sacrifices a downstem in favor of an inline percolator, with an additional showerhead percolator placed above the inline perc.

4. Matrix Percolator

Matrix percolators are located in the center, with plenty of space around them, making for quite the aesthetic. Because the top holes do not have much resistance, the lower holes are not likely to bring enough smoke in. A matrix percolator operates in a similar way to showerhead percss.

This piece is perfectly comfortable to hold at only 12 inches, and efficient at cooling smoke with both an inline and matrix perc.

5. Turbine Percolators

Turbine percolators excel in function while also delivering a unique aesthetic. The shape of the percolator causes water to travel up the sides of the pipe, providing effective filtration in addition to incredible visuals.

Our premium online headshop sells only the finest turbine perc bongs. This water pipe uses a crystal ball perc to start the diffusion process, and subsequently a turbine perc to finish the process. At 14 inches tall, this pipe will provide consistently excellent hits.

6. Fritted Disc Percolators

The most powerful of all percolators, fritted disc percs are a similar, yet slightly more intense version of honeycomb percs. With even more holes, they will fill your piece with bubbles, producing plenty of smoke for you to inhale. Unfortunately, the sheer quantity of holes makes cleaning a nightmare (though it’s well worth it for the adventurous smoker).

7. Showerhead Percs

Showerhead percs use a tube that connects to the main chamber to bring smoke back through a larger tube, directing the smoke down and into another percolator with varying quantities of slits. From there, most pieces direct the smoke to a second percolator.

This piece uses the showerhead perc in addition to a recycler, which brings the smoke through the chamber several times before inhalation.

8. Spiral Perc

Also referred to as a coil percolator, this style simply brings the smoke through the coil and increases the cooling potential. It is also a welcome visual feature. Compared to other percolators, spiral percs provide smoother and longer drags.

This piece allows the awesome visual of smoke rushing through the coil to shine with an otherwise bare-bones approach, aside from the ice catcher. The ice catcher prevents spillage within the bong.

9. Faberge Egg Percs

While a faberge egg percolator will not efficiently filter smoke independently, it will work well when paired with another percolator. Instead, placing a faberge egg perc within close proximity to another percolator will allow the smoke to filter and spread out, giving the bubbles more surface area. Additionally, they bring an appealing aesthetic to the table.

10. Downstems

Downstems are far more basic than percolators, in both appearance and function. In fact, they are what initially separated water pipes from dry pipes. A downstem is simply a tube that sits in the main water chamber, allowing air to enter the chamber. This creates an improved airflow.

Downstems are a common feature for water pipes. They can be easily removed and cleaned, and replaced by different downstems when needed. However, make sure that the downstem is the appropriate size.

This basic piece has a diffused, removable downstem, and is perfect for smoking alone or with friends.

Regardless of the percolator style that you prefer, a bong with a percolator will surely improve your smoking experience. There is no substitute for the feeling that continuous smooth hits give you. Toker Supply is an online headshop that provides all styles of smoking pieces and accessories. Our products are made to ensure the highest degree of quality and durability.

Not all bong percolators are created equal. Although they are not required in a bong, they do provide many benefits. Here we list the different kind of percs, how they work, and what benefits they bring to smoking from a bong.

Percolator Bongs

Percolator bongs offer the smoothest, coolest hits possible by filtering smoke before it reaches your lungs. Instead of simply being filtered through water like a plain bong, percolator bongs feature additions called percolators or “percs” for short, which diffuse your smoke into hundreds of tiny bubbles. These bubbles greatly increase the surface area over which smoke travels within the bong. Read more

Percolator bongs offer the smoothest, coolest hits possible by filtering smoke before it reaches your lungs. Instead of simply being filtered through water like a plain bong, percolator bongs feature additions called percolators or “percs” for short, which diffuse your smoke into hundreds of tiny bubbles. These bubbles greatly increase the surface area over which smoke travels within the bong, giving it more time to cool and filter out impurities. The result is a cleaner, healthier toke with a difference you can taste.

Percolators come in many shapes and sizes, however. At BadassGlass.com, you’ll find honeycomb bongs, showerhead bongs, matrix bongs, and even novelty percolator bongs. Whatever you need, we have it stocked with our ever-growing collection of percolator bongs.

Percolator Bongs for Sale

Inline/Downstem Percolators

Slitted inline percs are simple, common percolators found in all but the most basic bongs. Bongs with additional, more complicated percolation systems often start with a diffused downstem.

Showerhead Percolators

Showerhead percolators are a popular choice for their durability, power, and relatively easy maintenance. While not the prettiest perc, showerhead bongs are as dependable as they come.

Honeycomb Percolators

Beautiful to look at, honeycomb percolators are thin discs with dozens of honeycomb-shaped holes. With so many holes, smoke breaks into thousands of tiny, uniform bubbles. As another bonus, honeycomb percolators are easy to stack or use in combination with other percs.

Matrix Percolators

Essentially, matrix percs are stacked showerhead percs. More holes mean more bubbles and slightly better filtration. Matrix bongs look cool, and their bubble display is mesmerizing, but these percolators are notoriously difficult to clean.

Tree/Arm Percolators

Tree percs are some of the very first percolators. Featuring a dome with slitted arms hanging underneath, tree percs look great in and out of action. Although fragile and difficult to clean, tree perc bongs offer even, drag-free diffusion that also helps reduce splash.

Turbine Percolators

If you’re looking for a real head-turner, turbine percolators are the answer. Instead of creating bubbles, turbine percs direct water into an actual cyclone. All that moving water helps to actively cool smoke while it’s in the chamber. You and your friends will love watching the water swirl like a tornado when you use a cyclone bong.

Shop percolator bongs in all sizes and percs. Whether you need a small single perc bong or a large two footer with three percs we have got you covered. We've got the nicest glassware on the planet, see for yourself.