This Bong Vape Is Not Only Ridiculous, It’s Smooth as Hell
It’s a bong! It’s a vape! It’s a… bape? A vong? I dunno, man, but the Hydrology 9 produces the smoothest vapor I’ve ever tasted.
The Hydrology 9 is the first portable “liquid filtration vaporizer.” It’s roughly the size and shape of a Red Bull can, but two inches taller. The combination of brushed aluminum and glass gives it a handsome, sophisticated look. Honestly, looks like something a stoned Jony Ive would make, if he wanted to make a lightsaber to smoke weed out of.
As much as we hate the term “frankengadget” that’s sort of what this thing is, as it brings the the advantages of a bong (sorry, “waterpipe”) to the world of vaporizers. The concept of the bong—for those of you who who didn’t live in my dorm—is that the smoke passes through some water, with the primary objective being to cool the smoke down. The water does a little filtering, too. The combination makes for a smoother, less harsh hit. Vaporizing weed (which heats the bud to the point where the good stuff turns to vapor, but the nasty stuff doesn’t burn) is already way easier on your throat and lungs. Adding bong filtration makes the heat even lower, the vapor a little less dry, and everything feel incredibly smooth.
The Hyrdology 9 is chock full of smart features. At first glance I thought, “There’s no way this thing is going to be ‘portable’ once it’s filled with nasty bong water.” I was wrong. The mouthpiece has a built-in valve to make it essentially leak-proof, especially when you attach the magnetic mouthpiece cover on top of it. I tried knocking it over, flipping it, and running around with it in a backpack, and I was amazed to find that it didn’t spill a drop.
To use the vaporizer, you unscrew the mouthpiece and pour some water in until it’s roughly 70 percent full, then reattach the mouthpiece. Turn it over and unscrew the bottom compartment. That’s where you put your ground-up herb. The bowl looks small, but it’s actually very deep, which makes it pretty big for a portable vape (0.7 x 0.4 inches), and it has a clever, built-in stirrer so you can get even heating throughout your session without having to open up the chamber. You just twist the bottom piece and you’re good to go.
To start your session, you press the Hydrology 9’s one button three times quickly. Then press the button again to scroll through its five temperature settings, which is indicated by a different color lighting up the water chamber (a very nice, lava-lampy effect). Once you settle on the temperature you want, it will slowly heat up and turn green when it’s ready. You put your lips inside the mouthpiece (more like a bong than a traditional vape) and inhale, which produces the classic bong bubbling sound, and then, oh my…
As you exhale you realize you took a way bigger hit than you intended. The vapor this thing produces is so smooth you can barely feel it entering your lungs or throat. There is none of the dryness or heat I get with even the best vaporizers, even when I set the Hydrology to the highest temperature. Before you realize it, you are way more stoned than you intended to be, so I hope you don’t have anything important to do.
Actually, that’s a byproduct of one of my problems with the Hydrology 9. Its five heat settings—blue, light green, orange, purple, and red — correspond to 392F, 410F, 428F, 446F and 464F, respectively (or 200C, 210C, 220C, 230C and 240C, if you’re playing the Celsius game). 392F is really high to be the lowest setting. The Vapium Summit , for example, starts at 320 degrees F (160C). The G Pen Elite can go as low as 200 degrees. I generally like my vaping sessions around 372F, which the Hydrology 9 can’t do.
For those who are new to this, different cannabinoids vaporize at different temperatures. So if you’re vaping cooler, you will get a lighter vapor, but you’ll be leaving some of the good stuff in the bud. If you vape it hotter, then you get more of the good stuff, but you start getting more of carcinogens, too. It’s all about finding that balance point. The water filtration here lets you vape it a bit hotter without getting the smokier taste.
Getting too stoned isn’t the end of the world, but my biggest gripe might be a deal breaker for some: The Hydrology 9 is right on the upper edge of what could be reasonably called “portable.” At seven inches long and 1.75 inches in diameter, it’s certainly not going to fit into your jeans pocket. At least not without looking… odd. When I’m looking for a portable vape I’m thinking about something I can throw in a pocket and take on a hike. You’re going to need a backpack or purse for this thing. It feels more like a vape you keep at home but you don’t have to keep plugged in.
Other small gripes? It takes about a minute for it to get up to temp, which is pretty slow. Occasionally, when you’re taking a long draw, a bubble will come up and splash your lip with bong water. Now, it’s vape-bong water, so it’s not nearly as nasty as standard bong water, but it certainly isn’t ideal. Cloudious 9 (the company that makes this thing) claims that it will last roughly 15 session on a single charge. I guess that depends on what you call a session. I found that I got closer to ten. It certainly isn’t bad, but it’s not a marathoner, either.
Ultimately, the quality of the vapor this thing puts out is just so damn good that it’s impossible not to love it. The sleek and smart design helps, too. I just wish it weren’t so damn big. It costs $250 , but your throat, lungs, and taste buds will thank you.
- Smoothest, best tasting vapor I’ve ever had
- Beautiful and smart design make it unlike any other vape
- Magnetic mouthpiece cover and built-in stirrer are fantastic
- Too damn big to fit in your damn pocket
- Has a mode to make the lights strobe, which might cause you to freak out
It’s a bong! It’s a vape! It’s a… bape? A vong? I dunno, man, but the Hydrology 9 produces the smoothest vapor I’ve ever tasted.
Best Bongs and Bong Brands for Smoking, Vaping and Dabbing In 2020
Today you’re getting a list of the best bongs that you can currently get.
Over the years, we’ve reviewed countless bongs and rated them on metrics like:
- The smoothness of vapor/smoke,
- Ease of use (including ease of cleaning),
- Sturdiness, and more.
Whether you’re looking for an exclusive bong with all the bells and whistles (percolators, ash catchers, thick ass glass), or a super-simple but effective bubbler for your vape…
Every bong in our list has a unique strength.
Keep reading to find your best bong!
Stereo Matrix Bong (Best Value)
If you don’t want to spend more than $100, you can get a lot of well-priced well-functioning bongs that are designed similarly to expensive designer bongs.
But there’s a catch:
The quality of these ‘clone’ bongs isn’t consistent. When getting a ‘clone’, sometimes you get amazing quality bongs, other times, if you’re not careful, you risk getting, a cheap, but also a low-quality bong with thin glass or lesser quality welding.
One expensive bong model that’s often imitated effectively is the Stereo Matrix model. The Stereo Matrix Bong is a great all-round bong for different reasons:
- It’s versatile, works great for flower and decently for vaping and dabbing;
- It’s big, giving enough room for proper filtration and cooling of your smoke, and;
- It comes with slightly thicker glass than the other models, so it’s sturdy;
Although the matrix percolator (the percolator that’s found in this bong) gets advertised as one of the best functioning percolators, this all depends on whether you want more flavor vs more smoothness. The matrix percolator diffuses well but also diffuses and dilutes the flavor more effectively than some other percolators like the seed of life percolator.
What matters even more though than your type of percolator in how strong your bong diffuses is the following: the number of percolators.
Generally speaking, the more percolators spread through your bong, the:
- Smoother your hits will be;
- The less draw resistance you’ll have;
- The more you’ll be able to milk your herb;
- But also: the less full your flavor will be.
The inverse is true for when there are fewer percolators spread through your bong. The Stereo Matrix comes with two matrix percolators. So it produces relatively smooth hits with little draw-resistance, but the hits can be bland in terms of flavor when vaping or dabbing.
While the original Stereo Matrix bong costs over $400, you can find great quality imitations for under $100. But as mentioned, you need to make sure you get your bong from a reputable supplier.
Over the years, a few suppliers in the U.S. and China emerged as being trustworthy and providing quality bongs for a modest price. Two of them in the U.S. are Dankstop and SmokeCartel. One of them in China is ‘Steven’ on dghate.
Especially when buying bongs from China, we recommend getting a bong from a reputable seller. While Stevenlmz bongs are slightly pricier than similar bongs on dhgate, especially the percolators used in Stevenlmz bongs are often of much better quality. Add to that Steven’s reputation of having quick and great customer service, and you’ll quickly understand why Stevenlmz bongs on dhgate come highly recommended when talking about Chinese glass bongs.
Dankstop and SmokeCartel bongs are slightly pricier than the bongs found on dhgate, while they’re of the same quality. But the benefit of ordering from these shops is that you get quick shipping and quick U.S.-based customer service in case anything goes wrong with your purchase.
This bong works especially good for flower and decently for vaping and dabbing. But if you’re looking for a bong that truly excels for either vaping or dabbing, take a look at the next bongs.
Also, check out an ash catcher for cleaning convenience and an additional layer of filtration, smoothing your smoke even further (for vaping you won’t get much smoother with an additional layer of filtration).
D020-D Bubbler (Best for Vaping)
For vaping, you won’t need the filtration aspect of a bong as much as the cooling aspect. Vaping itself can already reduce the toxins that you find in smoke up to 95%, but vapor can still be high-temperature and harsh on the throat.
And although large bongs are better at cooling down smoke/vapor, they also filter and dilute the flavor more than smaller bongs.
Add to that the fact that the bigger the surface area of your glass, the more vapor will condense on the glass (leaving less vapor for you to inhale), and you’ll quickly understand why the most practical option for a vape bong is a compact bubbler instead of large bong, with at most a lightly diffusing percolator.
But getting too small of a bubbler/bong isn’t practical either. With the really small bubblers/bongs, you risk splashing water in your mouth.
We’re looking for a compact bong, that isn’t so small that it’s constantly splashing water in your mouth.
There are different bongs/bubblers that qualify as great vape bongs, but the ones we like the most are the models that are similar to the D020-D bubbler found on dhgate from Sunshinestore.
What we like most about the D020-D bubbler is:
- Its perfect size for vape-bonging, and;
- The quality of the glass.
The D020-D is not too big, you won’t give your vapor time and space to condense on the glass in large quantities. But it’s also not too small. If you don’t overfill it with water, you won’t ever have to worry about water splashing in your mouth.
- Its thick glass that makes this bubbler one of the sturdier ones you can get on dhgate, and;
- It being one of the few glass pieces of this size with a centered mouthpiece,
And you’ll quickly understand why we crown the D020-D as the best bong for vaping.
As explained before, you have to be careful who you buy from on dhgate, but Sunshinestore has been around for 4+ years and with over 1000+ positive reviews, they have shown that their products and customer service are as good as it gets for a dhgate supplier.
SmokeCartel sells a similar model, that’s a bit more expensive. You decide if ordering from a U.S.-based online store is worth the extra price.
Thick Beaker Bong with Down Stem (Best for Flower)
If you’re going to smoke flower, you’re going to need a well-sized bong with proper diffusion.
Smoke is hot and dirty. To filter and cool smoke down properly you need a longer travel-path and more diffusion than you would need for vapor for example.
This diffusion can be either in the form of percolators, a diffuser downstem, a beaker bottom, an ash-catcher or a combination of these options.
Now, there are a lot of well-sized bongs with good diffusion characteristics, and honestly, as long you get your well-sized bong with good diffusion characteristics from a reputable seller, you can’t go wrong with any of them.
To get your specific best flower bong, it helps to ask yourself a few questions though:
- Do you like no drag/little drag/large amount of drag?
- Do you value smoothness of smoke, or do you value flavor more?
- Do you smoke a lot, and want to ease the cleaning process by getting an ash catcher?
- How much do you want to spend?
- Do I care about aesthetics?
That said, we think the best bong purely for smoking flower is a thick beaker bong with a good down stem, and if you want even more diffusion and cleaning convenience: an additional ash catcher.
In a setup like this, you won’t have any percolators, but they won’t be needed because the nature of a beaker bong with a down stem is such that it diffuses possibly even better than a straight shooter bong with percolator setup. Now, add to that an additional ash catcher, and you got a bong that not only diffuses better than most straight shooter bongs with a percolator setup but is MUCH easier to clean and maintain as well.
Beaker bongs are also great for beginners. They’re harder to break because they’re harder to drop than straight shooters.
Any thick beaker bong with a good down stem will work, but if you’re looking for specific recommendations these are the models, we like the most:
Compact Recycler Bong (Best for Dabbing)
Dabbing in a sense is similar to vaping. Dabs are quite clean in and of themselves and don’t need a lot of filtration. What dabs do need though is a lot of cooling because dabs tend to get hot.
Dabbing, just like vaping, loses flavor quicker than smoke when being diffused either through percolators or the mixing with air that comes with large-sized bongs.
Just as with vape bongs, if you’re looking for a dab-bong, you would do best to limit your options to the smaller-sized bongs.
But since dabs are of a higher temperature than vapor, the cooling down aspect of a bong is more important when dabbing compared to vaping.
How can you combine small and compact size, great cooling and little to no diffusion? Recyclers!
Percolators generally don’t work well because most of them work also as strong diffusers and will dilute the taste of your dabs too much.
But recyclers aren’t diffusing much. All they do is give your dab-smoke more time with the water and make the bubbles of dab-smoke pop closer to your mouth, which in fact can give you more flavorful hits than a regular bong (bong without recycler).
Now, as with any ‘type’ of bong, you also have a lot of great options if you’re looking for a small and compact bong with a recycler.
But if you’re looking for specific recommendations, these are the models we like the most:
All of these models are small, compact and come with a very effective recycler design.
They also come with a seed of life percolator, and while I don’t recommend getting percolators with strong diffusion properties for a dabbing bong, the seed of life percolator creates relatively large bubbles, reducing this percolator’s diffusion to a minimum, while still reducing the draw resistance effectively and cooling your dabs additionally.
Beaker Bottom vs Straight Shooter
The age-old debate of which type of bong is better: a beaker bottom, or a straight shooter?
Well, this all depends on what you value more.
If you like smooth hits and want slightly more draw resistance, a beaker bottom will be slightly better.
If you like fast and clean rips with little to no draw resistance, a straight shooter will be slightly better.
Of course, how smooth your hit, how much draw resistance you’ll have or how clean and fast you can take hits, is dependent on more things than your bong being a beaker bottom vs. a straight shooter. The bong’s design, the types of percolators, the number of percolators, ash catchers, recyclers, water-levels, all have an influence on your bong experience.
That said, all other variables kept equal, a beaker bottom will have more natural diffusion, filtering, and cooling, but a straight shooter will give cleaner rips and provide a bit fuller flavor.
Different Types of Percolators
Is there really much difference between all the different types of percolators?
Well, not that much.
All serve the same purpose: diffusing and filtering your smoke/vapor/dab.
That said, some types of percolators break the water and smoke up in smaller particles than others.
Honeycomb percolators, for example, have the tiniest holes generally, so diffuse/filtrate more effectively. The downside of this effective diffusion and filtration is that the flavor will suffer.
If you’re looking for a percolator that doesn’t diffuse as effectively as a honeycomb percolator (and reduces the fullness of flavor), check out bongs with a seed of life percolator for example.
How Much Water to Put Inside Your Bong?
How much water to put inside your bong is mostly a point of preference.
Generally, the more water in your bong, the stronger the draw resistance/drag. And the less water in your bong, the less the cooling and the filtering effect of your bong.
That said, if you have percolators it’s important that they’re covered with water though, otherwise, they can’t percolate.
If you have a downstem or percolator I recommend starting with covering that and add more water from there, depending on whether you’re satisfied with the drag and/or filtering of your bong.
Pro tip: Add a little ice cube to the water in your bong.
Best Heady Glass Bongs
Heady glass bongs are for those among you that care more about aesthetics than function.
It’s not like heady glass bongs don’t function, they do. But aesthetics come first.
Heady glass bongs usually are quite expensive as they’re handmade by glass artists. I recommend checking out local stores for heady glass, as it’s important that you can see, feel and taste such an expensive piece of glass before you buy it!
Even though these bongs can be used to smoke your flower, at Herbonaut we believe vaping your cannabis is the most convenient and safest way to use it. And for that, you’ll need either a dry herb vaporizer.
Marijuana smoke is harmful to your respiratory system. Some studies found that vaping can reduce your toxin exposure up to 95% compared to smoking.
If you want to look for a dry herb vaporizer, check out these posts:
If you want to learn more about vaping check out the following vaping and vaporizer guides:
If you still need a grinder for an easy way to grind your herb, check out our buyer’s guide on herb grinders:
And if you want to get the best vaporizers for vaping concentrates, check out our buyer’s guide on wax pens:
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Compare the best bongs and bong brands. From small and compact bubblers, to large and exclusive bongs with percolators, ash catchers, we cover all.