water pipe bowl sizes

14mm vs 18mm bowl – The Ultimate Bong Joint Size Guide

When you first start smoking, you don’t care about what piece you use, let alone know the difference between types of glass. After a while, you start to realize that some pipes and dab rigs hit better than others because of the way they’re designed. Now, it’s time to upgrade your bong to maximize your smoking experience!

First things first: let’s focus on the bong bowl! In this article, you’ll learn the following:

  • The three common bong bowl and joint sizes
  • Joint gender: what’s it mean?
  • How to measure your bowl and joint size
  • 14mm vs 18 mm: which is better?

Bong Bowl and Joint Size: The Basics

If you want to upgrade your bowl, we’re going to need to start with the basics. You’ll first need to decide which piece you want to upgrade so you can determine the size and gender of the joint. You’ll then want to measure the diameter of the female joint (whether that be on the bowl or the bong) to determine what size bowl you’ll need. For this, you’ll need either a ruler or a dime. Now that you get the gist of it, let’s get into more of the specifics.

Joint Gender

It may sound strange to hear us refer to a piece of your bong as having a gender, but the joints that connect the bowl with the bong are referred to as “male” and “female”. You can have a bong with a male joint and a bowl with a female joint or vise versa. You need to see which type your bowl has because a male joint can only connect to a female joint and a female joint can only connect to a male joint.

Bowl and Joint Sizes

There are three sizes that you’re most likely to find in reference to bongs or dab rigs: 10mm, 14mm, and 18mm. The 10mm joints are only found on small bongs and dab rigs that are designed for portability. The 14mm and 18mm joints are the most common; 18mm joints are most often found on larger bongs to accommodate for resistance. To determine your joint size, you’ll need to find out the inner diameter of the female joint, whether that be on your current bowl or the bong or rig.

Why does it matter

Most basically and obviously, the size and gender of the joint and bowl matter because they have to match in order to fit. If you have a 14mm female joint, an 18mm male bowl is going to be too large to fit inside it. But there are a few other reasons this might matter. Larger joint sizes have increased airflow and less resistance; if this is a high priority for you, you’ll want to pay attention to that specification when purchasing your pieces.

10mm Bowls

The 10mm bowls are pretty rare. You’ll only find these on smaller bongs and rigs that are designed to be portable, like bubblers. This size bowl tends to have restricted airflow and increased resistance. For some, this isn’t noticeable, but for others, it’s a deal-breaker. It’s pretty easy to judge if you have a 10mm bowl by sight because it’s so small. These can be made out of metal or glass.

14mm Bowls

14mm dab rigs and bowls are the most common. They’re a happy medium in terms of airflow and resistance. If you don’t know whether or not your bowl or joint size is 14mm, you can measure it or use a dime if you don’t have a ruler. Here’s how:

  • Take your dime and try to place it inside the female joint, be that on the bowl or the bong
  • If the dime is close to the same size as the bowl, but won’t go inside it, you have a 14mm joint
  • If the dime is able to drop inside the joint, you have an 18mm joint.

If you don’t have an obviously large or small bong, chances are the joint and bowl sizes are 14mm. You can get a 14mm male bowl or female bowl, depending on the gender of the joint on your bong or rig. These bowls are typically made of glass, but can sometimes be made of metal. Most frequently with bongs, people refer to glass on glass joints and glass bowls.

18mm Bowls

The most common use for 18mm bowls is in larger bongs. It allows for increased airflow and less resistance while also being more accommodating to the larger joint size with which most large bongs are fitted. To measure for this size bowl without a ruler, follow the same method we detailed above. These bowls are most frequently made of glass; I’ve never seen a metal 18mm bowl, but I’m sure they exist somewhere.

Comparing 14mm and 18mm

As we’ve said, the 14mm and 18mm bowls and joint sizes are the most common, by far. If you’ve already got your pieces, you’ll want to purchase a bowl that matches your piece’s joint size. However, if you’re in the market for a new bowl or you don’t mind to be, you can be a bit more selective. If you’re choosing between 14mm and 18mm, here’s what you need to consider:

  1. How important is the size of the bowl itself (loading capacity) to you?
  2. Do you want a glass or metal bowl? (We recommend glass; metal hits harder)
  3. Is resistance important to you in your smoking experience?
  4. How important is airflow to you?

1) How important is the size of the bowl itself (load capacity) to you?

18mm bowls often have the largest loading capacity of all the bowl sizes, because there’s a wider surface to place it on. However, some 14mm bowls can be quite large. The smoking experience with these larger bowls is much better with the 18mm bowl than the 14mm, because of the increased airflow and lessened resistance. The tighter you pack the bowl, the worse this problem will get with a 14mm bowl.

2) Do you want a glass or metal bowl?

Metal bowls are much more common in smaller pipes designed for portability, like bubblers and mini bongs. However, they can be found in a bigger size with some digging. Metal bowls tend to hit harsher than their glass counterparts, but they do have the added plus of not being breakable.

3) Is resistance important to you in your smoking experience?

Taking a hit that has some resistance to the airflow can be a tiring and frustrating experience. It limits the smoke you get, which wastes your expensive product and lessens the high you experience; it’s no fun for anyone. Some people don’t notice the resistance on a 14mm, but some can’t stand it and are insistent on the 18mm size. If this is important to you, you’ll want to consider it a high priority in your bong/bowl choice: you need the 18mm size.

4) How important is airflow to you?

Much like resistance, airflow or lack thereof can add to or detract from any smoking experience. You can increase the airflow of your smoking experience in a number of ways. First off, you can use 18mm size bowls, as they have a larger diameter, allowing more air to flow through unobstructed. You can also purchase additions and attachments for many bongs that will increase airflow as well as cool down your hits through the use of ice and additional water. These accessories can really help improve your smoking experience.

If you’re looking to improve your smoking experience by decking out the pipe you’re using most, start with the size of the bowl you’re using. While this is mostly determined by the size of the joints on your bong, you can purchase adapters for the size you’re after or just pay close attention to the bowl size the next time you go to buy a new bong.

When you first start smoking, you don’t care about what piece you use, let alone know the difference between types of glass. After a while, you start to realize that some pipes and dab rigs hit better than others because of the way they’re designed. Now, it’s time to upgrade your bong to maximize your smoking experienc

How To Measure Glass Joint Size for your Bong Using a Penny

Measure the glass joint size has always been a daunting task until now. With all the different angles, sizes, and genders it can get a little confusing. We have put together the simplest and easiest way to determine what size joint your bong is using just a penny. You don’t have to worry about finding a ruler just follow the next few steps and you will know instantly what size joint you have.

Hopefully this picture was helpful for you in determining your joint size. Main things you need to know:

  • The male joint slides into the female joint.
  • Most people have either 14mm or 18mm.
  • 10mm is pretty rare, its smaller than half of the penny.

Good luck, and please share this post if you found it helpful.

Here’s How to Measure Bong Joint Size:

This is probably the simplest way to measure the bong joint size. For most bongs and dab rigs you only have to worry about two sizes: 14mm and 18mm. Here is a pic of how those look side by side.

As you can see in the picture above, the penny goes down about halfway on the 18mm female joint. The penny test is the easiest way to measure the glass joint, and determine what size your bong joint is. Got a penny lying around? Go ahead and try it out.

Here are the 14mm and 18mm Male Bowls that Will Fit Inside

The 14mm male joint goes a little bit past the half way mark on the penny. For bangers this is the most popular joint size.

A less common size is the 10mm, usually used on very small dab rigs. Here’s how the 10mm male looks next to a penny.

What Gender is My Bong Joint

This one is pretty simple, the male end slides into the female.

If your joint is female, it will use the same size male accessories.

If your joint is male, it will use the same size female accessories.

Pictured above is the 14mm Female Joint with 14mm Male Quartz Banger

Pictured above is the 14mm Male Joint with a 14mm Female Banger

In conclusion, whichever gender joint you have, it will use the opposite gender and same size for its parts.

Good luck and we hope this guide really helped you get a good idea of joint sizes and how to measure them easily.

Check out our simple guide for how to measure the glass joint size of your bong using just a penny! These photos will help you quickly determine what size joint you have and what size bowl or banger you need to use.