what to look for in a bong

How to Choose the Right Bong for You

Buying a bong for the first time or even the 100 th time can be daunting. There are so many different styles, percolators, designs, glass thickness it’s hard to know where to start. This quick guide will help you narrow your search down so you can be smoking in no time. Let’s start with the style or look of the bong that you would prefer. The main types to choose from are straight tube, beaker bongs, and recycler. Straight tubes have dense smoke and clear quick. Beaker bongs have more volume and less dense smoke, harder to clear but bigger rips. We have a guide on the difference between beaker bongs and straight tubes if you would like more information. Recyclers are mostly used for smoking concentrates, which recycles the water. As a beginner I would stick with either a straight tube or beaker bong.

Glass Thickness

Glass thickness is very important because it decides on how long your bong lasts. The thicker the better obviously but also try to take into account the environment the bong is going to be in. If it’s going to be safe and stay in only one room, don’t worry about thickness as much. If you plan on bringing it with you everywhere or have clumsy friends, try to get the thickest glass. The thinnest glass starts at 2-3mm then moves up to 3-5mm is your average thickness. Then glass 5-7mm is pretty darn thick and hard to break. Choose anywhere above 3.5mm glass thickness and you should be fine.


Percolators is a hot topic because there are no clear winners of which one is the best, everyone just has a favorite and sticks with it. There are two things you look for in a percolator the smoothness it provides from filtration and the amount of drag it gives from pulling smoking through the tiny holes. If you are new to bongs and smoke you do not need a percolator but they are nice to have. Try not to buy a bong with to many percolators, it may seem like a good idea but the drag from all the percolators will be hard to clear the chamber. If you would like more information check out our percolators blog.

Here is a brief rating of popular percolators.

Honeycombs: Great filtration and very minimal drag. Very popular choice.

Tree: Great filtration and very minimal drag. Another popular choice.

Shower heads: produces mediocre filtration and smoothness and provide very minimal drag.

Inlines: Pretty good filtration and average drag. Great for dab rigs.

Turbines: produce mediocre filtration and have a bit more drag than shower heads.

Clean Your Bong

You need to take into account of cleaning your new bong. Eventually your bong is going to get dirty and filled with tar and smoke residue all over the glass. If you choose a simple bong with no percolators cleaning will be simple. If you choose a bong with a percolator with even 2 or 3 of them cleaning will not be so easy. If you do want to buy a bong with percolators, get an ashcatcher. Its much easier cleaning an ashcatcher instead of your bong.

Joint Sizes

Joints (not the kind you roll) come in two common sizes 14mm and 18mm. There are a few other sizes which we cover in our joint sizes blog so check that out. Try to buy a bong with the same size joints as this will make your life easier because if you break a slide or downstem you can mix and match and they will all fit together.


Add-ons – buying a bong with these are a plus but not needed.

Splashguard– Blocks dirty bong water from getting into your mouth

Ice pinch– holds ice to cool the smoke down

Ash catcher– another level of filtration. Catches all of the ash.

Percolator – cools the smoke for a less harsh hit.

Looking to buy a bong? Start with something simple like these:

This is a simple beaker bong with a tree percolator and ice pinch. Has great filtration and large volume for huge hits. This Grav Labs straight tube is another great starter bong to buy because of the high quality thick glass. Cleaning for these bongs is very easy. These both have ice pinches to cool down the smoke.

Not enough fire power for you? Check out these: This Grav Labs Stax kit comes with a large beaker base and diffused downstem. It connects to a coil percolator and a three prong ice pinch. The bong on the right also has a large beaker base for great filtration and volume to hold huge hits. It comes with a Helix top which creates an amazing swirl effect for extra cooling and filtration. Helix is one of the most popular designs for a reason. Both of these bongs are made with extra thick glass to prevent any breaking.

This is a simplified guide, with the help and knowledge from the best online headshop, to help you buy a bong that will best suite your needs. You can dive a little deeper into our blog for more information or ask us anytime by email, chat or phone. Check out our bongs, bubblers and dab rigs.

Looking for a dab rig? Take a peek at our article on what to look for in a dab rig.

This quick guide will help you narrow your search down so you can be smoking in no time.

Things to Consider When Buying Your First Bong

If you’re buying your first bong, you probably feel overwhelmed by your options. There are hundreds of bongs available, and all of them have different features. So how do you decide which product you should purchase? Before you buy a bong, learn what factors should influence your purchase. With a little guidance, you can get a bong that makes your first experience feel like Nirvana.

1. How You Plan to Use the Bong

On the Go Bongs

One of the first details you should consider is how you will be using your first bong. Do you plan on keeping it in one place, or will you bring it with you as you travel to parties and homes? If you will be traveling with it, you need to look for a portable bong. In this case, you should know about silicone products. Because silicone does not break when its dropped, you don’t need to worry about it becoming damaged as you travel.

On the other hand, glass products are likely to break during transport. By the time you arrive at your destination, your first bong could be in pieces.

At-Home Bongs

If you will be primarily using your bong at home, you don’t need to be as concerned about durability. However, you should think about where you will store your product. Before you buy a bong, figure out a spot in your home that will allow your bong to be safe and out of the eyes of curious houseguests.

(Unless, of course, your guests are there to smoke).

A small beaker bong is a prime choice for someone who wants to be discreet. Every time you use your bong, you won’t scramble to find a proper hiding place for it.

If you don’t need to hide your first bong and you don’t want it to be easy to take with you wherever you go, you could use it as a piece of art. With a large glass blown bong, you get a piece of art as well as a functional smoking tool. You’ll impress your guests with your unique centerpiece before impressing them with the experience of using the bong.

2. The Amount of Care You Will Provide

Like everything in life, bongs require care. As you prepare to buy a bong, consider how much care you are willing to give it. Are you someone who takes the time to give your property a little TLC, or do you tend to be rough on your belongings? If you’re rough on things, you probably will be rough on your first bong. You’re unlikely to spend time on extensive maintenance, which could destroy a delicate bong.

Since all bongs will need to be cleaned, users should consider purchasing a bong cleaning solution when they purchase their first bong. In most cases, a quality cleaner will make it easier (and quicker) to get the job done! Using a product like Formula 420 makes cleaning even the most intricate bongs simple.

Regardless of the type of bong you choose, you should know that it will require some type of care. Don’t buy a bong if you aren’t willing to take the time to clean it or treat it right. If you do, you’ll end up needing to replace it after only a short time.

3. The Tools and Added Pieces You Need

Your first bong may require special tools or extra pieces. Before you make a purchase, do some research. Some brands, like Empire Glassworks, make particularly complex bongs. When you buy from SMOKEA®, everything you need is included, but you may want additional accessories like ash catchers.

That said, most bongs are relatively simple and only require additional tools or pieces if you want to modify them. There are countless parts and accessories that can be used to modify your bong. Be open to the idea of buying some of those add-ons when you buy a bong and you can enhance your smoking experience.

You don’t want your first bong to be too much work, but you do want to make the most of it. Spend some time researching additional tools and converters, and then make your purchase.

4. The Experience

The type of bong you choose will impact the smoking experience you’ll receive. As you attempt to buy a bong, be considerate of the experience that you want from your product.

Some people prefer a hot and hard smoke, while others desire a cool and smooth smoke first bong experience. You need to look at the features of a bong to determine what type of smoking experience it will provide.

A percolator bong has holes in it to cool the smoke and take away the harshness of a hit. However, a percolator with many holes will take more lung capacity. If you don’t want to take a deep hit, you should find one with fewer holes.

On your first bong, you can look for all of the following features to give you a smoother experience:

  • Ice catches for smoother hits
  • Downstems for more diffusion
  • A mouthpiece that’s well-positioned

If you’re not sure what type of experience you want, there’s only one way to find out. Smoke with your friends, determine what you like, and buy a bong that provides a similar experience. Don’t be afraid to ask your friends about their preferences, as they were new to smoking at one point.

5. Your Preferred Material

A bong can be made with one of several types of materials. While a glass bong is the most common, some individuals opt for a different material for their first bong. If you tend to become a little klutzy after bong use, you’ll want borosilicate glass because it’s less likely to break! Pick a bong from Famous Brandz which is well-known for high-quality glass pieces.

Acrylic tends to be more affordable and more durable than glass models. But they do come with a downside. Acrylic bongs do not provide the same type of smooth hit that you’d get from a glass bong, or to a lesser extent, a silicone bong. Even though it’s slightly more expensive, glass provides the smoothest hits with silicone being a close second and acrylic coming in last.

6. Your Budget

While the cost shouldn’t be the sole factor driving your decision to buy a bong, it will probably impact your purchase. Think carefully about how much you’re willing to spend on your first bong. As you do, remind yourself that the up-front cost will not be the same as the long-term cost. You may want to add accessories to basic bongs or purchase new parts if you use the bong regularly. Keep in mind that even the highest quality bong won’t last forever so you’ll likely have to invest in replacement parts!

If you opt for a cheap and flimsy bong, you’ll need to replace it relatively soon. In the end, this costs you more money. By spending a little extra money on a durable and reliable bong, you can extend its life. You also won’t be dissatisfied with your purchase and end up replacing it with a better model in the near future.

At the same time, you don’t need to bust your budget on your first bong. You should keep your purchase simple, or you may end up being overwhelmed. Over time, you’ll learn what to look for in a more complex model.

It’s important to realize that you can get an affordable but high-quality bong. You can get great bongs for under $100. In fact, SMOKEA® prides itself on selling top bongs at low prices. We even have a low price guarantee.

7. The Brand

What’s in a name? While this is a question you can deeply debate during your next smoking session, it’s also a question you should think about as you buy a bong. The brand does make a difference and you should do a little brand research before you pick out your first bong.

In the world of water pipes, there are a few names that are well-known. As previously mentioned, Famous Brandz is popular for its thick glass. They also have a large following due to their unique themed designs. Noble is another top contender in the world of glassware.

If your first bong will be an acrylic one, you should know about Headway. For over 20 years, they have been making acrylic pipes and bongs. They have creative and effective designs that make your first experiences memorable. SMOKEA® also has its own line of bongs, all of which are made with your pleasure in mind.

8. Your Source

Before you buy a bong, consider your source. SMOKEA® is dedicated to giving you access to some of the most innovative and affordable bongs in the industry. With hundreds of bongs in our inventory, we ensure you have access to all of the options for your first bong. We want you to make an educated first-time decision.

When you shop with us, you can know you’re getting a high-quality product. Take advantage of our SMOKEA® Rewards Program and get a free pipe when you sign up. With it, get even more from your purchases.

Find out what you should look for in your first bong purchase. Follow these tips and buy a bong from SMOKEA® to save money with our low price guarantee.