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Bong Materials - What's The Best?

A Review of Different Bong Materials

Bongs have a long history of being a stoner’s most trusty sidekick. Nowadays, bongs come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, colors, and even materials. Read on to learn more about the materials bongs are made out of, the pros and cons of each, and what they’re best used for. 

Bong materials - what's the best?

Explore the table below to learn the basics about each type of bong material. 

Type

Pros

Cons

High

Best For

Glass

Clean Taste, Aesthetics, Customizable

Breakable, Not Travel-friendly 

Strongest high - less hazy, intense psychoactive effects

Everyday, at-home use

Acrylic

Affordable, Durable, Lightweight

Distorts taste

Generally straight tube leads to big hits: strong high

Cheapest option

Ceramic

Aesthetic, Clean Taste

Breakable, Not Portable

Generally smaller - less intense high

Aesthetics- add a cool piece to your collection

Silicone

Portable, Lightweight, Durable

Not Aesthetically Pleasing 

Generally smaller - less intense high

Travel

Glass bongs

Glass bongs are glass pipes that use water to filter smoke. They have four parts: a bowl, a chamber that holds water, a downstem that connects those two, and a mouthpiece. 

Glass bongs are made from blown glass and therefore can be made into countless shapes, sizes, colors, and textures. This feature makes glass bongs extremely customizable: glass blowers often add features such as ice catchers and percolators to cool down smoke and enhance the smoking experience. 

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Clean Taste: Glass is neutral! It doesn’t distort the taste and allows the natural terpenes in the herb to shine. 
  • Aesthetics: Imagine a bong: a glass blower can probably make it
  • Customizable: Want your smoking experience to be even more personalized? It’s super easy to add accessories like percolators and extra bubbler attachments to your bong.
  • Cons:

  • Easily Breakable: It’s basic common sense: when a large glass piece falls over, it’s likely to break. Though borosilicate glass (which is durable and more shatter-resistant) is rising in popularity, bongs are still fragile pieces. 
  • Not Portable: This fragility makes bongs difficult to transport! Perfect for an at-home smoke session.
  • How to clean

    Though bongs might seem intimidating due to their size and unique shape, cleaning them is fairly straightforward. Remove the downstem and bowl from the bong and place them in a ziploc bag with a cleaning solution (either isopropyl alcohol, salt, and water or a bong cleaner will work best!). Fill your bong with this solution as well. Cover any openings and shake! Let the bong and its parts soak in the solution for as long as necessary, and rinse with warm water. 

    Acrylic bongs

    Acrylic bongs are pipes made of acrylic that use water to filter smoke. They are lightweight, durable, and the most affordable water pipe option. 

    Acrylic bongs have the same four parts as a glass bong: a bowl (usually made of titanium), a downstem, a chamber, and a mouthpiece. 

    Pros and cons

    Pros:

  • Affordable: This material is the cheapest available for bongs. Acrylic bongs are by far the most affordable option on the market. 
  • Durable: Virtually indestructible, your acrylic bong won’t break simply from knocking over. These bongs are also super lightweight, making them fairly good for travel. 
  • Cons:

  • Taste: Acrylic bongs are infamous for producing a plastic taste when smoked. Not only does this distort the flavor of your herbs, it can’t be good for the lungs
  • How to clean

    Because acrylic is fairly porous, using alcohol solution or a bong cleaner is not recommended. Using only hot water, take a toothbrush or pipe cleaner to your bong to clean it. 

    Ceramic bongs

    Artsy and archaic: ceramic bongs have a long history of being a preferred smoking method for many. Ceramic bongs are pipes made of ceramic that filter smoke through water. Although rarer than glass bongs, they produce the same clean taste and are a bit more durable. 

    Aesthetic-wise, ceramic bongs are generally equal to glass bongs, though they certainly have different vibes. 

    This is where a lighter like Vessel’s Carbon comes in. Often crafted into a specific shape, ceramic bongs can be more effectively sparked up with a lighter like the Carbon, whose inverted flame can be used right side up or upside down. 

    Pros and cons

    Pros:

  • Clean Taste: Ceramic bongs produce a clean, undistorted taste that rivals glass bongs. 
  • Aesthetically Pleasing: Ceramic bongs are often great collectors’ items: these are more pieces to add to your shelf rather than for everyday smoking. 
  • Cons:

  • Lacks durability: Like glass bongs, if these guys are knocked over, they’ll likely break. This feature also inhibits travel with your ceramic bong. 
  • Less customizable: Because ceramic bongs are often so uniquely shaped, it’s difficult to add accessories like percolators to them. 
  • How to clean

    Cleaning a ceramic bong follows a similar process to cleaning a glass bong. The only difference may lie in how your bong is glazed: with a ceramic bong that isn’t glazed, be more cautious about what solutions you allow to clean the outside of your bong. Otherwise a bong cleaner or isopropyl alcohol/salt solution will clean debris, gunk, and build-up off your pipe. 

    Silicone bongs

    Silicone bongs are pipes made of silicone that use water to filter smoke. These bongs are typically made with low-toxicity materials, to ensure users aren’t breathing in noxious fumes when smoking. This material is also heat resistant. 

    Silicone bongs often have some parts that are made of glass, and come with a glass or titanium bowl. 

    Pros and cons

    Pros:

  • Durable: Like acrylic bongs, these guys aren’t likely to break. They can’t be knocked over and shattered, and they’re fairly heat resistant. Silicone is one of the sturdier options for clumsy bong owners. 
  • Portable: Sturdy yet lightweight, silicone is the perfect material for smoking on-the-go. Fold up your silicone bong and shove it into a bag: it won’t break
  • Easy to clean: Most silicone bongs are dishwasher safe. If not, freezing your silicone piece and popping off the debris/resin is a suitable alternative. 
  • Cons: 

  • Less Aesthetically Pleasing: Potentially the corniest of the bong options: silicone bongs aren’t quite as breathtaking as its ceramic or glass counterparts. These bongs are more about function than form.
  • How to clean

    Silicone bongs are potentially the easiest type of bong to clean. Remove any glass pieces, and toss the silicone parts into the dishwasher. Because these bongs are heat resistant, they’re safe to go into the dishwasher. 

    On the opposite end, try throwing your dirty silicone bong into the freezer for a few hours or overnight. Debris and resin will then pop right out.

    Which is best?

    Whether it’s glass, silicone, ceramic, or acrylic, different materials work well for different purposes. 

    While glass remains a fan favorite decades after glass bongs became popular, this bong is best for at-home use. Because of its neutral, flavor-free qualities, glass is perfect for everyday use. 

    While acrylic bongs don’t have that same neutral taste, they do have their own benefits. The most affordable of the bong options, they’re great in a pinch, and their lightweight durability makes them perfect for on-the-go smoking. 

    Ceramic bongs are great aesthetic pieces. Often shaped into something intricate, these are good collectors pieces, but might be a little cumbersome for everyday use. 

    Lastly, silicone bongs are the traveler’s best friend. Flexible and lightweight, yet sturdy and durable, these pieces are perfect for the clumsy smoker, the camping stoner, or the traveler who loves to cheef. 

    To sum it up

    Bongs come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and materials. Glass, silicone, acrylic, and ceramic each have their own unique features--and pros and cons.