When you visit any online bong store or visit your local headshop, you'll see all kinds of varieties on display: the classic choices, like pipes and cool bubblers. But, there are two types in particular that are commonly compared to one another: bongs vs dab rigs.
This brings up an interesting question we are commonly asked at Smoke Honest - what is the difference between a dab rig and a glass bong? And today, that's exactly what we're going to cover. Moreover, you'll learn how to choose between a bong or dab rig yourself. We'll also cover the different styles under each category that you should be aware of, along with important advice for shopping.
As you can see, there is a lot to cover - and we know you're eager to learn all about the dab rig vs bong debate. So, let's get right into it!
What Is The Difference Between A Dab Rig and A Glass Bong?
We're going to start this article by diving deep into a common question we come across - what is the difference between a dab rig and a glass bong? To truly unpack this question and help you gain clarity on this subject, we're going to fully break down both the glass bong vs dab rig. Then, we'll be able to compare them to each other to help you find the right piece to add to your collection.
What Is A Bong?
A bong is a type of filtration device typically used for smoking dry herb or tobacco. Bongs come in all shapes and sizes, but they all serve the same purpose: to filter and cool the smoke before inhalation.
The bong has been around for centuries, with the first recorded use dating back to China in the 16th century. Bongs were traditionally made from bamboo, but they can now be found in a variety of materials, including glass, ceramic, and even plastic.
What Are The Different Types Of Bongs?
There are many different types of bongs on the market - more than we could possibly list here. But, to give you an idea of what's out there, we've compiled a short list of some of the most popular bong styles:
- Straight tube bong
- Beaker bong
- Percolator bong
- Multi chamber bong
Now that you know a little bit more about what bongs are and the different types that you might come across, let's move on to dab rigs.
What Is A Dab Rig?
At first glance, there may not be noticeable differences between a glass bong vs dab rig. Make no mistake, though, this type of smoking device is in its own category. A dab rig is a type of filtration device that is used for smoking concentrates or oils. Dab rigs are very similar to bongs, but they typically have a few key differences, which we will cover shortly.
The dab rig has also been around for a while. However, it didn't gain popularity in the Western world until much more recently.
What Are The Different Types Of Dab Rigs?
Just like bongs, dab rigs come in many different shapes and sizes. But, you'll find that these are much smaller in stature - and there's a reason for that. We'll explain later on. First, here are some of the most popular dab rig styles:
- Small beaker dab rigs
- Nectar collectors
Dab Rig vs Bong - Are They Really All That Different?
Now that you know a bit more about what bongs vs dab rigs are in general, we're going to start comparing and contrasting them. This is where you'll learn what the key differences between these two styles are. And if you haven't already realized what the main difference is, it's this: how you use the piece. Simply put, dab rigs are designed to be used with concentrate. Bongs, on the other hand, are designed for flower.
- Bongs = dry herb (flower)
- Dab rigs = concentrate (wax)
Now, you can put a nail in a bong and take a dab - just like you can put a bowl in a dab rig and smoke weed. But, to truly get the most out of your weed or concentrate, you should stick with the right piece for the job. Here's why:
Nails vs Bowls
The dab rig vs bong debate has a debate within itself: nails vs bowls. The biggest difference between dab rigs vs bongs is where you put the cannabis you’re consuming. And in a dab rig, that is the nail - or banger, as it’s sometimes referred to. Think of this as the dab rig bowl. Dab rigs require the use of a nail, which is a small cup-shaped piece. You heat it up and then with a tool, place a bit of concentrate inside of the nail. The heated nail then vaporizes the concentrate, which is then inhaled through the dab rig. You can either heat the nail using a torch or an e-nail attachment. Learning how to use a dab rig is a discussion for another day.
Bongs, on the other hand, use a bowl - which you're no doubt already familiar with. This is also small cup-shaped piece that you pack with dry herb before lighting it and taking a hit. The bowl holds the weed while you light it, allowing you to take controlled hits without having to worry about burning your fingers.
Difference In Size Leads to Different Experiences
Another key difference between dab rigs vs bongs has to do with size. As we mentioned earlier, dab rigs are typically smaller than bongs. While you can definitely find larger dab rigs, they won't be more than 8-12" tall on average. Meanwhile, most bongs start as 12" tall - with options for 24", 36", and beyond.
Why is this? Why are dab rigs so much smaller and more compact? It comes down to the experience that a smaller piece provides in terms of filtration. Bigger bongs offer more filtration - which is important, as you're combusting the flower at higher temperatures. Meanwhile, dabs are being vaporized - so there is less need for cooling. On the contrary, you actually want less filtration in a dab rig, as it allows you to fully appreciate the flavor and potency of your concentrate.
Bongs, on the other hand, will typically come equipped with percolators to filter and cool the smoke as much as possible before it reaches your lungs. Now, it's important to note that some dab rigs have percolation too - and this is an important feature to look for if you plan on taking hot, heavy dabs.
Dab Rig vs Bong - Which Piece Is Right For Me?
The dab rig vs bong debate is one that's been around for quite some time. And, it's not an easy question to answer if you want a versatile piece that can do it all. The truth is, it depends on what you're looking for in a piece. Do you want something that offers more filtration and cooling? If so, then a bong is probably the way to go. Are you looking for a smaller, more compact piece that will deliver flavor-packed hits? If so, then a dab rig is probably your best bet.
When in doubt, just think about what you'll consume more of - flower or concentrate. You want to optimize this experience for what you do most frequently. So, remember:
- Bong = flower
- Dab rig = concentrate
Still can't decide which one is right for you between a bong vs dab rig? Get both! Who doesn't love a bit of variety in their sessions?
Can You Use A Bong As A Dab Rig, And Vice Versa?
Now that you know all about the key differences between a bong vs dab rig, you should feel confident in your ability to pick the right piece. But, perhaps you want something that you can dab with one minute and pack a bowl with on the next hit. This raises an interesting question: can you use a bong as a dab rig? And on the other hand, can you use a dab rig as a bong?
This is a tricky one to answer - because the simple answer is yes. All you need to do is get the right size bowl for your dab rig - or, the right size nail/banger for your bowl (and don't forget a dab tool and torch!). At that point, you can easily switch between dabbing and smoking at a moment's notice. But the question shouldn't be can you use a bong as a dab rig - but rather, should you? Here's why we recommend separate pieces for flower and concentrate:
Say you use your dab rig just for concentrate - and then, you buy a bowl and start smoking flower from it. You'll find that the taste you get - both from flower and concentrate - will be altered. Not just altered, but unpleasant, in our opinion. And when it comes to cleaning your bong or dab rig, you'll find it much easier if you keep consumption methods separate.
Final Thoughts On The Dab Rig vs Bong Debate
Well, there you have it - everything you should know about the dab rig vs bong debate. We hope this in-depth article has helped you gain clarity on the key differences between bongs vs dab rigs.
In summary, the bong is used to smoke flower with a lighter and a bowl. A dab rig is used to vaporize concentrates like rosin, live resin, and shatter using a nail, dab tool, and torch/e-nail. Dab rigs are typically smaller and offer less filtration - leading to more pure flavor and potency. Bongs are larger with percs to add filtration, helping cool the hot rips from sparking your bowl.
And while you certainly can use a bong as a dab rig (and vice versa) by simply buying the corresponding bowl/nail, we don't recommend you do so. If you consume concentrate/flower often enough, it makes far more sense to just buy two separate pieces. This helps you with keeping your flavor dialed in, making it easier to clean the pieces, and enjoying your concentrate/flower as it was intended.
Now the question comes - which are you going to buy first? If you're looking for inspiration, check out our articles on the best bongs in the world - or, our breakdown of the coolest bongs ever. We also have our own modern smoking accessories, including the most highly sought-after portable water bong for sale on the market: The Capsule Water Pipe. It offers the best of both worlds in aesthetic and function - see it in action yourself over on the product page!