What to Look for in a Bong: Buying Guide for Water Pipes

What to Look for in a Bong

So you're ready to buy a water pipe but you're not quite sure what to look for in a bong. You've come to the right place. In our bong buying guide, you'll learn exactly how to choose the right bong for your unique preferences. Whether you're looking for a tall tube you can take huge rips from or you want something smaller and discreet that you can take on the go - you'll feel confident in your next steps by the end of this blog post.

We'll explain all the different considerations you should take into account when choosing a bong. You'll learn all the different types of water pipes and the advantages/drawbacks that come with. And, depending on what type of water pipe is best for you, we'll point you in the right direction at the end. Buckle up, we've got a lot to cover in our bong buying guide! Here's why this purchase isn't something you should take lightly...

Why Read Our Bong Buying Guide Before Purchasing a Water Pipe?

If you haven't already bought a bong, good - don't move! We've seen far too many new bong owners buy a water pipe that they end up disappointed with. And if they had just read this short guide first - they could have saved themselves the trouble! The fact of the matter is that not all water pipes are created equal. Depending on the type of experience you're looking to curate - and how you plan on using your bong - recommendations for your "best bong" will vary.

We know what you're thinking...what's the big deal? Can't I just buy a water pipe that looks cool and if I don't love it, return it?


Both online glass shops and local storefronts have very strict return policies on glass. Why? Well, because it's fragile. Even the tiniest micro-abrasion can lead to a completely broken bong down the road. And, there's no telling whether or not the bong has been used. Taking back a tainted water pipe isn't a risk stores are willing to take. That means you're stuck with this purchase - so you better get it right the first time around! Fortunately, we're here to alleviate any stress or uncertainty you feel about how to choose a bong. Our bong buying guide is going to grant you the confidence you need to start shopping - and get the right bong the first time around.

Now - with all that being said, pay attention as we dive into what to look for in a bong!

What to Look for in a Bong: Factors & Features to Consider

how to choose a bong

Heading into your local glass shop can be daunting. The diverse range of options looks and sounds cool - until you realize that what it really ends up doing is causing decision overload. To prevent you from getting overwhelmed, we recommend you shop online so you can easily filter by features, design elements, price points - whichever factor matters most to you.

If you're wondering what to look for in a bong, here are all the various factors and features to consider along your shopping journey. By the end of this section, you'll know what type of bong is best for you and what to look for in a bong when narrowing down your options! Let's start by explaining the different types of water pipes you'll come across:

Bong Types: The Different Kinds of Water Pipes Available

One of the first things you should consider when choosing a bong is what type you're looking for. Each of these styles has its own unique benefits. Here's a quick overview of the different kinds of bongs available on the market:

  • Straight Tube Bongs: As the name suggests, these types of water pipes are just straight tubes. They’re a classic choice - particularly for those who love huge rips, as these can stack a lot of smoke in the tube! However, they’re less stable - and are more at risk for being knocked over.
  • Beaker Bongs: Wider at the base and narrower at the top, beaker bongs are more stable than straight tube bongs. They also offer great filtration. Beaker bongs are also easier to clean because of their shape.
  • Round Base Bongs: These types of bongs closely resemble a beaker - but with a rounded bottom instead, as the name suggests. These types of bongs are our personal favorite - but to each their own!
  • Recycler Bongs: These water pipes are designed for smooth hits. Recyclers have a chamber that allows the water to recycle before it reaches the user. This means increased filtration and cooler smoke. If you're looking for a bong or dab rig that offers smooth hits, recyclers are definitely worth considering!
  • Zig-Zag Bongs: These are a bit more of a gimmick - but we must admit, they look really cool! The smoke channel is bent back and forth, creating a "zig-zag" pattern. Thus, the name. While these are a very unique bong, they lack function and can be a bit inconvenient to travel with - regardless of size. And, even with our guide on how to clean your bong, they can be a bit of a hassle when they get dirty.
  • Gravity Bongs: These bongs use gravity to pull the smoke down into the water chamber. There are two types of gravity bongs - bucket gravity bongs and waterfall gravity bongs. Both offer a unique smoking experience that you'll have to try for yourself to understand! However, this type of bong can get a bit frustrating as it takes more setup than the other styles.

For the most part, choose your bong type is just an appearance preference. They mainly offer the same function - although recycler bongs do tend to provide cleaner, smoother hits as they're inherently smaller in stature. Speaking of which - let's move on to the next phase of how to choose a bong: sizing it to perfection.

Sizing Your Bong

This is where things get personal. The size of your bong should be based on what you're looking for and what you'll be using it for. For example, if you're looking for a bong to take on the go with you, something small and discreet like our Capsule Water Pipe would be perfect (more on that later).

However, if you're looking for a bong that will never leave home, you have more options. At that point, you'll have to determine what you prefer: huge, intense rips or smooth, clean hits. 

Beyond just considering the portability that comes with sizing your bong, you should be aware of how different sizes perform. Taller bongs can deliver far larger hits than small ones - but they can also be a bit harsh sometimes. As such, many people prefer smaller bongs - under 12". These are not only smoother and easier to hit, but they also boast flavor-boosting properties. If you really want to appreciate the taste of your flower, size matters - but not in the way you may think! Go with a smaller piece.

Speaking of filtration, let's move on to another important consideration in our bong buying guide: percolators.

What About Percolators?

Why do you put water in a bong? Well, it cools the hit and removes impurities - offering filtration. This is why bongs are our answer to the question - what is the best way to smoke weed. While our discreet pipe is definitely a great consumption method, bongs just offer an experience unlike anything else. But did you know that some bongs offer far greater filtration than others? This is where percolators come in.

Percolators are little diffusers that help to break up the smoke and cool it down even further. They look like a small piece of honeycomb or an inverted showerhead, and are typically made of glass themselves. Percolators can be located in the base, stem, or chamber of the bong - and some bongs even have more than one! The number of percolators a bong has will affect both the price and the smoking experience. More percolators = more filtration = cooler hits.

However, percolators compromise on airflow - and perhaps offer too much filtration. Many seasoned smokers prefer water pipes without percolators for this reason. Moreover, they are incredibly difficult to clean - so you'll have to clean your bong more often to offset the buildup. Plus, percolators can break easily - which is why we typically steer our community away from them. They sound great in theory - but they end up causing trouble in the long run.

Bong Materials: Glass vs Silicone vs Ceramic vs Metal

The final consideration in our bong buying guide is what the bong is made of. This is important for two reasons - durability and flavor.

Glass bongs are the most popular type on the market for a reason - they offer clean, crisp hits and look great doing it. They're also very easy to clean which is why we recommend them to first-time bong buyers. However, glass bongs are also the most fragile type - so if you're looking for something that will last forever, you may want to steer clear. With that said, not all glass is created equal. You can find shatter-resistant glass (such as borosilicate glass) that is far stronger than other types. You will have to pay a premium for the peace of mind that comes with stronger glass - but trust us, it's worth it!

Ceramic bongs are similar to glass in terms of filtration and flavor. However, they're far more durable. The only downside to ceramic bongs is that they can be difficult to clean.

Last but not least, we have silicone bongs. Silicone is a newer material that is quickly gaining popularity in the smoking community. That's because it’s durable, easy to clean, and offers great filtration. The one issue? They have a weird taste in our opinion. And they're also very new - we don't yet understand the health risks that come from inhaling heated silicone (just as we don't fully grasp those of ceramic bongs or metal bongs!). These two aspects make silicone a dealbreaker for us - and hopefully, for you as well.

All things considered, we recommend you go with glass. Or, better yet, the hybrid system of our unique, one-of-a-kind water pipe: glass, aluminum, and stainless steel.

Bowl Types & Sizes

Some bongs have very small bowls that only hold a pinch of weed, while others have massive bowls that can fit an entire gram. For most smokers, something in the middle is just right - but it really depends on how much you like to smoke at once. If you're smoking by yourself, a smaller bowl might suffice. But if you're sharing with friends, you'll want something larger so everyone gets a good hit before you have to ash and repack! There are three main sizes of bowls:

  • 12mm
  • 14mm
  • 18mm

As for bowl type, this is mostly a preference thing as well. You can choose between female and male bowls. For the most part, these are just different styles that do the exact same thing. It's just important to note that the bowl type and size that comes with your bong is what you'll have to use forever on that piece - so just remember the size/type if you ever break a bowl so you can get a perfect match.

Now that we've talked about what to look for in a bong, let's talk about how to choose the right bong based on your unique preferences!

How to Choose a Bong Based on Your Preferences: Our Advice

Now - taking all of these factors above into consideration, you should feel confident in how to choose a bong based on your unique preferences. Of course, your budget will play a key role in what you can get, too. High-quality glass can get pretty expensive - but, trust us. This is not a purchase you want to skimp on. You'll pay more, in the long run, replacing cheap glass than if you were to simply invest in quality glass from the start. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Do you prefer small, smooth, flavor-packed hits? Go with a small glass bong
  • Are you more interested in lung-busting hits that push the limits? Larger bongs may more up your alley.
  • If you plan on keeping your bong in one spot for the entirety of your life, you can go with a large glass bong. However, do you want the freedom of taking your bong anywhere - on vacations, on hikes, over to a buddy's house, or simply out in the backyard? Go with a smaller bong - and find one crafted from shatter-proof glass, stainless steel, and/or anodized aluminum.
  • Do you want to be able to take dabs from the piece, or just smoke bud? Big bongs aren't great for concentrates. If you want more versatility in what you use your bong for, go with a smaller piece.

Following these insights above, figuring out how to choose a bong that satisfies your unique criteria shouldn't be a problem. And, if you'd like a recommendation, keep reading...

Looking for a Recommendation? Our Capsule Water Pipe is a Work of Art!

Bong Buying Guide

In saying all this, what's the best bong in 2022? The answer is clear - it's our portable bong. This stunning, modern work of art has quickly earned a name for itself. While most people hide their bong away when not in use, you'll want one of these in every room of your house - the Capsule Water Pipe is that aesthetic.

Make no mistake, though - this thing is built with peak function in mind. The small stature allows for some of the smoothest, milkiest, flavor-packed hits you've ever experienced. When you buy quality flower, this is the piece you'll want to smoke it out of so you can appreciate it in all its glory.

The best part? This awesome portable piece is ready for any adventure you take it on. It's as solid and durable as you'll find in the glass world. And, it's super discreet.

Why it's the Right Bong for You

Here are a few of the other highlights worth mentioning:

  • Shatter-resistant, dishwasher-safe glass
  • Breaks down fully for easy cleaning
  • Choose your own bowl piece and bong color
  • Packs up inside itself for safe, easy travel (and you can even add a stainless steel travel bowl!)
  • The magnetic lid holds your lighter securely

What Others Had to Say About Our Water Pipe

There's a reason this amazing, innovative piece has been feature in Forbes, Herb, and other reputable publications you can trust. And you don't just have to take our word for it. Here's what people just like you had to say after trying our one-of-a-kind water pipe themselves:

"Easy to use, easy to clean, everything I need and nothing I don’t."

"I am almost 59 years old and the Capsule Water Pipe is hands down the best bong I have ever owned or used. Love that it's modular, but the components are sturdy and should last a long time."

"Love at first sight and inseparable from day one! If you are on the fence about getting it, just go ahead and leap over and buy this. You will not regret it!"

Wrapping Up Our Bong Buying Guide

We hope this bong buying guide granted you clarity on what to look for in a bong - and how to choose a good bong based on your unique needs and budget.

At this point, there's just one thing left to do - check out the Capsule Water Pipe over on our site (as long as you’re old enough to buy a bong online) and see if it's a good fit for you. Chances are, you'll see what everyone else who's bought it sees - a dependable, functional, and modern work of art. This is the last bong you'll ever buy. Don't deprive yourself of the glass you deserve any longer!