Beginner Bongs: How to Buy and Get the Most Out of Them!

Beginner bongs are a classic entry into the smoking world. Whether smoking solo or with friends, I prefer bongs for the best experience. 

When I started using bongs, I heard a lot of mixed reviews about them. So, here comes the most authentic and vetted knowledge of this smoking equipment.     

There is a wide variety of bongs to choose from, each catering to particular needs. Additionally, if you are worried about the dangers of smoking directly on dry herbs, bongs can help dampen it down. Much of the smoke you get from a bong is cleaner and filtered. 

Getting your first bong is an exciting step in elevating your smoking experience; however, getting the wrong one can leave you with regret. Therefore, here is a complete guide on why you need a bong, how to buy one, its components, and the right way to use it. 

What Is a Bong?

Simply put bong is a water pipe that filters and cools the smoke before you inhale it. A bong comprises various essential parts; neck, chamber, downstream, and bowl. The bowl has water which filters and cools the smoke. 

I, like everybody else, use the bong to smoke dry herbs. You might confuse a bong with other tools such as glass pipes or Enail dab rig; however, they are not the same. All three of them offer distinct experiences and complexity levels.

Parts of a Bong

Understanding the individual parts of a bong can help you pick between two pieces that cost the same. For instance, when I start to get harsh smoke that hurts my throat, I get an ash catcher with an inbuilt percolator to improve my experience. 

Additionally, if my weed is sinking into the bowl before I have smoked all of it, I consider getting a new ash catcher or a bowl with a small-sized screen or an inbuilt screen. 

Unless you understand each part of the equipment and what it offers, you cannot enjoy it the right way. 

Bowl Piece

The bowl piece holds the weed before you smoke it. First, I grind the weed and pack it into the bowl. Different bongs have different bowl sizes, some for style and others to enhance your experience. 

Contemporary bowl pieces come with built-in glass screens. Older models had thin-wired metal screens that needed replacement often. Nowadays, you can choose the size of the holes in the screen. Generally, bowls with smaller holes don’t allow smoke to go through. 

Ash Catcher

Just as the name suggests, the ash catcher holds ash as you take hits. Ash goes through a hole in the bowl and falls into the catcher. An ash catcher ensures that ash does not get into the bowl, or it would spoil your experience by ending up in your mouth. 

It also ensures that resulting tar and gunk does not get into the bong. Therefore, I wash my ash catchers more often than the whole bong. Fortunately, they are more straightforward to clean. 

Contemporary ash catchers have built-in percolators that ensure that the smoke is filtered and cool. 


The joint connects to the downstem from one end while the other end connects to the bowl of the bong. It comes in three sizes: 10, 14, and 18 mm. 

If you use the bong to smoke weed, I recommend female joints. Male joints are better for dag rigs. 

The Downstem

The downstem is the pathway that delivers the smoke into the water, and it comes in three sizes; 10, 14, or 18mm. It is responsible for the pleasant bubbling a bong makes when you take a hit. The original version of the downstem was just a glass straw with a hole at the end, resulting in bubbling. 

Therefore, it works to filter the smoke and cool it before it reaches your mouth. Additionally, some manufacturers put built-in percolators in the downstem to cool the smoke further. Some pocket-friendly bongs have combined downstem and bowl pieces which are called slides. 


The percolator filters smoke after it goes through the water in the bowl. Generally, beginners should go with percolators with bigger holes. Tiny holes can cause the bong to clog up quicker, significantly affecting the overall experience.

Splash Guard

As the name suggests, some manufacturers use this feature to prevent water from splashing into the mouthpiece. Splash guards are standard in highly percolator bongs. 

Older versions of bongs came with an ice pinch, which consisted of three spikes of glass near the mouthpiece to further cool the air. For some high-end bongs, there is an additional splash guard on the bent neck, ensuring that no water reaches your mouth. 

The Mouthpiece

This is the last point that the smoke goes through before entering your body. Contemporary bongs have angled mouthpieces so that you don’t have to bend over when taking hits.

Features to Keep in Mind When Buying a Bong for Beginners

Like any other purchase, we ought to consider some factors before buying a bong. The market has many of them, and they all serve different purposes. For instance, you may find a bong good for smaller clouds, another one for sensitive lungs, or bigger rips.

Regardless, here is all you need to look for to get the right product that matches your preferences.     


The first consideration is whether you need a simple, meaning easily workable bong or a complex, premium one. There are many simple bongs in the market; however, you should consider additional features for an elevated smoking experience. 

For instance, I prefer my bongs to have ice catchers to help cool my smoke further. You can’t blame me for my sensitive lungs. Additionally, I go for bongs with percolators that filter my smoke to get smoother hits. 

Also, if you have sensitive lungs like me, you can consider bongs with recyclers. These ensure that the smoke penetrates back through the water to deliver even smoother hits. 


The most popular materials for making bongs are glass, silicone, and acrylic. These materials ensure a pleasant smoking experience, smooth hits, and attractive design. Glass bongs are well known because they are highly delicate. However, modern bongs are made of borosilicate, a stronger form of glass. 

On the other hand, ceramic and metal bongs are highly sturdy, therefore, highly portable. However, many smokers claim that metal changes the flavor of the smoke, unlike glass or ceramic bongs. You can also find bongs made of multiple materials such as wood, glass, and metal; the combination gives flavorful and smooth hits. 


Size can influence how well the bongs work and their portability. I prefer larger bongs because they deliver bigger hits that are more filtered. In my experience, smaller bongs deliver hotter and harsher smoke. I recommend a bong measuring 20-35cm if you are a beginner. 


Modern designs are very aesthetic, gaining enough attention wherever present. I recommend alien bongs and gas masks if you want to be the center of attention. However, you should not sacrifice workability for design. 


Bongs require regular maintenance; otherwise, your bong will not last very long. Glass bongs are simple to maintain. Additionally, you can wash your silicone bongs in the dishwasher. However, if you are not a keen cleaner, you should avoid ceramic and metal bongs. Lack of proper maintenance will lead to the need for a replacement earlier than usual. 

There are many tools available to help you in cleaning the bong. For instance, alcohol wipes and cotton-tipped brushes can help eliminate grime hidden in crevices. You can use surgical steel to remove stubborn stains. 

What Should I Know as a Beginner at Smoking?

Smoking with a bong comes with several advantages. When you use a bong, you won’t get any debris, toxins, and tar into the bong and, consequently, into your lungs. Therefore, smoking with a bong gives a cleaner experience. 

Additionally, with a bong, you get bigger and smoother hits which are dense. So, if your lungs are affected by dry smoking, you should switch to bongs. Also, if your throat is irritated by dry smoking, it’s a sign to switch. 

Bongs are highly versatile and, thus, cater to different needs. Therefore if you are looking for dense smoke which is cool and filtered, go for bongs with built-in percolators. The downside of having a bong is that it is limiting when it comes to travel and requires frequent maintenance. 

It is crucial to know that there are two strains of marijuana; sativa and indica. Indica leaves you feeling sleepy, which is ideal when you are in pain or have insomnia or anxiety. Sativa gives you energy, therefore ideal when you are about to work on a project. Hence, make sure to get the right dose at the right time. 

If it is your first time smoking weed, you should be extra careful with your dosage. Adverse side effects, such as a fast heartbeat and anxiety, are associated with overdoses. Fortunately, there have not been any bad cases of marijuana overdoses recorded to date. 

Lastly, if you don’t want the negative results of smoking, I recommend starting with edibles. However, edibles don’t deliver an instant high, like smoking with bongs; therefore, I would advise you to start small. 

Tips to Get the Best Bongs for Beginners

Pick Acrylic Bongs: If you are starting to smoke, I would advise you to go with acrylic bongs. Acrylic is not glass; therefore, these pieces do not easily break when they fall. 

Ensure the Bong Meets Your Needs: The bong should meet your preferences in all aspects, be it shape, size, portability, smoke density, or whatnot. For instance, if you have a tight schedule, I suggest you get a vaporizer to use on the go. This will allow you to enjoy your dose without affecting other activities.  

Understand Your Lungs: If you have herculean lungs, you need to get a sizable bong to ensure you get high-filtered hits. The bigger the chamber, the smoother hits you get. 

Browse the Internet: Additionally, as a beginner, you will get many options for bongs online. Getting your bong online offers unmatched convenience, and you can comfortably sift through various price tags without an impatient attendant waiting on you to complete the transaction. 

Decide on the Splash Guard: If you are getting a bong that is 12 inches or less, go with one with a splash guard to avoid water getting into your mouth. 

Get Bigger Base: You should also go for bongs with broader and more stable bases and reinforced joints. Also, bongs made out of borosilicate glass are more durable. Fortunately, enhancing your bong with fancy attachments is possible even if you don’t get all your components right. 

Look for Short Percolator: When starting out, I was a bit confused about a percolator. The best bong for a beginner is one that does not have a long percolator since it makes cleaning difficult. 

Enhance Your Experience: You can consider a bong with a recycler to enhance your smoking experience. There are ash catchers and precoolers that further enhance the outcome. You should get a high-quality bong with all these components to ensure your first high-quality smoking experience. 


A bong makes the smoking experience much better. In fact, if you have been smoking dry herbs, you should switch to a bong. Bongs produce denser clouds with cooler smoke which are highly filtered, resulting in an incredible high. 

There are many bongs to choose from with all price ranges. It would be best if you decided based on the size, maintenance, design, materials, and functionality. Manufacturers tailor the bongs to attend to various needs. So, identify yours and pick the right product accordingly. 

I wish you a life-changing experience taking your first bong hit!

Author: GISuser

GISuser, founded by Spatial Media (2003), is the leading online technology, news resource for GIS and mapping professionals

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