If the goal is to get high, you can’t go wrong with a bong: They’re perfect for group hangs or for solo sessions and they deliver immediate results. Bongs are the everyman of the weed smoking world. But is there such a thing as a bad bong? Through rigorous testing, we found out. These 10 bongs represent the cream of the crop.
- Best Overall Bong: Higher Standards Heavy Duty Mini Beaker
- Best Splurge Bong: Heir Waterpipe
- Best Budget Bong: Bento Bong
- Best Incognito Bong: PuffCo Budsy
- Best-Looking Bong: Summerland Chongo
- Best Bong for Inspector Gadget: Eyce Molds Eyce Beaker
- Best Bong That Does Good: Session Goods Bong
- Best Souped-Up Bong: JET Filtration Systems SubZero Water Pipe
- Best Classy Bong: Marley Natural Water Pipe
- Best Gravity Bong: Stundenglass
Anatomy of a Bong
Although bongs come in many different styles, the anatomy of a bong is relatively the same across the board. First is the mouthpiece, where you inhale the smoke out of. Then, there’s the tube and maybe an ice catch; the tube is, well, just a tube, and ice catch stops ice from getting into the water chamber. The bowl holds the ground material, and the downstem connects the bowl to the chamber, which holds the water.
How do I hit a bong?
Fill up the bong with enough water so a decent amount of the downstem is submerged; too much water and you’ll get splashed while smoking, while not enough water leads to a harsher hit. Then, fill the bowl with the desired amount of marijuana. Put the bowl into the downstem, grab a lighter and find a comfy seat on the couch. Grab the bong with your non-dominant hand and hold the lighter with your dominant hand. Light the bowl and put your lips inside of the mouthpiece — you’re not taking a sip of water and you’re not trying to eat the bong. Suck (don’t inhale) so the water bubbles and fills the chamber. When you have the desired amount of smoke, lift the bowl and inhale. Repeat as necessary.
What materials should I look for when buying a bong?
Popular bong materials include glass, acrylic, ceramic and silicone.
Glass bongs are the most popular bong material on the market, since they provide the cleanest and purest taste. Bongs made from borosilicate glass contains boron trioxide, which has a very low coefficient for thermal expansion. This means it’s incredibly durable and will not crack under extreme temperature changes like regular glass.
Acrylic bongs are the cheapest and virtually indestructible. However, it makes for the least versatile, since it’s difficult to add-on accessories like percolators.
Ceramic bongs are durable and are behind glass for providing the tastiest hits.
Silicone bongs are the easiest to wash and clean since they are dishwasher safe. They are also durable, well-priced, customizable and perform well compared to their comrades.
Are bongs a healthier alternative to bowls and joints?
Compared to hitting a joint or smoking from a bowl, bongs provide a smoother toke thanks to water (and some ice cubes if you’re feeling jazzy). Since there’s no dry heat, which you get from a joint, your hits feel less harsh. However, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) smoked marijuana — regardless of how you smoke it — can harm lung tissues and cause damage to blood vessels. And, smoking marijuana can lead to a greater risk of bronchitis and chronic coughing, according to the American Lung Association. Both organizations agree that more research is needed into the effects of marijuana on lung health. If you’re looking for a less risky way to ingest cannabis, try vaporizers, which use convection and conduction rather than combustion (the fancy term for lighting something on fire) to release the terpenes in the marijuana and have shown to reduce respiratory irritation.
The Best Bongs of 2021
Although Higher Standards also sells a larger beaker, the mini beaker, standing at eight inches tall, is the definition of small-but-mighty. The glass downstem has six slits that clean and cool draws to a silky smooth hit. The medical-grade borosilicate glass is seven millimeters thick, making the piece feel luxurious and durable. And, if you’re into dabs, the pipe also includes a 45-degree quartz banger, carb cap and concentrate tool, which is large and fits well in the hand. The bong is incredibly easy to clean, so much so that I didn’t have to scrub an inch after soaking mine in this bong cleaner. I didn’t know it was possible for a bong to have my heart, but this one does.
- Not too small; not too large
- Durable and feels good to hold
- Clear, can't hide your dirty water bong
Heir Waterpipes — which come in 11 or 13 inches — is the Rolls Royce of bongs. It’s made out of alumina ceramic, stainless steel and soda-lime glass, meaning it’s made to last. It features an ergonomic mouthpiece and a removable glass chamber that allows you to add ice or water easily and pop in in the dishwasher when you’re finished. The seven-hole design in the bowl prevents clogs and the 8-slotted percolator gives powerfully smooth hits. The price can be a hurdle, since not that many people have $260 sitting around. Regardless, it’s a beautiful addition to your home that just happens to get you incredibly stoned.
- Made of high quality materials
- Can be dishwashed
Sam Freedman first came up with the “half-baked” idea for Bento Bong, his Seattle-based start-up, in college when an acquaintance sat on a $300 bong that Freedman had collectively purchased with his four friends. “We started talking about how annoying it was that one part of the bong broke and we had to throw the whole thing away and buy a new one to replace it,” Freedman said. “Fast forward a decade and a few more broken glass bongs, I decided to create the bong I always wished I had.”
Bento Bong is made out of BPA-free Tritan TX1001 plastic, giving it the same durability as a silicone bong, but with a modular, sleek, packable, customizable design. Not that many bongs at this price point come with a percolator, are dishwasher safe and disassemble in seconds. Will it last forever? Maybe not, but if you’re just getting into bongs, Bento Bong is a great option.
- Sleek and modular
- Easy to disassemble
- Dishwasher safe
This isn’t your average Nalgene. Puffco’s Budsy is a bong disguised as a water bottle that makes a perfect companion for any adventure. To use, just fill the bottle to the fill line on the bottle (which is at 420 milliliters), open the top portion, flip up the mouthpiece and place the ceramic bowl from the storage location to the air hole. You’ll never have to lug around an actual bong again.
- Made of plastic
A completely ceramic bong, the Summerland Chongo combines aesthetics with durability. The full-size bong hits incredibly well and has a roomy bowl with a tight seal. You’ll have to look closely to see inconsistencies in the glaze, a reminder that this is made by humans, which is a feat upon first glance. And, Chongo is made with lead-free, food-safe glaze and ceramic, giving you peace of mind.
- Beautiful to look at
- Looks like art and costs as much as art
Go go gadget toke time! This silicon bong has a hidden stash jar, rolling tray, magnetic lighter holder and a stainless steel poker: talk about coming prepared to smoke. The borosilicate glass bowl and diffused borosilicate down stem mean that this silicon bong might just be indestructible.
- Made of indestructible silicone
- Has built-in compartments for accessories
Session Goods’ bong features a modern design that blends in seamlessly to your home and feels good in your hands. Two different bowls allow you to adjust the size of your hits, and four millimeter borosilicate glass gives you peace of mind. The silicon base cover protects the glass and indicates the recommended water fill line for the best hits while hiding unsightly bong water.
Best of all, the company is a member of the Floret Coalition, an anti-racist collective of small businesses supporting and funding equity-oriented actions, and pledges month donations to organizations for their work in support of Black, Latinx and Indigenous communities.
- Modern design is nice
- Makes monthly donations to organizations supporting marginalized groups
This bong has it all: A lifetime warranty! Impact-resistant materials and design! An ash filter! A water fill line! Plus, you can purchase different-colored percolators separately that allow for even smoother hits. Although it is on the higher end of plastic bongs, JET SubZero Water Pipes allow for complete customization.
- Lifetime warranty
- Customizable for your perfect hit
The Marley Natural water pipe is made of borosilicate glass and sustainably-sourced black walnut, making this piece perfect for a stoner who likes the aesthetics of big libraries, plaid and reading J.D. Salinger. Cleaning is made easy since the wood smoke chamber is removable. However, be warned: a lot of reviews say this bong is fragile.
- The quintessential bong design made with high-end materials
- Super fragile
Ditch your MacGyver-ed grav bong for the Stundenglass, which uses the power of gravity to fill the chamber with smoke. And, it provides contactless cannabis ingestion, meaning you don’t have to worry about mouth germs when toking. Although it’s $600 and a very large piece to have sitting around, it can be used to smoke food and drink and includes attachments to be used as a hookah. MacGyver wishes he could have made something this multifunctional.
- A do-it-all bong
- Contactless ripping
- Super, super expensive