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The 11 Best Bongs for Getting Ripped
No, we don’t mean that kind of ripped.
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 bongs represent the cream of the crop.
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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, from which you inhale the smoke. Then, there’s the tube and maybe an ice catch; the tube is, well, just a tube, and the 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. Make sense?
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 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 contain 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 possibly 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 (though vapes aren't without their own potential health risks, particularly if using concentrates).
How We Tested
The best way to test a bong is probably by using it for one's daily smoking habit, which is exactly what our testers have done over weeks and months (and, in a couple of cases, even years). But they didn't simply smoke and move on — they also paid special attention to the bongs' designs, convenience, construction, ease of use and any special attributes therein, thus ensuring that every facet was taken into consideration before being deemed worthy of recommendation.