Whether you’re an experienced smoker or not, you may find that a lot of bongs and bubblers can be quite unique and widely varied. And despite having very similar functions, these glass pipes have many differences. Smoking connoisseurs use these water pipes to make smoking a more pleasant experience. Throughout this article, we'll walk you through some of the important differences between bongs and bubblers.
What Is a Bong?
There are a lot of ways to describe a bong but the overly simplified description is that a bong is a larger-sized smoking pipe that filters and cools your hits through the water. A bong is typically a lot bigger and sturdier than a bubbler, ideal for smoking at home. The wide base allows you to set it down on your coffee table and prevents the likelihood of spilling.
Every bong has basics that classify it as a bong; a bowl, a water-filled chamber at the base, a down stem, percolator, neck, and a mouthpiece. At its most basic design, it’s a glass cylindrical pipe with a stem. The size and shape of the bong, number of percolators, and their different styles combine to create a unique smoking experience.
Overall a bong is ideal for the homebody or the one who wants to unwind after a long day of work. If you’re a regular smoker or need a heavy-hitter smoking experience, the bong is right for you.
The way in which a bong works is not new at all, we can see a similar system with hookahs, which are extremely common in Eastern countries. For inexperienced smokers, bongs might not seem to make a huge difference, but the special thing about them is the fact that the smoke you inhale passes through water. Many people believe that smoking a bong is better than regular, unfiltered smoking because the water traps a lot of carcinogens and toxins making your hits less harsh.
Photo credit: Joe Moore (@joemoorephoto)
What Is a Bubbler?
As the name implies, a bubbler is a smoking device (quite similar to a bong) that uses water to make bubbles and to filter the smoke. A bubbler can be much smaller than a bong but bigger than a dry hand pipe. It is best meant to fit in your hand comfortably while you smoke, handle easier, stash in smaller spaces, and be more portable than bongs.
A bubbler is usually more popular with beginner smokers or those who want a more discreet, versatile smoking experience. The designs and looks are endless. Some styles like our original scientific hammer, sherlock & double chamber bubblers have become so popular, they are a standard in the smoking industry.
A bubbler typically has either a bent or straight neck, stylized mouthpieces, and different body shapes and sizes. Like a bong, a bubbler has different percs to amplify your smoking experience, but unlike a bong, a bubbler can have either a fixed bowl or a ground joint to be used with removable bowls or nails.
Because a bubbler is smaller than a bong, it can take a glassblower less time to make one, which means they can cost less, therefore being a popular choice with those newer to glass pipes or transitioning from exclusively smoking joints.
If you want easy maneuverability, or are always on the go and want something that’ll work great for both dabs and bowls, a bubbler is perfect for you.
Because bubblers and bongs have similar benefits, it may be difficult to determine which is best for you. So let’s take a deeper look, comparing the subtle differences between bongs and bubblers such as use, versatility, size, cleaning process, and price.
Bubblers can be great for dual smokers – Both bubblers and bongs can be used to smoke bowls and dabs. However, some might say that bubblers are more versatile since dabbers often prefer dabbing out of rigs with smaller water chambers to maximize flavor rather than a four-foot bong. Whatever your preference, bubblers and bongs with a 10mm, 14mm or 18mm joint can grant you all the flexibility you need to add a removable bowl or quartz banger nail to get the smoking experience you want.
Bongs have more attractive designs - Bongs come in many different shapes and sizes, so they can be customized and some even come close to an art piece in terms of design. So, a beautiful bong created by a talented artist can make a great gift, especially if your friend already has a portable bubbler.
Bongs are bigger than bubblers – As a general rule, bubblers are more compact in design & easy to handle with just one hand when compared to larger, bulkier & heavy bongs. The smaller size really helps to condense your smoke, increasing the flavor in your hits. Glass bongs, on the other hand, come in all different sizes and can be up to six feet tall or taller. Depending on their size, bongs hold more water, produce bigger hits & support a wide array of smoking accessories, like ash catchers, to fine-tune your smoking experience.
Bongs can be harder to clean – Many smokers complain that bongs are difficult to clean, especially if they’re larger sized or have multiple, intricate percolators. When cleaning a bong, you’ll definitely want a set of Resolution cleaning caps, require more cleaning solution, and have to handle more parts. Glass bubblers, however, are easier to clean because of size. You can simply soak them in a bag filled with salt and isopropyl alcohol or your favorite glass cleaner. Watch our instructional video to see how simply it can be done.
Bubblers can be carried around easily – People love bubblers because they’re portable and can be discreet. If you’re on the go, love to travel, go camping, or enjoy smoking outdoors, a bubbler, like our Purr2Go, is a perfect option. Don’t get us wrong, bongs can travel well too, especially mini bong styles like our Mini Bent Neck Beaker, which stands at just seven inches tall.
Bongs can be better for sharing – We’ve all seen it in the movies, that popular scene where a bong gets passed around at a party. Because bongs can be bigger, they can make great showpieces, like our best-selling Swiss Honeycomb Bong. Being larger, bongs like our 18” Beaker Bong are sturdier to pass and often have bigger mouthpieces so it’s easier to share. Plus, you get bigger, robust, and direct hits that get you results quickly.
Bubblers can be a cheaper alternative to a bong – If a cheap price is an important factor in your buying process, then bubblers can be a better choice than a heady glass bong. Being larger and having more potential to add extra percolators, accessories, and heady glass color accents, bongs may not be the cheaper option. Scientific bubbler designs, like our signature Large Sherlock Bubbler, are simpler and minimal, yet high functioning designs that are less expensive than bongs with multiple parts and accessories. Our scientific bubblers are the original designs created by Purr’s founder, Chad specifically with high quality, function, and affordability in mind. We guarantee you’ll fall in love with them with your first smooth hit and can last you a lifetime of great smoke seshes.So, now that you know the different benefits that bubblers and bongs offer, you can be sure that you’ll be well prepared to choose the right fit next time you’re shopping for a glass pipe. Ultimately, we recommend having a few different smoking devices in your tool chest to match the occasion. Maybe a bubbler for self-care sessions at home or a bong for entertaining or parties with friends. Whatever you need, contact us to help you find the perfect bong, bubbler, joint filter tip, or smoking accessory.