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What Is a Bong & How Do They Work?

Published On:
June 18, 2024

Read time:
5 Minutes

A glass bong on a mirrored surface

A bong is a water pipe that filters and cools your smoke through bubbles, resulting in smoother, tastier hits. However, that barely scratches the surface of what this funky-looking cannabis accessory does and how.

Of all the smoking methods, bongs are an iconic and popular way to consume Canada’s best and strongest weed strains. Keep scrolling to learn the science behind their operation and why they’re favoured by many for an elevated smoking experience!

The Parts of a Bong

12-inch glass beaker bong with ice pinch from Bamboo Blaze
Image Source

What is a bong, really? Before we explain how they work, let’s break down their anatomy and components used for centuries. Here are the main parts of a bong:

Some types of bongs also have extra parts with special functions like:

🍃 Read more: Different Types of Bongs

A replacement quartz banger from Bamboo Blaze
Image Source

How Do Bongs Work?

Essentially, bongs work by using water filtration to cool and clean the smoke before inhalation. When you take a hit, smoke travels through the downstem into the water chamber, where it bubbles up, breaking into smaller particles. 

This process cools the smoke and removes impurities, like tar and ash. The filtered smoke then travels through the neck and mouthpiece, delivering a smoother, less harsh hit. Compared to other smoking methods, bongs enhance the overall smoking experience by reducing irritation and providing a cleaner taste—one of the reasons why it’s so popular!

How Do Percolator Bongs Work?

14-inch glass spiral percolator bong from Bamboo Blaze

Image Source

Many premium bongs take bong mechanics to a whole new level by adding built-in percolators like discs, matrices, and coils. These force the smoke to repeatedly bubble and diffuse through multiple water chambers, drastically increasing the smoke’s contact with water. 

The results are generally better filtration, cooler smoke, and overall improved flavour!

How Do Gravity Bongs Work?

Not all bongs put such heavy emphasis on filtration and cooling. Some types, like gravity bongs, focus on delivering powerful hits using water and air pressure. 

Gravity bongs consist of two vessels: a bowl and a larger base filled with water. When you light the bowl and slowly pull up the base vessel, it creates a vacuum that draws the entire bowl’s smoke down into the water chamber. The vacuum sucks the smoke down from the bowl, diffusing it through the water as the chamber fills with dense, milky plumes.

You inhale deeply by pushing the base back down, which compresses the air pressure. This rapid inhalation method leads to thick, hard-hitting rips by fully clearing the packed bowl in one go, though with less filtration than a traditional water pipe design.

🍃 Read more: First Time Smoking Weed? Here’s What to Expect

A person fixing a bowl with ground weed on the bong downstem

Image Source: Shutterstock

How to Use a Bong

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty and answer “How to use bong?” directly—here are the simple steps to enjoying smooth, filtered rips:

  1. Fill the base with water.
  2. Use a grinder to prepare your favourite Indica or Sativa.
  3. Carefully pack the ground herb into the bong’s bowl piece, pressing it down firmly but not too tightly (leave some space at the top for airflow).
  4. Use a lighter or hemp wick to light the herb’s surface evenly.
  5. Once it’s cherried nicely, slowly pull the smoke into the chamber using a steady, deep inhale.
  6. Once the chamber is milky with smoke, quickly remove the bowl piece to allow the smoke to funnel up through the mouthpiece.
  7. With the smoke now cleared into the tube, put your mouth on the mouthpiece and inhale the full rip of cooled, filtered vapour! Remember to go slowly until you get a feel for your bong.
  8. When finished, clear any remaining smoke, replace the bong water and clean your bong before the next session.

🍃 Pro Tip: How much water do you put in a bong? Our budtenders recommend putting enough to fully submerge an inch or two of that downstem for maximum bubbling!

Find Quality Bongs & Bud at Your Local True North Dispensary

Forget other smoking methods for a second and elevate your trip with the smoothest hits you have yet to experience. Your next bong smoking sesh starts at True North Cannabis Co., your one-stop shop for high-quality bongs, pipes, dab tools, and more!

As the biggest independent cannabis retailer in Ontario, we carry the top brands and designs all engineered for maximum diffusion and cooling. The best part? Scoring a new bong is easier than ever with 10% off smoking accessories every Friday!

Still have questions like “How do bongs work?” or “How to use a bong properly?” Just swing by your nearest True North location or send us a message! Our budtenders will happily set you up with everything you need to start enjoying those thick, potent clouds of filtered deliciousness.

Upgrade your smoke game and experience the True North difference!

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