The Science Of The Bong Explained: How Does a Bong Work?

Last Updated on December 4, 2020 by Maxwell Harris

For those who are new to smoking cannabis flower, using a bong maybe something new. The appearance of a bong is typically associated with that lazy stoner on the couch, playing video games, eating junk food, and enjoying their large water pipe stuffed with weed. The bong works with the principle of water diffusion and percolation for making rips a lot smoother.

Bongs can also work through gathering a lot of smoke in the chamber. This allows a massive hit straight to dome upon clearing it. While comfortable and smoother hits are sure with the bong, it’s vital to know how you’re able to get these! Let us first understand the bong and then we’ll move to its function.

History Of The Bong

The “bong” word has been known to be derived from the Thai word “baung.” Traditionally, the word baung refers to a wooden bamboo tube. It also has taken on the current definition of cylindrical pipe for smoking.

According to some sources, the water pipe used was to cool down and filter smoke back in the Ming Dynasty of China. Various other reports indicate its usage history in Africa with tribes designing earthen bongs in the ground with the help of the same principles behind modern bongs.

Also, there are accounts of ancient bongs being made up of pure gold being used through the nomadic race of warriors what is currently known as Russia.

Nowadays bongs have a lot of sizes and shapes, but the common versions are ones that are hand-blown through the glass.

Throughout the evolution of bong, it has also been designed through materials such as bamboo, hand-carved wood, plastic, and also ceramics.

How Does a Bong Work?

People think of bongs to have a simple mechanism: But upon getting a drag from it you’ll know about how does a bong work and how you can use it.

Fill the bong base with water while stopping below carb hole as this is part of the stem and is accessible when you take the bowl out of the bong. Now, you’ll have to light up your cannabis!

Upon lighting your flower, you’ll have to breathe in while the cannabis gently catches. With this, smoke gets pulled into the tube through the stem. As it would pass through water, the smoke also gets filtered and purified while getting cooled down.

Because water is cooler compared to the passing smoke, the smoke you breathe becomes much cooler. Also, the smoke gets rid of residual plant matter that otherwise can clog up the lungs. This turns the smoking experience a lot pleasant.

Why Do People Use Bongs?

The bong performs in a similar manner to a wet scrubber or a gas washing bottle used for removal of dust and pollutants from different gases. The use of a bong is mainly intended to filter out additional particles and cool down the smoke. The function of a bong is visible easily with a transparent bong. The smoke in a bong comes in contact with water and other heavy elements like unburnt green materials and ash get caught and are filtered out.

When someone draws on the bong, a negative pressure is created that forces smoke to get bubbled through water from lit cone through the stem.

In some bongs, there is a small hole known as a choke, shotty, carby, etc. After taking a hit, it is uncovered for clearing the smoke pipe once you use the cone.

Alternatively, no hole is there and the cone itself gets lifted clear of stem for facilitating sluicing clean air rush.

Parts of a Bong

Any bong consists of mainly five parts:

The Bowl

The bong’s bowl is a bulbous attachment available with dried cannabis flower which is combusted after loading. This is removable often and allows for functioning as a pull or the slide carburetor.


Carb which is short for the carburetor, is a little hole present the lets user clear out the smoke from the bong chamber while completing bong toke. The most common carb generally seen in glass bong types is slide or pull-carb, which can be seen when you remove the bowl.


The little tube letting smoke travel from downwards of the bowl to the base is known as downstem, where is gets percolated through the water.


The bottom of a bong is known as base and takes a lot of shapes while depending on style. A breaker or bubble-shaped base often is used for creating a water chamber where the smoke gets cooled down while passing through water.


Tube while ending in the mouthpiece, is chamber filling with smoke after getting filtered through water. Various other features, like ice pinch, often remain included in the design of the tube.

All parts are available in different colors, designs, and shapes depending on the intended function of the bong. The downstream often get attached or replaced with different percolator designs offering diffusion or separation of smoke while passing through the water chamber.

Different Types of Bongs

Here are a few common bong types with their working:

The Einstein

The bong has two percolators. First being honeycomb for recycling smoke in second perc, known as Swiss perc as holes resemble Swiss cheese functioning for diffusing smoke.


Salvager has been designed for efficiency. The smoke first percolates through showerhead percolator at the downstem end. Also, it travels through internal recycler for recycling smoke back through the second diffusion before reaching the mouthpiece.

Sesh Supply “Poseidon”

The piece has two separate percolation chambers with both feature inverted showerhead percs. Smoke traveled through showerheads and continuously gets diffused upon passing through honeycomb perc between the chamber.

Common Myths Associated with Bongs

Many myths surround the use of bongs and some common ones are:

Bongs Make You Higher

This can be a yes or a no as well. Compared to traditional smoking methods, bong smoking gets you a lot higher. The high is caused because of the high amount of smoke.

Although compared to modern concentrates, these are less as with a little vape hit, you’ll be on the couch for a few hours for sure.

Bongs Are Better For Your Lungs

Bong smoke feels smoother compared to a dry bong or joint. Unfortunately, none of these is good for the lungs. Any form of smoke entering the lungs isn’t considered healthy. Technically the healthiest option would be vaping. If you’re concerned about lung health, you must refrain from smoking any cannabis substance and instead consume the edibles.

The More Expensive It Is, The Better

Higher priced bong indicates that bong is sturdier and is made up of stronger materials, better construction, or through percolator (filters smoke and also cools this as well). However, with a price increase, the artistry and size are also dictated.

Cheaper bongs work ideally compared to expensive ones. Thus, the best thing would be doing thorough research and narrow down according to different features and price options before purchasing one. The bong ideally symbolizes the traditional time-honored cannabis smoking. The bong is the most elegant, simple glass piece the appears graceful and also adds a lot of comfort to your pot-smoking style.

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