Article at a Glance:

  • This guide dives deep into the inner workings and scientific principles of bongs. It caters to both beginners and those seeking to expand their knowledge.
  • To fully optimise your bong smoking experience and ensure safety, it's crucial to understand how a bong works, make informed choices, personalise your setup, and prioritise maintenance.
  • This guide on using bongs highlights their advantages in filtration, cooling, and enhancing flavour compared to other smoking methods.

In this blog post, we will delve into the inner mechanisms of bongs and the fundamental scientific principles that have made them a cherished smoking device for countless cannabis lovers.

Whether you're a bong newbie or simply aiming to enhance your knowledge, this article will furnish you with a thorough overview of everything you need to know about how bongs work.

What Is A Bong?

Large beaker bong on coffee table

A bong, also known as a water pipe, is a type of filtration device that is commonly used for smoking cannabis, tobacco, or other herbal substances. It is composed of several components, including a water chamber, a bowl or cone piece to hold the substance being smoked, a downstem to direct the smoke into the water, and a tube for inhaling the smoke.

When the cannabis is lit with a lighter, the smoke is pulled through the water, which helps to cool and filter it. This results in a smoother and potentially less harmful inhalation experience. Bongs are available in different shapes, sizes, and materials such as glass, plastic, or ceramic.

What Is The Purpose Of A Bong?

The main purpose of a bong is to improve the smoking experience by filtering and cooling smoke through water. This reduces harshness, removes impurities, and potentially enhances the flavour. Bongs also allow for larger, smoother inhalations compared to other methods, such as vapes and joints, making the overall experience more enjoyable. Other advantages of bong smoking include:

Smoke Filtration

When the smoke travels through the water in the bong, it effectively removes certain toxins and particles, resulting in a smoother inhalation experience.

Smoke Cooling

In addition to cooling down the smoke, the water in the bong also helps to reduce its harshness on the throat and lungs, setting it apart from other smoking techniques. This means that when you use a bong, you can enjoy a smoother smoking experience.

Enhanced Flavours

Certain individuals hold the belief that the utilisation of a bong has the potential to amplify the taste of cannabis as a result of the water filtration method.

Why Know How A Bong Works?

Woman inhaling from glass beaker bong

It is essential to understand how a bong works and grasp the inner workings and mechanisms of a bong due to a multitude of reasons:

Optimal Usage

Understanding the various parts of a bong and how they work is crucial for users to successfully put together, use, and upkeep the bong. This knowledge guarantees a seamless and pleasurable smoking session.


By gaining a deep understanding of the mechanics involved, individuals can personalise their bong configuration to align with their own tastes and preferences. This can be achieved through making adjustments like modifying the water level or experimenting with different percolator designs to achieve varying levels of smoke diffusion.


Awareness of the bong's workings aids in proper cleaning and maintenance, promoting longevity and sustained performance of the device.


Understanding how a bong works is vital for safe usage, preventing accidents, and maintaining a controlled smoking experience. By knowing its inner workings, users can minimise risks and enjoy their sessions worry-free.

Informed Decision-Making

To make informed choices when purchasing or upgrading a bong, users must understand how it works. This knowledge allows them to select the features that align with their preferences and habits, empowering them to make wise decisions.

Types Of Bongs

Man lighting glass bong

In the current market, there exists a variety of bongs to choose from, all crafted using distinct materials. Let's look at the most common bong materials:

Glass Bongs

Glass bongs have gained popularity because of their transparent design, which enables users to observe the smoke. Glass bongs are available in a variety of styles and are simple to maintain. Not only do they provide a pure flavour, but they also make it convenient to keep track of resin accumulation.

Ceramic Bongs

Ceramic bongs have gained a reputation for their durability and are often adorned with intricate designs and patterns. These bongs are known for their ability to withstand the test of time, making them a popular choice among enthusiasts.

Silicone Bongs

Silicone bongs are known for their lightweight design, long-lasting durability, and often come with a more budget-friendly price tag compared to their glass or ceramic counterparts. These bongs made from plastic materials offer a convenient option for those seeking an affordable and sturdy smoking device.

Acrylic Bongs

Acrylic bongs offer a lightweight and cost-effective option, with a wide range of colours and designs to choose from. These bongs are made from acrylic, which makes them easy to carry and handle. They are also available in various vibrant shades and unique patterns, allowing users to express their personal style.

Bong Styles and Shapes

Woman smoking from glass beaker bong

Bongs and water pipes are available in a wide range of one-of-a-kind designs, each offering its own set of distinctive features to cater to individual preferences and create a personalised smoking experience. Let's explore the most common types:

Beaker Bongs

Beaker bongs have a distinctive triangular base resembling a beaker, providing stability and a large water reservoir for better filtration. This design allows for smoother hits by filtering more smoke. Beaker bongs are known for their exceptional stability and durability.

Percolator Bongs

Percolator bongs have additional water chambers and percolators that filter and cool the smoke before it is inhaled. These percolators create smaller bubbles, allowing the smoke to interact more with the water, resulting in smoother and cooler hits for the user.

Gripper Bongs

Gripper bongs have a unique structure with built-in grips or handles for added convenience and portability. The grip allows for a comfortable and secure hold, making it easier to pass the bong in social gatherings.

Straight Tube Bongs

Straight tube bongs have a simple and direct design with a straight tube from the base to the mouthpiece. This design allows for easy cleaning and smooth airflow, resulting in a quick and efficient smoking experience.

Bubble Bongs

Bubble bongs, also known as round base bongs, have a bubble-shaped water chamber at the bottom. This design provides better stability and allows for a larger amount of water. As a result, these bongs offer effective smoke filtration and cooling.

Gravity Bongs

Gravity bongs use gravity to pull smoke into the chamber. They can be homemade or commercially made. By manipulating the water, a vacuum is created, allowing smoke to enter the chamber for a strong hit.

Dab Rigs

Dab rigs are designed for cannabis concentrate consumption. They use a nail or banger to heat the concentrate and have a water chamber for filtration. Dab rigs offer a unique smoking experience compared to traditional bongs.

Bubbler Bongs

Bubbler bongs combine the portability of a handheld pipe with the water filtration of a regular bong. They have a built-in bowl and downstem, making them compact and easy to use.

Hammer Bongs

Hammer bongs have a distinctive hammer-shaped design with a vertical tube and horizontal base. This design provides stability and adds a unique aesthetic appeal.

Novelty Bongs

Novelty bongs come in various imaginative and non-traditional designs, featuring unique shapes, themes, and decorative elements. They are popular among enthusiasts seeking a personalised and enjoyable smoking experience.

Anatomy Of A Bong

Bong Diagram

A typical bong or water pipe is comprised of various components including the water chamber, cone piece or bowl, downstem and mouthpiece. Let's delve into each part and explore their individual functions within the process of smoking through a bong.

Water Chamber

The water chamber of a bong, positioned at the bottom, plays a vital role in smoking cannabis. When you fill it with water, it cools and filters the smoke as you pull it through the device during inhalation. This eliminates any harshness and makes the smoking experience more enjoyable.

Some water chambers have percolators that disperse the smoke, creating more bubbles and increasing contact with the water. This enhances the filtration and cooling process, making inhalation cleaner and cooler.

Charctaeristics Of A Bong's Water Chamber

Size and Shape

The dimensions and form of the bong's water chamber may differ, offering a range of choices from traditional beaker-style chambers to straight tube designs. Beaker bong water chambers are known for their stability and ability to hold more water, while straight tube bong designs showcase a modern and minimalistic appearance.


Certain bong water chambers come equipped with built-in percolators, which are additional water chambers or features specifically designed to enhance the interaction between smoke and water. This ultimately improves the cooling and filtration of the smoke, resulting in a more pleasant and purified inhalation experience.


Bong water chambers are commonly constructed using transparent materials like glass, enabling users to easily monitor the water level and observe the percolation process. This visual clarity enhances the overall attractiveness of the bong and facilitates a more engaging smoking session.


Bong water chambers are made from various materials like glass, acrylic, silicone, or ceramic. Each material has its own advantages and considerations regarding durability, maintenance, and aesthetics.

Aesthetic Accents

Bong water chambers frequently incorporate visual enhancements, such as tinted glass, distinctive designs, or ornamental elements, which enhance the overall aesthetic charm of the bong.

Cleaning Access

A well-designed water chamber should be easy to access and clean. Removable components and wide openings make it simple to maintain a clean chamber without any residue buildup.

Role Of The Bong's Water Chamber

1. Filtration

When smoke passes through the water in the chamber, it helps remove harmful substances and particles, making the inhalation experience cleaner and more enjoyable.

2. Cooling

The chamber cools the smoke, making it smoother to inhale. This reduces irritation to the throat and lungs.

3. Diffusion

The smoke and water in the chamber interact, resulting in diffusion. This process mixes the smoke with water molecules, breaking it into smaller particles for easier inhalation and a smoother experience.

4. Moisturising

The water in a bong not only cools down the smoke but also adds moisture, making it less harsh on the respiratory system. This can be helpful for those who find harsh smoke uncomfortable.

5. Percolation

Some water pipes and bongs have percolators in their water chambers. These percolators filter and disperse the smoke for a smoother smoking experience.

Cone Piece

Cone pieces, also known as bowls, are crucial parts of a bong. They serve as the designated area for packing and smoking the ground cannabis. These pieces provide various advantages, including portability, customisation, and resistance to heat. Additionally, they play a significant role in controlling airflow and keeping ash contained while smoking.

Charctaeristics Of A Bong's Cone Piece

Size & Shape

Bowls, commonly known as cone pieces, derive their name from their distinctive conical shape. These pieces are available in a range of sizes to suit various quantities of smoking material.


Cone pieces are commonly crafted using materials such as glass, ceramic, metal, or acrylic. These pieces often incorporate decorative elements or unique designs.

Joint Size

Cone pieces are designed to fit into the downstem of a bong, and their joint size can vary depending on the bong's specific design. Typically, cone pieces come in three different sizes: 10mm, 14mm, or 18mm.

Role Of The Bong's Cone Piece

1. Combustion and Vaporisation

When the cannabis is loaded into the cone piece and lit, the heat produced by the burning process triggers the vaporisation of the cannabinoids and other chemical components present in the cannabis. This results in the formation of a thick smoke.

2. Packing

The cone piece plays a crucial role as it serves as the container for the smoking material, whether it be ground cannabis, tobacco, or herbs. This is where the material is packed before being ignited and enjoyed.

3. Airflow Regulation

Cone pieces play a crucial role in controlling the flow of air while inhaling, guaranteeing a seamless experience when smoking from a bong.

4. Ash Containment

Cone pieces commonly include a tiny opening at the base, enabling the smoke to flow through while also trapping the ash and preventing it from entering the water in the bong.


A downstem, also referred to as a stem, is an essential part of a bong. It has a crucial function in the smoking process by enabling the transfer of smoke from the bowl to the bong chamber. Additionally, it aids in filtering and cooling the smoke through water immersion, resulting in a more pleasant inhalation experience with smoother hits.

Characteristics Of A Bong's Downstem

Length and Size

The size and length of the downstem are crucial for smoke dispersion and cooling. Longer downstems enhance smoke-water interaction, resulting in better filtration and a smoother smoking experience. Match the downstem size to the bong's joint size for a secure fit.


Certain downstems may incorporate diffusion elements, like slits or holes positioned at the bottom, to aid in the dispersion of smoke into the water, thereby improving filtration and cooling.

Material and Transparency

Downstems are commonly constructed using glass material, which provides the advantage of transparency. This transparency enables users to visually observe the movement of smoke and water inside the bong. In certain cases, downstems may incorporate coloured glass or decorative elements to augment their aesthetic appeal.

Joint Type

Downstems come in various joint types, such as male or female joints. Make sure the downstem's joint type matches the bong's joint type for a secure and airtight connection. Visit How To Measure Your Bong Joint Size & Gender for more information on how to size your downstem.

Role Of The Bong's Downstem

1. Diffusion

When cannabis is lit in a bong, the resulting smoke travels down the downstem and enters the water. The submerged tip of the downstem divides the smoke into smaller bubbles, increasing the surface area in contact with the water. This process, known as diffusion, helps filter out harsh components as the bubbles rise through the water.

2. Filtration

The bong uses water to filter out larger particles and water-soluble toxins in the smoke, making the inhalation experience smoother and less irritating. The length of the downstem also affects filtration, with longer downstems improving the interaction between smoke and water for better filtration.

3. Cooling

The bong's water cools the smoke, making it easier on the throat and lungs for a smoother smoking experience. The downstem helps increase this cooling effect by allowing more interaction with the water, enhancing overall enjoyment.

4. Aeration

After passing through the water, the smoke rises in the bong chamber and exits through the mouthpiece, enhancing coolness and smoothness during inhalation.


The mouthpiece of a bong is where the user inhales the smoke. It is located at the top of the main chamber or neck and creates an airtight seal around the mouth. This ensures no leaks while inhaling. The mouthpiece also controls airflow, enabling smooth hits. Some mouthpieces have additional features like ice pinches or percolators for a cooler and filtered smoking experience.

Characteristics Of A Bong's Mouthpiece

Size and Shape

The mouthpiece comes in various sizes and shapes, but its main function is to fit comfortably around the mouth and create a tight seal to prevent smoke from escaping. Some mouthpieces are straight, while others have a curved or angled design for improved ergonomics.


Mouthpieces are commonly made of glass, silicone, or acrylic. Glass offers a smooth and pure flavor, while silicone and acrylic are known for their durability and flexibility.


A good mouthpiece should be comfortable, allowing easy inhalation without causing any discomfort or strain on the lips and mouth.


The mouthpiece is essential for a smooth and unobstructed airflow, making it easier for smokers to inhale. A well-designed mouthpiece enhances the overall smoking experience with its comfortable and effective draw.


It is important to have an easily cleanable and maintainable mouthpiece since it directly interacts with the user's lips. A removable or detachable mouthpiece can be especially beneficial for cleaning and sanitation purposes.

Role Of The Bong's Mouthpiece

1. Inhalation and Airflow Control

The mouthpiece is essential for creating a seal with your lips, which allows you to control the airflow into the bong. When you inhale, air is drawn through the bowl, igniting the cannabis and producing smoke. The mouthpiece also regulates the speed and amount of air entering the chamber, influencing the thickness and smoothness of the smoke.

2. Vapor Cooling and Condensation

When the smoke passes through the bong's chamber and mouthpiece, it undergoes a cooling and condensation process. The longer pathway allows for more contact time between the hot smoke and cooler surfaces, causing some particles to condense. This makes the smoking experience smoother and less harsh.

3. Filtration

The mouthpiece and water in a bong work together to filter the smoke. As the smoke passes through the water, it diffuses and bubbles, removing larger particles and water-soluble toxins. The mouthpiece is where you inhale the filtered smoke, reducing the chance of respiratory irritation.

Optional Bong Parts

Person attaching ash catcher to glass beaker bong

To enhance the bong smoking experience, you have the option to choose a bong with various parts or attachments, such as carb holes, ash catchers, percolators, and ice pinches. These components offer different benefits and can be used to customise and enhance the functionality of your bong. By exploring each of these parts in detail, you can find ways to make your smoking experience more enjoyable and personalised.

Carb Holes

A carb hole, also known as a carb or rush, is a small opening on the side of a bong or water pipe. It helps regulate airflow when inhaling smoke. By covering and releasing the carb while lighting the bowl, users can control the strength of each inhalation. This allows for better control over the smoking experience and can affect the thickness and flavour of the smoke.

Charctaeristics Of A Carb Hole


The carb hole on a bong is typically located on the side, usually towards the lower part of the chamber or neck. It may vary in placement depending on the bong's design and can also be found on the back.


Carb holes come in various sizes to control airflow. Smaller holes require fully covering them with a finger for a tighter draw, while larger holes enable a quicker rush of air.


The carb hole's shape varies but is usually circular or oval. It is designed to be easy to cover and uncover, with ergonomic considerations taken into account depending on the bong.


When using a bong, individuals cover the carb hole with their finger while lighting the bowl. This creates suction, pulling the smoke into the chamber. Removing the finger from the carb hole allows air to rush in and clear the chamber, allowing the user to inhale the collected smoke.

Decorative Elements

Some bong carb holes have decorative features, such as coloured glass or unique shapes, to enhance the overall look of the piece.

Role Of The Bong's Carb Hole

1. Airflow Control

The carb hole, also known as the "carburetor," controls airflow when inhaling. Covering it creates a closed chamber in the bong, filling with smoke when you inhale. Removing your finger lets fresh air in, pushing the smoke into your lungs. This regulates air and smoke flow for optimal inhalation.

2. Pressure Differential

The carb hole in a bong controls pressure, affecting the smoke containment and inhalation. Covering the hole increases pressure, trapping smoke. Releasing the hole equalises pressure, allowing smoke to enter your lungs. Understanding this principle is crucial for effectively inhaling cannabis smoke.

Smooth Inhalation

The carb hole improves inhalation, making it smoother and more controlled. Users can adjust the intensity and pace of their inhalation by manipulating the carb hole, creating a personalised smoking experience that suits their preferences and comfort. This feature is especially beneficial for individuals who prefer a gentler inhalation or have respiratory sensitivities.

Ice Notches

Ice notches, or ice pinches, are depressions or projections on a bong's neck that hold ice cubes. They cool down the smoke as it travels through the bong, resulting in a smoother and more enjoyable smoking experience. Ice notches improve the quality of inhalation by making it more comfortable and less harsh on the throat and lungs.

Characteristics Of Bong's Ice Noches

Notch or Pinch Shape

Ice notches are narrow grooves, bumps, or slits inside a bong's tube or neck that securely hold ice cubes in place without blocking airflow.


Ice notches are typically placed symmetrically on the tube or neck of a bong, allowing for an even distribution of ice cubes. This setup helps cool the smoke efficiently as it passes through the water and ice.


Certain bongs have transparent ice notches made of glass or acrylic. These notches allow users to see the ice cubes inside, adding a visually appealing aspect and enhancing the smoking experience as the smoke passes through the coolness of the ice.


Ice notches are designed to accommodate different sizes and shapes of ice cubes, giving users the flexibility to customise their smoking experience based on their preferences.


Top-notch bongs have durable ice notches made from materials like borosilicate glass or acrylic, designed to withstand pressure and extreme temperatures of ice cubes.

Role Of Bong's Ice Notches

1. Heat Transfer

When cannabis is burned in a bong, the smoke is filtered through water to absorb heat. Passing through ice notches further cools the smoke, making it smoother and less irritating for the throat and lungs.

2. Condensation

When warm smoke meets the cold ice, it causes water vapour and other substances in the smoke to condense. This natural process removes impurities and particles from the smoke, resulting in a cleaner and smoother inhalation experience.

3. Expansion and Contraction

When hot smoke meets cold ice, it rapidly expands and contracts, causing it to break into smaller, cooler particles. This reduces the overall temperature of the smoke, making it easier to inhale.

4. Filtering

The ice notches and water in the bong filter the smoke by capturing harmful substances. This filtration system helps remove toxins and carcinogens from the smoke before it is inhaled.

Ash Catchers

The ash catcher is an optional bong attachment used to improve the smoking experience with a bong. It prevents ash and debris from entering the main chamber, keeping it cleaner and reducing the need for frequent cleaning.

Additionally, it maintains the purity and flavour of the smoke by preventing ash from mixing with the water, resulting in a smoother inhalation experience.

Characteristics Of An Ash Catcher


Ash catchers are available in a wide range of designs, ranging from basic and see-through to more complex or ornamental styles. Certain options may include percolators or diffusers to provide extra filtration and cooling capabilities.


Ash catchers come in different sizes, and their dimensions can impact the overall look and balance of the bong. Bigger ash catchers may offer better filtration and trapping capabilities, while smaller ones contribute to a sleeker aesthetic.


Ash catchers are commonly crafted from glass, although they can also be made from alternative materials such as silicone. The material chosen can have an impact on the overall appearance, with glass ash catchers providing a sleek and transparent aesthetic, while silicone options offer a range of vibrant colours and increased flexibility.


Certain ash catchers come with extra features like splash guards, ice pinches, or distinctive percolator designs. These additional functionalities not only enhance their visual appeal but also improve the smoking experience.

Role Of The Bong's Ash Catcher

1. Filtration

When the smoke travels through the ash catcher, it effectively removes any particles such as ash and debris. This filtration process plays a crucial role in keeping the main chamber of the bong free from ash, resulting in a much cleaner and more pleasurable smoking session.

2. Cooling

Certain ash catchers are specifically constructed with percolators or diffusers that divide the smoke into smaller bubbles, thereby enhancing the interaction between the smoke and the water. This mechanism efficiently reduces the temperature of the smoke, leading to a more seamless inhalation encounter.

3. Drag Reduction

By incorporating an extra compartment into the bong configuration, the ash catcher has the ability to diminish the airflow restriction or resistance while inhaling, resulting in a smoother pull of smoke through the bong.

4. Contaminant Removal

The ash catcher plays a crucial role in preserving the purity and taste of the smoke. By preventing ash and other impurities from combining with the water in the primary chamber, it enhances the overall inhalation experience, ensuring a cleaner and more flavourful sensation.


The percolator in a bong enhances the smoking experience by diffusing and filtering the smoke. It divides the smoke into smaller bubbles, increasing the surface area that contacts the water. This cools and filters the smoke for a smoother inhalation. The percolator's main purpose is to provide additional filtration and cooling, resulting in a more pleasant and flavourful smoking session with a cannabis bong.

Charcateristics Of A Bong's Percolator


Percolators are available in a variety of designs, including tree, inline, honeycomb, showerhead, and turbine percolators. Each design has its own unique visual appeal. These percolators can range from simple and straightforward designs to more intricate and complex styles. This contributes to the overall look and feel of the bong, enhancing its aesthetic appeal.


The size of percolators can vary and this can have an effect on the overall appearance of the bong. Bongs with larger percolators tend to be more visually striking, as they are more prominently visible. On the other hand, bongs with smaller percolators offer a more subtle and understated look.

Type Of Percolation

Each type of percolator has its own distinct visual attributes, which are determined by its shape and the diffusion pattern it produces. For instance, tree percolators have multiple arms that resemble a tree, while honeycomb percolators display a pattern of small holes arranged in the shape of a honeycomb.

Role Of The Bong's Percolator

1. Diffusion and Filtration

When the smoke passes through the percolator, it gets dispersed into smaller bubbles, which in turn increases the amount of smoke that comes into contact with the water. This mechanism improves the filtration process by effectively capturing ash and other contaminants, resulting in a smoother and cleaner inhalation experience.

2. Cooling

The larger exposed area of the smoke when it comes into contact with the water also helps enhance the transfer of heat, resulting in the smoke being cooled down. This cooling effect can contribute to a smoother and less harsh inhalation experience for the throat and lungs.

3. Reduced Drag

Certain percolators are specifically crafted to minimise the resistance or airflow obstruction while taking a hit, resulting in a smoother inhalation experience. This design feature facilitates the effortless passage of smoke through the bong and into the lungs.

4. Contaminant Removal

Percolators play a crucial role in enhancing the quality and taste of smoke by dispersing it and capturing any impurities. This ensures that the smoking experience is both enjoyable and full of flavour.

How To Use A Bong?

Woman lighting beaker bong

Here's a detailed guide on how to use a bong, broken down into step-by-step instructions:

1. Pack The Bowl

Grind your cannabis to a medium consistency with a weed grinder and carefully place it into the bong's bowl. Make sure the pack is even to ensure an even burn.

2. Add Water & Adjust Percolator

Make sure to pour an adequate amount of water into the water chamber of the bong so that it covers the bottom of the downstem. If your bong is equipped with a percolator, make sure it is fully submerged in water. To test the water level and percolation, take a dry hit (inhale without lighting the cannabis) and check for the optimal level.

3. Ignite The Cannabis

To ensure a secure grip, hold the bong firmly and position the mouthpiece near your lips. Make sure the bowl is packed tightly with cannabis, then use a lighter to ignite the herb while gently inhaling at the same time. Be careful to draw the flame into the bowl, ensuring that the cannabis burns evenly.

4. Inhale

As the cannabis is ignited, maintain a slow and steady inhalation, allowing the smoke to enter the chamber of the bong. Be cautious not to inhale too vigorously, as this may result in water splashing into the mouthpiece.

5. Clear The Bong

Once you have filled the chamber with an ample amount of smoke, you can either remove the bowl or release the carb (if there is one) to enable fresh air to pass through the bong. Take a deep breath to effectively clear out any remaining smoke that may be lingering in the chamber.

How Do Bongs Work?

Person lighting large beaker bong

Here is a detailed, step-by-step scientific breakdown of how a bong works:

1. Cannabis Is Lit

To initiate the smoking procedure, one must ignite the cannabis or any other substance inside the bong's bowl. This act of combustion generates smoke, which then fills the chamber of the bong.

2. Smoke Creation

The process of producing smoke begins when the burning material generates enough heat to vaporise the cannabinoids and other compounds found in cannabis, resulting in the formation of a thick smoke.

3. Inhalation

When the user takes a breath through the mouthpiece, it generates airflow inside the bong. This airflow then pulls the smoke into the chamber of the bong, getting it ready to be inhaled.

4. Interaction Between Smoke and Water

When smoke enters the chamber of a bong, it interacts with the water. This interaction leads to the smoke being filtered and cooled down. The water traps larger particles and water-soluble toxins, while also reducing the temperature of the smoke.

4. Percolation & Diffusion

When smoke comes into contact with water, it goes through diffusion and percolation processes. These processes play a role in cooling down the smoke and filtering it, resulting in a smoother and less harsh experience for the respiratory system.

5. Inhalation into Lungs

The user proceeds to take a breath, inhaling the cooled and purified smoke from the chamber of the bong into their lungs. The enlargement of the chest cavity and the suction created in the lungs help facilitate the process of inhalation.

6. Absorption of Compounds

The cannabinoids and other substances present in the smoke that is inhaled are taken in by the lungs and then enter the bloodstream. This eventually results in their distribution to different organs and tissues throughout the body.

7. Exhalation

Once the user has held the smoke for their preferred amount of time, they proceed to exhale, expelling the remaining smoke and any by-products from their lungs.

The Physics Behind Bong Smoking

Person lighting glass bong

When using a bong to smoke cannabis, various principles of physics come into play.

Buoyancy and Pressure

When the user takes a breath, the suction inside the bong chamber results in a reduction of air pressure. This decrease in pressure causes the smoke to travel from the bowl into the chamber and eventually towards the user, utilising the principles of fluid dynamics and the behavior of gases.

Filtration and Diffusion

The bong utilises water as a filtering agent, effectively capturing ash, tar, and other particles present in the smoke, resulting in its purification. Furthermore, as the smoke passes through the water, it undergoes diffusion, causing it to break into smaller bubbles. This increases the surface area of the smoke and promotes greater interaction with the water. Consequently, the smoke is cooled, filtered, and diffused more efficiently, resulting in a smoother and more pleasurable inhalation experience.

Expansion and Contraction

The smoke undergoes expansion and contraction as it travels from the bowl to the chamber and finally reaches the user. Upon entering the chamber, the smoke expands, occupying the available space, and subsequently contracts as the user inhales, causing it to move towards the mouthpiece. These processes are regulated by the ideal gas law, which explains how gases behave when subjected to variations in pressure, volume, and temperature.

Heat Transfer

The bong's water acts as a heat absorber, effectively lowering the temperature of the smoke before it reaches the user. This transfer of heat plays a vital role in minimising the harshness of the smoke on the throat and lungs. Moreover, if there are any ice or cooling elements present in the bong, they enhance this process, resulting in a more pleasant and comfortable inhalation experience.

The Role Of Water In A Bong

Person holding glass beaker bong

When using a bong to smoke cannabis, water serves multiple crucial functions that enhance the overall enjoyment of the smoking session. Let's explore how water is used when smoking cannabis with a bong.

1. Filtration

When the smoke travels through the water within the bong, it functions as a filtration mechanism. The presence of water aids in capturing larger particles and water-soluble toxins, thus preventing them from entering your lungs. This can effectively minimise the potential damage that may arise from inhaling such substances.

2. Cooling

When the smoke passes through the water, it undergoes a process of cooling. This cooling process is advantageous because high-temperature smoke can be unpleasant and irritating to the throat and lungs. The decreased temperature of the smoke allows for easier and more comfortable inhalation.

3. Moiturising

The addition of water in the bong serves to introduce moisture into the smoke. This can prove to be especially beneficial for individuals who have respiratory systems that are sensitive, as it aids in reducing throat and airway irritation, as well as dryness.

4. Enhanced Inhalation Experience

Using water in a bong can improve the act of inhaling smoke, resulting in a smoother and more pleasurable experience. This ultimately leads to a more enjoyable smoking session overall.

5. Reduction of Coughing and Irritation

The water in a bong has multiple benefits such as filtration, cooling, and moisturising, which can effectively decrease coughing and irritation commonly experienced when smoking cannabis. This is particularly advantageous for individuals who have respiratory sensitivities or tend to have coughing episodes while smoking.

6. Importance of Clean Water

Using clean water in a bong is essential for maximising filtration and moisturising effects. When the water is dirty, it can introduce impurities and contaminants into the smoke, which undermines the purpose of using water in the first place. Opting for clean water is crucial to preserve the purity and efficiency of the filtration process.

Key Considerations Of Bong Smoking

Person inserting bowl into bong

Before utilising a bong for the consumption of cannabis, it is crucial for users to have a clear understanding of certain important factors:

1. Safety Precautions

Ensuring the bong is crafted from materials that are safe and non-toxic, as well as free from any defects or damage that could jeopardise its functionality or safety, is of utmost importance. It is also crucial for users to exercise caution regarding the flammability of their surroundings when using a lighter to ignite the cannabis.

2. Quality of Cannabis

The quality and curing process of cannabis play a crucial role in enhancing the overall smoking experience. It is important for users to have knowledge about the strain, potency, and freshness of the cannabis they are consuming in order to have a pleasant and gratifying session.

3. Proper Maintenance

Maintaining and cleaning your bong regularly is crucial for both its performance and hygiene. It's important to familiarise yourself with the correct cleaning techniques and how often you should clean it to avoid the accumulation of residue, which can negatively impact the taste and overall quality of your smoking experience.

4. Water Level and Percolator

To achieve efficient filtration and a pleasant smoking experience, it is essential to have a good understanding of the correct water level in your bong and the purpose of any percolator. It is important to be aware of the water level to avoid any potential splashing into the mouthpiece and to ensure that the percolator, if you have one, is working effectively. Taking these factors into consideration will help you enjoy smooth hits and maximise the benefits of your bong.

5. Inhalation Technique

In order to fully optimise the benefits of using a bong, it is crucial to master the correct inhalation technique. Users must inhale in a gentle and consistent manner, ensuring that water does not enter the mouthpiece and that the cannabis burns evenly.

6. Legal and Social Considerations

It is crucial for individuals to have knowledge about the legal status of cannabis in their specific area and also be familiar with any social or communal regulations regarding its use. Showing respect towards local laws and societal norms is of utmost importance in order to have a responsible and pleasurable cannabis experience.

Bongs vs. Joints vs. Vapes

Woman holding glass beaker bong

When comparing the act of smoking cannabis through a bong to the methods of using a joint or a vaporizer, there are clear and noticeable variations in both the outcomes and advantages.


1. Filtration and Cooling

The water filtration system of the bong serves to cool and filter the smoke, resulting in a smoother experience that may be gentler on the throat and lungs when compared to smoking a joint.

2. Efficiency

Bongs have the ability to produce bigger and more concentrated hits, resulting in a potentially stronger and quicker effect.

3. Enhanced Flavour

By utilising water filtration, the taste profile of cannabis can be enhanced, resulting in a more pronounced and enjoyable flavor experience.


1. Potability and Convenience

Joints provide a convenient and portable option for smoking on the go, making them discreet and easily accessible.

2. Social Aspect

Smoking a joint can create a sense of community and camaraderie, often linked to the act of sharing and passing the joint among friends. It is seen as a way to connect and socialise with others.

3. Precise Dosage

Joints provide users with the ability to regulate the quantity of cannabis consumed during each smoking session, granting them precise control over their dosage options. This feature allows for greater flexibility in determining the desired amount of cannabis to be used.


1. Healther Alternative

Vaporizers utilise heat to release cannabinoids and terpenes from cannabis without the need for combustion. This method of consumption has the potential to minimise the intake of harmful byproducts that are typically associated with smoking.

2. Flavour Preservation

Vaporizers have the ability to retain the unique taste of cannabis by eliminating the need for combustion, resulting in a more intricate and flavourful encounter.

3. Customisable Experience

Vaporizers frequently provide users with the ability to adjust the temperature, enabling them to personalise their inhalation experience according to their desired effects and flavour preferences.


In conclusion, it is crucial to have a thorough understanding of the mechanics and functionality of a bong in order to maximise the smoking experience.

By grasping the scientific principles that govern its operation, individuals can make knowledgeable decisions, personalise their setup, and ensure proper maintenance and safety.

The step-by-step procedure for using a bong, combined with a comparison to other smoking methods, highlights the distinct advantages it provides in terms of filtration, cooling, and flavour enhancement.

Ultimately, taking a well-informed approach to using a bong not only promotes safety and satisfaction but also cultivates a deeper appreciation for the art and science of consuming cannabis.

Vincent James

About Vincent James

Vincent James isn't just your everyday marijuana enthusiast. He's a true connoisseur who's all about exploring the boundless benefits of medicinal cannabis for thousands of fellow Australians. In his articles, he dives into every facet of smoking, from the coolest bongs and vapes to the essential accessories like grinders and cleaners.