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What is a Percolator Bong?

A percolator bong represents a pinnacle of innovation in the world of smoking culture, skillfully combining traditional smoking experiences with modern technology.


Needless to say, bongs have been around for awhile. The history of bongs dates back over a thousand years when they were first used in Asia and Africa for ceremonial purposes and personal use. Over the centuries, bongs have undergone numerous transformations in materials and design, evolving to meet the demands of potency and purity sought by users.


The arrival of the percolator bong marked a significant milestone in this evolution, introducing a mechanism for cooler, smoother smoke by filtering it through water — not once, but multiple times. This innovation has had a profound impact on smoking culture, allowing for a more enjoyable and less harsh experience, thus attracting a wider audience to the practice.


In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the anatomy of a percolator bong, compare its different styles, discuss its benefits over traditional bongs, and provide tips for maintenance and optimal use. Keep reading to learn more!


What is a Percolator Bong? Definition and Basic Explanation

A percolator bong unsurprisingly incorporates a percolator, which is simply a filtration device within its structure. This key component works by diffusing smoke through water, resulting in cooler, smoother hits.


The defining feature that sets percolator bongs apart from standard bongs is this built-in mechanism, which typically involves water filtration occurring multiple times. This process not only cools the smoke but also filters out particulate matter and potential toxins, ensuring a cleaner inhale.


Over the years, various types of percolators have emerged, each with its unique structure and method of filtration. These range from simple downstem percolators, offering basic filtration through a water pipe, to more advanced designs like honeycomb, tree, and showerhead percolators, each designed to provide a smoother smoking experience by increasing the smoke’s interaction with water.


a girl holding a glass percolator bong


The Science Behind Percolation

Percolation, at its core, involves the process of a fluid (in this case, smoke) filtering gradually through a porous material or series of compartments. In the context of a percolator bong, this translates to the smoke being forced through water which acts as the porous medium.


The benefits of percolation in smoking are diverse. Firstly, it significantly cools down the smoke, making the inhalation process smoother and less irritating to the throat and lungs. Secondly, as the smoke disperses through the water, it undergoes filtration. This removes particulate matter and potential toxins, resulting in a cleaner and purer inhalation experience.


The physics behind smoke diffusion and cooling involves the smoke’s interaction with the water molecules. As smoke bubbles through the water, its temperature decreases, and its particulates are either caught in the water or broken down. This not only cools but also purifies the smoke, enhancing the overall smoking experience by making it smoother and more enjoyable.


Types of Perc Bongs

Bong percolators come in various styles, each with its unique way of filtering smoke for a smoother experience.


Below, we explore some of the most popular types of percolators found in bongs today.


Tree Percolator

The tree percolator is easily identified by its multiple arms (usually between 4 to 12), each with slits or holes for diffusion. This design efficiently diffuses smoke with minimal drag, offering a balanced smoking experience.



  • High level of filtration due to multiple arms
  • Reduces harshness effectively
  • Visual appeal adds to the aesthetic of the bong



  • Can be difficult to clean due to its intricate structure
  • More fragile, leading to a higher risk of breakage


Dome Percolator

A dome percolator takes its name from its shape, featuring a dome which smoke passes through before being diffused. It’s a simpler form of percolation but effective in cooling and filtering smoke.



  • Simple design makes it easier to clean
  • Effective at providing smoother hits
  • Generally more durable than complex percolators



  • Not as effective at filtration as more complex designs
  • Can have a higher drag compared to other percolators


Inline Percolator

Inline percolators are straight tubes with slits or holes that sit horizontally in the bong. They are typically placed at the bottom and are excellent for strong diffusion due to their wide structure.



  • Strong and effective smoke diffusion
  • Easier cleaning due to straightforward design
  • Low drag for smoother pulls



  • Generally found only in larger bongs due to their size
  • Can be less visually stunning than other percolator designs


Honeycomb Percolator

The honeycomb percolator features a flat disc with numerous small holes (like a honeycomb) for diffusion, producing a lot of bubbles for a smoother hit. This type of percolator is known for its efficiency and minimal drag.



  • High level of smoke filtration
  • Minimal drag makes for easy inhalation
  • Compact design fits into many bong types



  • Small holes can become easily clogged, requiring regular maintenance
  • Filtration can be too intense for users who prefer a more direct hit


honeycomb bong


Other Varieties of Percolators

Spiral or Coil Percolator Bongs

These percolators feature a spiral or coiled tube that smoke must travel through, extending the distance and cooling the smoke effectively.


Showerhead Percolator Bongs

Showerhead perc bongs have a tube that extends into a larger chamber, dispersing smoke out through slits or holes at the bottom of the chamber, resembling a showerhead.


Turbine Percolator Bongs

Turbine percolators use angled slits to spin the water and smoke into a whirlpool effect, cooling and filtering the smoke while providing a captivating visual.


How to Choose the Right Percolator Bong

When picking percolator bongs, go with what suits you best based on what you like and what you need for the most enjoyment and practicality. One crucial factor is the size of the bong, as this affects portability and the intensity of the smoking experience – larger bongs tend to offer cooler, but less intense hits due to the increased travel distance of the smoke.


Material is another significant aspect; a glass bong offers purity and aesthetic appeal but demands careful handling, whereas silicone provides durability and is travel-friendly.


The type of percolator is key! Different designs provide varying levels of diffusion and drag, so think about which balance of smoothness and drag suits you best.


Also, when thinking about your budget, consider how much you value durability, aesthetics, and the overall smoking experience. Keep in mind that pricier options usually come with intricate designs that can enhance your smoking session but might need more maintenance.


a black and glass percolator bong next to a silver robot


Advantages of Using a Percolator Bong

Percolator bongs stand out in the smoking world not only for their functional benefits but also for the unique experience they offer. Here are some key advantages:

  • Enhanced Filtration and Cooling of Smoke: The intricate percolation system significantly cools down the smoke, making each inhalation smoother and gentler on the throat and lungs. This process also removes particulate matter, ensuring a cleaner hit.
  • Improved Flavor and Smoothness: Thanks to the filtration and cooling processes, the smoke that passes through a percolator bong carries a purer flavor. Smokers enjoy a less harsh, more flavorful experience compared to traditional smoking methods. It’s also worth mentioning that percolator bongs offer that classic bong rip sound we all know and love.
  • Aesthetic Appeal and Collection: Percolator bongs come in various designs and styles, serving not just as smoking devices but as works of art. For stoners, collecting different types of percolator bongs can become a passionate hobby, each piece adding both aesthetic value and a unique smoking experience to their collection.


How to Use a Percolator Bong

Using a percolator bong may seem intimidating at first, but it’s relatively straightforward once you get the hang of it.


Here’s a step-by-step guide for beginners, along with some tips to ensure you have the best experience.


Step-by-Step Usage Guide

  1. Fill with Water: Start by filling your bong with enough water to cover the bottom of the percolator. It’s crucial not to overfill, as this could lead to water splashing into your mouth when inhaling.
  2. Grind Your Herb: Use a grinder to finely grind your herb. This allows for an even burn and maximizes the surface area exposed to the smoke and water.
  3. Pack the Bowl: Gently pack the ground flower into the bowl. Ensure it’s not too tight, as air needs to pass through it for effective diffusion.
  4. Light Up: Hold the bong with one hand and use a lighter with the other to ignite the herb while simultaneously inhaling gently. This draws the smoke through the water, cooling and filtering it before it reaches you.
  5. Inhale: Once the chamber is filled with smoke, remove the bowl and inhale the filtered smoke into your lungs.

Tips for First-Time Users

  • Start Small: If you’re new to using bongs, start with smaller amounts of herb to avoid overwhelming coughing fits.
  • Inhale Slowly: A slow, steady inhalation ensures the smoke is adequately cooled and filtered, providing a smoother experience.
  • Clean Water Every Time: Always start with fresh water for each session to ensure the best flavor and filtering.

Maintenance and Cleaning for Longevity

  • Regular Cleaning: Resin and other particulates can build up in your percolator bong over time, affecting taste and functionality. Regular cleaning, ideally after each use, maintains its performance and longevity.
  • Use the Right Cleaning Solutions: While many specialized bong cleaning solutions are available, a simple solution of isopropyl alcohol and salt can be very effective. The alcohol breaks down the resin, while the salt acts as an abrasive to scrub away buildup.
  • Rinse Thoroughly: After cleaning, rinse your bong multiple times with warm water to remove any leftover cleaning solution and ensure it’s safe for use.


In the end, percolator bongs level up your smoking game with better filtration, cooler hits, tastier smoke, and a cool look that’s perfect for collectors.


Whether you’re a seasoned smoker or just starting out, knowing what makes percolator bongs special is key to finding the right fit for you. Your choice all boils down to what you like in terms of size, material, percolator type, and budget.


Remember, the best bong not only enhances your smoke sesh but also stands out in your collection. By choosing the right percolator bong with care, you can take your smoking experience to the next level, making each puff smoother and more enjoyable.


a girl in a dorm room smoking in a dorm room


Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the difference between a bong and a percolator bong?

A bong is a basic filtration device used for smoking, consisting of a water chamber and a bowl. A percolator bong, on the other hand, includes a percolator – an additional filtration element within the water chamber that further cools and filters the smoke for a smoother experience.


2. Do percolator bongs get you higher?

Percolator bongs do not inherently get you higher in terms of increasing THC intake. However, they allow for a smoother smoking experience by cooling and filtering the smoke, which may lead to the ability to take larger, less harsh hits, indirectly enhancing the smoking experience.


3. Are percolator bongs worth it?

Yes, percolator bongs are considered a worthy investment by many smokers. They significantly enhance the quality of the smoke through better filtration and cooling, leading to a smoother, more pleasurable smoking experience, especially for those who prioritize taste and smoothness.


4. Which is better: percolator or honeycomb bong?

The choice between a percolator and a honeycomb bong depends on personal preference. Percolator bongs traditionally use a single or multiple percolator system to filter the smoke, which offers a smoother hit.


On the other hand, honeycomb bongs use a disc perforated with small holes for diffusion and tend to provide even greater filtration, leading to an exceptionally smooth hit.


If absolute smoothness is your goal, a honeycomb bong might be the better choice. However, both types significantly enhance the smoking experience compared to standard bongs.


5. What is a percolator bong?

A percolator bong is a type of smoking apparatus designed to offer a smoother, cooler smoking experience. It includes one or more percolators — filtration elements within the water chamber — that diffuse the smoke, cool it down, and filter out particulates. This added level of filtration allows for a less harsh inhale and enhances the overall taste and quality of the smoke.