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Percolator Bongs

About Percolator Bongs

Percolator bongs and water pipes are visually stunning, but their true magnificence is in their features: The initial function of a water pipe is to filter and cool smoke before it is inhaled. (We adore our hand pipes here at your favorite online headshop. But we all know that the smoothness of a hit differs significantly between a regular water pipe and a dry hand pipe.

Percolator bongs use a bit of clever engineering to maximize the filtration and cooling effect from your bong water. Scientifically, percolation refers to the process of fluid filtering through a porous material.

In the case of a percolator bong, this fluid is your smoke and the porous material is a series of small holes in the glass. By forcing the smoke to split up into different paths and exit through these various holes, it maximizes the amount of contact the smoke has with your bong water.

How Does a Percolator Work?

Let's have a look at how a bong works first. Fill the bowl with marijuana and light it up.  The smoke is filtered by the water and pulled through the tube of the bong. The user inserts his mouth over the mouthpiece, inhales, and after a few hits, he'll be quite stoned!

When someone says "percolator bong" or "water pipe," they're just referring to a bong with a percolator connected. You may have had a dry hit or a scorched throat if you've ever used a bong without a perc. When you include a percolator in the mix, you have a filtering mechanism that provides a more smoother hit.

There is a wide variety of percs on the market (more on that later), but all of them break up the flow of water to help cool down the smoke as it moves through the bong’s water chamber. Percolators are typically dome-shaped although there is an array of outlandishly designed percs now on the market.

In essence, a perc is an extra water chamber for your bong, and you normally find it in the bong’s tube. It contains water and is an extra filtering process for weed’s smoke. When you pull the smoke from your bong, it interacts with water in the bowl. As the smoke goes up the tube, it interacts with water on a second occasion via the percolator.

This process helps cool and filter the smoke in two ways. First of all, the smoke has a second chance to make contact with the water, which is inevitably going to help it cool down. The perc enables a larger surface area of smoke to reach the water which, of course, helps it cool down even more. Secondly, the bubbles get broken down and become smaller thanks to the pressure in the perc. The result is a smooth and cool bong hit.

What are the different types of percolators?

Perc bongs come in a variety of forms and sizes, but most smoke shops have a few standard models. Multiple percs may be found on certain bongs, which operate together to give a better smoking experience. You may also purchase detachable ash catchers with a variety of percs to enhance an existing bong.


Tree percolators are made up of multiple rods connected at the top which resemble tree limbs. With more rods on your perc, you'll experience maximum filtration, though a tree percolator can be a bit delicate compared to other types. It's important to always shop from retailers who provide thick borosilicate glass bongs that won't break easily.


An inline percolator is simply a horizontal tube with several slits in them. As you probably guessed by now, more slits equals more percolation within your bong. These percs are typically located in the base of the bong and complement other types of percs, such as a showerhead. 


Shaped like a showerhead, these bad boys are a popular choice among percolator lovers. Slits or holes are placed at the bottom of a vertical tube that flares out, pulling smoke into a separate diffusion chamber above the water in the base. Usually a showerhead perc will be located in the neck of the bong, especially in beaker-shaped pieces. 

Diffused downstem 

If you want to spice up your favorite bong, a diffused downstem might be the answer. Rather than a straight glass downstem, a diffused downstem has several slits at the bottom that improve air flow into the base of your piece. Be sure to purchase the correct size downstem for your specific bong.


Honeycomb percolators are arguably among the most sought after percs — and for good reason. These percs feature flat discs, usually more than one, studded with a bunch of tiny holes (hence the name). They're typically found in straight tube bongs stacked directly above one another to create additional chambers for the smoke to pass through. 

Fritted disc

Even more powerful than the honeycomb, fritted disc percs are made up of coarse glass particles bonded together to create what seems like a million itty-bitty holes - those with trypophobia beware. They can be formed into a disc or ball shape, among others. These percs are best for the adventurous smoker who seeks the perfect bong rip, even if that means constant cleaning.


Commonly paired with a honeycomb due to it's disc shape, turbine percs are slabs of glass that feature slits around the edges. When you inhale, it creates a visually appealing whirlpool as water and bubbles are pulled through it. Basically, these percs diffuse your hit and also look super dope. 

How to keep your bong clean?

Percs will increase the quality of your bong rips, but they will also make cleaning your piece more difficult. Resin will gunk up the nooks and crannies of the percs over time, rendering them useless. Fortunately, you can completely avoid this issue by cleaning your bong on a regular basis using a solution of salt and rubbing alcohol or a glass cleaning solution.

A bong with one or more percs may need to be cleaned more frequently than one without, but the extremely smooth bong rips are worth the extra cleaning effort. 

Frequently Asked Question!

Are percolator bongs better?

Percs can definitely improve the quality of your bong rips, but they can also make your piece more difficult to clean. Resin will gunk up the nooks and crannies of the percs over time, rendering them useless.

Do percolator bongs need water?

With percolator bongs, you must add enough water to submerge all the percs, ensuring that all openings are well above the water level. Once done, check to see if you're experiencing any splashback or any water touching your lips when you're inhaling.

Do percolators get you higher?

The percolator doesn't make you any higher than a regular bong. In fact, slightly more THC is lost in bongs with percolators than in bongs without. Although the added water makes no difference (THC is not soluble in water), slightly more is lost to the glass of the extra chamber.