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Glass, Acrylic, Silicone, Or Ceramic: Choosing The Right Bong

6 min
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Big, small, shaped like a dragon—bongs come in all shapes and sizes. They can be colourful, simple, or fancy; they may cost just a few bucks, or can set you back quite a pretty penny. Bongs also come in a variety of materials, where each material has its own unique advantages and disadvantages.

WHAT ARE BONGS MADE OF?

The four primary materials used to make bongs are acrylic, silicone, ceramic, and glass. If you’re shopping around for a bong, it can really help to know the differences between these materials, and what each has to offer.

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1. ACRYLIC

acrylic bongs

Bongs made from acrylic come in all shapes and colours. They are lightweight and durable, so they won’t easily break. Their biggest benefit is that acrylic bongs are among the cheapest available. This makes them excellent pieces if you’re strapped for cash.

The big drawback with acrylic bongs is that they have a bad taste compared to glass or ceramic bongs. When heated continually and excessively, the plastic can give off weird odours that may diminish the smoking experience.

2. SILICONE

Silicone bongs

Silicone bongs have recently become quite popular. They are made from the same soft and pliable material as resin containers and are essentially unbreakable. They are very portable and great for travel. Silicone bongs are also quite affordable.

Silicone bongs rarely sport fancy features such as percolators due to the nature of their soft materials. Aesthetics can be another factor. Silicone bongs don’t hold a candle to the elegant and classy look of glass and ceramic bongs.

3. CERAMIC

ceramic bongs

Like acrylic pieces, ceramic bongs also come in many shapes and sizes. You can find them in various creative designs looking like mushrooms, dragons, wizards, fruit, or anything else that inspired the designer. They make superb conversation pieces, and when they sit somewhere out of the way, such as on a shelf, their inconspicuous appearance won’t draw any attention.

The smoke from these bongs tastes better than acrylic, yet ceramic is not that expensive either. Although ceramic bongs can be slightly more durable than glass bongs, they are not indestructible. This means if you drop them hard, they will likely break.

4. GLASS

glass bongs

No question, glass bongs are king when it comes to this method of smoking. Of all the different types, glass bongs deliver far and away the purest flavour and smoothest smoke. Even simple glass bongs that don’t come with fancy features will normally have a classy and luxurious look and feel to them.

Unfortunately, glass bongs are not just the most expensive bongs, but can also be quite fragile. They break more easily than acrylic for sure, and can also be quite heavy at times. However, some of the highest-quality bongs on the market are made from super-thick borosilicate glass, allowing them to potentially withstand a fall that might otherwise demolish a cheap glass bong.

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ACRYLIC, SILICONE, CERAMIC, GLASS—WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Acrylic, Silicone, Ceramic, Glass Bongs—What You Need To Know

Now that we’ve gone over the brass tacks of each type of bong, it’s time to delve into some of the specifics of each material to help you determine the best piece to suit your lifestyle and budget.

1. ACRYLIC BONGS: WHEN LOW PRICE AND DURABILITY ARE KEY

Most cannabis smokers who are just starting out with bongs, or those on a tight budget, will likely go with an acrylic bong. Acrylic is a type of plastic, which means that these bongs can easily be mass-produced, which makes them a lot cheaper than, say, glass bongs. The acrylic material is also relatively sturdy, so you won’t have to worry much about your bong breaking when you travel or share with friends. And even if your acrylic bong does break, they are easy to replace for a reasonable cost.

One other advantage of acrylic bongs, aside from the low price, is that they come in many cool shapes and colours. They often have the same features as glass bongs, such as percolators or ice trays, but at a fraction of the price. Since most acrylic bongs are transparent, you can also easily see when it’s time to give them a cleaning.

acrylic bongsView Acrylic Bongs

The big issue is that acrylic has the worst taste of all types of bongs. Depending on the piece, they can make your weed taste harsh and spoil the bong-ripping experience with unpleasant odours when the plastic is heated. Worse, if you source your acrylic bong from eBay or something similar, you won’t know whether the materials used contain harmful substances.

But this isn’t to say that acrylic bongs don’t have their place among cannabis enthusiasts. Many cannabis smokers have a nice glass bong that they use at home so they can get the best taste and smoke, and a second, acrylic bong that’s better suited to take on-the-go or for sharing at their next party. 

2. SILICONE: FOR THE STONER IN NEED OF FLEXIBILITY

Silicone has long been used to make baking moulds and cookie trays, and it’s now also becoming popular in the cannabis community. Since nothing sticks to silicone, it is an excellent material for resin containers; but you can now also find bongs made from silicone.

Aside from the material being non-sticky, silicone bongs have the advantage of being pretty much indestructible. As silicone is soft and pliable, just like rubber, you could even play soccer with a silicone bong and it wouldn’t break. This makes them a good option if you or your clumsy friends have a history of breaking pieces—these are perfect party bongs.

Because they’re soft, light, and can’t break, silicone bongs are also great for travelling. They are sturdier than acrylic bongs, so you can just squeeze them into your luggage or backpack and don’t need to worry.

Silicone bongsView Silicone Bongs

One other big benefit of silicone bongs is that they taste pretty good. They may not be as superior as glass, but they come pretty close. They won’t make your smoke harsh, and they don’t have the “plasticky” taste that you get with acrylic bongs. This isn’t too surprising, as a good silicone bong is normally made from the same food-grade silicone that’s used in cooking.

When it comes to cleaning a silicone bong, there is a good side and a bad side to it. Unlike glass or acrylic, silicone bongs are not transparent, so you can’t really see when you need to clean them. On the other hand, they are super easy to clean. You can even throw them in the dishwasher and your silicone bong will come out like new!

The other drawback of silicone bongs can be their appearance. Compared to glass bongs and even some acrylic ones, they won’t exactly win beauty contests. With silicone bongs, it’s all about functionality and flexibility—not so much aesthetics. Likewise, because of the soft materials used, you won’t often find additional features like percolators. Silicone bongs are usually fairly basic and simple.

3. CERAMIC BONGS: FOR THE ARTIST (OR COMEDIAN) IN YOU

Ceramic bongs are great and a lot of fun! You can find ceramic bongs shaped like dragons, skulls, aliens, and anything else that you can even imagine. How about getting some nice rips off a bong shaped like a giant penis? Or inhaling smoke from the behind of a sexy figurine? Ok, you know where this is going… All of this is to say, if you want to have a hell of a lot of fun with a bong, put a ceramic piece on the top of your shopping list.

ceramic bongsView Ceramic Bongs

Many ceramic bongs are quite some works of art, so they make a good figure on a shelf or mantel. Most of them will just look like some knick-knack or collectible; they don’t usually give away their intended purpose to passersby—not immediately, anyways.

There are two types of ceramic bongs that you can find. The first are those in the same style as most glass and acrylic pieces, which you can fill with water. They usually feature a downstem and bowl also made of ceramic. These bongs have a pretty decent taste, delivering a smooth smoke almost as good as you can get with glass bongs.

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You can also find smaller ceramic bongs that don’t use water. Technically, these are more like pipes, but they allow you to take bigger hits. Just be careful, as the smoke from these small bongs can be powerful, but also quite hot.

The disadvantage of ceramic bongs is the same as with glass bongs: they will likely break if you drop them too hard. 

4. GLASS BONGS: FOR THE TRUE CONNOISSEUR

Finally, there are glass bongs, which are the most beloved among all bong varieties! Let’s talk about what makes glass bongs so special, and why they’re worth investing a little extra cash in.

Glass is a unique material that people have been using for many centuries. What makes glass so unique, among other things, is that it is non-porous, so it doesn’t hold bacteria. Moreover, it is 100% smell and odour-neutral. This makes it the best material not just for food, but of course cannabis as well!

Glass is also smooth to the touch and doesn’t conduct heat as metal does. While there is a good chance that you would burn your lips on a metal pipe, the same isn’t likely to happen with one made from glass.

glass bongsView Glass Bongs

Glass can be moulded into a variety of beautiful shapes, forms, and textures. The unique properties of glass allow it to be transformed into things that wouldn’t be possible with any other material. In fact, we often think of glass blowers as artists. And indeed, the best glass bongs are made by hand by a master glassblower who is skilled in their craft. These certainly aren't the mass-produced type. So, next time you use your artisanal glass bong, make sure you take the time to appreciate the skill that went into crafting it.

Because of the expertise required to make glass bongs, they are also the most expensive. And despite this, they can still be somewhat easy to break. Still, most cannabis enthusiasts know that they get their money’s worth with a good-quality glass bong. There is simply nothing that comes close to the pure taste and overall fantastic smoking experience that you get with a glass bong. 

HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT BONG—WHICH TYPE OF CONSUMER ARE YOU?

HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT BONG

Glass, acrylic, ceramic, or silicone—what’s the best bong to get? Most of the time, the price of a bong will likely be the deciding factor. But remember that cheap acrylic bongs can be made poorly, and that the most expensive bong is also not necessarily the best. So before you choose, make sure to read some reviews, and perhaps even seek the opinions of other smokers.

Ultimately, it comes down to what kind of consumer you are, and what you value most. You may prioritise style, price, prestige, flexibility, or durability; luckily, there are bongs to satisfy every taste.

Georg

Written by: Georg
Based in Spain, Georg spends a lot of his time not only geeking out at his computer but in his garden as well. With a burning passion for growing cannabis and researching psychedelics, Georg is well versed in all things psychoactive.

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