What Is An Ice Bong?
6 min

What Is An Ice Bong?

6 min

In the world of bongs, there is an incredible assortment of high-tech, expensive, and sometimes over-the-top solutions to a simple problem: ripping bongs can hurt! But, as we all know, often the simplest solutions are the most effective. Before you break the bank for a percolator or glycerine coils, try an ice catcher and see if you're satisfied.

An ice bong is a simple way to cool down your smoking experience and bring out the very best in your weed. There’s no need for harsh hits that scourge your throat on the way to your lungs. Getting high should be a pleasure from start to finish, and this is one of the simplest ways to improve your smoke. Why empty your pockets for the latest dessert strain only to have its flavours lost in a hot torrent of acrid smoke?

So much cheaper than the alternatives, an ice pinch is a standard feature of most beaker bongs. An ice catcher should be everybody’s first step in the realm of bong upgrades. It really is as simple as putting some ice in a bong. Do you often find yourself coughing after a bong rip and wishing there was some way to make it even smoother? If you’ve never tried an ice bong before, it’s time to.

What Is an Ice Bong?

What Is an Ice Bong?

An ice bong is, quite literally, a bong with ice in the neck. No different than putting ice in your Coke, the purpose here is to cool the smoke down, making it smooth and delicious. Fundamentally, they are very simple devices. Often made of glass—specifically borosilicate glass—or silicone, they usually have a little ice notch at the bottom of the neck, just above the water chamber, that is used to hold the ice cubes.

Why Would You Use Ice in Your Bong?

Why Would You Use Ice in Your Bong?

There are several pros to using an ice bong, some of which are more obvious than others. Here are some favourites.

  • Cooling

This one goes without saying. The main reason to put ice in your bong is to cool the smoke down, thereby making each hit less harsh. As the smoke crosses the ice, between the chamber and your mouth, it will cool rapidly. The effect is a creamier, fragrant smoke that will unleash the full flavours of your weed.

  • Filtration

Ice also works as an extra level of filtration. As the smoke passes over the large surface area of the ice cubes, some of the larger particles and impurities will be removed, leaving you with more of the good stuff. Not only does this make the experience of smoking better, but it will be less harmful on your lungs in the long run.

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  • Larger Hits

For many, doing ever larger bong hits is the natural progression. Ice will make this so much easier. By cooling and filtering the smoke, the only limit to how much you can inhale will be the capacity of your lungs (and your tolerance). No more coughing your guts up before you’ve finished that hit. But watch you don't whitey!

  • Splash Guard

By sitting between the chamber and your mouth, the ice acts as an impromptu splash guard. The benefit of this? Well, has anyone ever enjoyed getting a mouthful of bong water along with their smoke? If they have, they’re certainly in the minority.

  • It’s Attractive

Quite frankly, smoke swirling around a stem full of ice looks great. Watching it cream up in that little ice cave, safe in the knowledge that it will taste delicious, is pretty special.

Can You Put Ice in Every Bong?

Can You Put Ice in Every Bong?

You cannot put ice in every bong. For starters, bongs that don't feature ice pinches won't hold the ice cubes in place. Another problem might be the glass a bong is made from. Making the ice cubes in your bong jingle could crack it, and the last thing you want when you’re stoned is a cut hand and a lap full of bong water. Acrylic bongs and silicone bongs are more resistant to physical force, but should nonetheless be treated with care.

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What Exactly Is an Ice Catcher?

What’s more, bongs specifically designed with ice catchers (aka ice pinches) will keep the ice out of the water. Mostly, ice catchers will be little notches in the neck of the beaker that stop ice cubes from slipping down into the water below. Sometimes, though, they will be a little more high-tech. Perhaps a little hexagonal mesh, or something similar at the base of the neck. In all cases, they perform exactly the same function.

How To Use an Ice Bong

How To Use An Ice Bong

Using an ice bong is very simple. In almost all cases, you will just drop ice cubes down the neck, and the ice catcher will stop them going into the chamber. How much ice should you use? It’s up to you, really. For super-smooth hits, you can fill it all the way up to the mouth, but even a single ice cube will do.

A word of warning, however! Keep an eye on the water levels in the chamber. As the ice melts, it will run into the water, and, if you keep topping up ice, you’ll eventually find it streaming out of the carb hole or rising up the downstem.

What Else Can You Do To Improve Bong Hits?

Ice is not the only way to improve the quality of your bong hits. Below are a few other viable options. Whilst there is no need to include all of these methods in your smoking apparatus, it won’t do you any harm if you do, and you’ll guarantee yourself the smoothest smoke possible.

Most of the methods outlined below will set you back more than an ice catcher, so it is advised to begin with this cheap option and then upgrade if you find you’re still craving an even creamier hit.

Use a Percolator

Improve Bong Hits: Use a Percolator

A percolator is essentially a smaller, secondary chamber within the bong. Often sitting above the main water bowl or chamber, the smoke will then be forced through the percolator—also filled with water—where it will be cooled and filtered again. Featuring little holes, so-called showerhead percs create a larger surface area by thinning the smoke, allowing it to cool faster. This secondary filtration process makes for a smoother, cleaner smoke.

Use a Precooler or Ash Catcher

A precooler fulfils a similar function to the percolator, but intercepts smoke before it reaches the primary chamber. Essentially, it's a miniature bong placed within the ground joint where the downstem usually sits. Much like a diffused downstem, it creates smaller bubbles that make the smoke cooler and increase filtration.

An ash catcher and precooler are not the same thing—though a precooler may also be used as an ash catcher. An ash catcher is a removable filter that catches ash before it contaminates the water in the chamber of the bong. It serves to make your hits smoother and keep the bong cleaner. By keeping the water cleaner, not only will your hits continue to taste smoother, but you won’t end up with a thick covering of gak around the chamber of your bong—not so quickly, anyway. A precooler will also catch ash, but an ash catcher will not precool.

Use Glycerine Coils

Improve Bong Hits: Use Glycerine Coils

Glycerine is a substance made of fatty acids, often vegetable oils. Glycerine coils are removable coils that can be placed in the neck of the bong instead of ice. The major advantage they have over ice is that they do not melt into the chamber (as the glycerine is contained within glass or acrylic coils), and so cannot ruin your smoking session.

They can be placed independently in the freezer, leaving the bong outside to save space and to protect it from cracking. Quick to freeze and slow to melt, you won’t be waiting long for them and you won’t have to keep exchanging them, meaning you can settle into a long session with no worries.

Can You Use Dry Ice in a Bong?

The brief answer is no. There are several reasons why this is the case. Primarily, it is dangerous, as the extreme temperatures of dry ice are likely to damage your airways, and the last thing you want after a bong hit is to wonder if you’ve broken your lungs and are about to die.

Second, the seriously cold temperatures are likely to damage your bong beyond repair. Third, normal ice is far easier to access and does the job perfectly well. Besides, the dry ice will obscure the smoke as it creams in the chamber and makes its way up the neck, and who would want to miss that?

Can You Put a Bong in the Freezer To Cool the Smoke?

Can You Put A Bong In The Freezer To Cool The Smoke?

How your bong is made will ultimately dictate whether you can put it in the freezer or not. Though it may be okay, it is highly possible that freezing and then subjecting your bong to extreme heat will be enough to cause it to crack. Even the thick glass from which bongs are made is susceptible to thermal shock. There are some ice bong moulds out there that allow you to freeze the bong itself, but these are specialised products.

There are many other solutions that won’t break your bong, nor will they slice up your hands, so we suggest you go for those instead. With the price of these super-smooth bongs, and how well they do their job, there is no need to go the extra-mile and try putting your bong in the freezer too.

Is an Ice Bong Worth the Extra Investment?

Is An Ice Bong Worth The Extra Investment?

For the vast majority of smokers, an ice bong will be worth every penny. Most bongs these days come with ice pinches as standard, meaning it is not some extra gadget for which you will need to break the bank to access.

In fact, an ice catcher is by far the cheapest way to improve your bong ripping life. Compared to the prices of percolators, precoolers, ash catchers and glycerine coils—which could set you back hundreds—an ice catcher is an effective and economical upgrade. With the only drawback being the risk of flooding, easily managed with due care and attention, there is no reason not to introduce an ice catcher into your life. Between the extra-cool smoke and the increased filtration, the hits will feel better, and your lungs will feel better in the long run too.

Before you get some sort of space-age bong setup, with glass pipe attachments reaching up to the ceiling and tangling you up when you’re too stoned to even speak, try an ice catcher bong and see if it does the job.

Adam Parsons
Adam Parsons
Professional cannabis journalist, copywriter, and author Adam Parsons is a long-time staff member of Zamnesia. Tasked with covering a wide range of topics from CBD to psychedelics and everything in between, Adam creates blog posts, guides, and explores an ever-growing range of products.
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