Why Bongs Have Different Shapes
3 min

Why Bongs Have Different Shapes

3 min

Have you ever wondered why bongs come in different shapes? As it turns out, bongs with different designs have a whole set of advantages and drawbacks compared to one another. Whether you're a casual or regular, balling out or on a budget, there's a bong for everyone.

Who among us doesn't walk into headshops and stare in awe at the bongs on offer? Some look like alien artifacts, others look like they belong in scientific research labs. As you catch yourself staring at them, though, you might be wondering: "Why do they all look like that?".

Creative expression is one factor, of course; however, does one shape work differently than the other? And moreover, does one shape work better than the other? What’s the purpose of it all? After conducting some research on the matter, we’ve come back with some interesting findings, and are keen to share them with you all. Before we explain the benefits of one versus the other, let's first go through each and see how they work.


Here’s a rundown of the different shapes and styles of bongs you may come across on your exploits.


Straight Tube Cannabis Bong

If the name makes it sound simple, that's because it is. A streamlined tube sealed off at the bottom so it can stand, a stem, and a bowl popping up on the side—that’s about it. Just pour enough water into the tube to submerge the downstem, put your ground-up weed in the bowl, and light it while inhaling slowly from the tube. Pull the bowl out when you're ready to take the hit. It's as simple as that, and bong beginners will often go for this variety. They're also easy to clean! Some rinsing out with clean, hot water and a rubdown with cotton swabs will do the trick.


Beaker Cannabis Bong

Perhaps one of the most iconic bong designs out there, the beaker works very similarly to the straight tube—the added aesthetic difference, of course, being the wide, beaker-like base. You'll need more water to prepare this bong, but once you do, it can be a reliable, regular-use piece. The wide base means it can sit on your table without being at major risk of knocking over. Since it functions just as simply as the straight tube, it's almost better for beginners. Along with that, it's safer since those with a lower tolerance are likely to get too high and clumsy.


Round Base Cannabis Bong

Like the first two, the name of this one speaks to the design, sporting a spherical bottom end. In terms of stability, it falls between the straight tube and the beaker, and in terms of smoking, they function the same. A slight advantage of the round base is portability, but it's not much more so than the beaker, or the straight tube for that matter.


Multi-Chamber Cannabis Bong

This is where things get a bit less straightforward, although the benefits are clear. Designs can vary, but they all have at least two separate chambers connected by a central tube. Utilising a water chamber and a percolator, the bong has smoke travel through two filtration stages. Once it gets to you, the hit is smoother than any you'll get from the first three bongs. Those straightforward designs are less hassle and more iconic, sure, but the aficionados amongst smokers should give multi-chamber models a shot. Just be warned that they're pricier than the standard shapes. Along with that, keeping them clean is much more of a delicate and time-consuming effort.


Percolator Cannabis Bong

You know what they say: it's what’s on the inside that counts. It's rare, though, that you get to see the best of the inside from the outside. That, however, is exactly what you get with a percolator bong. A percolator is the part inside some bongs that looks like an abstract jellyfish, but it's so distinctive that it works as a name for the whole thing. Besides looking like a jellyfish, the percolator dissipates the smoke before it hits the water, making a bubbling effect. Moving through this process, the smoke is cooled down greatly and the hit is wonderfully smooth.

Certain bongs contain a few percolators, making for an ultra-filtered and novelty smoking experience. Like multi-chamber bongs, these are pricier than the first three options. Cleaning is also a delicate task, and it'll take up a chunk of your day.



Taking things back to basics, the bubbler is probably the cheapest and most convenient way to enjoy the benefits of a bong. Being the size of a pipe, yet using water like a bong, you'll enjoy smoother hits from these than you would from any regular pipe. The size, however, means it still won't be as smooth as a standard bong. The difference isn't serious, though; anyone needing a smoother, more portable way to smoke should turn here. Depending on the kind you get, they're also really easy to clean! Just submerge in hot water and clean out with cotton swabs.


Special Cannabis Bongs

The high majority of bongs are made from either glass or acrylic. They're both durable materials that can take heat, so it makes sense. Ceramic, however, has become an increasingly prominent choice amongst certain crowds. Since ceramic can take many different forms, the designs of these bongs are usually more detailed and ornate, making them popular centrepieces. Whether they hit smoother or not is a case-by-case issue. The material and design nuances, though, usually make these more expensive.


Which Cannabis Bong To Choose?

So, after all of that, which bong should you choose? Well, it all depends on your budget and the type of smoker you are. If you get lifted on a casual basis, straight tubes, beakers, round bases, and bubblers are all great choices. Glass bongs hit nicer, but acrylic is more durable, less expensive, and far more convenient.

Multi-chamber and percolator bongs are great for regular smokers who want to enjoy the finer flourishes bongs have to offer. As we mentioned before, you'll need to be prepared to shell out some extra cash. You'll have a great conversation piece in the end, though.

Those seeking a bong for on-the-go use are best suited to a bubbler or straight tube bong that can take a little wear and tear. Whichever way you decide to go, we know you'll have a great time, and we hope you have enough snacks for later!

Luke Sumpter
Luke Sumpter
With a BSc (Hons) degree in Clinical Health Sciences and a passion for growing plants, Luke Sumpter has worked as a professional journalist and writer at the intersection of cannabis and science for the past 7 years.
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