Walk into any smoke shop, and you’ll be amazed at the vast assortment of bong models on display. With such a wide selection, you may be wondering where to begin. We’ve prepared some essential information to help you pick out your first glass bong.

Types of Glass Bongs

Bongs differ in their shape, mechanisms, and use. Glass bongs come in a variety of styles:

  • Standard bongs simply use water to filter and cool down the smoke. They come in straight tubes, beakers, or bubble bases. Straight tubes allow for faster pulls. Besides adding stability, beaker and bubble-based bongs slow down the toke and enable the smoke to cool down more. Another consideration is the type of downstem the bong has. Downstems can have either regular or frosted glass. The frosted glass keeps the downstem from slipping out, but the texture makes it harder to clean.
  • Ice Bongs go one step further to cool down the smoke for a smoother toke. They have internal notches to hold ice cubes at various positions along the shaft and to catch pieces of ice when they melt. You can also by an ice-catcher to add to a standard bong.
  • Bent-Neck Bongs prevent water from entering your mouth. The last thing you want is a mouthful of dirty bong water. It’s foul-tasting and defeats the purpose of filtering out all the bad stuff.
  • Recycler bongs have two chambers for added filtration.
  • Percolators have sophisticated scientific mechanisms that enhance the level of filtration. However, they can make for a slower drag and be harder to clean.
  • Dab rigs, also called oil rigs, are specially designed for cannabis concentrates like rosin, budder, and shatter.

Bong Size

Larger bongs are great for sharing or if you want to take big rips. Mini-bongs are an excellent choice for the solo-toker who doesn’t want to leave stale smoke in the chamber. If portability is important to you, try a pocket-sized bubbler.

Another consideration is the thickness of the glass. Bongs typically come in thicknesses that range from three millimeters to nine millimeters. Three-millimeter bongs are affordable but more fragile. If you’re planning on sharing your bong at parties, go for the nine-millimeter model. 

Oversized Bongs, Artistic Bongs, and Collector’s Items

Specialty bongs are perfect if you’re looking for a conversation piece or a gift. Glass lends itself to many different forms and comes in an incredible array of colors. Limited edition bongs often come in reusable cases where you can protect and store your bong when not in use. 


Beginners might want to start with an inexpensive standard or ice bong. For better filtration, choose a scientific bong with a combination of recycling and percolating mechanisms. If you’re looking for a gift for that special herb-lover in your life, try an artistic glass bong or a limited edition model.

Final note: Not all glass is equal. Cheaper bong manufacturers use soft glass. The best bong manufacturers employ annealed borosilicate glass to increase durability.