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Bongs Vs Pipes Which is Better? | Self Lighting Pipes
There’s a kind of cannabis community controversy concerning the water pipe vs bong debate and which is better for smoking your herb in – we’re gonna wade in with our two-hits worth of opinion and advice. Some tokers are on ‘team pipe’ and like the convenience, portability and ease of just packing a weedy bowl, putting the lighter to the leaf and drawing it in – simple, elegant, gets you stoned. Other potheads prefer blazing a blast through bong water chambers and percolators, which cool the smoke and remove particulates and provide you a smoother puff of potent pot. There’s also a mindset among marijuana peeps along the lines of ‘why not both?’ – bong rigs and weed pipes both have their plusses and minuses.
Pipes are cool because they are great for a quick hit anytime, practically anywhere, and come in a huge variety of shapes, sizes, and materials. Pipe sizes range from small hand pipes to larger tubes and can be made from metal, silicone, wood, glass or practically anything – people have made pipes out of cored apples! Pot pipes are fairly easy to clean, your hits taste really good and are generally pretty potent, and the only equipment you need is a BIC (or other brand) lighter, a pipe, a wire mesh pipe screen, and a pinch or several of some weed – and you’re good to go!
However, self lighting pipes are known for harsher hits, the infamous lungbusters of legend, and if you’ve ever smoked from a ganja pipe then you’ve likely also nearly inverted your lungs coughing fiercely from a hit that kicked your butt! Particulates are also a particular problem for pipes, screens become dislodged and bits of ash and leaf can get pulled through the stem into your mouth – gnarly, just gnarly! Some glass pipes break easily, and small one-hitter self lighting pipes can also get lost in a sofa cushion or some bro’s butt-crack! Even gnarlier!
Bongs are larger pipes that use a water-filled chamber to filter smoky soot, tar and airborn particulates out of hits from the bong bowl, making hits taste cleaner and smoother – and some say more flavorful. Some bongs are rather artistic and some are incredibly complex with removeable cooling and percolator modules. There are mini-bongs and bubbler pipes, but average bongs are rather cumbersome to lug around, so bongs make better at-home smoking options. You get long, strong hits from a bong - unless you do it wrong, and the effects are instantaneous.
If you don’t know how to use a bong, it’s pretty simple – light bowl, put mouth on mouthpiece, lift bowl plug, and inhale… then boom, instant high! Also, smoke from bongs is less stinky, but then there’s the water in the bong which becomes quite vile if you don’t change it! Bongs are also usually more expensive than self lighting pipes – some can cost well over $100.
Scientifically, a 2000 study sponsored by marijuana advocacy group NORML and cosponsored by the Association for Psychedelic Studies tested the various ways that you can smoke cannabis and determined that bongs did not deliver more THC than joints or pipes. Though it hasn’t been confirmed by either study yet, it appeared that bong filtration might actually filter out some of the THC; one other factor the study didn’t account for was that rips from bongs tend to be longer and stouter than a puff on a pipe. So who’s the winner in the water bong vs pipe debate?
Water bong vs pipe? Read on to look at both options and what makes them better than each other; we’ll give you our views on each and what we love about them. From there you can decide which you prefer for your own pot smoking or bong banging needs!
Grav Labs - Upline Taster Pipe - $15.99
You can call them bats, man – or chillums or tasters or glass joints but they are all basically a reusable one-hitter weed pipe. One of the pluses of pipes over bongs is that they are so discreet, pocketable – and none moreso than the teeny, tiny single-toke take on the venerable hand pipe.
To use a small taster pipe like this, just grind some weed, vertically pack the small stem – don’t pack the one-hitter weed pipe too tightly or you may inadvertently restrict airflow - then light it and inhale, just like you would a joint. Afterward, you need a nail or wire to poke, prod and unpack the ash from the taster pipe, so you can repack, relight and relish another hit! Simple enough, eh?
This glass blunt by Grav Labs features a long 4'' chamber, enough for a hit or two of grass – or one long draw. This small smoking pipe is made from sturdy scientific glass that can take multiple heatings and reheatings, and features a tight rubber gasket that lets you slide it back and forth to push the ash out as you toke down.
It is an inexpensive, unobtrusive way to enjoy a discreet blast of weed at the beach, in your car or in the closet at grandma’s during family get-togethers! This Grav Labs Upline Taster self lighting Pipes can be had for $11.99 or 4 automatic, interest-free payments of $4.00 – and shipping is free within the US.
Why is it better than a bong? Inconspicuous, very portable, and cheap!
What we love!
- It’s like a reusable joint
- Small 4'', pocketable size, portable pot pipe
- Perfect for the price range of any smoker
- Made from sturdy scientific glass that can take multiple heatings
- Features a tight rubber gasket, lets you slide it back and forth to push ash out
Prometheus Titan Pipe - $139.99
We featured this pipe as our staff pick in our ‘17 Best Weed Pipes in the World Right Now’ blog because the Prometheus Titan is a high-tech, 4-inch, two-in-one, ergonomically balanced, metal and glass weed pipe; the core is a replaceable glass pipe surrounded by anodized 6160 aircraft-grade aluminum armor. The Titan’s exoskeleton has a sleek and stylish space-age design, and it comes in green, blue, red, black, and purple finishes. It's got a cooler, futuristic look, especially when you're smoking your choice herbs from it! What a water bong vs pipe contender!
The internal clear glass marijuana pipe is suspended within the high-tech metal frame by shock-absorbing rubber gaskets, making the Titan one tough little pipe. The Prometheus Titan comes with replacement wire mesh ash screens and gaskets – and they even throw in some self lighting pipes cleaners to get you started with keeping this magnificent marijuana machine shipshape!
This thing is pricey, yeah, at $139.99 but you’re investing in a nearly-indestructible, high-quality glass and metal pipe – and free shipping helps, kind of!
Why it’s better than a bong vs pipe? This pipe is rugged, stylish and as easy to use as any glass spoon pipe.
What we love!
- Futuristic anodized aircraft-grade aluminum exoskeleton makes the Prometheus Titan break-resistant and look high-tech cool!
- Anodized 6160 aircraft-grade aluminum armor comes in green, blue, red, black and purple finishes
- Inner glass weed pipe is suspended within the high-tech metal frame by shock-absorbing rubber gaskets
- Comes with replacement wire mesh ash screens and gaskets, complimentary pipe cleaners
Gravity Bong - $49.99
College students have been constructing homemade gravity bongs to do their smoking since back in the 60s and 70s! Also known as bucket bongs, gravity bongs consist of two containers, with a larger, bucket container filled with water, and a smaller one. The smaller has an attached bowl and open bottom – often cut apart 2-liter soda pop bottles are used, and the smaller is placed into the larger. You light your weed in the bowl, then move the small container up, pressure difference causes the smoke to slowly fill the smaller container until the user removes the bowl plug and inhales. This is a forerunner in the water bong vs pipe debate.
Some say that the Gravity Bong is quite likely the most efficient type of weed smoking device because no smoke is lost, all of it is trapped between the water and the inner container, unable to leak out! That’s the good stuff - that weed smoke is chock-full of potent cannabinoids like THC!
The Nucleus Gravity Bong stands 12 inches high and is made from clear borosilicate glass. The top of the gravity bong has a rubber grommet with a hole in the center leading into the water pipe's main chamber that you can insert any size male-ended bowl into. So, whatever type of male bong bowl that you have laying around you can use with the upright bong.
Pick up your own gravity bong to smoke down with your dude bro crew for $49.99 – or 4 painless automatic payments of $12.50 each.
Water bong vs pipe in this case? Unlike a glass hand pipe, no smoke is lost – so potentially more cannabinoids get inhaled by and infused in you!
What we love!
- Gravity bong efficiency
- 12 inches tall
- Made from clear borosilicate glass
- Rubber grommet adaptable to different male-ended bowl plugs
My own Ganja Girl and I recently got one of these nigh-indestructible bendy weed self lighting pipes and it is phenomenal! The biggest surprise was how big the stainless-steel bowl was – it can hold up to two grams of weed! If you smoke this thing solo you will be so high!
Toking on a Gandalf pipe you can almost picture yourself communing with Hobbits, Dwarves and Elves – oh, and spoiler alert, the answer to the riddle on the mine entrance is that you literally say ‘Friend’ to enter. We’re guessing Tolkien toked himself some righteous weed!
The Piecemaker Konjurer Silicone Gandalf Pipe is 12 inches long and made of silicone. This long hand pipe glows in the dark, and comes in blue, green, cotton candy and pink colors; unless you get the Rasta design, which doesn’t glow – bad mojo, there. Glow-in-the-dark ganja bowls are cool in a way that shouldn’t need explaining to stoners, who are known to own black-lights and wear tie-dye!
You don’t need to be a wizard to smoke your own pipeweed in this fine fluorescent, silicone Gandalf style hand pipe – you just need to conjure up a mere $26.00, or make 5 automatic, interest-free payments of $5.20; and it comes with free shipping straight to your own Hobbit hole in the Shire!
Water pipe vs bong for this product? Bendable, unbreakable, easier to clean (silicone is dishwasher safe), and you can throw it in your car for traveling!
What we love!
- Massive bowl so you can pack much weed
- 12 inches long
- Bendy, unbreakable (well, nearly), smooth silicone
- Cooler Gandalf-pipe shape
- Glow-in-the-dark effects and lots of colour options: blue, green, cotton candy and pink colors (not Rasta though, mon)
Whether this is Halloween or Christmas or whatever time of the year, the Chameleon Glass Skellington glass bowl is a good example of the tried-and-true spoon pipe. Just an open bowl, a stem, a wire mesh screen in the bowl to keep burning herb and ash from being sucked into your mouth, and a pinch or few of marijuana, then you light it and puff away! It is simplicity itself for a stoner!
Chameleon Glass has several character pieces and pop-culture pot pipes like Star Trek logo pipes – blaze long and prosper – as well as skull pipes, cats, Minions, Deadpool and more – there is a novelty glass weed pipe for pretty much every TV show and movie, anime, comic books, video games; there’s pink elephant pipes and even food like avocados and apples. Not that there aren’t decorative bong bowls – but glass pipes just seem to lend themselves to creative glassblowing!
Chameleon Glass’ Skellington spoon pipe is 4 ½ inches long – average size for a glass hand pipe – and features the grinning face of Jack Skellington, the "Pumpkin King" of Halloween Town, from the animated movie A Nightmare Before Christmas.
You can add own Skellington spoon pipe to your collection for $48.99, or you could make 5 automatic, interest-free payments of $9.80 – either way you’ll soon be puffing pot from the head of the Pumpkin King as you plot to take over Christmas, or maybe just make tacos. Oh, and the shipping is free!
What’s Jack Skellington’s take on the water bong vs pipe debate? Ease of loading and hitting, small and lightweight and so very portable; more character hand pipes are available – though as bong use increases, they are starting to make funner, fancier bong bowls, too! If you like the sound of this, then your search may already be over!
What we love!
- Cool character design
- 4 ½ inches long
- Lightweight glass
- You can make 5 automatic, interest-free payments of $9.80
- Free shipping
This pipe is brilliant, ingenious – the bowl and the lighter are one unit that lights itself! Smoking has truly never been easier. It is the inspired pairing of a butane lighter with a high-end stainless-steel weed pipe. The one-handed Solopipe features a sliding bowl cover, a refillable gas valve, and adjustable flame control. If James Bond, 007, were a stoner, he would so totally have this because it is such a cool gadget! And it comes, appropriately, in gunmetal!
Solopipe Self-Lighting Pipe comes with a hard protective case – so after you pull it out, slide back the cover on the prepacked bowl, cooly flick it on and take your hit, you can slide it into the pocket of your tuxedo or ruby-studded clutch on the way to the roulette table; Q-Branch… well, okay, Solopipe… also includes a pouch that slides over the case, replacement screens and cleaning tools. They aren’t sending you out there without everything you need to complete your marijuana mission, that wouldn’t be cricket, now would it?
The gunmetal Solopipe Self-Lighting Pipe can be had for $69.99, complete, plus tax and shipping and it usually ships out within 4-6 business days. It does not, however, ship filled with butane, that you have to buy and fill it yourself. This message will self-destruct in 15 seconds… nah, kidding, you’re good!
How does this measure on the water bong vs pipe scale? You can’t slip a bong into your pocket - and this pipe can ignite itself!
What we love!
- Butane lighter paired in a one-piece pipe with a high-end stainless-steel weed pipe
- You can use it one-handed
- Bowl cover keeps weed inside until you need it, so you can prepack
- Refillable gas valve – uses standard butane
- Adjustable flame control
- Comes with hard protective case, pouch that slides over the case, replacement screens and cleaning tools
$15 Bubbler - $15
Okay, this is kind of fudging a bit because a bubbler is a pipe, but it uses water to cool and clean the smoky vapor from the weed bowl when you take a draw. Though bongs in general are referred to as water pipes, a bubbler exactly is a water pipe! A classic, the bubbler doesn't care if it's cooler than a bong or a pipe; it just simply - is.
You hit on it just like you would a weed pipe, you just add water to it before you do for bong-like cooling and filtration. When it comes to bubblers vs. bongs, bubblers offer far less cooling and filtration, but they offer at least some – as opposed to regular weed pipes, which offer practically no filtration of smoke and particulates, save the mesh screen.
Because bubblers use water filtration – just like a bong – your smoking experience is smoother and cooler than traditional pot pipes. Bubbler pipe styles range from hammer bubblers to upright bubblers and even tubular blunt-shaped bubblers. Just like tradition dry herb hand pipes, bubblers are available in a variety of materials including glass, silicone, and wood. And the pricing on bubblers range from $15 to $20, like the model we featured here to show that bongs can be as cheap as self lighting pipes in some instances, on up to over a hundred dollars.
This particular glass bubbler is 4-5" in height, and features a frit, inside-out or fumed design – they mix different glasses together to make it sparkly and swirled-looking.
If you want the least expensive bong possible, then a bubbler would be it! These are $15 apiece; or you can make 5 automatic, interest-free payments of $3.00 – and they are shipped to you free. Sizes and colors vary because these are mass produced, by hand.
How does this measure up in the water bong vs pipe debate? Filtration, this hits like a pipe but cools more like a bong! Add in your favourite ganja and you'll forget all about the difference between bongs and pipes.
What we love!
- Can hold and hit like a weed pipe, but get water filtration like a bong
- Dirt cheap, for a bong
- 4-5 inches, so a good portable size
- Frit, inside-out or fumed design creates stylish glittery effect in the glass
Glowfly Glass Small Beaker Bong - $28.00
This one is a pretty standard mini-bong, which is just what it sounds like: a smaller version of a regular sized bong. Though most mini-bongs are only 5 to 6 inches tall, the thing that makes a bong ‘mini’ is its easy portability. And since an 8-inch glass bong like this one is portable enough, we’re calling the Glowfly Glass Small Beaker Bong a mini-bong. Smoother hits of your precious cannabis in no time - we're certainly not complaining.
Mini-bongs are most often made of either glass or acrylic, like the Glowfly Glass Small Beaker Bong; but there are some silicone and metallic mini-bongs also. This baby bong by Glowfly Glass features a small scientific beaker design with a standard 9mm male-ended slide.
The Glowfly Glass Small Beaker Bong is made in Arizona, USA, and is available in three colorful finishes: blue, green, and lake green – which is basically dark green.
If you have $28.00 in a bank account, then this glass beaker bong can be yours; or you can make 5 automatic, interest-free payments of $5.60. The shipping is free and that is never not awesome!
Where on the spectrum is this in the water bong vs pipe contention? Still pretty portable, but with better bong filtration!
What we love!
- Scientific beaker design
- Small and compact, portable 8-inch bong
- 9mm male-ended slide included
- Made in the USA
- Available in three colorful finishes: blue, green, and lake green (dark green)
PIECEMAKER KAHUNA 2' SILICONE BONG - $128.00
This one was featured in our '12 Best Girly Bongs in the World Right Now' blog!
It is a very colorful, unbreakable silicone bong in a swirling blue and pink pattern that they call cotton candy, and also comes in Rasta red-green-and-black, blue and green. What’s extra-far out is that the Piecemaker Kahuna silicone bong glows in the dark – except for the Rasta one, which we take exception to because it would look so trippy glowing!
This isn’t just a pretty bong, but it’s also practical with a built-in lighter holder, a removable base for easier cleaning, a built-in ice catcher and Piecemaker's signature Hex-Tek downstem - which creates boatloads of bubbles for more fun, better cooling and fabulous filtration!
The silicone bong has a Komfy Fit Mouthpiece that forms to your face when you hit to provide a better seal, so you lose less bong smoke. More for your marijuana-luvin’ lungs!
Here is the ‘but wait, there’s more’ part – the 24-inch Piecemaker Kahuna silicone bong comes with a removable, replaceable 14mm diffused silicone downstem and a removable, replaceable 14mm stainless steel bong bowl – they even threw in a built-in ice catcher for added smoke cooling! Want even more? How about a spill-proof cap for easier traveling?
This is good on-the-go bong for a guy or a gal, loaded-with-options water pipe and it can be had for $128.00 or 5 automatic, interest-free payments of $25.60 plus tax and shipping; and it ships usually within 24hrs.
Another one for the water pipe vs bong debate? The durability of a silicone weed pipe with the big blast of cooled and refined bong smoke – and a built-in ice catcher for even more cooling; pipes don’t have much filtration or cooling unless they are bubblers!
What we love!
- 24-inch unbreakable silicone bong
- Comes in cotton candy, Rasta red-green-and-black, blue and green – all but the Rasta are glow-in-the-dark (but the Rasta would be so cool if it also glowed!)
- Built-in lighter holder
- Removable base for easier cleaning
- Built-in ice catcher
- Piecemaker's signature Hex-Tek downstem
- Comes with a removable, replaceable 14mm diffused silicone downstem and a removable, replaceable 14mm stainless steel bong bowl
- Spill-proof cap for traveling
STAX ULTIMATE SET - $669.99
This Fraggle Rock conglomeration of bong bases, percs and coils was the Staff Pick from our ‘STAX Water Pipes Find the Perfect Device for You’ blog because it is a modular bong set with the works!
The STAX Ultimate Collection gives you every piece you need to create two full STAX setups at the same time - or a skyscraper bong - because all the STAX percs are in this set, as well as the two most popular STAX bong bases and mouthpieces. The Ultimate set includes STAX’s popular Beaker Base as well as the STAX Turbine Base; percs and modules include STAX Glycerin Coil, STAX Helix Mouthpiece, STAX Standard Mouthpiece, STAX Tree Perc, STAX Halo Perc, and STAX Circ Perc.
With the STAX Ultimate Set, you also get a quartz nail for dabbing as well as a weed bowl so you can use your build-a-bong constructs with either marijuana flower or cannabis concentrate – or both if you build two towers, one rigged for weed and the other primed for nail banging wax!
Grav Labs’ STAX Ultimate bong and perc collection even gives you some colorful joint clips to bolt all the nodes together, and you’ll find a starter bottle of RezBlock to wash the resiny goo out of your glass tower of percs and pieces.
The epically epic STAX Ultimate Collection can be yours for $669.99 – which is a lot, but it’s a bong vs pipe erector set! You can ease your wallet-hurt by making 4 automatic payments of $167.49 USD; and there’s a small tax and shipping charge, as is usual with online purchases.
Water bong vs pipe in this situation? It’s reconfigurable, comes with umpteen cooling and filtration modules, also it comes with a dab nail – so you could bang a cool rip of weed wax from it!
What we love!
- The epicness of having enough bases and percs to create two STAX modular bongs or one bong skyscraper
- STAX Ultimate Set comes with:
- Both a 14mm funnel bong bowl and 14mm quartz dab nail are included
- 4 joint clips to interlock STAX modules
- 1 bottle of RezBlock for cleaning tar and soot from your STAX build-a-bong glassware
This masterwork of a bong was designed by Snoop Dogg, hip-hop legend known for his enthusiastic appreciation of the good herb. He created this notoriously b-i-g, towering 12-and-a-half-inch bong for his new POUNDS line of glassware.
At the base of the Battleship Bong is the turbine. As smoke is forced through vents along the side of this glass disk, it creates a whirling cyclone effect within the bong, slowing and smoothing the smoke in the process.
Upline from the turbine is the honeycomb percolator that further filters and cleans your bong hit, and there’s another turbine above that for 3 percs in all; making the smoke separate again helps it cover a larger area and provides more time to cool down while traveling through the bong and into your mouth and lungs.
This is the hippest and hoppest bong in the hood, made with 5mm thick borosilicate glass, sporting a slim, 14 ½ mm vapor slide and 90 degree joint. The glass banger nail is surrounded by a small dome and the mouthpiece is angled in the opposite direction for optimum safety, as the nail can get quite hot. Hot hits are dope, scorch marks on your face notsomuch! With the dry weed bowl, you can quickly and easily convert the piece into a more classic bong if you want to – after all, it’s all good!
The Snoop Dogg Battleship Bong comes at you with 3 cray-cray cool colors: real red, wicked white, bold black, plus classic clear (‘cause clear ain’t no color)!
Pick up the baddest ass of bongs for you and your squad for $279.99 plus tax - shipping is free and discreet; the delivery dude will gangsta rap on your door so you’ll know that it’s cool!
Your bong rips and dab nail bangs will be all the more shizzle with this Doggy-styled water pipe!
Position on the water pipe vs bong debate: it’s a bowl and a banger nail in one, so you can enjoy leaf and concentrates with the same water pipe – woof!
What we love!
- Made with 5mm thick borosilicate glass
- 12 ½ inches tall
- 3 percs in all – a honeycomb sandwiched between two turbines for the most filter you could hope for
- Banger nail and weed bowl included
- Available in real red, wicked white, bold black, plus colorless crystal clear
Summary of water pipe vs bong debate:
Pipes have their pluses and minuses as do bongs; but when it comes to bongs vs pipes, which one wins?
It’s hard to pick an undeniable winner because both are strong in their own ways, but we hafta say that bongs get a bit of an edge because of their filtration and cooling effects, which lead to less harsh hits. When it comes to how to choose a bong, or what to look for in buying a bong, you’re gonna want to consider the money in your wallet, your personal taste, the reputation of the piece you’re considering, and where you’re gonna use it – modular towers and bigger bong rigs are best for at-home toking and dabbing, while bubblers and mini-bongs are great, on-the-go portable bongs. Cheap bongs are fine, but if you’re gonna use it a lot then you may want to invest in a bigger, fancier piece when you go to buy a bong. Some bongs come with dab nails or conversion kits which add to their appeal.
Pipes for beginners to weed are the best option because they're simply easier to use. Newbies to smoking marijuana might need a beginner pipe smoking kit consisting of a cheap glass hand pipe, some wire mesh pipes screens, obviously some pot leaf, and a lighter – but that’s about it! Bongs and dab rigs are more complicated to use and smoke from, but for the intermediate to advanced placement stoners who have learned how to smoke weed or wax from a bong, they are a great way to enjoy the smoothest of smooth hits!
Personally, we like both bowls and bongs, because they both have their advantages and their own shortcomings; Pipes are easier to use but can give you harsh lungbusters - which is similar when it comes to pipe vs joint smoking; bongs hits are smoother and cooler and less hard on the lungs, but you do still cough some and they just aren’t as easy to use as a handheld pipe. In the end, don't read into it too much. Most weed smoking enthusiasts seem to come down on the side of ‘why not both?’ – so, blaze away on both and enjoy the high!
Researched and written by David and Leah Kaye Weathers.
|David and Leah Kaye Weathers are a freelance cannabis writing and graphic designing husband and wife team from Lansing, Michigan. They are passionate advocates for medical and recreational cannabis legalization in the United States. They enjoy not only smoking and vaping, or dabbing, marijuana but also cooking with weed infused veggie oil. They like to spend their free time wandering along nature trails in search of the perfectly chillaxing spot for a smoke sesh.|
(Cover image: Bong And Pipe, image courtesy of Halfelf87 on Instagram)
Written by Megan Medeiros (BA)
Megan Medeiros has a bachelor’s degree in English and is currently working on a master’s in English at James Madison University. She's the owner and operator of Medeiros Writing, and has been working as a cannabis writer for the past three years, mostly following the legal climate of marijuana, especially in areas like California, Colorado, Oregon, Canada, and other legal areas.
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page. All photos were sourced from Pinterest.com | updated 2021
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