How Does a Bubbler Work – Everything You Need to Know
These days there are almost as many different ways to consume weed as there are strains of the stuff! Bongs, blunts, joints, tinctures, dab rigs – there are so many smoking methods that it’s hard keeping track of the latest trends.
Today, we’re all about bubblers – a method of smoking that bears a lot in common with both bongs and hand pipes. In fact, they’re somewhere in between a bong and pipe.
This article will introduce the bubbler and detail exactly how to use one. By the end of it, you should know:
- What a bubbler is.
- The pros and cons of using a bubbler.
- Exactly how a bubbler works and how to use one.
- All about the different types of bubblers on the market today.
After reading this WeedRepublic guide to the bubbler, you’ll be an expert. Let’s get down to it!
Thank you to @bigalssmokeshop for sharing this image on insta.
What is Bubbler?
A bubbler is a kind of water pipe. However, unlike bongs – such as the simply beautiful round base bong from Grav – they’re usually made from a single piece of material. This is why we say they’re a cross between bongs and traditional pipes!
Bubblers are usually smaller than bongs but larger than pipes. Since they use water as a means of cooling the smoke, they offer a much smoother hit than you’d get smoking a small hand pipe. However, they’re a lot more portable than some of the extravagant bongs out there. Whereas you’ll probably get a bubbler in a jacket or hoodie pocket, you’d certainly struggle with a super long bong.
Like both bongs and pipes, bubblers will feature a mouthpiece and a bowl. They will also have one or more water chambers to draw smoke through. The downpipes might have diffuser ends or even percolator systems. The water and the various means of distributing smoke through it make for a creamy smooth hit.
What are the Advantages of a Bubbler?
Bubblers are great for loads of reasons. Here’s why WeedRepublic loves them:
- Portable – usually just larger than a traditional pipe, you’ll find transporting a bubbler without damaging it easier than taking a bong out and about with you.
- Much smoother hit than possible with traditional pipes. Bubblers can often make for a very pleasant smoking experience.
- Creative designs and colored glass can make them really funky – like this Red Eye Tek bubbler that has a metallic finish.
- Often cheaper than a bong. Even a budget-conscious stoner needn’t settle for anything less than smooth hits!
- A single piece means less likelihood of losing or breaking an important bit.
- More discreet than a bong. A bubbler will be much easier to hide from family or whoever else when not in use.
What are the Disadvantages of a Bubbler?
Although we certainly do love bubblers, if we’re being highly critical, we could point out the following flaws:
- Usually made of glass – not great for the clumsy smoker!
- Non-removable bowls can make clearing ash and reloading buds trickier.
- Since they’re smaller pieces, they’ll never quite replicate the smoke cooling potential of larger percolator water pipes such as the LAX Beaker Bong from the Snoop Dogg Pounds collection.
- As a single piece product, if you break any portion of it, you’ll probably need to replace the whole thing.
How Do Bubblers Work?
If you’ve ever smoked a bong you can probably go right ahead and skip this next section. You won’t learn anything new since the principle of smoking a bubbler is exactly the same as smoking water pipes.
Bubblers rely on changing air pressure to work. Essentially, the smoker creates a vacuum by inhaling at the mouthpiece. Since there should be no air leaks (you’ll cover a carb hole before you hit it for real), the vacuum pulls air from the only place available to it – the other chamber of the bubbler.
On simple bubblers, this other chamber will have a bowl attached with a hole in it to the air outside the device. The air is pulled from outside the bubbler, passes through some water, and into the smoker’s mouth.
Adding a gauze with burning cannabis to the bowl will mean that the smoke from the bud will also be sucked into the device. On paper, it might sound a little confusing but within a second of playing with an actual bubbler, you’ll know exactly what we’re talking about.
@getyoursjohnsonvt coming in hot with this shot of awesome pipes on ig.
How Do I Use Bubblers?
Using bubblers is really easy. Follow these instructions below to enjoy a creamy smooth hit from your new piece:
- Add water to your bubbler. How you do this will depend on the style of bubbler. Just try to avoid pouring water directly into the bowl. Any residual moisture on the bowl might cause problems with weed that just won’t burn later on. It’s usually best to add the water via the mouthpiece to avoid a soggy bowl.
- Add water to the bubbler until any downpipes, diffuser slits, or percolators are covered with at least some water.
- Without adding any weed, give the bubbler a test toke to make sure you don’t get any water in your mouth. Lose a little of the liquid via the mouthpiece if you do.
- Add a gauze to the bowl. You can either buy premade ones like or use some aluminum foil with tiny holes poked through it.
- Grind up a small amount of cannabis (about 0.1-0.2g if you want to be all technical). WeedRepublic is loving the Mamba electric grinder at the moment because, well, we’re lazy! If you don’t have a grinder, cut the weed up with scissors or tear it apart with your fingers.
- Add a small amount of the ground up weed to the bowl. It should sit on top of the gauze.
- Pick your bubbler up. If there is a hole in the water chamber, cover it with a thumb or finger. Most manufacturers will position their carb holes in easy reach places.
- Light the buds with a lighter or hemp lighting cord such as.
- Inhale through the mouthpiece and clear that sucker!
- Release the carb hole to clear the chamber fast.
What Types of Bubblers are Available?
There are lots of different types of bubblers available these days. The strides the legalization movement has made around the world have encouraged glass blowers to get more creative with their designs. This had led to a weird and wonderful glass pipe, bong, and bubbler products to smoke with.
Hammer bubblers – Shaped like a hammer – well, duh! These are probably the most common style of bubbler on the market. They usually have a base that allows them to stand on a flat surface. Often following a simpler design, the hammer bubbler designers can afford to use thicker glass than more elaborate pieces.
Click here to buy the pictured bubbler:
Sidecar bubblers – Products like this beaut from MAV are known as sidecar bubblers. Since they have a water chamber, a neck, and mouthpiece, they look a lot like a miniature bong. This design also helps deliver smooth hits without diffuser or percolator (sidecar bubblers can have both though).
Click here to buy the MAV sidecar:
Double chamber bubblers – For an even smoother hit, look at double chamber products like the Double Bubble Bird Cage from Black Leaf. These work in the same way as the basic example above but the smoke must pass through a second chamber. Both chambers may have additional smoke cooling systems. Obviously, since it has a second chamber, this type of bubbler will be larger than others. It’ll be less portable but it’ll deliver an incredibly smooth hit!
Click here to buy the Bird Cage:
Percolator bubblers – Any bubbler can have a percolator or similar smoke distributing system in it. Common on high-end glass water pipes, percolators basically break the smoke up so that more surface area is exposed to the water. This cools the smoke further. Being more intricate, they must use thinner glass (easier to break) and are more difficult to clean.
Click here for Grace Glass's Blue Duck Vapor with a 6 arm percolator:
Silicone bubblers – Most bubblers are made from glass. They’re, therefore, pretty fragile. However, there are some virtually indestructible bubblers on the market. Entirely silicone bubblers like the Silicone Bubbler from Grasscity might not be as pretty as an extravagant glass piece but they’re great for those with butterfingers!
Click here to buy the pictured bubbler from Grasscity:
Should I Buy a Bubbler?
Bubblers are a great addition to any smoker’s arsenal. Not only are they super portable but some smokers think the hit is so smooth that they use a bubbler as their main piece. Their size also means they’re easier to hide from kids, parents, or whoever might disapprove. Skilled glassworkers can also craft all kinds of crazy designs in a load of different colors - meaning that bubblers can look great too.
Whilst a bubbler is never going to give quite the hit of a scientific, multi-chamber percolator-type bong, they can get pretty close! If you’re after a smoking device that offers the portability of traditional pipes and the smoking experience of a bong, a bubbler should be one of the first products you check out!
Image Credit: Everything for 420
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