These models are reportedly durable and effective for those looking for a budget-friendly bong.
Water bong technology has been around for a while but is still relatively new to the mainstream. The water pipes that have become so popular among smokers in recent years are modified versions of 19th-century opium smoking devices. But because they work with smoke instead of tobacco or marijuana, there is no federal ban on their sale and use as long as you don’t mind being arrested.
If you’re into smoking pot, chances are that you’ve seen someone using one of those big glass bongs before now. They come in all shapes and sizes and can be made from metal to wood to acrylics.
Most people who enjoy this activity prefer them over cigarettes because they allow users to take longer hits without burning up their lungs as a cigarette does. Nothing beats inhaling your bud through ice if you want to get high.
But water bongs are not about getting stoned — at least not primarily. A typical session will feature smoking weed rather than vaporizing it. Vaporization requires extra equipment and more time. Many consider it is cheating because it alters the chemical composition of THC by removing some of its essential oils.
It also makes large quantities of very hot gas, which can damage lung tissue if used too often. These drawbacks make vaporizers less common among serious smokers.
If you’re looking for something between smoking and vaping, a water bong best suits your needs. And unlike many other smoking accessories available today, they won’t cost you an arm and a leg either. You’ll find plenty of affordable models on Amazon starting under $20, and some even go for less than ten bucks.
Unlike other kinds of bongs, however, they don’t require special filtration systems to keep the smoke clean enough to breathe. This allows them to be used anywhere tobacco products, such as airplanes, are prohibited.
So what exactly is a water bong, anyway? What sets these contraptions apart from others on the market? We spoke to several experts to better understand how these things work and why they might appeal more to some folks than others. Read on to learn everything we discovered.
The Original Water Pipe
As far back as ancient Egypt, people had figured out ways to harness steam power to produce heat. One method involved boiling water inside hollowed-out animal skins until they became superheated. When the Egyptians wanted to lighten the mood indoors during cold weather months (when outside temperatures were below freezing), they would fill small clay pots with heated water and suck on them through straw tubes.
Since the air surrounding the skin was warmed by the same process and circulated along with the smoke, it didn’t burn anyone’s mouth.
Later, Chinese merchants developed another version called “fire gourds.” Instead of heating water directly, they boiled rice inside bamboo shells and blew cool air onto glowing coals within the center. After passing through filters made of cotton wool and hemp fibers, the smoke emerged cleaner and cooler than it did when going through the fire.
By the 16th century, the Chinese had refined their methods further and created what came to be known as the hookah.
In 1871, John Keller patented his variation of this design in America. He built one out of the tin and sold it as part of his menagerie to entertain guests at parties. His creation featured two chambers separated by a perforated tube. Tobacco could be smoked through one side while filtered air passed through the other. Keller eventually moved on to making ceramic pieces after selling off his collection of hooks.
It wasn’t until much later that American manufacturers began producing commercialized ones. In 1952, Swisher started marketing plastic bowls covered with mesh screens. Their first model, dubbed the Sutra Bowl, included a single chamber connected to a hose.
Users sucked on a bowl filled with warm tap water containing nicotine salts to kill germs. Once the user stopped sucking, the screen automatically closed off the passageway to prevent stray particles from escaping.
By the mid-’60s, companies like Grav Labs and Rolva Incorporated were offering multi-chambered units similar to the original designs made by Keller. However, most early water bongs relied heavily upon hand pumping to force the smoke down the straw and into the mixing zone.
This required users to hold the device above their mouths and blow steadily. Some of these machines could only deliver about half a hit worth of herb before needing a refill. Others couldn’t reach the bottom chamber due to room height limitations.
These problems led entrepreneurs to start designing alternatives. For example, inventor Mike McGroarty invented a double-cone design called the Volcano in 1965. Its inner chamber held a filter pad saturated with activated charcoal.
As soon as you took a drag, fresh air entered through the top opening and mixed with the smoke from the lower end. Because it lets in fresh air constantly, the Volcano allows faster draws and more efficient consumption.
Another notable improvement was introduced by Frank King Jr., who designed a unit with multiple smaller compartments stacked together. Each compartment served a different purpose. At the base sat a filter pad soaked in alcohol. Above this lay a sand layer that acted as a gravity separator and a trap for unwanted particles.
Finally, the highest section housed crushed ice cubes to chill the smoke and add additional flavor. Although some purists argued against adding flavored additives, King claimed that the overall effect was surprisingly mild.
Today, there are dozens of variations on the basic theme of a triple-layered water bong. Some have three separate sections. Others include multiple chimneys. Still, they all share a few features in common. First, each uses a central core element composed of materials capable of holding hundreds of thousands of gallons of liquid.
Second, every unit employs some filtering system. Third, almost everyone adds flavoring agents like terpenes and oils extracted from herbs like lavender, rosemary, mint, and lemongrass. Fourth, most rely on positive pressure generated by the act of blowing smoke into the unit.
Dabbing Vs. Smoking
Although water bongs originally appeared solely as recreational tools for home use, some enterprising individuals saw profit opportunities. Companies like Grav Labs and VMR Products turned their inventions into business ventures by creating dedicated smoking paraphernalia for medical professionals.
The former manufacturer specifically marketed its products to dentists, whose customers tended to appreciate having access to freshly prepared edibles immediately after completing procedures requiring anesthesia.
When the FDA banned menthol in 1964, for instance, sales of traditional cigarettes spiked dramatically in black communities across America. Sales increased again during the 1990s crack cocaine epidemic after numerous studies found that addicts preferred using rocks infused with the drug instead of smoldering joints.
The industry refers to this phenomenon as the “crack frenzy” trend.
Because of the way water bongs operate, however, health-conscious consumers rarely need to wait hours before enjoying a decent draw. Many say dabbing offers fewer carcinogens than conventional smoking techniques, thanks to the absence of combustion.
Dabs contain little tar since they consist mainly of tiny molecules of concentrated cannabinoids. Even professional chefs sometimes use dabs to enhance the taste of food dishes.
Some dabbers claim that the practice produces a smoother experience than traditional smoking. On the flip side, skeptics argue that the lack of flame leads to a weaker buzz than regular smoking. Either way, dabbing remains controversial among hardcore smokers.
To avoid legal issues related to drug classification, manufacturers tend to err on the conservative side when developing new products. That doesn’t mean that water bongs are perfect, however. Most employ simple filtration mechanisms consisting of porous pads impregnated with activated carbon, silica gel beads, or other absorbents.
While they remove most of the toxins associated with smoking, they leave behind several chemicals, including benzene, formaldehyde, and acetone. Long-term exposure to low levels of these substances isn’t considered dangerous.
Nevertheless, advocates maintain that water bongs provide the safest option for novice smokers. Experienced vapers typically switch to using concentrates once they develop a tolerance to the effects of nicotine. Newbies, on the other hand, should stick with flower.
A Brief History Of Water Pipes
Despite all the improvements made over the past 50+ years, water bongs themselves weren’t widely adopted by mainstream society until the late 1980s. Partly, this was due to the prohibitive costs associated with purchasing specialized smoking gear. Another factor was the emergence of alternative forms of cannabis delivery, like hash oil cartridges.
After seeing the success enjoyed by these products, a Canadian entrepreneur decided to try his luck in the U.S. With help from his brother; he founded Kiva Industries in 1989. The company unveiled its first product two years later – the Cloud 9 Air Streamer.
Like earlier iterations, it consisted of a set of interconnected chambers. Rather than forcing puffers to pump manually, the Air Streamer employed pressurized nitrogen gas and recycled air pulled from the atmosphere. This eliminated the need for electricity.
Acryl Bong Fluorescent
This Acrylic Water Bong shines in the darkness, showing you where to go. It will show you the way in the dark corridors of life and help you find the light whenever you need it.
Green tea is considered extremely healthy for your body, as well as your mind. Who knows, maybe this little green thing can give even better benefits such as a great mood, nice moments to remember, brilliant thoughts, and high emotions. Go Fluorescent!
This small but effective Glass Bong has a simple but interesting design and is made entirely from glass, making it natural and pleasant to touch. The water chamber is small, but it still provides nice smoke.
Compared to its small size, this Bong has a long tube, letting the smoke gain some time before reaching your mouth. This Waterbong is portable and effective. Recommended!
Glass Bong Wood Feet
It’s all-natural: wood, glass, and the ornaments of Green Cannabis Leafs. Wooden foot makes this Bong stand firmly on the table or the ground. The filtration of smoke is very good thanks to a long water chamber.
Five Pot Leaves make a nice decoration, suitable for the destination of this Water Bong. Smoking from it is pure pleasure; the more puffs you take, the more natural and easy your life becomes.