History of Bongs - Learn More about it!

History of Bongs - Learn More about it!

The Joint CannabisDec 10, '19
Beginners Guide : Bongs

With an ever-changing landscape of new, innovative ways to consume cannabis, it can be overwhelming trying to decide which product is right for you!

One of the older methods of smoking cannabis is using a bong, and over the years many changes and improvements have been made from the original simplistic designs to the sophisticated scientific functional glass art of today.

Today we will go over some of the more common designs and styles and discuss what percolators are and why they are popular.

Styles & Designs : Do they affect anything?


There are many unique designs for bongs and they have evolved rapidly over the years. Trying to categorize them all would be impossible, as there are so many sub-categories. Additionally, there are numerous terms that can be applied to the same bong depending on the context, but for today's purposes we will go over only the most popular and generic shapes and designs.

The two main styles of bongs are categorized as "beakers" and "straight shooters". Beakers flare out towards the bottom to resemble an Erlenmeyer flask or the type of beaker you would find in a science lab, while straight shooters generally keep the same width from the mouthpiece all the way to the bottom.

One of the key differences between a beaker and a straight shooter is how much smoother beakers feel compared to straight shooters. Beakers hold more water and allow the smoke to cool off and filter through it for longer compared to a straight shooter, which carries much less water and results in a quicker path to your lungs, providing a harsher/hotter experience.  

While beakers and straight shooters can come in different shapes like a bubble base or even pyramid shaped base and numerous others , the overall function still remains the same, with beakers flaring out, and straight shooters staying straight. The only time you will see a major difference is when the bong is very short or very tall, as short bongs don’t have much room for water, regardless of shape, so the experience is harsher as opposed to a very tall bong where the height makes the smoke take longer to reach you and has more time to cool down. Essentially, a very long straight shooter can be equivalent to a shorter beaker, in some circumstances. 

Materials : What’s the difference?

The list below contains descriptions of the most  commonly found materials used for bongs, but as with most smoking devices there is a large variety of possible materials not included in this list including bamboo, stone, and even 3D printed now! 

This is a quick overview of what some pros and cons of the variety of materials bongs are available in:




Very clean tasting, as glass allows you to taste the product you are smoking, as opposed to other materials

Glass is more fragile and expensive if you have to replace parts or the bong itself frequently 

Much more variety for accessories like bowls and ash-catchers 

Not the most portable depending on the size 

Usually the second smoothest option behind a vaporizer 

Can be very expensive depending on the brand, style or size 

Very easy to clean , especially with bong cleaner




Very affordable 

Using a metal bowl leaves a rather undesirable flavour 

Comes in a variety of shapes and sizes and bright colours 

Difficult to clean and most consumers just replace them instead of cleaning them

Are somewhat durable, but can still break




Extremely durable, only risk breaking the glass accessories 

Hard to see how dirty it is as most of them are not translucent 

Easy to clean using only hot water and soap on the silicone parts, also can freeze it and hit it to remove large clumps of residue

Can have a weird taste to them compared to glass bongs 

Portable and concealable  as most of them are malleable and can be folded and stored easily. 


Percolators: What do they do?

A percolator (commonly referred to as a “perc”) is typically a glass insert in a bong that has slits in it. The slits allow the smoke to pass through and break down and cool off resulting in a more enjoyable experience. Percolators, like bongs, have evolved dramatically over the last 10 years and come in tons of different designs, shapes and with overall functions.

Percolators can also be found in acrylic bongs and are usually not very effective, while silicone bongs have recently begun adding percolators as well. While they are slightly underwhelming, they are relatively new and will only improve in years to come.

Below are some of the most common percolators found in bongs, with most named after their design: 




Tree Perc 


4/6/8/10 Arm Perc

  • Depending on the amount of arms, it provides a nice smooth  experience 
  • Can be fragile if the arms aren’t braced with glass between each arm 
  • Easier to clean if the bottom of the arms are opened and not closed off 

Showerhead Perc

  • Very durable 
  • Harder to clean due to small slits and closed bottom
  • Delivers a nice smooth experience if it has a good amount of slits


  • Lots of holes to break down the smoke making it very smooth
  • Very durable 
  • Can be difficult to clean depending on how small the holes are 

Choosing a Bong

This guide is just a small step in helping you choose which bong is right for you. Ultimately the decision is up to you and everyone has a different need when choosing the right one.

When deciding on a bong there can be a lot of different aspects to consider and they can vary depending on each consumer. If you ever need help or need questions answered, we employ the most knowledgeable staff at all of our locations who are eager to help!

Below are some examples of some beginner bongs we carry that can get you started!

Glass Bong Apex 9" Value Beaker

Click here to shop now!

Premium Softglass Bong 5" Heavy Bubble Base

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Glass Bong Tree Glass 15" Double Tree Cake Bong

Click here to shop now!

Silicone Bong Dabware Platinum 10" Diamond Shape

Click here to shop now!


Some More Interesting facts about Bongs: 

  • It is believed that as many as 2400 years ago, the first water pipes were made by our ancestors. Recently in 2015, geologists found a pair of gold bongs which they predicted were made around 400 BC.


  • The second oldest bong ever found is dated approximately 1500 years after the first, this one found in Africa. It was a 11 piped bong that was discovered in the caves of Ethiopia. 


  • A survey states that in 1924, most of the eastern and southern regions of the African continent used to use bongs to consume tobacco. 


  • Many people believe that cannabis originates from asian countries and China could have the most cannabis consumers. One former Chinese female ruler, Empress Dowager Cixi, slept with her three most expensive bongs. 


  • The concept and design of modern bongs comes from the hookah, a popular type of water pipe used for smoking tobacco. A modern bong is basically a smaller version of the Hookah, designed specifically for cannabis. 


  • The majority of modern bongs are constructed out of blown glass, but as time has passed other materials, including ceramic, acrylic, metal, silicone and wood have become popular bong materials.


See our Cannabis locations for Cannabis and bongs!