Throughout the history of human cannabis use, the bong is by far the oldest and most popular smoking device created. It's been around for centuries; archaeological diggers even found traces of ancient water pipes in Ethiopia from 1400 AD. However, the present-day bong most of us recognize was created by Bob Snodgrass, a skillful glass blower and pothead who toured with the Grateful Dead in the '70s.
Since its creation, big players in the cannabis accessory industry have designed many bong variations with unique features like percolators, ice catchers, splash guards, and more. It's almost impossible to imagine modern stoner culture without icy cold bong rips.
Since there are so many different types of bongs and brands on the market today, it's essential to be knowledgeable on the subject to serve your clientele effectively as a smoke shop owner. Luckily, this wholesale water pipe guide will explain exactly how a bong works, different types of bongs, what brands make the best bongs, and everything else you need to know about selling them to your customers!
How Does A Bong Work? Anatomy of a Bong
If you’ve ever seen someone drink out of a bong on television or in real life, you’d know that this is definitely not how they work. So, if a customer comes in asking how to use a bong, save them the embarrassment and foul act of ingesting dirty bong water by giving them a step-by-step tutorial. First, let's go through the anatomy of a bong so we can piece together how each component works to offer a pleasant smoking experience.
The bowl is the part of a bong that gets loaded with flower. This is often a removable piece of the water pipe that users take out while they inhale. Primarily, bong bowls are made of glass and will come included with the purchase of a bong.
A downstem is the long tube that carefully connects the bowl with the water at the base of the bong. This makes it possible for the smoke to flow into the bong’s chamber where it gets cooled down before reaching the straight of the bong. Users can also tell if there is enough water in a bong by inhaling through the bong’s mouthpiece. If there's a nice bubbling effect, that means that the downstem is properly touching the water.
This is the top lip of the bong that users put their mouth on when they inhale. It will most likely have a rounded edge so it's easy to cup to the lips. It should be the perfect size so that no smoke escapes during the inhale.
The percolator is the part of the bong designed for added smoke filtration. This cools down the hit, making it smoother and more enjoyable. Not all bongs will have this but it can be a vital part of the smoking experience.
An ice pinch is exactly what it sounds like. This is the part of the bong’s straight tube where it looks like someone pinched it in. By adding this feature, users can drop in a couple of ice cubes to cool down the hit during their smoke session.
We all know that bong water is gross and not something that should be ingested. A splash guard is an extra tube added (usually above the percolator) to ensure that the user won’t be splashed with any bong water while they inhale.
How To Use A Bong
Now that we have covered each part of the bong, we can discuss how to use one:
- Start by filling the bong’s base with enough water so that the bottom of the downstem touches it.
- Fill the bowl with ground flower. We recommend that users ground their nugs enough to burn evenly but not too fine that it falls into the bong water.
- Add a couple of ice cubes on top of the ice pinch through the mouthpiece.
- Use a lighter to corner the bowl. At the same time, slowly inhale using the mouthpiece, making sure no smoke escapes. This process will build a cloud in the bong’s chamber.
- Take the bowl out of the bong, inhale the hit, and get stoned.
What Is the Best Type of Bong?
On the market today, there is a variety of bongs available to purchase which can be difficult for any smoke shop owner trying to narrow down their inventory order. There are two large differentiating factors that the best bongs will have; material and design.
Different Types of Bongs by Material
Glass is the most popular material for bongs because it's easy to clean and can be blown into many unique designs. This adds tons of functionality and customization to the consumer experience, which can be a tremendous upselling opportunity for a store owner. However, glass is extraordinarily breakable and needs extra care while handling. We recommend ordering glass bongs for your store made with Borosilicate glass to avoid this issue.
Borosilicate glass contains boron trioxide, a chemical compound with a very low thermal expansion coefficient. Unlike regular glass, borosilicate glass will not crack under extreme changes in temperature. Its durability makes it the perfect material for developing long-lasting bongs.
Glass bongs are the best bongs because they are the favorite in the stoner community. They are convenient, easy to customize, and will be a hit in your store. We suggest keeping a lot of glass bong options in your inventory at different price ranges to serve all your customer's needs. In addition, we also recommend displaying glass bong cleaner next to your glass bong display for an easy upselling opportunity.
Recently, silicone bongs have started to make a serious splash in the world of cannabis. This is because silicone is essentially indestructible, easy to mold, and extremely flexible, making it a great material for stoners who like to take their sesh on the go. It’s also a great material for the best cheap bongs!
However, silicone bongs are not easy to customize and have a less enjoyable flavor than their glass counterparts. To combat this, cannabis accessory companies have started to create hybrid bongs made with both silicone and glass. This gives customers the best of both worlds, with the durability of silicone and the performance of glass.
We recommend offering silicone bongs to your customers that are scared about owning a bong made completely of glass. If they are worried about accidents, a silicone or silicone and glass hybrid bong is a fabulous option. Silicone is also perfect for customers who want to find the best bongs under $50.
Before developing the silicone bong, there was the infamous acrylic bong. These bongs are primarily made of hard plastic and are very cheap to purchase. We do not recommend stocking these in your store. They break easily, are cheaply made, produce a bad flavor, and are potentially dangerous to your customers. Burnt plastic is not something we would recommend inhaling. Plus, your customers are better off splurging on something of higher quality in your store anyways, so we wouldn't give them the option!
Pottery professionals created smoking materials out of ceramics for centuries before Bob Snodgrass created glass bongs. However, in our book, ceramic bongs are a step down from glass and silicone. They provide a suitable smoking experience with smooth hits and adequate flavor but can't contain fun additions like percolators or splash guards.
Ceramic bongs are also not see-through, which diminishes the vital practice of watching a hit build during the smoking experience. All in all, we don't recommend keeping tons of ceramic bong options in your store because stoners tend to prefer glass or silicone.
Different Types of Bongs By Design
Beaker Base Bongs
Beaker base bongs look like something out of a science lab with a base resembling a beaker. This sturdy base design makes it easy to create tall bongs with excellent stability. For any customer worried about knocking their bong over, a beaker base bong is a great option to offer!
Straight Tube Bongs
Straight tube bongs are pretty straightforward. Straight bongs are the same width from top to bottom, resembling a piece of PVC pipe. They commonly feature percolates, ice pinchers, and other fun accessories. Straight tube bongs are usually tall, perfect for your stoner clientele looking to take massive hits. However, they are not super stable like beaker base bongs, so they aren't the best option for your clumsy stoner clientele.
Any bong with a percolator can be considered a percolator bong. Percolators are bong filtration systems that make bong hits smooth, cool, and more enjoyable. Percolator bongs are perfect for any customer who's looking for filtered bong rips.
Multi-chamber bongs are for the stoners looking to buy something special. These types of bongs are high-end, containing several percolators and chambers. If a customer comes in asking what bongs hit the smoothest, show them multi-chamber bongs!
Most cannabis accessory experts would consider recycler bongs a type of multi-chamber bong. However, they are a bit different in our book. Recycler bongs will have small tubes on the outside of the main bong tube. This helps recycle the smoke by transferring it to other chambers in the bong. This process produces the smoothest bong hits.
Adding ice to a bong to cool the smoke down is great and all but, freezable bongs truly chill out a smoke session. Freezable bongs are made of borosilicate glass with liquid glycerin inside. After about an hour in the freezer, this is the perfect bong to cool down a hot day.
Gravity bongs are the perfect party pipe. They work by using gravity to force the smoke to build so the user can inhale it through the mouthpiece. Although some stoners try to make their own Gravity bongs, cannabis accessory brands have created high-quality versions worth keeping in stock.
Who Makes the Best Bongs?
After discussing all the different bong designs and materials, it's essential to know what brands to stock in your store. Of course, there are many options to keep in mind, but here are the best bong brands that are making a significant impact in the cannabis industry with the best water pipes on the market.
Best Bong Brands
GRAV is a cannabis accessory company that believes how you smoke is just as important as what you smoke. They are among the top glass bong brands today due to their quality and craftsmanship. From beaker base bongs to their famous Gravitron gravity bong, your customers will love seeing the best water pipes from GRAV glass in your store.
Pure Glass creates premium glass bongs from their glass design studios in Los Angeles. They are well known for developing premium bongs with all the features your customers want, like percolators, splash guards, and ice pinches. Your customers will love the modern features that Pure Glass creates with every bong.
Ooze is so much more than a best-selling vape pen battery brand. They have developed a hybrid bong for every occasion. Their unique water pipes will stand out on your shelves with vivid colors and durable designs. From their 4-in-1 hybrid bongs to their freezable bongs, your customers will light up when they see these unique pieces on your shelves.
Famous Brandz creates high-quality borosilicate glass bongs using well-known names in entertainment through their extensive media partnerships. With Cheech & Chong and Snoop Dogg-inspired Bongs in their product collection, your customs will love the nostalgic product designs Famous Brandz offers!
Where to Buy Bongs Wholesale
Before buying wholesale glass pipes from any online bong wholesale smoke shop distributor, we recommend comparing prices from different wholesalers so you can get the best water pipes while maximizing your profit margin. Shopping around will help you identify which online wholesalers have the best pricing.
We recommend finding a bong wholesale distributor like Cannatron with exclusive pricing on popular bong brands. Cannatron has different pricing wholesale tiers, so you can increase your profits while getting the best bongs your customers will come in asking about!