The Perks of Percolation
You may have noticed that some fancier pieces have extra glass chambers and wondered how they differ from your run of the mill, every day bong. Those chambers are not just for show, they’re called percolators and they’re designed to cool down the smoke in your bong even further.
How does a Percolator Work?
The advantage of bongs over other smoking devices comes from the design. Bongs cool the smoke by drawing it through water before it gets to your lungs. The heat from the smoke diffuses into the cooler water as it travels, making the bong hit much smoother than it otherwise would be. Percolators work on the same principle by diffusing the smoke thorough multiple openings into another water filled chamber. Think of it as splitting the smoke into smaller, more easily cooled portions traveling through an additional bong.
What are the Pros and Cons of Percolation?
Not only do “percs” cool the smoke down even further than a normal bong, they also filter out some particulates that you would normally inhale if you didn’t have a percolator. The process results in smooth, cool hits that won’t make you cough nearly as much. There are, however, downsides to having a percolator. The first is that it makes cleaning your bong much more difficult. Since there are many spots that you won’t be able to reach with a q-tip or a bottle brush, you’re going to have to use a lot of alcohol and Epsom salt and let it sit for a long time. Percolators also create more drag in your bong, so your lungs will have to work a little harder to clear the whole piece of smoke. In addition to the smooth hits, percolated bongs just look cooler than standard bongs. It’s fun to feel like a weed scientist every time you take a rip.
Are There Different Types of Percolators?
Much like other glass smoking devices, there are tons of different percolators of all shapes and sizes. Some are built in to bongs, some you fit to the downstem of other bongs, and lots of different ways in which they percolate. Many bongs even have multiple percolators, sometimes of differing styles. The type of percolator that’s right for you depends on your preference and budget, but there’s something for everyone. Here are a few of our favorite styles.
Tree – Tree percolators have 4 or more arms with slits on the sides. The arms and slits act to further diffuse smoke throughout the “perc”.
Honeycomb – Honeycombs “percs” work by diffusing the smoke through many tiny holes situated in a disk. More holes in the disk means more diffusion in the smoke.
Showerhead – a vertical perk that flares out at the bottom with slits for diffusion. The bong pictured also features an ice catcher at the top and a honeycomb “perc” below the showerhead.
Toke on, Dreamers!