What is a Percolator Bong?
There are probably some of you out there that have been long-time bong users, but still don’t quite grasp the concept of a percolator. You're probably familiar with what one is: an extra water chamber through which smoke flows, either as a part of your bowl before it hits the main chamber or as part of the water pipe itself. But what good is it, and is it worth having?
In this article, we’ll look at why having a percolator helps your hit go down a bit smoother, and cooler to boot. Percolators can be really cool for curious herb smokers who find regular bong rips to be too difficult to take in.
What Are Percolators and How Do They Work?
As we mentioned, a percolator is effectively an extra water chamber for filtering smoke. They’re usually dome-shaped, but percolators have taken on many shapes and sizes.
The purpose of a percolator is to provide extra filtration for smoke. Passing it through water two or even three times instead of one removes more of the byproducts of combustion, meaning the smoke that reaches your lungs is smoother and easier to inhale. If you're a heavy cougher when taking rips, this extra filtration is particularly helpful.
But won't that extra filtration mean you're losing potency and flavor? It can, but not for the reason you might be thinking: Potency isn't water soluble, so it's not the water filtering that dilutes the high but residue left on the dry glass sides of the inside of the percolator. Still, the loss is minimal and most percolator fans will insist the better smoke quality is well worth the almost unnoticed drop in potency.
An added bonus of the extra water contact is better cooling, which again helps create smoother draws with less coughing.
How do Percolators Affect Your Bong Hits?
When it comes to inhaling as much smoke as possible, percolators really help along that process. So, that corners the obvious market for percolators: if you find that you’re having trouble hitting your bong, that you’re coughing after every hit, than maybe it’s time to add a percolator to your pipe or look for one with an integrated perc.
Another tool you might consider adding to your arsenal is a diffuser. These are sometimes integrated into percolators, but they're also available as replacements for a traditional bong stem. Essentially instead of a straight tube leading into the water chamber, they feature a handful of tiny holes to break the smoke up into smaller bubbles, meaning more of the smoke's surface area comes into contact with water. This, much like with a percolator, creates superior filtration for cooler, smoother rips.
The one downside, other than the nearly-negligible potency loss in inhaled smoke, is that you're going to be changing your water and cleaning your pipe more often due to all of the extra tar and other nasties you're filtering out of your smoke. But really, isn't it better to leave that stuff in your bong than in your lungs?