You might be buying your first glass piece or picking a second piece or a third or a twenty second. The thought lingers: Hand pipe or bong? The answer might not be as simple as it seems. Glass comes in many shapes and sizes. Evidently there is some crossover between hand pipes and bongs. Let’s clear things up:
What is a Hand Pipe?
A hand pipe is portable pipe that fits into your hand. Pretty straight forward. But it could be made out of glass, ceramic, wood, metal, and even fruit. The possibilities stretch as far as your imagination and it’s no surprise that some hand pipes could be considered bongs too. We’ll get into what defines a bong later, but you must know that hand pipes could contain downstems and percs. Small bubblers, like this one by Grav Labs, are both bongs and hand pipes. The water compartment and diffused downstem qualify the piece as a bong. On the other hand, the piece’s size and transportability make it an obvious hand pipe.
What is a Bong?
More intuitively, a bong is any type of pipe that contains water. Tubes, beakers, bubblers, and dab rigs are all bongs. Typically bongs are made of glass, but bamboo and ceramic are used in rare occasions. Bongs are usually shaped to diffuse smoke, with multiple chambers and percolators built in to filter smoke.
The Pros of a Hand Pipe
If you’re an on-the-go smoker who’s always moving around you’ll probably want a hand pipe. Hand pipes take the strain away from needing to grind hand roll, although grinding your smoking material always helps. They also help you conserve as most of the material you light ends up in your lungs and not the air.
Hand pipes are also typically cheaper than bongs. They might not always be as well-decorated or smooth, but they can be personalized. Sherlock pipes and bubblers offer convenient alternatives to enormous bongs with multiple percs and add-ons.
The Pros of a Bong
The bong is undoubtedly the king instrument when it comes to smoking. Bongs come in a wide range of sizes, from handy bubblers to 18” Straight Tubes. If you’re looking for style, filtration, and comfort a bong is for you.
If you’re into collecting heady glass, independent artists are known for making very creative custom pieces. Bongs are the go-to collector item for glassheads. Besides looking great, bongs do the best job at cooling and filtering smoke. A bong with one or more percolators effectively spreads and cleans smoke by forcing it through a system of channels and water.