Whether you're new to smoking or a weed enthusiast, there is one essential component of your bong whose importance often gets overlooked - the downstem. Believe it or not, this neat connector piece can actually make or break your smoking experience. If you're in search of the perfect downstem for your bong, you need to be aware that not all of them are the same and may not fit your specific pipe - meaning that buying the right size is crucial.
This guide will delve into the intricacies of bong downstem sizes and how to accurately measure them for your own bong, so you can find the best one for your smoking needs. Let's get started!
What is a bong downstem?
A downstem is the tubular component of your bong that connects the bowl piece (which you load with cannabis or tobacco) to the main base or body (where the water is located). Whenever you inhale to take a hit, the downstem acts as a filter, cooling down your smoke in the water and making your inhalation of smoke a lot smoother and more enjoyable. Without a downstem present, or if you use one that is the wrong size, the smoke would directly pass through your piece without submerging in the water first, resulting in a harsher, less pleasant
Why is it important to have the correct downstem size?
Having the correctly sized downstem can improve your smoking experience by miles, whilst also maintaining the function and quality of your bong. Firstly, an incorrectly sized downstem might simply not fit your piece, resulting in you going without, and giving you that unpleasant experience mentioned above.
If you do go ahead and use an incorrectly sized downstem, one that is too big could damage your bong if you try to make it fit, resulting in cracking or breaking the joint. If the downstem is too small, it will create a poor seal that lets smoke escape through the gap rather than into the water chamber. It also runs the risk of falling out entirely, potentially dropping on the floor and breaking.
Common downstem joint sizes
Although there are many different sizes of downstems, there are a few standard sizes that can be found online or in stores. The most common sizes in width order are 10mm, 14mm, and 18mm. You can refer to the below bong joint size chart for more
- 14mm: This is the most popular downstem joint width for many medium to large-size bongs. It works well for most users, and creates a smooth smoking experience, having sufficient room to filter and circulate the smoke when you inhale.
- 18/19mm: Generally used by smokers who prefer bigger, more potent hits, this is the largest downstem size available on the market.
- 10mm: The smallest standard size, these downstems are commonly used for mini rigs or small bongs such as dab rigs.
How to measure a downstem
It's important to accurately measure your downstem so you can ensure you're buying the right size, saving you the time and hassle of trial and error, or redundant purchases. There are two important measurements you need to take in order to determine your perfect downstem size. These are:
1) Downstem joint size
To measure bong joint size, you need to find out the inner diameter of your female ground joint, which is the end that fits into your bong. This size will typically be one of the standard sizes measured above (10mm, 14mm, or 18mm). You can simply measure across the opening with a ruler OR use the penny trick! A penny measures almost exactly 19mm across its diameter – so if it fits in about halfway, then you’ve got an 18mm joint. If your penny fits in about a quarter of the way, you can go for a 14mm, and if your penny can’t get into the joint at all, then it is probably a 10mm.
2) Downstem length
The easiest method of downstem measuring is using a pencil. Simply insert the pencil into the opening of the female joint, up until it is hovering around 1/2 inch from the bottom, which is where it would theoretically hit the water if the pipe was full. Make a mark on the side of the pencil where it comes out of the joint.
Then, measure the length in inches, from the tip of your pencil to the mark you just made. The number you get is the length of downstem that will perfectly fit your bong!
What size downstem do I need?
And there you have it, a rundown of what bong downstems are, common sizes on the market, and how to measure to ensure your next downstem fits like a dream. To find out what size downstem you need, make sure to follow all of the necessary steps above for measurement. If you're still unsure, our team at Vitae Glass is happy to assist with any questions you might have - just drop us a message.
Explore downstems, bongs, and accessories by Vitae Glass
If you're looking for a new downstem or a replacement downstem that delivers a smooth, even hit, check out our slitted downstem made from laboratory grade Borosilicate glass.
We also have an extensive range of bongs and accessories to give you the best smoking experience possible, such as our HØJ Pipe, Dual Perc Bong, and selection of thick glass bongs that you can add percolators and mouthpieces to as you please.
Explore our Vitae Glass collection now and discover the endless possibilities of building your own