Parts of a bong

Ultimate Bong Parts Guide: The Parts Of a Bong You Need to Have

Posted by VITAE GLASS on

Thanks to pop culture and Hollywood, most people know what a bong looks like, and if you're reading this you definitely know! But what most people don't know are the different parts of a bong. By familiarizing yourself with bong anatomy you'll be able to make the best decision for you when purchasing or customizing your own piece.

Whether you're new to the world of smoking or a seasoned enthusiast, understanding the anatomy of a bong is essential to ensure you have the best smoking experience possible.

In this guide, we'll walk you through the different parts of a bong, ranging from the basics to more intricate features. We'll explain each part in layman's terms, avoiding technical jargon and focusing on practicality.

You'll also get valuable insights and tips on how to care for and maintain your bong, ensuring its longevity and optimal performance.

So, whether you're looking to upgrade your current setup or are a curious beginner, read on to explore the bong parts you need to create the ultimate smoking experience. 

Different Parts of a Bong


To inhale smoke into your lungs, the smoke has to travel through the bong tube and exit the mouthpiece. This is the end of the tube or neck and the place where you place your mouth to inhale.

The standard design for most bongs is a horizontal mouthpiece, though angled models are common [1]. This design allows you to inhale smoke without having to bend or hover over the bong. 

Bong mouthpiece

Bong Tube

The bong tube is one of the most apparent elements of a bong, along with the water chamber. After the smoke is pulled through the downstem and into the base, the smoke is drawn up through this section to the mouthpiece.

Generally, the neck and mouthpiece are designed as a single component. This bong part is often the longest and begins from the base and might contain a percolator.

Bong tube designs are most often straight but some can be bent or curved.

Most bong necks are made from borosilicate glass as this allows you to see the smoke being pulled up and inhaled, adding a fun visual element to the smoking experience. 

Bong tube


Using a bong percolator can make smoking from a bong a smoother and cooler experience. it does this by cooling, moisturizing, and filtering the smoke for less harshness upon inhaling. The only disadvantage of having a percolator is that it needs to be kept clean to avoid clogging.

While percolator bongs come with one already part of the design, modular bongs allow for additional percs to be installed.

There are different styles and sizes of percolators. If you're a bong newbie and are interested in a perc bong, it's best to avoid designs with too many small holes as they're more difficult to clean. A UFO perc for example is a much better option. 

Bong percolator

Base Water Chamber

The base of a bong is located at the bottom of the water pipe. It is one of the most important bong parts as it's where the water is placed, hence why it is also known as a water chamber in the bong anatomy.

This part of the bong serves as a filter for the cannabis smoke, allowing it to be cooled and filtered before inhaling [2]. Many smokers enjoy adding ice cubes here to enhance the cooling effect.  It also holds the cannabis smoke that comes from the burning dry herb in the weed bowl.

A base is usually the widest part of the bong if it is a beaker bong however there are straight, or round base styles as well.

A straight-based bong chamber features a single-cylinder form and is usually smaller, while beaker shapes have a conic base and round bases have a flat bottom — both large chambers that accommodate more volume leading to bigger hits. 

Bong base


The joint is the part that connects the bong base to your downstem and bowl. This is usually where the downstem is placed however some bongs don't need a downstem; in such cases, you can place the bowl directly into the joint.

Depending on the design of your bong, joints can be male or female-ended. A female joint will only accept a male bowl, and a male joint will only accept a female bowl [3].

It's also important to know your joint size so that you can connect the correct-sized downstem or bong bowls. Joint come in 10mm, 14mm and 18mm sizes with 14mm being the most common. It is also the best joint size as it allows for enough airflow without making drawing difficult. 18mm tends to be too big in our opinion as the herb in your bowl will burn too fast. 

Bong joint


The downstem is the conduit that carries the smoke from the burning cannabis in the glass bowl through to the water chamber. Its primary purpose is to direct the smoke so that it can be cooled and filtered by the bong water [4].

The size of the downstem must match that of the joint and bong bowl. For example, if the joint is 14mm, you will need a 14mm downstem to fit it.

The gurgling noise you hear when you take a hit from the bong is actually created by a diffused downstem as bubbles filled with bong smoke are formed. This helps to percolate the smoke. 

Bong downstem

Note: Depending on your bong design, the downstem might not be removable. Or you might not even need a downstem.

Bong Bowl

The bowl of a bong is where you put your cannabis for smoking. This is usually the first step for most smokers and one of the most important parts int he anatomy of a bong. Bowls come in a variety of shapes, styles, and sizes, though all of them have the same purpose - to hold your ground dry herbs.

Once you have put your herb into the bowl, you can place the bowl in the downstem or directly into the joint.

Popular bowl sizes are 10mm, 14mm, and 18mm, and they are either male or female joints. A male-jointed bowl can only fit a female joint and vice versa. 

Bong bowl


When smoking out of a bong or bubbler, a carburetor, also known as a carb, is a small hole that allows the user to control the airflow. This helps regulate the herb's heat and burning rate of the herb in the bowl [5].

Many bongs come with a removable bowl that serves the same purpose as a carb.

Alternatively, if the bong does not have a pull-out bowl, the carb hole is usually located on the back side of the bong near the bowl or on the bong neck near the mouthpiece.

To use a bng carburetor, cover it with a finger until the chamber is full of smoke and then release your finger to inhale.

Ash Catcher

An ash catcher captures ash and resin before it falls into the bong water chamber, which can otherwise cause your bong to become dirty and clogged.

It is generally added to a downstem before you place a bowl or cone piece on. It is advised for frequent smokers because it is much easier to clean the resin inside an ash catcher than a whole bong and prevents ash from affecting the taste of your smoke.

A few ash catchers also have a built-in percolator, so if you are in search of extra filtration, these ash catchers with a percolator are the way to go.

Male 14mm ash catchers are the most common type and fit most bongs with a female joint or downstem.

Bong ash catchers

Splash Guard

The purpose of splash guards is to keep the bubbling water in the base from reaching the mouthpiece while simultaneously permitting the smoke to pass through.

Typically installed in bongs with multiple percolations, it can also serve another function; as an ice catcher to hold ice that further cools the smoke to provide a super chilled smoking experience.

Bong splash guard and ice catcher

Male And Female Parts of a Bong

The functionality and design of your bong largely depend on its parts, particularly the male and female components. Understanding the male and female parts of a bong can help you customize your smoking experience more effectively.

When selecting the bong component you want to buy, you need to know its gender and the gender of your bong joints. Male and female pieces exist for bongs, bowls, nails, ash catchers, adapters, dropdowns, and all other bong parts.

Male bong parts slide into and fit in female joints, while female bong parts go on top of male joints [6].

If your bong has a female joint, you should purchase a male-jointed bowl or downstem, and vice versa. 

How Do You Use a Bong [5 Steps]?

Step 1: Fill with Water

The first step to using a bong is filling the base with water. Pour water into the base chamber until the water is just above the bottom of your downstem. This ensures that smoke will be properly filtered and cooled.

Step 2: Pack the Bowl

Packing your bowl piece correctly can make all the difference in getting a smooth hit. Break up your herb using a grinder, but don't grind it too finely as this could lead to clogging.

To pack your bowl, start by placing larger pieces at the bottom for better airflow, then add finer ground weed on top.

Avoid overpacking; an ideal packed bowl allows air to flow freely through. 

Step 3: Place Mouth on Mouthpiece

Create an effective seal by placing your lips inside the mouthpiece rim rather than around its outside edge. This "natural" grip makes inhaling easier and prevents any accidental inhalation of bong water during use.

Step 4: Light the Bowl

Gently light one side or corner of your loaded bowl while slowly drawing air through the mouthpiece till you see milk-like smoke forming within the chamber.

By lighting the edge of your bowl, not directly at its center, you're allowing for more even burning and preserving flavor profiles of herbs.

Also, consider using hemp wick as it doesn't produce butane gas like standard lighters do which might alter the taste profile of the herb. 

Step 5: Inhale

Inhaling from a bong calls for precise timing and control. As you light the bowl you need to be gently inhaling and pulling air through the burning herb to cause smoke.

The smoke then travels through the downstem and into the water chamber until it's full.

Once the base is full of smoke you need to inhale with more force at the same time removing the bowl or opening the carb.

Doing this lets fresh air into your bong pulling the smoke up through the tube and out the mouthpiece into your lungs. 


Lastly, you need to control your inhalation. Take slow, steady breaths instead of harsh ones. This helps ensure smoother hits and reduces the chance of a coughing fit. Master these steps and you'll be on your way to becoming a bong expert.

How Do Bongs Work?

Bongs operate on a basic principle of physics, but the magic lies in their unique design and the individual parts of a bong. But how do all these parts fit together to create smooth, enjoyable hits?

The Role of Water

In any bong setup, water plays the most important role. Without it, a bong loses its purpose and advantage over other smoking methods. It serves as a filtering system that cools down the smoke and traps heavy particles before they reach your lungs.

When you light up your herb in the bowl, smoke travels through the submerged downstem where it gets diffused into smaller bubbles for effective cooling and filtration. But remember, too much or too little water can hinder its performance. 

Filtration Through Percolator

A percolator further enhances this process by increasing surface area contact between the hot smoke and cool water – resulting in additional cooling and filtration action before inhaling.

Inhalation Process

As you draw air through the mouthpiece, lower pressure forms within the chamber causing a vacuum. This then forces air from outside the bong to be pulled over the burning cannabis in the bowl causing smoke that then rushes to fill the vacuum being caused in the base of the bong.

Once the chamber is filled with smoke, you remove your finger from the carburetor or pull out the bowl to allow fresh air in. This makes it easier for you to inhale all that cooled and filtered smoke in one smooth draw. 


Remember, getting the right balance of water is crucial for top-notch performance. If you add too much or too little, it could mess things up. Percolators are a fantastic addition as they provide more cooling and make each hit smoother.

How Often Should You Change Bong Water?

The frequency at which you change your bong water significantly affects the quality of your smoking experience. Fresh, clean water helps ensure smoother and tastier hits. It also prevents the buildup of residue that can affect the function of glass pieces.

Bong water should ideally be changed after every use. But if not feasible, aim to refresh it as often as possible – daily is best for regular smokers. Leaving old, stale water in your bong can lead to a less pleasant taste and harsher smoke due to the accumulation of tars and toxins.

This habit not only keeps the flavors fresh but also makes cleaning easier since less gunk will build up over time in different parts such as the downstem or percolator. 

Potential Health Risks

Changing out used-up bong water isn't just about flavor enhancement; there are health aspects involved too. Used-up stagnant liquid becomes a breeding ground for bacteria, causing potential respiratory issues when inhaling unfiltered smoke through the mouthpiece [7].

For these reasons, maintaining the hygiene of your smoking gear should be a priority. 

"We were surprised to find that within a broad array of bacterial species that we found human pathogens were present as well."

Amy Spakota

Always remember, that the better you care for your bong, the more it gives back in terms of a quality experience and durability. Clean water equals cleaner hits – an easy equation for optimal enjoyment.


Regularly refreshing your bong water guarantees smoother, tastier hits and keeps your bongs working their best. Dirty water can taint the taste, make smoke harsher, and even pose health risks by breeding bacteria. Stay clean to enjoy maximum flavor and easier cleaning routines.

Bong Parts Exclusive to VITAE Glass

When it comes to crafting the ideal smoking experience, VITAE Glass offers a range of exclusive bong parts that not only enhance functionality but also add an element of sophistication and style.

Connector Ring

The Connector Rings from VITAE are designed for more than just utility. These pieces serve as the backbone of your modular bong system, allowing you to interchange between different bases, percolators, and mouthpieces with ease.

Apart from offering flexibility in design configuration, these rings also contribute aesthetically. Their sleek design can seamlessly blend into any setting - be it on top of your coffee table or nestled amongst books on a shelf.

To put together two glass mods effectively, one connector ring is all you need. This makes customization effortless while ensuring secure attachment every time.

Bong connector rings

Cleaning Caps

VITAE's Cleaning Caps take care of bong maintenance by providing spill-free cleaning. By attaching to the glass piece directly, they create a sealed environment that allows thorough cleaning without messes or stress involved.

In addition to their primary function as cleaners though, these caps are quite versatile; if traveling with your bong is part of your schedule, you'll appreciate how well these caps protect against spills during transit.

Preload water in advance if desired – these innovative caps will keep everything dry until use is needed. 

Bong cleaning caps

Cleaning Plugs

Keeping up with cleanliness doesn't stop at caps - meet our effective Cleaning Plugs. Used specifically for sealing joints and mouthpieces securely, they help create easy and effective cleaning.

Simply plug them into the appropriate openings, and you're set. For those needing extra caps, there are many cost-effective aftermarket choices. 

Bong cleaning caps


Together, these unique elements from VITAE Glass not only amplify the style of your bong but also enhance its functionality. They make swapping between bases, percolators, and mouthpieces a breeze while ensuring thorough cleaning is easy and mess-free.

Putting All The Parts of a Bong Together To Create A Custom Piece

Understanding the different parts of a bong is crucial for both beginners and experienced smokers. You now know your percolator from your mouthpiece and understand the difference between male and female joints.

By familiarizing yourself with bong anatomy, you can make informed decisions when purchasing or customizing your own piece.

Applying all these newfound insights means you'll know what to be on the lookout for when buying a new bong; making sure all the pieces for a bong are these.

The right knowledge not only elevates your smoking experience but also prevents you from making any mistakes or having the will pulled over your eyes by a shady salesman trying to sell you a bong part you don't need. 

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