What’s The Difference Between Bubblers and Bongs?

Can’t decide between a bubbler or a bong for your next smoke session? Find out which water pipe suits you best with our guide on the differences between each.

What’s the Difference Between Bubblers and Bongs?

Bubblers and bongs are two popular types of water pipes used for smoking dry herbs like cannabis. While they share some similarities, there are key differences that set them apart. Understanding the difference between a bubbler vs. a bong and how they each work can help you decide which is best for your smoking sessions.

What is a Bong?

A bong is a pipe that uses water to filter and cool smoke for a smooth smoking experience. It consists of a water chamber, a downstem, a bowl, and a mouthpiece. Bongs come in many shapes, sizes, and percolator styles, but all use water filtration to produce purified, cooled smoke.

Beaker Bongs

Beaker Bongs. With a wide base for stability and ample water capacity, beaker bongs offer maximum filtration of contaminants and particulates that can leave you coughing long after your smoke session is over. Fill the beaker base so the downstem is fully submerged then inhale slowly for big, smooth hits.

Straight Tube Bongs

Straight Tube Bongs. Straight tube bongs feature a straight cylindrical tube for optimized smoke buildup. The stripped-down design eliminates complicated percs, filters, and coolers for maximum usability. Fill water 1-2” above the downstem’s lower slitted end for ideal diffusion and load your herb into the bowl for a quick, intense rip.

Scientific Bongs

Scientific Bongs. These bongs are more complex than other bong styles, and come with features like ice notches, glycerin coil coolers, splash guards, and different types of percolators (like tree, inline, and showerhead). This allows you to create a more custom smoking experience. Some models also have attachments like dab bangers for concentrates and oils, making them a versatile option.

How to Use a Bong?

No matter what type of bong you have, the aim is the same: to fully enjoy your smoking experience. Get the most out of your bong with the following tips for the best smoke:

  • Fill the bong with water just above the highest percolator slit or downstem opening.
  • Tightly pack your selected dried herbs into the bowl.
  • Light the contents of the bowl gently while inhaling slowly and evenly through the mouthpiece.
  • Allow smoke to percolate through water before inhaling fully.
  • Clear the bong after each hit by inhaling to pull the remaining smoke through.

What is a Bubbler?

A bubbler pipe combines the convenience of a hand pipe with the filtration of a mini bong, providing a smooth and portable smoking experience. Featuring a half-filled water chamber, a fixed downstem, a bowl, a mouthpiece, and sometimes a carb hole, bubblers come in various types.

Hammer bubblers

Hammer bubblers. A hammer bubbler has a rounded chamber that fits comfortably in your hand with a horizontal mouthpiece diffusing smoke through the water.

Sherlock bubblers

Sherlock bubblers. These bubblers are designed to mimic the classic Sherlock Holmes pipe shape, percolating smoke through a zigzag downstem.

How to Use a Bubbler?

Perfect for solo sessions, a weed bubbler is simple but powerful. Follow these easy steps to get the most enjoyment out of your bubbler:

  • Fill the bubbler with enough water to submerge the downstem.
  • Pack your dried herbs into the bowl tightly but not too dense, ensuring optimal airflow.
  • Light the bowl contents while inhaling slowly, initiating a smoother and more flavorful hit.
  • Inhale fully to clear the chamber of any remaining smoke after each hit.

What are the Differences Between a Bong and a Bubbler?

When comparing bongs vs. bubblers, despite both using water for smoke filtration, there are numerous differences between them in terms of their size, design, smoke quality, and overall usage.

  • Size and Portability. Bubblers are like compact, powerful versions of hand pipes. They’re small enough to fit in your pocket, making them great for discreet use and mobility. Bongs, on the other hand, come in a wide range of sizes. They can be as small as mini bongs or large 4-foot giants. Ideal for use at home or for sharing with friends, bongs are more complex and need more space to use and store.
  • Design. Bubblers combine features of both pipes and bongs with built-in downstems and carb holes that merge design and practicality. They’re less customizable than bongs but excel at controlling smoke. With their simple, fixed designs, bubblers are easy to use. Bongs are all about customization. You can switch out bowls, downstems, and percolators to create a smoking experience that’s just right for you.
  • Water Filtration. Both bubblers and bongs use water to filter smoke, but bongs take it up a notch with larger chambers and more advanced filtration technology and percolators, making for incredibly smooth hits. Bubblers keep things simple because of their smaller size, which can result in harsher smoke.
  • Smoke Volume and Quality. Bubblers outclass dry pipes with smoother hits, but they can’t match the cool, voluminous clouds of their larger bong counterparts. Bongs deliver denser, cleaner smoke through superior water filtration and larger chambers, making them the go-to for epic group sessions.
  • Ease of Cleaning. Clean gear equals fresh hits without the funk or grime. Bubblers’ narrow tubing and fixed parts make scrubbing a challenge. Bongs, with detachable downstems and bowls, allow for a deeper clean, ensuring every session is clean and pure.
  • Usage. Bubblers are a great option for solo and on-the-go sessions, offering smooth hits in a compact form. However, their size limits the hit intensity. Bongs turn up the volume at home or in groups, crafting dense clouds softened by percolators for seamless sharing.

Ready to Elevate Your Smoking Experience?

Whether you want portable water filtration with a bubbler or party-sized hits from an artistic glass bong, AFM has the perfect gear for you. Shop now, and lift your smoking experience to new heights!


Do bubblers get you as high as bongs?

Your high’s power depends on hit size and strain choice, not just the gear. Savvy smokers can unlock intense highs with both bubblers and bongs—it’s all about preference and technique. Bubblers bring smooth, effortless hits, while bongs up the ante with purer hits, but demand more skill to master.

Which is better, a bubbler or bong?

Choosing between a bubbler and a bong? It’s all about what matters to you: portability, filtration, size, group sessions, and customization.

Is it legal to own a bubbler or bong?

Glass water pipes intended for tobacco use are legal in all 50 states and can even be imported from other countries. However, marijuana paraphernalia, such as bubblers and bongs, is illegal in most states unless sold by a licensed cannabis retailer. Always verify your local laws before purchasing a water pipe.