Bong vs. Joint: which is better?

Bongs, joints, blunts and vaporizers – every stoner has their preference. Today we’re looking at the differences between joints and bongs. In this blog article we explain the advantages of bongs and the advantages of joints and compare them to see which is better.


the differences between joints and bongs

Image: bong vs joint


Why is there a difference in effect when smoking bongs and joints?

Smoking a bong is not very complicated, but if you’ve never smoked a bong before then you probably don’t know exactly how to go at it. It is clear that smoking a bong is different from smoking a joint: whereas you take one (or maybe two) big hit(s) with a bong, joints last longer; it takes quite a few draws to finish a joint. Between those draws, the joint keeps burning, and smoke is wasted. Although this might not be a huge issue, the smoke that is lost accounts for a few big hits that you did pay for. If you compare bongs vs joints on efficiency, bongs clearly win.

Bong vs Joint – different high

An important reason for many bong-smokers to choose a waterpipe over the traditional joints is that you can get incredibly baked from a small amount of weed, without mixing it with tobacco! Not only is this much better for your health, but the resulting high is also much more pure and enjoyable. There are various other factors that result in a difference in effect between smoking a joint and smoking a bong: the duration of the smoking session, the filtration of the smoke by the water, and the amount of weed you smoke, to name just a few.


Advantages of Joints

For many people, a joint is the only true way of smoking cannabis. The slow-burning weed-cigarette that gets passed around is here to stay and the stoner culture is impossible to imagine without them. A joint has a few obvious advantages over bongs. You don’t need any special stuff like a pipe, bong or vaporizer; all you need is a rolling paper, a filter tip and a bit of weed. This enables you to roll and spark one up basically anywhere, whereas you can’t just carry your bong around in your pocket all day. A joint also burns slower, and is considered by many as a ritual that can’t simply be replaced by bongs, vaporizers or edibles.

Joints are cheaper than bongs in the short run

There can be no doubt about it: joints are cheaper than bongs in the short run, because all you really need is a paper (which costs about 5 cents), a filter or tip (which costs even less), and weed. You do need to know how to roll a joint, of course. If you don't know how to roll, the higher cost of a bong may be well worth it to you because it saves you from the hassle of rolling one up (unless you have an automatic joint roller, of course, but then the cost of a bong suddenly isn't so bad). But leaving these considerations aside, it is obvious that a joint is cheaper than a bong in the short run.


Advantages of Bongs

But there are many stoners who worship their bong, and there are some good reasons. Smoking a bong also has many advantages over joints. Perhaps the biggest advantage is that it gets you extra high with the same amount of weed. A lot less smoke gets lost, so the cannabinoids reach your blood more and more effectively, which means you get higher. But it also has something to do with the way a bong is smoked: when smoking a bong, you try to smoke and inhale all smoke at once, which means you inhale much deeper than when smoking joints. The smoke goes deeper into your lungs, where the cannabinoids are absorbed into the blood stream much more effectively than in the upper part of your lungs. This means a bong saves you money.

Another big advantage of a bong is the water filtration of the smoke. Before you inhale the smoke, it passes through one or more layers of water. This is where the magic happens: the smoke is cooled down, making it much more smooth and easier to inhale. Whereas a joint can quickly become hot - making you cough quickly - the cool smoke that comes from a bong allows you to inhale enormous clouds without scratching your throat or having to cough. Of course, if your bong bong hit is big enough, you will still cough. But when you take it easy, bong smoke is much more pleasant to inhale than the sharp, hot smoke that comes from a joint.

Do you like tobacco? Probably not, and neither do we. So if you want to smoke a whole joint by yourself without tobacco, you’re going to have to put in quite a bit of weed to roll a decent joint. But if you have a bong, why not fill it up real quick and take a quick bong hit before you go to bed (or school, work..)? You only need a small amount of weed to get really high, really quickly!

Many people also ask us whether a bong or joint is better for wax or dabs. Our answer: BHO / Wax joints are cool, but they come nowhere close to properly dabbing using a bong or dab rig.

Bongs are cheaper than joints in the long run

We've already looked at the cost of rolling a joint versus the cost of buying a bong: a bong obviously costs more than a joint. But hold on! My friends always say that their bong saves them a lot of money! Well yes, of course it does. That's because they don't throw their bong away after having used it once. You can use the same bong for thousands of bong hits or smoking sessions, without having to spend any extra money at all (all you need is water to fill the bong, and perhaps a re-usable screen to make sure the weed doesn't fall through). So let's say that you buy a $30 bong. If one joint costs you $0,10 in paper and filters, you will basically have a free bong after 300 joints that you didn't smoke because you use a bong. But that's without taking the weed into account: let's say that you normally use 0,5 grams of weed in one joint - but a 0,2 gram bong hit gets you just as high. If you then pay $10 per gram, you're saving $3 on every bong hit that you take instead of smoking a joint. Then the number change drastically: after smoking about 10 bong hits (instead of joints), you have your bong for free! See how smoking a bong can save a heavy smoker thousands of dollars a year?


bong vs joint

Image: the amount of weed needed for a bong vs the amount of weed that goes into a joint


Bong smoking is healthier

Smoking cannabis in a bong is healthier than smoking a joint. Especially if you’re used to mixing your weed with tobacco before rolling up your joint. People usually don’t smoke weed mixed with tobacco in bongs, so besides a better high, you inhale less toxic particles. Another reason why smoking a bong is healthier is that the smoke is filtered by the bong water before inhalation, with the result that some of the harmful particles (such as tar) in the smoke remain in the bong water and never reach your lungs. Of course you can never completely filter out all harmful particles.

What is the smoothest type of bong?

Some bongs have a special design that filters the smoke more than once. These bongs also filter out more tar and other harmful substances from the smoke. Percolator bongs are also very popular. A good example with great value for money is our 4-arm Percolator Ice Bong by Black Leaf.

Is a big or small bong better?

Whether you should buy a big bong or a small bong depends mostly on your own preferences. A big bong allows you to fill it with more smoke for a bigger "bang" when you inhale, but a smaller bong is easier to empty, doesn't take up as much space, and is easier to take with you for smoking outside the house. Both big and small bongs have their pros and cons, so some people buy bongs of various sizes for different occasions.

Does the bong water filter out THC and other cannabinoids?

This is a big question for many stoners. Does the water in my bong filter out the THC? If I use a bong, do I lose any of my precious cannabinoids? The short answer: no, you don't lose anything. The longer answer: when the smoke passes through the water, many impurities are filtered out of the smoke. Tar, ashes, and other unwanted particles are left behind in the bong water. Even though the cannabinoids themselves do not mix with water (and therefore simply pass through without being filtered out), a small percentage will be "lost" and remain in the bong. That is why some people re-cycle the black gunk/resin that is left behind in the bong: it still contains some cannabinoids! So then why did you tell us that you don't lose anything? Simple! This article is about comparing joints vs bongs - when you smoke a joint, a lot of cannabinoids are lost because of the smoke that you lose between taking draws. So even though you may lose a very small percentage of the THC when smoking a bong, it's still many times more efficient than smoking a joint. If you use SmokeWater magic bong water, the filtration is enhanced and even less THC will be lost!


Bong vs Joint: smell

Something that not everyone considers but plays a huge role for some smokers, is the smell. What is the difference in smell between a bong and a joint? There's two things to take into account here: the smell that comes from smoking a bong vs smoking a joint, and the smell that comes from a joint or bong when it's not being used.

A clean bong in itself obviously has no smell. When you fill the bowl with weed and put the bong away, it may smell a little bit - but only the weed that's in the bowl. The problem begins after smoking, when you put the dirty bong away. A dirty bong can smell absolutely horrible, and it can even make the whole room smell disgusting. Not much of a weed-smell, but just a very dirty odor. Luckily, there is an easy way to prevent a stinking bong: just make sure you never leave dirty bong water in the pipe after use. You don't need to clean it after every bong hit, but make sure you flush out the dirty water before putting the bong away to prevent it from smelling. If you leave a half-smoked joint in an ash tray somewhere in your house, it won't smell as bad as a dirty bong - but it will smell more like weed than a dirty bong.

But what about the smell of smoking a bong vs smoking a joint? That's a different story! Of course, both will smell like weed when you light them up. Whether you smoke from a bong or a joint, you're burning marijuana and that's going to smell. It's not a bad thing for everyone, but some people can't afford the neighbors, their parents, or other people to smell their smoke. That's where a bong comes in handy. Think about it: when you smoke a joint, you're exhaling many clouds of weed smoke that will make the whole surrounding area smell. But when you smoke a bong, you can get high after just one big cloud. If you can "dispose" of that cloud without anyone noticing (for example: blow it out of the window, or into a SmokeBuddy) - there will be no smell left behind! So, to conclude: a bong wins when you don't want people to smell weed, but it is absolutely essential to keep it clean and not leave dirty water inside.


Bong vs Joint: taste

Is there a difference in taste between bong hits and smoking joints? Yes, there is. And this is really a matter of... taste! Smoking a joint simply tastes slightly different from smoking a joint - presumably because a bong filters out many unwanted particles (such as tar), but perhaps also some terpenes. Smoking a bong therefore tastes more refined than smoking a joint, although it's difficult to describe the exact differences. One thing that we personally find very attractive about bongs vs joints, is that a bong keeps your teeth much cleaner than a joint. After smoking a joint, you will often feel a little layer of tar on your teeth. But when smoking a bong, your mouth will remain virtually clean. So the after-taste of a bong is much better, and you won't feel the need to brush your teeth all the time.


Bong or joint for first time?

Many people who smoke weed for the first time wonder whether it’s better to smoke a bong or joint for the first time. If you’ve never smoked weed before, just be sure to take it easy. It doesn’t really matter whether you smoke a bong or joint the first time you try weed, what matters is the dose. Just take a very small toke, wait a few minutes and see how it goes. If you think you can handle more, then take another draw. Be careful, because cannabis can creep up quite slow and hit you late and unexpected. Smoking too much the first time isn’t dangerous, but it can be very uncomfortable.


Smoking a joint in a bong

For some people, it's really difficult to choose between a bong and a joint. They're both great, and both have their unique qualities that make people like them. So why choose? The guys at Bongify in the Netherlands decided that we shouldn't have to make this choice, and developed a special adapter that lets you smoke a joint through a bong.


What do you prefer; bong, joint or pipe? Or perhaps blunts or vaporizers?

Learn more about the difference between bongs and pipes here!

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