Bong vs. Pipe | What's The Difference?

In this blog we're exploring the best weed smoking devices by comparing bongs vs pipes. Is a bong or pipe more efficient? What is the best way to smoke weed? What are the differences between the two, and should I buy a bong or a pipe? Read on to learn all the pros and cons of both bongs and pipes!


bong vs pipe

Image 1: various bongs and pipes


What is a (dry) pipe?

A dry pipe, hand pipe or simply weed pipe is a simple device for smoking weed, similar to the old-fashioned tobacco pipes. Pipes are often used for smoking marijuana very efficiently and purely (without mixing it with tobacco). Weed pipes are often made out of glass, because this provides the cleanest smoking experience: glass emits no flavour and doesn't alter the smoke of your herbs, which is a huge plus for most smokers. Traditionally, weed pipes were often made out of clay or wood (or even bamboo) and have been used for thousands of years around the whole world. Even though these classic pipes work perfectly fine for smoking weed, the modern pipes are way more popular.

Weed pipes are normally smoked in a session of a few minutes, where you fill the bowl and then slowly smoke it all. But there are also the so-called "one hitter pipes" for a quick hit, to name just one of the many varieties.


What is a bong?

A bong is a special kind of pipe that uses water to cool and filter the smoke. But unlike a hookah/shisha (where you fill a large bowl with flavoured tobacco and place a burning charcoal on top to heat up the tobacco), a bong has a relatively small bowl that is meant to be emptied in just one big hit that blasts you straight into space. Oh yeah, and instead of smoking flavoured tobacco, a bong is normally used for smoking cannabis (weed). If you want to know how to smoke weed in a hookah, read our other blog.

Bongs exist in many different shapes, and nowadays, there are many glass artists around that try to make the sickest-looking piece of them all. The classic bongs were usually straight tubes made out of glass or acrylic, with a big mouthpiece on one end of the tube. On the side of the tube, there is a (small) bowl for herbs with a stem that goes into the bong itself (into the tube), and this little stem (called the downstem) goes straight into the water that's inside the bong. That way, when you smoke from the bong, the smoke is drawn through the water before you inhale it - which makes it much cooler on the throat, and many impurities (such as tar) are filtered out. It's easy to see why such a highly functional smoking device as a bong has become so incredibly popular over the past decades.

Read more about bongs in this article: "what is a bong?"


A world of hybrids

Sometimes it's not very easy to distinguish a pipe from a bong. This is especially true due to the fact that there are many "hybrids" available, that are half bong and half pipe. For example, people often used to (and still do) make a bong out of a water bottle. But then the invention of the Unibong came along, which made it much more difficult to tell the difference between a water bottle bong vs pipe - it has a little of both, and in this case, it would probably depend on the size of the bottle that you're using. We would probably call a half-liter bottle bong a bubbler, whereas a two-liter bottle bong is definitely a real bong!


How much does a bong cost?

There are so many different bongs available nowadays, that it's very difficult to give a short answer to this question. When someone asks: "how much does a bong cost?", that's often a sign that they aren't willing to spend a huge amount of money on a bong. You can pick up cheap bongs for around €10 or even less, and they will do their main task perfectly fine: they will get you high! If you want something that looks a little more attractive, or a percolator bong that provides some extra cooling (for less coughing), then you're looking at anywhere between €20 and €75. From there on, you start to get into the high-end bongs: these are not by definition "better" than cheaper bongs, because they will all get you just as high. The differences are more in the details: high-end bongs form brands like EHLE may look and work very similarly to a €30 bong, but they can easily cost €300 or more. Why? The quality of the glass and the workmanship with which the bongs are made are simply miles apart. High-end bongs are much stronger because of the way they are made, and the fragile points that other glass bongs have (such as the bowl joint) are often reinforced. Logo's don't come off the glass when you clean them, because if you buy a really high-quality bong, the logo will be inside the glass instead of printed on the surface. And these are just a few of many factors. So, how much does a bong cost? From anywhere between €5 and €500 in most cases -but you can get some very nice bongs that offer the same level of cooling and filtration as the high-end bongs for under €50!


How much does a pipe cost?

The price of a weed pipe can also vary widely, just like the price of bongs - especially when you take into account the many "functional glass art" pipes made by high-end glass artists. But let's treat these pipes as art, and leave them from this blog for us to be able to give you a good answer. Dry weed pipes can be as cheap as €1 - these are often made of cheap wood, or corncobs. Then you have the classic wooden pipes and traditional chillums, which are usually anywhere between €5 and €25. You will also find many nice glass spoon pipes in this price range (these are beautiful small glass pipes that are perfect for a quick, sneaky smoke, or for out in nature). Then from €25 and upwards (until about €50, for most reasonably priced pipes) we have the iconic Gandalf Pipes (long glass pipes that offer a very nice and cool smoke), Sherlock pipes and other high-end pipes (with some kind of filter, such as a carbon filter or sometimes even a water filter - although technically, this is called a bubbler!). So generally speaking, pipes are cheaper than bongs, although you can find both pipes and bongs at extremely low as well as very high prices. There is just so much to choose from nowadays!


Difference between bong and bubbler

(short description of difference bong and bubbler) A bubbler sits somewhere between bongs and pipes. In fact, a bubbler is a small water pipe that smokes more like a pipe than a bong, but it does have the effective cooling and filtration power of a bong because it uses water inside. Bubblers are normally smaller than bongs, so they are easier to transport and take outside with you. But they are larger than most pipes, making a regular dry herb pipe even handier for when you're not toking at home.

Bubblers and bongs are often made of glass (often borosilicate), but they can also be made out of other materials, including metal, plastic, and wood. The main thing that defines a bubbler and separates it from bongs, is that a bubbler doesn't have a large smoke chamber where the smoke accumulated inside the bong. When you smoke a bong, the aim is to first draw the whole bong full of smoke, in order to lift up the bowl/slide (or take your finger off of the kickhole/carbhole) - and then you inhale all of the smoke at once, giving you a real "bong kick". A bubbler lacks this feature: bubblers are so small that the smoke doesn't accumulate so much inside the pipe. Instead, it passes through the water and goes directly into your lungs. So both bubblers and bongs offer water filtration and work very similarly, but the smoking experience is not the same.

To read more about the difference between bongs and bubblers, check out our detailed bong vs bubbler comparison (LINK) (link to other article: bong vs bubbler)


Bubblers vs pipes

So then what exactly is the difference between a bubbler and a pipe? This really isn't the correct way to ask the question, because a bubbler is a certain kind of pipe. And what's more; there are both bubbler pipes and bubbler bongs! The one thing that really defines a bubbler is that it's a pipe with water filtration, but with a different design from a bong (as we already explained in the previous paragraph: a bong is meant to be filled with smoke, after which you inhale all the smoke at one, whereas a bubbler does not have that functionality). To make it even more complicated, not all stoners in all parts of the world use the same terms. But let's keep it really simple:


  • A (dry) pipe does not have water filtration
  • A bubbler is a pipe with water filtration
  • A bong is a certain kind of water pipe that allows you to fill it with smoke before inhaling it all at once


bong vs bubbler

Image: classic bongs vs classic bubbler


How much weed should you smoke in a bong or pipe?

How many pipe bowls per ounce? And how many bong bowls? The real answer is that this varies widely because of different preferences. Some people prefer a huge bowl that knocks them straight into space, while others prefer smaller bong bowls that just give you a little buzz to help them concentrate. With one gram of weed, you can easily fill 5 to 15 pipe bowls, depending on your personal tolerance and preferences. If you prefer to "microdose" weed, then you can get up to 30 bowls out of 1 gram. However, there is no doubt about the fact that both weed pipes and bongs are much more efficient than joints or blunts, and can save you huge amounts of weed (and money) in the long run.



So... which is better? A bong or a pipe?


Advantages of bongs

pros of bongs include ....

  • More comfortable
  • Water filtration (making it healthier and smoother)
  • Very efficient (get high from very little weed)
  • Bong Kick effect (hits extra hard)
  • Less coughing
  • Cooler smoke


Another great advantage of bongs is that they are fully customizable and tunable, in the sense that there are thousands of different bongs and accessories from which to choose. You can upgrade most bongs with pre-coolers, diffuser downstems, carbon filters (there are also pipes with carbon filters available nowadays!), vaporizer attachments, to name just a few. This makes them incredibly versatile. In other words, a bong gives you so much control over your smoking experience, that you can adjust it until it's absolutely perfect for you.


Advantages of pipes

pros of pipes include...

  • Cheap and easy way to smoke weed
  • Also very efficient, although less than bongs
  • Smaller and more portable than bongs
  • Easier to clean
  • longer smoking session
  • Very suitable for smoking hash


A pipe can be picked up for less than $5 and give you thousands of delicious hits, so it's hard to beat a pipe when it comes to pricing. But that's not always the case: a nice glass pipe can easily set you back $35 or more as well, and at that price, you could also get a decent cheap bong.


Even though a pipe has a slightly longer smoking session than a bong (the way they're intended to use), that's not always the case. Here at Bongify, we've designed a special joint adapter for bongs (to smoke a joint through a bong) that offers you the best of both worlds: water filtration and smooth big clouds, but it's not over in just one or two hits; instead, you have a whole joint to smoke!

This adapter also works for any regular Dynavap (Vapcap) vaporizer: just stick the adapter into the bong, put the DynaVap vaporizer on the adapter, and there you go! A longer smoking session than a regular bong bowl, but with all the advantages that a bong has to offer.


Cons of bongs

  • more expensive than pipes
  • not easily portable
  • dirty bong water smells very bad
  • not always easy to clean


Cons of pipes

  • harsh on the throat
  • can get chunks of weed or ashes in your mouth
  • much less filtration of harmful substances such as tar than bongs



Can you smoke hash in a bong? And in a pipe?

Most people use bongs and pipes to smoke weed, but can you also smoke hash using these devices? That's a great question!

There's a short answer, and a long answer. The short answer: Yes, you can use both bongs and pipes to smoke hash (hashish).

The longer answer: There are some things to keep in mind. When it comes to pipes: people have been using pipes to smoke hash for centuries, and in some places/countries the word "hash pipe" is even more widely-used than the word "weed pipe". Hash is usually smoked in a traditional type of pipe, like a chillum or this long hash pipe. So, in that sense, a traditional pipe may actually be the very best way to smoke hash! But what about bongs, then? There is one big factor that makes bongs less suitable for smoking hash than small pipes. The main issue is that hash burns very slowly and for a long time, whereas the principle of a bong is to draw it full of smoke in one big draw, and then inhale everything at once. Because the hash burns so slowly, it will be more difficult to get a proper amount of smoke into the bong - and it will keep on burning after you're done. There are two great ways to smoke hash in a bong and avoid these problems: 1. mix your hash with some weed to make it burn faster, and 2. roll a joint with hash inside and smoke it through a bong using the Multi Adapter Pro. But there's also a compromise to get the best of both worlds: use a bubbler instead of a regular bong to smoke pure hash with water filtration - a bubbler is not meant for big hits, but rather acts as a dry herb pipe (yet it does have water filtration).

So: bongs lose on this point? Not exactly! Even though a regular pipe may be more suitable for smoking hash, bongs have their own specialty: they are better for smoking concentrates / dabs! These ultra-strong cannabis concentrates are not suitable for regular pipes, and are usually consumed using a special kind of bong or bubbler called a "dab rig".


Bong vs Pipe Comparison


Bong vs pipe: smell

One huge concern for some stoners, especially the ones who "aren't supposed to smoke weed" according to their parents or spouse, are very concerned about one thing: the smell. Whether you care more about smoking without being discovered or simply not having a bad smell around the house, it's good to know what causes a bad bong smell or how to avoid smelly bongs and pipes.

So, what smells worse: a bong, or a pipe? There is a lot to say to this question, but let us begin by keeping it simple: both bongs and pipes can smell horrible.

What causes the bad smell from a pipe or a bong? First of all, when you smoke weed using any kind of pipe, some "gunk" is left behind inside the pipe. This gunk consists of tar, ashes, and other impurities from the smoke. These residues (sometimes called resin) often have a horrible smell, but are easy to remove from the pipe. When you remove the tar and other gunk, the dirty smell will be gone (and your pipe won't smell at all). When talking about bongs, there is one more factor: dirty water. Dirty bong water smells even worse than the "dry gunk" inside the pipe, and is the main reason for a stinking bong.

How to prevent the bad smell in a pipe? Luckily, it's very easy to prevent your pipe from smelling bad. After every few uses (as often as you feel is right), simply clean your pipe using a brush or pipe cleaner together with some Pipe Juice. Pipe Juice is a very effective pipe cleaner concentrate that removes all of the gunk in the blink of an eye, and it even leaves a very slight fresh strawberry aroma.

How to prevent the bad smell in a bong? The main thing to do: use clean water! You can take a few hits using the same water, but don't leave the dirty water inside the bong and put it away. This is a guaranteed way to make your bong (and house) smell horrific. And when your bong starts getting a little bit dirty, make sure you clean it right away. This prevents thick layers of gunk from building up, that can become difficult to remove. If you clean your bong in time and use the right bong cleaning products, a bong is actually quite easy to clean! There's also a way to prevent it from getting dirty in the first place: use SmokeWater magic bong water instead of regular tap water, and your problem with smelly bongs will be over instantly.


Should I buy a bong or a pipe?

We've explained all the differences between bongs and pipes in this article, and we're sure that you now have a clear picture of what makes both smoking devices so popular. But we think it's worth noting that in our opinion, there is a place for both. Bongs are fantastic for everyday-use and for smoking comfortably at home, while pipes are more suitable for the stoner who's always on the move. Bongs certainly offer more smoking pleasure than pipes, and thanks to their water filtration it's also healthier to smoke a bong instead of a pipe. But a bong is not very handy to take with you, because they take up a lot of space and are often more fragile (this Black Leaf bong transport bag might solve that issue, though!). There is one thing, however, that both bongs and pipes have in common: They both get you VERY high! So if that's all you care about, it really doesn't matter whether you buy a water bong or a dry herb pipe.


Buy bongs and pipes online (at The #1 Online Bong Shop)

We hope we've helped you decide which is better for you: bongs or pipes? If you're wondering where to buy nice bongs and pipes online, then look no further. Here at Bongify we have the largest collection of many different bongs, pipes, and bubblers in Europe. All orders of €75 or more enjoy FREE WORLDWIDE SHIPPING, including to the USA, Canada and Australia. Have a look at all bongs or all pipes in our assortment, or check out some of the finest smokeware below.


Some popular bongs

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Some popular Weed Pipes

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An immensely popular weed pipe alternative is the good ol' joint. We've written an article comparing joints vs. bongs to give you a clear idea of which is better in just a few minutes!

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