What is a pre-cooler?

If you're a bong toker or if you've been searching on the internet to buy your first bong, chances are that you've heard of "pre-coolers". But what is a pre-cooler (or precooler), and why use a pre-cooler with your bong? In this blog we'll tell you all there is to know about bong pre-coolers!


What does a pre-cooler do, and why would I use one?

What is the definition of a pre-cooler? As the name "pre-cooler" implies, the main purpose of a pre-cooler is to pre-cool the smoke, or in other words: to cool the smoke down even before it enters the bong.


Different sorts of pre-coolers

There are different sorts of pre-coolers available for sale these days. The classic model, a simple glass "vase" that you mount where the bowl is supposed to go, has evolved into a wide range of very effective precoolers. 

These are the different kinds of pre-coolers available:

  1. The classic pre-cooler filled with water
  2. Water pre-coolers with percolators and diffusers
  3. Pre-coolers with cooling liquid that can be cooled in the fridge
  4. Pre-coolers that use only air

Especially the second and third varieties of precoolers are very interesting. A percolator- or diffuser-precooler is a classic pre-cooler equipped with an extra glass part that makes the water do its job much more effectively. The smoke is cooled and filtered much better, making the smoking experience even smoother, cleaner and less scratchy. Examples of these "extra parts" are a HoneyComb-disc, a tree percolator, an inline diffuser or even simply a diffuser downstem inside the precooler. Or a combination of these, of course! All these parts basically make sure that the smoke makes much more contact with the water, increasing the surface area, making the precooler much more effective. A pre-cooler with cooling liquid that can be cooled in the fridge is not filled with water, but has a spiral surrounded by cooling liquid, similar to the cooling system in cars, motorbikes or water-cooled computers. You put these precoolers in the refrigerator for a while before your smoking session, and when you're ready to smoke you put it on the bong. The smoke passes through the spiral that the liquid keeps very cold, so that the smoke gets cooled enormously well. The effect of this is similar to that of ice bongs. The last variety, pre-coolers that use only air, are not very common. An example is the "Jet Flash" precooler by Blaze Glass that's available at Bongify. This uses tiny air jets that mix in with the smoke, making it cooler and much more pleasant without using any water, liquid or ice.


What is the difference between a pre-cooler and an ash catcher?

Pre-coolers and ash catchers are often spoken of in one breath, and that's quite logical: they are very similar, both in function and appearance. Both a pre-cooler and an ash catcher keep the ashes and dirty particles out of the bong. This prevents the bong from getting dirty quickly. The difference is in the fact that a pre-cooler is made not only to filter the smoke of impurities, but also to cool it down before it enters the bong. This makes the smoking experience much more pleasant, and part of the tar is filtered out of the smoke. An ash catcher, on the other hand, is only meant to keep the ashes out of the bong, and is often not even filled with water. There are also models that could be named both a pre-cooler and an ash catcher, and that's not so strange, because by definition a pre-cooler also functions as an ash catcher, but it does a little more than just catch the ashes. An ash catcher that doesn't function like a precooler is often fitted with a different filter mechanism than water, such as a screen or gauze, and it usually simple in design so that the ashes can be removed easily after use.


Mounting several pre-coolers onto each other (stacking pre-coolers)

A pre-cooler is not only very effective in improving your smoking experience, but it also simply looks super cool! With a pre-cooler you easily transform your bong into an advanced smoking machine. It's even possible to mount several pre-coolers onto each other (stacking pre-coolers) to create a system of multiple layers of filtration. To do this, make sure that your bong stands stable enough (that it has a good foot and enough weight to keep it from falling over), but this does allow you to create and extremely soft, cool and clean smoking experience. Many stoners think that this way of smoking beats vaporizers any day.


Multiple pre-coolers for extra convenience

If you have multiple pre-coolers, you can quickly and easily swap them while smoking. This way, there's no need to change the bong water after every bong hit, but you simply put a different precooler on your bong.


Which pre-cooler do I need?

But which pre-cooler do I need for my bong? In most cases that's a matter of personal preference, and there are multiple possibilities. But you do need to take note of the socket, or the size of the bong connection ("standard grinding") and the angle of the pre-cooler, which is often a 45 or 90 degree angle from your bong's socket. It's also important that your bong doesn't tip over when mounting the precooler, so the bong needs to be stable and heavy enough for the pre-cooler that you want to use.

There are certain pre-coolers that are basically pieces to put between the bong and the bowl, meaning that you have to put a seperate bowl on top of the precooler. There are also pre-cooler with a fixed bowl, where you simply put your weed inside or on top of the precooler in order to smoke it.

Aside from the connection and size of the precooler, it's also important to think about the material. Almost all bong pre-coolers are made of glass, but in the world of bongs there's more than just one type of glass. The most important and most commonly used type of glass is borosilicate glass, also known as "Pyrex" or "Scientific Glass". This is heat-proof and scratch-proof glass that's also used for many other applications, such as production of oven dishes. Thanks to the strength and resistance to wear, it is a great type of glass for bongs and pre-coolers, but it is a little more costly than "soft glass" or "normal glass". Are you looking for a reliable, extensive and luxurious precooler? Then borosilicate glass is what you're looking for. If you prefer to buy a cheap precooler as your first one to try or simply because you don't have so much money to spend, then a simple soft glass precooler may be good enough for you. If you treat it with a little love, even a soft glass precooler can last for many years.


Some Pre-Coolers and Ash Catchers for sale at Bongify


Have a look at all pre-coolers available at Bongify.

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