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Percolators: What They Do & What Are The Benefits

If you’ve been smoking for a while, then chances are that you’ve heard the word “percolator” or “perc” before. Even if you are a veteran smoker with plenty of experience, the word percolator might still be shrouded in mystery. However, percolators are critical to smoker culture. Though they are not required in a bong, they have become somewhat standard. Here, we’ll discuss the purpose and function of percolators, and the various types that can be included with water pipes.

This post has been updated from its original version in 2017.

What is a Bong Percolator?

The goal of smoking out of a bong is to make the smoking process feel much smoother. In contrast, the goal of dabbing is to isolate and enjoy flavor. A percolator aims to further that goal by cooling down the smoke, and provide premium filtration. There are several different types of percolators, and each has a slightly different effect.

Why Use a Bong With a Percolator?

For some who are not familiar with bongs, the prospect of smoking out of one may be slightly intimidating. The cultural stigma around bongs causes them to appear somewhat more potent than other smoking instruments. And, in a certain sense, they are.

While the smoke will lose some of the effect going through two chambers of water, the intake will be far easier. This will enable most people to ingest more smoke than they normally would. For most, this trade-off will be well worth it.

10 Styles of Percolators

All percolators will provide an additional layer of filtration for the smoke, making for a much more enjoyable and smooth smoking experience. However, different percolators will accomplish this in a different manner. They will also contribute a different aesthetic touch to each piece. These are some of the most common styles of percolators.

1. Honeycomb Percolators

The shape of honeycomb percs give them the functionality they need to filter smoke with such efficiency. The round discs fit perfectly in the tube of the bong, and the small holes excel in diffusing the smoke. Most of all, they accomplish this without slowing down the smoking process.

This piece has 3 honeycomb percolators, providing ample filtration and guaranteed cool hits.

2. Tree Percolators

Tree percolators are fairly simple. Within the tube of the bong, there is a collection of rods that resemble tree limbs. With a few slits per “limb”, there will be plenty of diffusion.

At Toker Supply, our premium online headshop has several bongs with tree percolators. While many tree percolators are easily broken, this one constructed from borosilicate glass is much more durable.

3. Inline Percolators

Inline percolators are simply horizontal tubes with several slits in them– the more slits there are, the more percolation takes place. They often complement other percolators above them.

This piece sacrifices a downstem in favor of an inline percolator, with an additional showerhead percolator placed above the inline perc.

4. Matrix Percolator

Matrix percolators are located in the center, with plenty of space around them, making for quite the aesthetic. Because the top holes do not have much resistance, the lower holes are not likely to bring enough smoke in. A matrix percolator operates in a similar way to showerhead percss.

This piece is perfectly comfortable to hold at only 12 inches, and efficient at cooling smoke with both an inline and matrix perc.

5. Turbine Percolators

Turbine percolators excel in function while also delivering a unique aesthetic. The shape of the percolator causes water to travel up the sides of the pipe, providing effective filtration in addition to incredible visuals.

Our premium online headshop sells only the finest turbine perc bongs. This water pipe uses a crystal ball perc to start the diffusion process, and subsequently a turbine perc to finish the process. At 14 inches tall, this pipe will provide consistently excellent hits.

6. Fritted Disc Percolators

The most powerful of all percolators, fritted disc percs are a similar, yet slightly more intense version of honeycomb percs. With even more holes, they will fill your piece with bubbles, producing plenty of smoke for you to inhale. Unfortunately, the sheer quantity of holes makes cleaning a nightmare (though it’s well worth it for the adventurous smoker).

7. Showerhead Percs

Showerhead percs use a tube that connects to the main chamber to bring smoke back through a larger tube, directing the smoke down and into another percolator with varying quantities of slits. From there, most pieces direct the smoke to a second percolator.

This piece uses the showerhead perc in addition to a recycler, which brings the smoke through the chamber several times before inhalation.

8. Spiral Perc

Also referred to as a coil percolator, this style simply brings the smoke through the coil and increases the cooling potential. It is also a welcome visual feature. Compared to other percolators, spiral percs provide smoother and longer drags.

This piece allows the awesome visual of smoke rushing through the coil to shine with an otherwise bare-bones approach, aside from the ice catcher. The ice catcher prevents spillage within the bong.

9. Faberge Egg Percs

While a faberge egg percolator will not efficiently filter smoke independently, it will work well when paired with another percolator. Instead, placing a faberge egg perc within close proximity to another percolator will allow the smoke to filter and spread out, giving the bubbles more surface area. Additionally, they bring an appealing aesthetic to the table.

10. Downstems

Downstems are far more basic than percolators, in both appearance and function. In fact, they are what initially separated water pipes from dry pipes. A downstem is simply a tube that sits in the main water chamber, allowing air to enter the chamber. This creates an improved airflow.

Downstems are a common feature for water pipes. They can be easily removed and cleaned, and replaced by different downstems when needed. However, make sure that the downstem is the appropriate size.

This basic piece has a diffused, removable downstem, and is perfect for smoking alone or with friends.

Regardless of the percolator style that you prefer, a bong with a percolator will surely improve your smoking experience. There is no substitute for the feeling that continuous smooth hits give you. Toker Supply is an online headshop that provides all styles of smoking pieces and accessories. Our products are made to ensure the highest degree of quality and durability.

Not all bong percolators are created equal. Although they are not required in a bong, they do provide many benefits. Here we list the different kind of percs, how they work, and what benefits they bring to smoking from a bong.

Everything you need to know about percolator bongs

Whether you’re looking for a simple piece of glass or something straight out of a chemistry lab, finding the perfect bong can be tricky with so many options available. And if you’ve ripped a few bongs in your life, you’ve probably heard of a percolator bong, or “perc,” before, though their purpose may still be a mystery.

Percolators are a type of glass bong, sometimes called “water pipe,” that diffuse cannabis smoke and make it easier to inhale. Percolator bongs are a longtime staple in weed culture.

Do percolators actually make any difference in your smoking experience, or are they just fancy additions that function just as well as plain glass bongs? You’re in luck, because these are exactly the kind of questions we’ll be answering in Weedmaps’ guide to percolator bongs.

What is a percolator bong?

While percolators can look complicated, they actually make your bong easier to hit. Located either in the tube of the bong or the base, a perc is basically a small glass contraption which water passes through to create a filter.

When you inhale from a percolator bong, the smoke is diffused into tons of bubbles which make that classic bong rip sound. These bubbles increase the surface area over which smoke travels within the piece, giving it time to cool down and filter out impurities. This process produces a smoother hit, which means less coughing and more bong rips.

If you’re new to bong life, or you usually find them to be too harsh on your throat, you may want to include a perc on your list of must-haves when shopping for a bong. Plus, adding a percolator bong to your repertoire of smoking accessories can be highly cost effective.

Bongs are great for getting you maximally stoned with a small amount of weed, and adding a perc to the mix allows you to ingest more smoke at a time, thus getting you higher than usual.

What are the different types of percolators?

Perc bongs come in all shapes and sizes, but there are a few standard ones you’ll find in most smoke shops. Some bongs may have multiple percs that work together to provide an enhanced smoking experience. You can also find detached ash catchers that feature various percs so you can upgrade a bong you already own.

Tree

Tree percolators are probably the easiest to recognize, made up of multiple rods connected at the top which resemble tree limbs. Air comes up from a central tube and down through the rods which are slitted at the bottom, diffusing bubbles into the bong.

With more rods on your perc, you’ll experience maximum filtration, though a tree percolator can be a bit delicate compared to other types. It’s important to always shop from retailers who provide thick borosilicate glass bongs that won’t break easily.

Beaker Base 10 Arm Tree Percolator Bong — Flaming Skull (2 of 2) pic.twitter.com/INnkjIVk

Inline

An inline percolator is simply a horizontal tube with several slits in them. As you probably guessed by now, more slits equals more percolation within your bong. These percs are typically located in the base of the bong and complement other types of percs, such as a showerhead.

Showerhead

Shaped like a showerhead, these bad boys are a popular choice among percolator lovers. Slits or holes are placed at the bottom of a vertical tube that flares out, pulling smoke into a separate diffusion chamber above the water in the base. Usually a showerhead perc will be located in the neck of the bong, especially in beaker-shaped pieces.

Introducing the ‘Holy Moly’ by Chongz

This gorgeous glass bong features a submerged showerhead percolator, capable of producing hundreds of tiny bubbles that cool and filter your smoke.

Diffused downstem

If you want to spice up your favorite bong, a diffused downstem might be the answer. Rather than a straight glass downstem, a diffused downstem has several slits at the bottom that improve air flow into the base of your piece. Be sure to purchase the correct size downstem for your specific bong.

Honeycomb

Honeycomb percolators are arguably among the most sought after percs — and for good reason. These percs feature flat discs, usually more than one, studded with a bunch of tiny holes (hence the name). They’re typically found in straight tube bongs stacked directly above one another to create additional chambers for the smoke to pass through.

Fritted disc

Even more powerful than the honeycomb, fritted disc percs are made up of coarse glass particles bonded together to create what seems like a million itty-bitty holes — those with trypophobia beware. They can be formed into a disc or ball shape, among others. These percs are best for the adventurous smoker who seeks the perfect bong rip, even if that means constant cleaning.

Turbine

Commonly paired with a honeycomb due to it’s disc shape, turbine percs are slabs of glass that feature slits around the edges. When you inhale, it creates a visually appealing whirlpool as water and bubbles are pulled through it. Basically, these percs diffuse your hit and also look super dope.

How to keep your bong clean

Percs can definitely improve the quality of your bong rips, but they can also make your piece more difficult to clean. Resin will gunk up the nooks and crannies of the percs over time, rendering them useless. Luckily, you can avoid this problem altogether by cleaning your bong regularly with a mixture of salt and rubbing alcohol or a glass cleaning solution.

A bong with one or more percs will likely require more frequent cleaning than a piece with no percs, but super smooth bong rips are worth a little extra time spent cleaning.

Is there anything else I should know?

This is by no means an exhaustive list of every variant of percolator out there. It never hurts to ask your local smoke shop cashier how a perc works, or if you’re shopping online, to do some research before hitting “pay now.”

Shopping for glass is a personal experience, so be sure to consider your lifestyle when choosing. Maybe you want a purely functional piece that is easy to clean, or perhaps you want a cool scientific piece with three percs for monstrous hits. Either way, the perfect bong for you is out there — you just need to find it.

Featured image by In Green/Shutterstock

You’ve probably heard of a percolator bong, or “perc,” before, though their purpose may still be a mystery. ]]>