It’s very “old man yelling at a cloud” to admit, but when I was a teenage dirtbag, we were smoking weed not “consuming c*nn*bis.” These days, you can smoke, vape, eat gummies, drizzle some infused olive oil, slip a sublingual under your tongue, pop THC tablets, drink a seltzer, squeeze a syrup into your beer, slather on some lube, and probably like 20 other things I’m not plugged in enough to know about.
Still, there’s something irreplaceable about bongs, whether you’re passing it around a group of friends during a Lord of the Rings marathon or hitting it before you melt into bed after the world’s longest work day. Bongs are a relic of an era before anyone was entwining weed and “wellness.” They’re a little impractical, a little obnoxious, and liable to get you uncomfortably stoned. That’s exactly why owning one is so much fun.
It’s easy to get caught up in the details when making any big purchase, and duh, bongs is no exception. Before you start browsing, it’s worth ironing out a few basic details. Think about how often you’re going to use your bong, how many people in your household will be partaking, and whether you live somewhere exhaling a big rip won’t set off the fire alarm.
If you want to pick out your new bong in person, know that even if the price is attractive, the options at your local gas station just aren’t going to be high quality, no matter how good they look. You’re better off browsing at a licensed dispensary or at a head shop that specializes in bongs, water pipes, and other weed-smoking gear.
Borosilicate or “scientific” glass and ceramic bongs are the gold standard because they’re durable, respond well to heat, and—most importantly—are safe to smoke out of. I’d recommend getting a clear or translucent one because it’s obvious when they get dirty and need a good scrub (more on that later).
Silicone bongs are another option—they’re lower quality but significantly cheaper. These can also be easier to clean because they’re squishy and malleable, so you can work your product of choice into all the nooks and crannies. They only work if the bowl itself is glass, ceramic, or a specific metal like stainless steel, titanium, or pure brass.