"Water Pipes", more commonly referred to as "Bongs" have been the preferred choice of smokers for over thousands of years! While the designs of today's glass bongs have evolved significantly from the water filtered pipes our ancestors were smoking, the purpose has remained the same.
Bongs provide a smoother, cooler, filtered smoke that's easier on the lungs to hit than using a dry pipe.
Glass water pipes are the most accessible type of bong to clean because they can be partially dismantled. They provide excellent filtration due to various percs and features. If treated carefully they can last for generations.
Water filtration in a bong cools down your hit as it moves through the water and is broken up into smaller bubbles. As the smoke passes through water and percs inside your pipe, the tiny bubbles that are formed which cool the smoke quickly to a temperature more comfortable to inhale.
There are dozens of percs out there, but they all provide smoother hits at the cost of some drag. Bongs that have a perc like a tree perc bong and ones that have a removable downstem are easy to clean. However, more intricate pieces, such as the fab egg or the inline perc bongs offer smoother hits but are harder to clean sometimes.
What type of bong should I buy?
Options besides percolator type include the base, size, features, and aesthetics. Some bong features can consist of a removable or fixed down stem, ice-catches, splash guards, and water line markers. In general, bongs are made with 10mm, 14mm, and 18mm joint sizes. It's important to know what size your bong is when buying parts like glass bowls or accessories like ash-catchers. Make sure to pay attention to the angle of the joint when shopping for an ash-catcher. While most beakers have 45º joints, many straight tubes and inline perc pieces will have a 90º joint angle.