Even as a newbie smoker, it's likely that you have heard the term "percolator" thrown around in product descriptions and bong reviews. But it's probably still shrouded in mystery. If that's the case, we will provide an overview below. Broadly speaking, percolation is one of the key features to a great bong, dab rig or water pipe so you should take the time to familiarize yourself with what percolators are and why they are so important.
What is a Percolator?
When using a water pipe like a bong or a dab rig, a smooth hit is the goal; nobody wants a scorched throat or a dry hit. Percolators, or "percs," are filtration systems that glass manufacturers implement into their pieces in order to provide a smoother hit for the user. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but all of them focus on breaking up the flow of water in order to cool down smoke as it travels through the bong's water chamber.
There are a ton of options for percolators available – an overwhelming amount, especially for newcomers – so it is essential that you size up the competition and get a grasp on the different percs available. This way, you can determine which perc will best compliment your smoking style.
Types of Bong Percolators
Percolators come in a wide array of styles, with each one being a new take on how best to filter your smoke. There is no surefire perc that will provide the perfect filtration for everyone – personal preference plays a hefty role. But, here are some of the most common percolators out there.
Out of all of the percolator types available, the honeycomb is one of the most recognizable. They get their name from their distinct circular disc shape with many small holes littered throughout. These are ideal percs for just about anyone because they provide great filtration with very little drag applied to the smoke. SmokeSmith Gear is proud to offer some of the best water pipes with honeycombs percolators just like the Battleship scientific glass bong from Snoop Dogg's Pounds line of glass.
Much like other forms or percolators, the inline perc runs on the principle that the more holes there are for smoke to go through the better. This type of perc gets its name from its single long glass rod construction. Diffusion takes place in the holes lined up along the rod, with more holes equaling greater diffusion.
Inline percolators are meant primarily for use in smaller water pipes, due to their inability to properly filter excess amounts of water. However, if you pair one with another percolator, they tend to compliment each other well in large pieces. The GRAV Labs Dual Action Inline water pipe serves to prove that point with its insane versatility and smooth draw that can't be matched by other manufacturers.
Tree percolators are named so for their branch-like limbs that extend down and allow smoke to filter through. One of the key aspects to a great percolator, and in turn a great bong, is attaining greater amounts of diffusion. The best part about a tree perc is that, with more limbs there is more diffusion, making these percs the best for those that want to achieve maximum diffusion. Just verify that there are more rods in the percolator and you will be golden. Tree perc pieces like the 6-Arm Tree Perc Beaker Bong from Nucleus Glass offer smokers a great diffusion option without being unnecessarily complex.
The showerhead percolator is one of the most commonly used percs available, mostly due to its simplistic design. This type or perc works by forcing smoke through a series of tubes that shoot it out into the body of the main piece. Showerhead percs tend to be paired with other percolators in order to provide top-tier diffusion. A honeycomb and showerhead combination like with the Honeycomb to Showerhead Ascatcher from Ronin Glass is the ideal way to experience this type of percolator.
Out of all of the various types of percolators available, the matrix is one of the most aesthetically pleasing. If you are a fan of using large glass bongs, matrix percs are great for stacking up for added diffusion.
Matrix percs work similarly to their showerhead counterparts by forcing water out in and out of the main chamber of the pipe. This type of percolator forces smoke and water through small vertical and horizontal slits that allow some of the best diffusion out of all the types of percolators available. Check out this grand example of a matrix perc water pipe from Nucleus Glass; you will not be disappointed with a percolator like this one.
A Great Bong Starts with a Great Percolator
There are a ton of options for percolators available, and finding the one that fits your smoking style the best will ensure that you enjoy your water pipe with every hit. Regardless of the style you choose, though, a bong or rig with a perc inside will definitely improve your smoking experience. There is just nothing like taking a smooth drag that delivers the right amount of smoke without scorching your throat.