Percolators add an extra level of bubbling water filtration to the smoke, ensuring that your hit is cool and smooth.
In fact percolators are such a popular feature on bongs that there are percolators available in every shape and style of bong, including beaker bongs, straight tube bongs, silicone bongs and heady bongs.
How Does A Percolator Bong Work?
Although there are many different styles of percolator, the basic science behind them the same: Smoke and water are forced through the percolator by the pressure that occurs when a user inhales on the bong. This presence of bubbles accelerates heat transfer—the hot smoke is rapidly cooled by the bubbling, aerated water.
Secondly, this bubbling action break the smoke up into finer particles. This helps to filter out some of the carcinogens and particulates that are in the smoke. The result is a spectacular bubbling action and a smooth, cool hit every time.
At their most basic percolators work by forming tiny bubbles as the smoke passes through, which gives the water more surface area to interact with the smoke.
Types of Percolators
All percolators provide an additional level of filtration for the smoke. However, different percolators will do this in different ways. They will also add a different aesthetic element to bong as each has a unique look. Below are some of the most common perc types.
Dome percolators are so named because of their dome shape and often sit at the very bottom of the water chamber. They work in much the same way a sprinkler does, “spraying” bubbled water as one takes a draw on the bong.
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.
Tree percolators are percolators with a series of glass tubes with small slits that come off of a main “trunk,” and they resemble the limbs of a tree. They work in the same way that a diffuser does, with the branches filtering the smoke as it is passed through them.
Showerhead percolators (sometimes called “UFO percs”) are shaped like the showerhead you use daily to stay clean. Slits or holes are placed at the bottom of a vertical tube that flares at the bottom, creating bubbles that diffuse and filter the smoke.
Honeycomb percolators are a disc-shaped percolator that feature many small holes. The offer more percolation than a standard disc perc because the small holes create more diffusion and thus more filtration. They tend to be unobtrusive and fit perfectly into the tube section of the bong.
Inline percolators are horizontal tubes with several slits in them. They are used to complement other percolators within a bong that has multiple types of percolators.
How to Clean a Percolator Bong
Because the percolators themselves are both intricate and placed in hard to reach spots, percolator bongs can be a bit harder to clean than your average, run of them mill bong. But fret not—we have a solution to keep your perc bong fresh and clean, and to ensure those hard to reach places get scrubbed. First, fill the pipe with rubbing alcohol and salt water, swishing it around all the internal parts. Then let it soak for 20 minutes or so. Then let the solution flow through all the percolators, so that it rinses them. Use a brush if you have one. Then rinse it several times with cold water. This should keep the percs free of junky build up.