Percolator bongs, or percs for short, use water diffusion to take your cannabis experience one step further. That’s not to say it’s time to retire your college-style bong for good, but, for what it’s worth, you could be missing out on some of today’s upgraded glass designs. So, what makes a percolator bong better than a regular bong? Let’s just say it’s a question of preference, budget, and prior bong experience.
However, there are clear advantages to graduating from the classic design to a more sophisticated version. Percolator bongs filter out harsh contaminants, minimize coughing, and enrich the taste of dry flower and dabs—what you’d call a bong smoker’s dream.
What is a percolator bong?
Using the process of percolation, percolator bongs encourage you to slow down and draw in creamier, luscious hits. This design forces smoke to pass through holes or slits before rising through the neck up to the mouthpiece. What happens along the way sounds more technical than it is, but the percolator component essentially pressurizes bubbles in a separate chamber, which ends up purifying and cooling down the vapor.
Different types of percolators
There’s no shortage of variety when it comes to glass percolator bongs. Here are the most common designs you’ll find in online headshops (some wackier than the rest):
- Diffused downstem: Considered the simplest perc design, diffused downstems are either detachable or fixed to the base of the bong. The thin pipe percolates smoke through narrow slits beneath the water.
- Disc: As one of the more popular designs, disc percs filter smoke through a hole-studded, circular disk. Honeycomb percs also fall under this category, given the high rate of diffusion you get from dozens of tiny holes. The distant cousin to these types is the circ perc, which resembles a hockey pick with slits for diffusion, not holes.
- Swiss: Swiss percs make the base of the bong look dented, but these “swiss cheese holes” actually cool vapor around the vertical discs. Similarly, donut percs push smoke into an o-shaped hole, adding to the bong’s aesthetic appeal.
- Turbine: Also called cyclone or vortex percs, this style creates a whirlpool effect when you draw the smoke up to your mouth. Turbine percs are often stacked on top of the honeycomb design.
- Tree: This perc follows the anatomy of a tree, pushing smoke through a central tube (trunk) before falling into the attached, slitted tubes (branches). You’ll often see bongs with double or triple-tree percs.
- Showerhead: Kind of like the one in your shower, except inside your bong. The smoke pushes up into a rounded chamber then goes down and out the holes/slits.
- Inline/Matrix: Inline percs include a slitted, horizontal tube, jutting out of the base (but sometimes welded inside). This style goes beyond your standard bong design with its submarine-like build. A matrix perc is another wow-factor style that whips a frenzy of bubbles and smoke above a circular matrix. The vertical and horizontal slits create a mesmerizing “dancing” water effect.
Best Percolator Bongs
1. Glasscity 13’’ Double-tree Perc
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Ranked at number one, Glasscity’s double-tree beaker perc is one of the best percolator bongs on the market. If you’re new to percs, adding this piece to your glass collection is an undeniable upgrade from the old-school, beaker-only design. Easy on the eyes and the lungs, the double-tree perc pushes smoke through twelve arms before billowing upwards to the mouthpiece. One rip and you’ll notice the difference the tree perc makes. As an added perk, Glasscity throws in a keck clip with your purchase so you don’t accidentally pull apart the joint from the downstem during use.
- 13” tall
- Beaker base
- Slitted splash guard to keep water from overflowing
- Sold with keck clip to prevent joint and downstem detachment
2. Purr 10’’ Honeycomb Perc
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The Purr honeycomb perc comes from an American glass company and smokes its way right to the top of this list for its easy-going design, height, and tip-resistant base. People enjoy the honeycomb perc design because it filters smoke through several holes, which means sweeter, milkier rips. Take a look at the video demo within the product description to watch the honeycomb in effect. Plus, reviewers can’t stop talking about the sturdiness of Purr glass, just in case you have clumsy hands.
- 10” tall
- 14mm male joint size
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Made with thick German Schott glass
3. Envy Glass 17’’ Pop Rocks Perc
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A Pop Rocks perc—yep, you read that right. Envy Glass sells a massive 17” inline-style perc with textured glass that brings back memories of your favorite childhood candy. The color accents add a funky flair to this beast of a bong. Both the perc and mouthpiece have Pop Rocks crusted glass, which looks and smokes as crazy as it sounds. The originality of this perc design wins Envy Glass points according to customer reviews.
- 17” tall
- Triple point ice catch
- Handmade in the US
- 18mm female joint size
- Designed with durable, scientific glass
4. Puffing Bird 15’’ Tree Perc
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Here’s a glass percolator bong for those who need an added layer of protection. The Puffing Bird tree perc is swathed in an unbreakable silicone coat, so you don’t have to worry about breaking another precious glass piece. For maintenance, simply detach the tree perc when it’s time for some elbow grease and then reattach to rip away. This perc is about as inexpensive as it gets without sacrificing on glass quality or design.
- 15” tall
- Features 18mm female joint size
- Currently listed at discounted price
5. Dopezilla 16’’ Honeycomb Perc
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Dopezilla perc bongs are the popular kids on the block. You’ll often see this brand sold out in most online headshops, but luckily, the 16” honeycomb perc is still available. Triple stacked honeycombs and a useful handle make this perc great for group settings. Just for kicks, the bong comes with dope Cerberus artwork, satisfying your inner Greek mythology geek.
- Catch ice in the bullet-hole notch
- 16” tall, but 12” option when in stock
- Product description includes useful video of packaging
6. Diamond Glass 8’’ Mini Beaker Bong
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Simple and elegant, the Diamond Glass mini perc is suited for small-living spaces or on-the-go use. The diffused downstem perc gets the job done without costing you a fortune. Over one hundred reviewers say they enjoy the discretion of the 8” height and quality of the borosilicate glass. If you’re not interested in the bells-and-whistles of percolator bongs, this is a convenient piece to keep you company at home or on trips.
- 8” tall
- Made with 5mm borosilicate glass
- Blue mouthpiece adds a pop of color
7. LA Pipes 14″ Double-Showerhead Perc
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LA Pipes sells a fantastic double-showerhead perc that’s compatible with dry herb and concentrates (must purchase add-on accessories). In terms of diffusion, this perc takes the trophy since smoke passes through a diffused downstem before rising to the showerhead chambers. Reviewers constantly brag about the quality of LA Pipes’ glass and upscaled percolator design.
- 14” tall
- Ice notches
- Beaker base
- Free US shipping
- 14-18mm joint size
8. Straight Tube 12” Turbine Perc
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Toker Supply sells a 12” turbine perc with a sexy, long tube for slower diffusion. The turbine whips and spins the smoke, creating an eye-catching visual experience. Priced under $100, this is the perc to buy if you’re budget shopping but still want to invest in advanced percolator technology.
- 12” tall
- Thick, rounded base
- 14mm male joint size
- Sold with dry herb bowl
9. Famous Brandz 7” Cheech & Chong’s Mini Perc
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What’s your excuse for not buying Famous Brandz’ Cheech and Chong perc? Superfans will appreciate this themed piece because every rip makes you feel like you’re time-traveling back to 1978. The mini-size and diffused downstem perc keep things laid back and simple, just like Cheech and Chong would have wanted. This perc is the perfect reason to rewatch the legendary stoner classic.
- 7” tall
- 14.5mm female joint size
- Made with borosilicate glass
- Bent neck and rounded mouthpiece
10. Diamond Glass 8” Circ Perc
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Standing at just 8” high, Diamond Glass sells an insanely cool showerhead perc. This piece allows you to happily step outside of your comfort zone with an angled tube, and may even give your neck a much-needed break from straight tube bongs. Reviewers mention the simplicity of this feature since you don’t have to fool around with fragile downstems. Feel free to watch the showerhead-style perc in action in the video demo.
- 8” tall
- Features female 18mm joint size
- Bonus: comes with an 18mm martini bowl
The short answer: maybe. It depends on who you ask. The question of percolator vs. regular bong leads to varying opinions. Some people swear by the classic beaker bongs (call it nostalgia). Others prefer more advanced technology with percolators because they diffuse vapor through holes/slits before inhalation. Percs use scientific glass, which means they’re designed to cool down vapor, stand the test of time, and diffuse out any harmful contaminants that diminish THC potency.
It’s a tough call because percs come in so many different shapes and sizes. You have over ten types to choose from: circ, tree, matrix, inline, honeycomb, diffused downstem, turbine, showerhead, etc. Ultimately, finding the best percolator bong is a matter of preference and how much you’re willing to spend. Those with less experience may want to start with a diffused downstem perc and work their way up to a more complicated design, such as a matrix perc.