If you’re shopping for a bong, arguably the most difficult part of the process is actually choosing which one to purchase. Not only do bongs come in all shapes, colours, and sizes—from small and portable to gigantic bong monsters for your coffee table—they also vary by material and fabrication. What’s the difference between bongs made from glass, silicone, ceramic, and acrylic? And moreover, what are the pros and cons of each? Let’s take a closer look!

ACRYLIC BONGS

Acrylic, also known as plexiglass, is a type of plastic that is often used as an alternative for glass. As acrylic can easily be formed into all kinds of shapes, acrylic bongs can be mass-produced, which makes them the cheapest option. Because of their low price point, they are great if you don’t want to spend a lot, and they also make decent beginner bongs.

Acrylic is a rather durable material that doesn’t break easily, so these bongs can tolerate some wear and tear. That said, they’re not unbreakable. Because they are relatively sturdy and don’t weigh much, they are great bongs to take with you on your travels, and they’re perfect for parties. Even if you should break your acrylic bong, a new one will only cost a few bucks.

So, what’s the disadvantage of acrylic bongs? Easy: They have the worst taste compared to the alternatives. The reason for this is that the plastic material can give off unpleasant odours when heated, which can adversely affect the taste of your weed. Worse, cheaply made acrylic bongs from overseas could possibly contain harmful substances.

ACRYLIC BONG ADVANTAGES

• Inexpensive
• Lightweight
• Sturdy and durable
• Good for travelling
• Available in many different shapes, sizes, and colours

ACRYLIC BONG DISADVANTAGES

• Bad taste compared to bongs made from other materials
• “Cheap” look
• Low-quality acrylic may contain harmful substances

Acrilyc Bong

CERAMIC BONGS

Bongs made from ceramic combine some of the pros and cons of glass and acrylic pieces. You can find them in all sorts of shapes and styles, and the artistry and design behind these pieces makes them something special to behold. For that reason, ceramic bongs are often considered collector’s items. You can certainly find ceramic bongs in the classic shape with a bowl and downstem, though you can also find them in the shape of figurines, sculptures, and pipe-style bubblers. An artsy ceramic bong with a cool or fun shape also makes a great conversation piece when you’re smoking with friends. Since some ceramic bongs look like a collectible your grandma might buy on her trip to a foreign country, they won’t raise too much suspicion on your shelf.

The big advantage of ceramic bongs, apart from the lower price compared to glass, is that they have a neutral flavour and provide a smooth smoke. This makes them almost as good as glass when it comes to taste. The main disadvantage is that ceramic bongs are perhaps the most breakable of the bunch. For this reason, they don’t always travel well, and might not last through a rave without meeting an untimely demise.

CERAMIC BONG ADVANTAGES

• Middle-of-the-road expense
• Good, pure flavour
• Available in many cool shapes
• Can make good stealth bongs
• Aesthetically pleasing and collectible

CERAMIC BONG DISADVANTAGES

• Breakable
• Don't travel well
• Not as versatile as a quality glass bong

Ceramic

SILICONE BONGS

Silicone bongs are kind of in a league of their own, and are made from the same material as those flexible silicone baking moulds. They are soft and squishy, much like rubber, but have the advantage that nothing sticks to them. For that reason, silicone has already been quite popular in the cannabis industry as a material for resin containers. Recently, however, there has been an insurgence of silicone bongs on the market.

The biggest advantage of silicone bongs is their neutral taste. As silicone bongs are made from the same food-grade material as cooking supplies, this also means they are safe to use near a flame and won’t give off unpleasant odours. Some cannabis users swear by silicone bongs, claiming that the flavour is just as good as glass. Another big plus is that a squishy silicone bong is pretty much unbreakable. They make great, lightweight travel bongs that you can even fold and squeeze into a small bag. For parties or any occasion where there may be some crazy blazing action going on, silicone bongs are ideal.

So, what are the cons of silicone bongs? One is that they are not transparent like glass bongs, so you won’t see the buildup of resin happening inside unless you take a good peak from above. On the other hand, silicone bongs are very easy to clean, and you can even throw most of them in your dishwasher.

Where silicone bongs will likely not win any prizes is in the beauty department. Compared to stylish glass and ceramic bongs, silicone bongs are not exactly the centrepiece you’d go for to impress your stoner buddies. They also have a “toyish” sort of look that makes them stick out, and because the material is soft and squishy, these bongs usually don’t come with any flashy features like percolators.

SILICONE BONG ADVANTAGES

• Neutral taste
• Extremely sturdy, almost unbreakable
• Perfect for travel
• Easy to clean

SILICONE BONG DISADVANTAGES

• Opaque
• Not as stylish as the alternatives
• Don’t come with fancy features

Silicone Bong

GLASS BONGS

Ask any cannabis aficionado, and they will agree that glass bongs are the best, most well-rounded tool for the job. Not only do they radiate a luxurious and classy aura, but those made from sturdy borosilicate glass are actually quite rugged and dependable. And that’s certainly not all; glass is non-porous, antibacterial, and odour-neutral. These are the reasons that glass has been used since ancient times to make bottles and containers for foods, beverages, medicines, herbs, and everything in between. Another advantage of glass is that it doesn’t conduct heat as much as some other materials, and it feels pleasant in the hand. In other words, it’s just the perfect material for a bong!

Moreover, the unique nature of glass allows it to be moulded into almost any shape and form imaginable. There are scores of videos on social media of innovative glass-blowers creating smoking devices of unprecedented imagination and design. Even some of the more "run-of-the-mill" glass bongs are made by hand with careful precision.

The unmatched pure taste that a glass bong can provide is the reason why many cannabis enthusiasts consider them the apex of the weed-smoking experience. But there is also something luxurious about glass bongs that simply can’t be matched. So even if you get a simple glass piece that doesn’t boast any fancy features, it will still look like a million bucks.

So, what about the drawbacks of glass bongs? Seeing as they are normally crafted by hand, they are by far the most expensive option. And the other drawback is, of course, that glass bongs are more breakable that silicone and acrylic. That said, quality glass bongs should be made with thick glass that can withstand a bump or tumble here and there. Still, a lot of dedicated cannabis enthusiasts who proudly own a glass bong also own a cheap acrylic bong that they use for parties and travelling.

GLASS BONG ADVANTAGES

• Best taste
• Luxurious and classy look
• Often hand-made
• Non-porous
• Often come with features such as percolators

GLASS BONG DISADVANTAGES

• Expensive
• Heavy
• Breakable

Glass

GLASS, SILICONE, CERAMIC, AND ACRYLIC BONGS—IT’S UP TO YOU TO DECIDE

What type of bong you should get will depend on at least two crucial factors: where you plan to use it, and how much you’re willing to spend. If you need a bong that you can take on the go, a silicone piece will outperform a massive glass rig in terms of ease. If you’re on a budget, an acrylic bong can be a decent beginner option, and ceramic bongs are often relatively affordable as well. If, on the other hand, you really want the best of the best when it comes to flavour, you should definitely consider a glass bong.

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