If you’re a fan of smoking out of water pipes or bongs, you may have heard the term “percolator” tossed around. But what is a percolator, and how can it improve your smoking experience? Water pipe percolators are essentially small filtration systems that help to cool and filter smoke as it passes through your water pipe or bong. In this article, we’ll dive into the world of bong percolators, and explore why adding one to your smoking setup might just be the best decision you ever make.

What is a percolator?

A percolator is a type of filtration system that can be added to a water pipe or bong to enhance the smoking experience.

There are a variety of different percolators available on the market, each with its own unique design and function. However, they all have one thing in common: they help to cool smoke for smoother hits and remove harmful toxins and other impurities from the smoke, making your hits taste better. When you smoke without a percolator, you are inhaling a lot of hot, harsh smoke that can be harmful to your lungs and throat. With a percolator, however, the smoke is filtered and cooled, making it much easier on your respiratory system. Additionally, percolators can help to enhance the flavor of your smoke, providing a smoother, more enjoyable hit.

Tree Percolator

Close up of tree percolator

You may be wondering, how does a percolator work? Essentially, they work by breaking up smoke into smaller particles, which are then passed through a series of water-filled chambers. These chambers help to cool and filter the smoke, removing impurities and making it smoother and more enjoyable to inhale. There are many different types of percolators, which we’ll be breaking down in the next section. Each one is designed to provide a slightly different smoking experience, with some producing more bubbles and others creating a more even distribution of smoke.

What are the different types of percolators?

There are many different types of percolators available on the market, each with its own unique design and function. In this section, we’ll break down some of the most popular types of percolators, explore the pros and cons of each type, and learn how they affect the smoking experience.

Inline Perc

Close up of Inline Percolator

  • Showerhead percs: These percs have a mushroom-shaped head with multiple slits around the base. Smoke passes through the slits and diffuses through the water, providing smoother hits with medium smoothness and high drag.
  • Tree percs: These percs feature several arms extending from a central point, resembling the branches of a palm tree. Smoke passes through the arms and diffuses through the water, providing a smooth hit with good filtration. Trees have varying numbers of arms with decent smoothness and drag, making them one of the most popular percolator types.
  • Chandelier percs: These percs look like a barrel with multiple holes around it and look somewhat similar to a tree perc. Smoke passes through the holes and creates bubbles for a smoother hit. Chandeliers have medium smoothness and drag.
  • Disc percs: These percs look like a glass disc with slits around the length of it. Smoke passes through the slits and diffuses through the water, providing decent smoothness and okay bubble action with low drag. Disc percs are simple and can be found in both flower bongs and dab rigs.
  • Fritted Disk percs: These percs use a porous disc made of small glass particles fused together to create tiny holes that filter smoke. They provide amazing smoothness and bubble action, though the size of the disc will depend on how much drag you experience. They’re considered one of the best percolators available.
  • Stereo Matrix percs: These percs use multiple small holes or slits to create a matrix-like structure that breaks up smoke into smaller bubbles and increases water surface area for improved filtration and cooling. They provide great smoothness and drag.
  • Inline percs: These percs are small horizontal tubes with slits or holes. Smoke passes through the slits and filters through water, creating smooth and cool hits with awesome bubbles and percolation. Longer inlines have less drag but they’re very smooth. You can find them built in to the downstems of many bongs and dab rigs.
  • Turbine percs: These percs look like a glass disk with angled slits that create a tornado-like effect inside the water chamber. The spinning action produces a cool sound and decent bubble action, providing medium drag and medium smoothness.
  • Froth percs: These percs look like a wide tube structure with slits around the sides. Smoke passes through the slits and creates good bubbles and decent drag. They get their name for the way they bubble within the water chamber.
  • Pancake percs: These percs are flat, disk-shaped with slits around the edge that look like a pancake. They are typically attached to a natural downstem (the kind built into the bong that can’t be removed), providing slits around the whole thing. They offer great smoothness and drag.
  • Halo percs: These percs look like incomplete circles with holes in the sides and at the ends. They provide awesome bubble action depending on hole size and whether the ends are capped or open. They look a lot like an unfinished halo and are commonly found in dab rigs.
  • Honeycomb percs: These percs feature a flat glass disc with multiple tiny holes resembling a honeycomb. Smoke passes through the holes, creating a large number of small bubbles for excellent filtration and diffusion. Honeycombs provide great percolation and bubble action with very little drag but can clog quickly with flower and are more commonly used in dab rigs.

What are the benefits of using a percolator?

Percolators are a popular addition to bongs and smoking devices, and for good reason. Percolators work by diffusing and filtering smoke through water, providing a smoother and cooler hit. The filtering process removes harmful toxins and ash, creating a cleaner and potentially healthier smoking experience. Additionally, percolators can enhance the flavor of your smoking material by filtering out impurities that can affect taste. The different types of percolators provide unique features and benefits, such as increased filtration, improved diffusion, and better cooling. Overall, percolators are a valuable addition to any water pipe or bong for flavor, filtration, and cooling.

Best percolator bongs

If you’re in the market for a new bong with a percolator, it can be overwhelming to navigate the many options available. Luckily, we’ve done the research for you. Check out our top 4 picks, with an option for every price range.

1. Beaker Water Pipe 

Price: $35
Height: 8″, 12″ or 16″
Percolator: Inline

Starting at just $35, choose a beaker bong with an inline percolator downstem. These bongs follow the simple and timeless design of the classic beaker bong. The beaker shape provides a wide base for holding more smoke and delivering a bigger hit and better high. With a large chamber for holding plenty of water and a slotted 3″ downstem, the smoke is filtered through water for extra cooling and filtration. The built-in ice catcher also allows for additional cooling before hitting your lungs.

Beaker Bong with Slotted Downstem

2. Beaker Water Pipe with Tree Perc 

Price: $80
Height: 11″
Percolator: Tree

At $80, these little beauties pack a wallop with their built-in tree percolator and make a perfect aesthetic choice to your collection with your choice between two colors. These bongs retain the simplicity of the classic beaker water pipe design, delivering bigger hits and a better high. However, the added percolator takes the smoking experience to the next level, providing extra cooling and filtration for cool, smooth and flavorful hits.

Crafted from heavy-duty borosilicate glass, these Beaker with Tree Perc water pipes stand at 11″ tall with a thick 4″ base. You’ll also find a slotted downstem for bubbling, a 14mm male bowl slide, and a built-in ice catcher for extra cooling.

Beaker Water Pipe with Tree Percolator

3. Stack Water Pipe

Price: $100
Height: 15″
Percolators: 2x Matrix and 2x Disc

The stack water pipe is one of the tallest and more intricate of the perc bongs, and it checks in at $100. The Stack Water Pipe boasts four unique water chambers, each with its own percolator inside, as well as a built-in ice catcher to cool and smooth out your hits even further. But what really sets the Stack Water Pipe apart is its filtration system. Under the hood, you’ll find two hyper-filtering matrix percolators and two disc percs, creating extra surface area for smoke to pass through by bubbling. This powerful combination works together to filter and cool your smoke, resulting in a clean, smooth, and flavorful hit every time.

Stack Water Pipe Matrix Perc Disc Perc

4. Tower Water Pipe 

Price: $120
Height: 15.5″
Percolators: Tree and Inline

The Tower Water Pipe is massive and priced at $120. At 15.5″ tall with a 4″ base, this behemoth packs a punch while remaining stable and easy to use. With two percolators, including a tree perc towards the mouthpiece and an in-line perc at the bottom, the Tower is designed to cool and filter smoke for smoother, cooler hits every time. This water pipe is available in two stylish colors and comes with a universal 14mm female joint and a glass 14mm male slide, making it a convenient and practical addition to your collection.

Tower Water Pipe with Percolator

How to fill a percolator bong

Filling a bong with percolators is a straightforward process, but it’s essential to get the water level just right to achieve the best smoking experience. Start by removing the bowl and downstem from the bong and adding enough water to cover the first percolator. Next, add more water until it reaches just above the top of the percolator. Continue adding water until all the percolators are submerged, with a little water left over to cover the downstem once it’s reinserted.

Having too little water in your bong can result in harsh hits, as there won’t be enough water to cool and filter the smoke effectively. On the other hand, having too much water can cause the bong to bubble up and create a splash-back effect, potentially ruining your bud. To find the right water level, take a few test hits without flower, adjusting the water level until you find the perfect balance between smoothness and bubbling. Keep in mind that different percolators may require different water levels, so experiment until you find what works best for you.

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