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Learn How Percolator Bongs Work Before Smoking Cannabis

You might have already heard about percolator bongs even if you are not that sure on how they work and what they do.

Certainly, if you intend to make a more expensive bong purchase, the percolating system is something you should give some serious thought.

There’s some science involved but here’s why.

If you are looking for slicker hits and a healthier way to enjoy cannabis, it is definitely a good idea to buy a bong with a percolator.

The percolator’s main function is to direct the smoke through water so that it can be filtered and cooled to make the smoke lighter.

Learn How Percolator Bongs Work Before Smoking Cannabis

The designs may differ, but all of them work on the same scientific principle and refine your smoke in three different ways, by adding moisture, cooling, and filtering.


Percolators are a way to add moisture to each hit. This happens when the smoke interacts with the ice or water and causes some water to get hot and evaporate as water vapor.

If ever you are in the mood to try direct dry hits from a bong by using it with no water filter, the result can be very strong but as payback, the smoke you inhale will be especially harsh on your lungs. It’s like trying to run a motor without oil. There will be some coughing and spluttering.


When the smoke from the bowl passes through the water or over the ice, the heat in the smoke dissipates faster and with much better results than if the process took place in the air.

It also takes slightly longer for the smoke’s active elements to pass through your lungs and enter your bloodstream but as far as your body is concerned, the absorption is achieved in a more manageable way which produces a more satisfying smoke along with a faster hitting and longer-lasting high.

This percolating step is extremely important since the incoming smoke is extremely hot.

Some waterless bubblers can reach temperatures as high as 3600 F / 2000 C and no one is going to fully appreciate a smoke when it’s hitting their lungs as hot as that.


Having a percolator with a larger surface available for the ice or water is better because as soon as the smoke hits the water and bubbles are formed the process of filtration can get started.

Filtration happens as the chemical bonds in the smoke are broken by the interaction with the water attracting the smoke’s polarized contaminants which get heavy and stay in the water.

Although water filtration cannot eliminate any of the non-polar contaminants, the process does make each hit slicker and so easier on the lungs.

What about Over Percolation?

As far as filtration is concerned there is no such thing as over percolation. This is a mistaken belief.

However, using the percolator just once or twice to the point where the water is saturated with contaminates, does affect the quality of the filtering process and the water’s ability to moisturize and cool.

For maximum filtration, the surface area for the bubbles should be equal to or greater than that of the smoke to be at its most effective, since this particular filtering phenomenon involves smoke coming in contact with clean water.

Once you understand the principles behind percolating water bongs and how they deliver a much cleaner smoke, using a bong can be seen as the healthiest and most effective way to enjoy smoking.

These days, if you know the science, it is possible to find very cheap bongs that are super-efficient and function just as well as the most expensive.

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