Dab Rigs vs. Bongs

Bongs vs. dab rigs - which is right for you?

The difference between bongs vs. dab rigs is still critical for optimum altitude, even though they are both water pipes. Both flower aficionados and dab hands at concentrates appreciate the clear winner at maximum liftoff! Selecting the right setup should be simple, but there are so many!

These cool tools all share the same principals, pulling smoke or vapor through water with suction, but choosing the wrong style can have drastically different results! So, before deciding, Dankstop is providing this bongs vs. dab rigs guide to show you the path.

This is the way...

Serious stoners know rigs and bongs are highly effective at chilling hot hits. But, some savor their water pipes like treasured trophies. They look cool, sound awesome, and hit like chill hammers, all while improving any excellent experience.

Choosing the right setup is serious business (we should know). When deciding between bongs vs. dab rigs and splashing cash for high-end glass, it’s important to know some key things.

This guide explains how water pipes work, why there's so many different styles and what all those fancy features do. Knowing more about water pipes shows the best way to go.

Why we use water pipes

Above and beyond that cool ‘glugging’ sound water pipes make, there are several reasons bongs and dab rigs are great choices. For flower and oil, using a well-designed and appropriate water pipe enhances everything, if you know what to consider.

Bongs and dab rigs do the same thing- create a vacuum stream from your lungs to the  weed. All the good stuff is channeled; THC, CBD, minor cannabinoids and tasty terpenes too! But with the good, comes bad; tar, ash and other weed debris seen trapped in the water.

STONER THOUGHTS: Your water pipe works hard for you, capturing crud you don’t want in your lungs. That toxic bong water concoction stays there getting worse until poured down the drain, which you should do to end every sesh. Stank in the tank affects flavor, potency and Bob only knows what else. Frequent water changes keep your piece neater, longer too.

Bongs vs. Dab Rigs - Best Glass Dab Rigs - Dankstop

Are water pipes safer?

Smoke and vapor streams from bongs and dab rigs channel the good stuff from weed and the bad stuff from combustion, agricultural and industrial byproducts affecting the bud being smoked, as well as the condition of the water pipe itself.

Prohibition set research back 50 years, but studies are now ongoing to see how much better long-term weed use is with either bongs or dab rigs versus unfiltered smoke.

Suffice it to say, no amount of smoke is safe, but a bong's cleaning power of particulate matter (ash) is undeniable. It's also proven that bongs and rigs cool smoke and dabs which is definitely healthier than hot air in your lungs.

While there are big differences between smoke and vapor, there are noxious byproducts produced by fire and chemistry in each. Water pipes definitely cool through water, but how much they filter is debated.

Still, the debris in bong water is undeniable, so keeping that crap from your mouth, tongue and lungs is critical. What water pipes trap is still a drop under the microscope.

Is a rig safer than a bong? That has more to do with the weed than the water pipe. The best we can say is both  collect debris and both cool hot air before it gets to your lungs. Otherwise, you will have to let your experience be your guide.

How water pipes work

Filtration and cooling of smoke and vapor are what water pipes like dab rigs and bongs are all about. And while the science behind today’s smoke wares is basically the same as it’s been for centuries, modern design and production (especially in glass) has amplified results.

You can see the debris filtered from smoking and vaping in discolored water and clinging to the sides of the glass. Dab rigs, too, get dirty inside, despite channeling vapor instead of smoke. That residue and debris comes from sparking a bowl or loading a hot nail with wax and the chemical reactions that occur.

The science of water pipes

Cannabinoids and terpenes have virtually zero water solubility so they pass right through clean water. So, the water will preferentially filter most everything else, potentially breaking down toxic molecules by capturing them in water.

In your quest to find out ‘Bongs vs. Dab Rigs - Which is Right for You?,’ remember that flower and concentrates can both hide adulterants no one wants in their hit. Even the bleach in your tap water can have an effect on a water pipe’s performance.

Other influences on your high include solvents from extraction and butane byproducts from even the best blow torches and lighters which are also pulled into the stream. Also, don't forget to change that water to keep it fro turning toxic too.

Why let potentially harmful garbage interact with your pull? It’s important to keep dab rig and bong water clean. So, refresh for each sesh with fresh, clean water and debris-free your machine as needed with salt water or citrus over harsher solvents like bleach.

Dab rigs and bongs: size matters

When asking, “Dab Rigs vs. Bongs - Which one’s right for you?,” it’s critical to consider size. You can turn any water pipe with interchangeable parts into a rig, but should you?

Considering the science of water pipes, you want diffusion for cooling and cleaning. However, the difference between weed products- flower and dabs- is night and day in the hit. For starters, cured bud produces smoke and dabs are vapor.

Big bongs are beautiful

Little dab rigs rule

Smoke contains pollutants from the mere act of blazing. Combustion produces lots of nasty stuff to be filtered as well as the heated air from the lit weed. So clean and cool flower power takes as big a bong as your little lungs can clear.

The giant tower bongs are built for weed. You’ll also see other models with long necks, multiple chambers and features for extra filtration and cooling as well as cool add ons made just for bongs, like ash catchers and even cooling tubes.

As long as your lungs can comfortably clear a chamber, you can add all the percs, chambers and add-ons you want. And that’s a good thing too, because there’s never been such a wide selection of quality bongs for all sorts of seshes and all price ranges.

Bongs vs. Dab Rigs - Best Glass Bongs - Dankstop

Converse to bong selection methodology is consideration of the perfect sized dab rig. Remember, concentrates work by heating without combustion, so there are fewer byproducts to be filtered than with flower, requiring less water.

Also important to remember is dab rigs are made for concentrates- where a much smaller amount carries far more THC than a standard bong rip. So dab rigs don’t need much space for a big rip. That’s why you see so many mini and even micro dab rigs for sale.

Since filtration requires less water, the best dab rigs are just big enough to cool a hit and small enough to minimize waste from residual oil clinging to the glass. Plus, modern design and materials mean lower temp dabs, also lessening cooling time.

Bongs vs. Dab Rigs - Best Glass Dab Rigs - Dankstop

Best bongs and dab rigs

The materials from which bongs and rigs are made include natural materials like wood, coconut or bamboo. These materials have made bongs throughout history. They were simple devices that work the same as modern bongs.

Today, bongs and rigs can achieve powerful performance with even greater filtration and cooling. This is made possible by newer materials like silicone bongs and dab rigs as well as the artisans who create better percs and bong designs.

you wouldn’t believe (like plastic water bottles if you are really in a fix). But, most bongs today are made of easily manufactured materials that are both cost effective and durable.

Types of bongs
Poor: bamboo
Good: glass
Better: ceramic
Best: scientific glass
Specialty: Silicone
Not Recommended:
metal or acrylic

Different types of water pipes

Bongs have come a long way from primitive days. Even low-end bongs now feature percs and enhanced designs. And the high end pieces? You can spend a small fortune on heady art or scientific glass water pipes with interchangeable pieces.

It's a big choice with all those sizes, styles, features and colors. Understanding bongs vs. dab rigs - which is right for you, is key to picking the right water pipe. So, knowing what to expect before you get mesmerized by the sparkling, colorful glass helps make the decision easier.

Straight tube

Beaker bong

Plain and simple, this is the OG bong painted on cave walls. The design is still a favorite millenia later because it’s easy to clean and fairly sturdy with a good base. Straight tubes are easily manufactured and are made of every material including silicone, glass and ceramic. These bongs often have pinched glass nodes inside the neck that act as an ice catch.

Bongs vs. Dab Rigs - Straight Tube Bong - Dankstop

With a sturdy Ehrlenmeyer flask base, this is a stable design and generally harder to tip over than other designs. Beaker bongs are typically made of borosilicate glass for durability and non-reactivity. Glass holds its shape and is easy to clean and maintain. These bongs often have pinched glass nodes inside the neck that act as an ice catch.

Round base bong

Percolator bongs

Similar to a Beaker Bong, this water pipe is sturdy on the bottom and the rounded water chamber allows more water than a straight tube. Created by skilled artisans, round bottom glass bongs are durable, functional and easy to clean. The shape also lends itself to cheaper plastic bongs which are NOT recommended as acrylic may react with the smoke and affect taste.

Bongs vs. Dab Rigs - Round Base Bong - Dankstop

Percolators, or “percs,” diffuse air into tiny bubbles when pulled through water. This cools air faster and condenses smoke for smooth hits. Common percs include tree, stereo/matrix, octopus, propeller, turbine, disc, circ, barrel, showerhead, honeycomb, ratchet, coil, UFO, Swiss, donut, insert, cross, sprinkler and crystal ball.

Bongs vs. Dab Rigs - Percolator Bong - Dankstop

Multi-chamber bongs

Recycler bong

High end glass bongs can feature multiple chambers, each holding water that smoke travels through. So it cools and condenses smoke and when combined with percs, multi-chamber bongs provide an exceptional cooling experience. High end glass pieces are not cheap because they are made from premium glass and have intricate, even custom, design.

Bongs vs. Dab Rigs - Multi Chamber Bong - Dankstop

At the highest end of the glass spectrum are recycler bongs. These intricately created water pipes allow smoke to pull through water, then get pulled back to the bottom to be pulled through water again. The result is an exceptionally smooth hit, cool on the lungs and condensed for maximum THC delivery.

Bongs vs. Dab Rigs - Recycler Bong - Dankstop

Ice bongs

Zong bongs

The latest in bongs include cold elements from ice to frozen glycerin chambers. Smoke condenses greatly when chilled and these new editions to the cannabis world do that in style. There are bong molds that can be filled and frozen to create an ice water pipe. Other styles use sealed glycerine chambers built in or added on to the bong for extreme cooling.

Superior borosilicate glass in the hands of master craftsmen (and women) can create wild zig-zag designs that are beautifully functional. Those Zs that you see going back and forth also act to diffuse water, cool smoke and act as a splashguard dome. Songs can be top heavy making them more susceptible to being knocked over and broken but are otherwise solid, one-of-a-kind pieces.

Bongs vs. Dab Rigs - Round Base Bong - Dankstop

Gravity bongs


Superior borosilicate glass wasn’t the stuff from what the first gravity bongs were made. Back in the early days, gravity bongs were the invention of stoners with plastic soda bottles (a 3-litre and a 2-liter worked best as one needs to fit within the other).

Today, modern gravity bongs mean more than empty plastic bottles, scissors, duct tape and foil. Today, modern design and high-end glass are bringing gravity bongs to a whole new level! Some pieces don't require any pulling, just the lighter.

Bubblers deserve a seat at the water pipe party because they are, well... a pipe that uses water. However, water is really where the similarity ends.

Most people define bubblers as one-piece water pipes. The bowl is recessed glass, so nothing to remove. Down stems are fixed because it's a solid piece of glass.

Bubblers are generally smaller than bongs or even most dab rigs. But, they do the same thing as the bigger boys, chill hot air and cool your hits.

The best water pipe percs

Percolators, or ‘percs,’ are the single greatest improvement in the best dab rigs and bongs. These are intricate glass tubes/disks/orbs (and other shapes!) with holes/slits/gaps strategically placed to draw water and air in multiple directions at once, separating smoke molecules as they swirl in the action.

Percs break the many bubbles of bongs into thousands of tinier bubbles, each capturing molecules along its surface, disrupting them. All that agitation quickly causes more cooling air interaction because available surface area is increased, separating non water-soluble particles from those trapped by it.

Types of percs

Percs comes in all shapes and sizes from simple diffuser down stems to ornate and artistic Swiss percs and beyond! And there are always new designs created by skilled artisans, But in essence, they all do the same thing- break up the cohesion of the water and smoke/vapor particles to swirl, cool, condense & filter.

When deciding Bongs vs. Dab Rigs - Which is Right for You?, paying attention to percs can be a serious consideration. If you like all the action that goes on in multiple percs in multiple chambers, then a bong and flower may be the way to go.

For those who love the compact nature of concentrates and the magnified power of wax, shatter, crumble, budder, pull and snap, sap and beyond, percs are less of an issue. Dab rigs use minimal percs for oil to collect, along with less space than a bong, avoiding waste.

Common types of percs include simple diffuser down stems, inline, showerhead, matrix, honeycomb, tree, UFO, gears, Swiss and even fancy spinning propeller percs.

Dab rigs vs. bongs

You can create a setup that works with both flower and oil, but just remember that smaller is considered better for dabs. So, ‘Bongs vs. Dab Rigs - Which is Right for You?’ really boils down to personal preference.

Your selection will depend on the high you want, the money you have, the materials you like, the features that thrill, where you will have a sesh, what sort of weed supply you have, what your tolerance level is and more.

Just remember: no matter which type of water pipe you want, use fresh and clean watereach sesh to keep your pipe free from debris longer. That way, a stashed dab rig or bong won’t give itself away and the flavors you savor will be pristine!