What are the Different Types of Percs?
There are plenty of perks to smoking a bong over a dry pipe, but you might be surprised to find that there are also many percs, too. That’s right: percolators. Everyone’s favorite glass filter piece that sounds like a bad ‘80s dance. Percolators aren’t complicated when it comes down to function. They all break down the smoke (or vapor) and filter it through bubbling water in order to give the smoke a cooler, more smooth taste. To get a better idea of what you’re walking into, take a look at our guide to the different kinds of percolators.
First up is the simplest type of percolator, a vertical downstem with slits at its base that sit under the water and allow the smoke to flow through it. It’s not a complicated design but it does the basic job of cooling the smoke. They can either be fixed or removable.
Example: Nucleus “Basics” 8” Clear Glass Beaker Bong
Tree percolators multiply that concept, grouping a number of thin vertical tubes or “arms” with filtering slits together. Naturally, the more arms, the more smoke is filtered. Pillar percs fit under this category as well.
Example: 16” Tree Perc Straight Tube w/ Removable Downstem
If you’re looking for something with an aesthetic impact to go along with its filtration capabilities, turbine percs are a great start. Angled slits sit around the main chamber and create a whirlpool with the water that extends into the next chamber, cooling the smoke and diffusing it while showing off your glass.
Example: Large Tornado Cyclone Water Pipe
Known for its power, disc percs (especially fritted ones) create a ton of bubbles, each diffusing your smoke. The tiny holes can get clogged and might be hard for beginners to pull through but the amount of filtration is worth it.
Example: Ronin Glass “Kawa” Long Neck Double Disc Mini Bong
Circ percs are very similar to disc percs but usually have slits only around the outside. They can often be found at the end of a downstem and come in different styles such as domed, connected to a j hook, or stacked on top of one another.
Example: Empire Glassworks Galaxy Escort UV Reactive Bong
Barrel percs have a straight cylindrical design with gridded notches that make them look like a barrel. They allow for greater diffusion and have more holes than a typical perc. While usually upright, the barrels are occasionally turned sideways in rigs and bongs that connect the perc directly to the downstem.
Example: 11” Barrel Perc Incycler
Showerhead percs are the ultimate combination: a turbine perc-like disc with barrel perc-like holes. This hybrid design works to push smoke through a bunch of tiny holes while also reducing drag.
Example: Slit Showerhead Perc Water Pipe
Honeycomb percs, a type of disc perc, are completely flat and connect one chamber to another like one plate stacked on top of the other. These percs have a series of small holes reminiscent more of a cheese grater than a honeycomb and sit parallel to the base, shooting the bubbles straight up and into whatever sits on top of it. They’re so compact and effective that nowadays plenty of bongs feature multiple levels of honeycomb percs.
Example: Double Honeycomb Perc Water Pipe
Ratchet percs are similar to honeycomb percs but have holes only around the perimeter of the disc instead of across the whole thing. This leaves space at the center for a downstem to pass through the filter, making it an ideal design for small water pipes like bubblers and dab rigs.
Example: Barrel Perc to Triple Ratchet Perc Klein Incycler
By far the most intricate of percolators, the coil perc can be one of two things; an actual glass coil with two openings at the bottom or a glycerin coil. Both are great for diffusion but you can freeze glycerin coils for an unbelievably icy fresh hit.
Example: Nucleus 16” Coil Perc Beaker with Removable Downstem
Matrix/Stereo Matrix Percs
Matrix percs come in all sorts of designs, but essentially they combine the cylindrical shape of a disc perc with the slits and holes of a barrel perc. Stereo matrix percs are simply two matrix percs stacked on one another, either directly or separated by a glass disc or downstem. The slits on a matrix perc can vary in direction, size, and number.
Example: Double Stereo Matrix J-Hook Perc Dab Rig
UFO percs, which are popular for their efficiency and how easy they are to clean, build on the older dome perc design by placing a downstem upwards within a glass bubble that has matrix perc-like slits around its base. The flared base gives this kind of filter a larger space for diffusion to occur.
Example: Ronin Glass “Hiya Taihou” Massive Beaker Bong with UFO Perc
Swiss percs are clear standouts when it comes to the design category. Glassmakers incorporate Swiss cheese-like holes into the body of the bong, making it look like there are bullet holes in it. Forcing the airflow around these holes help to break down the smoke and reduce drag. Fab Egg style bongs usually fall under this category.
Example: Fabosphere Swiss to Matrix Perc Bong
Donut percs are Swiss percs with only one hole. Some are even in the shape of an actual donut.
Example: Inline Perc to Donut Perc Bong
Inline percs are used to extend the downstem joint into the water chamber directly, often creating a convex shape at the other side of the bong to accommodate for the perc’s length. The perc is essentially a long glass stem with holes or slits commonly facing downward or to the side. Because it diverts the water downwards or into the sides, this kind of a percolator also helps to keep water from shooting too far up the stem of the bong.
Example: Nano Inline Perc Oil Rig
Inset percs are contained inside the chamber of the water pipe and are usually in the shape of an indented cup that creates a pocket. This extra pocket works like another chamber and will have some kind of slits to diffuse your smoke as it enters.
Example: Inset to Tree Perc Straight Tube Bong with Splashguard
Cross percs take a downstem filtration system and combine it with a series of cross-shaped tubes branching off the center and diverting the smoke and water sideways and away from the center of the bong to encourage airflow and avoid splashback.
Example: Inline Perc to Cross Perc Water Pipe
Sprinkler percs work like upside-down tree percs. Multiple arms extend upwards each with a hole at the end. Normally the arms have a base that they come out of.
Example: Nucleus 10” Skinny Neck Sprinkler Puck Bong
Crystal Ball Perc
A combination of a turbine and a ufo, the ball perc has a dome with slits running around the outside in some sort of pattern. A crystal ball perc can be found at the end of a downstem or leading into another chamber.
Example: Cross to Ball Perc Straight Tube Bong