The bong is a classic in the world of weed-smoking paraphernalia. Almost everyone is familiar with the traditional design: a vase-looking contraption that holds water in the bottom.

The water actually serves a functional purpose besides making an unmistakable bubbling noise: it cools the smoke before the smoker inhales it, making large hits easier to handle.

Advances in glassblowing techniques have brought the humble bong into the modern age. Percolators are becoming more popular as attachments or built-in to bongs, which allow for even smoother hits and better flavor.

If you’ve wondered what exactly a percolator bong is and how it works, we’ve written a handy guide detailing the different types available on the market. Read on for more!

What Is A Percolator Bong?

If you’ve ever been bong shopping and seen one with a crazy-looking contraption in the middle of the stem or attached to the bowl, you probably ran across a percolator bong.

A percolator is a device that acts as an additional water filtration system within the bong. It increases the smoke’s filtration and cooling by providing more surface area for the smoke to come in contact with on its journey to your lungs.

Bong percolators also help to remove a larger percentage of tar and ash from the smoke, resulting in a much cleaner (and healthier hit). Percolators can also be found on dab rigs.

Percolators break down the air bubbles in the water into smaller sizes, further cooling and filtrating the smoke. They also “hydrate” the smoke by adding humidity.

There are many different styles of percolators. They all achieve the same end result of smoke cooling and filtration, but some are more effective and/or aesthetically pleasing than others.

Many types of percolators can be either built into the bong itself or bought as an attachment. You can even combine multiple styles of percolators for the ultimate smoking rig!

Diffused Downstem

This is the most common and basic of the percolator styles. It consists of a glass pipe coming out of the side of the bong attached to the bowl, usually with slits in it. These can either be built into the bong itself or removable.

A diffused downstem ensures that the smoke entering the bong is filtered through the water, and also increases the surface area of smoke exposed to water through the use of the slits.

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Showerhead Percolator

These look exactly like they are described: a separate tube pulls smoke through into a separate chamber, then directs it down through a disc filled with small holes, which then sends the smoke into the main chamber of the bong.

Showerhead percolators are unmistakable because of their look. They are also relatively popular and common, as they are easy to clean and very reliable. However, they may not be the most aesthetically pleasing choice.

Inline Percolator

These percolators are similar to a diffused downstem, but are usually larger and built into the base of the bong or the downstem. They are called “inline” because they are usually placed directly after the bowl.

They consist of a large glass pipe with slits, sometimes housed in a separate tube within the bong to increase filtration and surface area cooling.


The honeycomb percolator bong is a coveted style among discerning stoners. The design is obvious: a disc full of holes that resembles a honeycomb.

Honeycomb glass percolators come in sets of twos that create separate chambers between them for the smoke to filter and cool in. These can be stacked to create multiple chambers and increase cooling and filtration within the bong.

Honeycombs are fairly unique in that they can be stacked and put directly into the main chamber of most bongs, instead of a stem attachment like many other percolator styles.

Fritted Disc

These are similar to honeycomb percolators, but instead of holes, fritted discs are comprised of small glass shards.

These shards do a wonderful job of breaking up the smoke to increase the surface area and cooling while allowing for great airflow.

Fritted discs are often found combined with other percolator styles, either built into the bong itself or as an attachment.

Tree Percolator

Another unmistakable classic, the tree percolator is easy to recognize for its “science gadget” looks.

Tree percolators are comprised of multiple small glass tubes attached together to a larger tube. Smoke is pulled in through the large tube and then diffused through the different branches of the tree percolator and pulled through to the main chamber.

Tree percolators are generally built into bong designs, although some come in attachments.

Swiss Percolator

These percolator bongs are fairly rare but hard to miss when you see one. Swiss percolators are named after the famous Swiss cheese, as they are comprised of many holes.

These holes actually come straight through the body of the bong, creating a swirling maze that the smoke must wind its way through before making its way to your lungs.

This dramatically increases the surface area of the smoke that is exposed to the cooling water, as well as creating a drag-free toke. And they’re incredibly aesthetic, as well.

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Matrix Percolator

When the smoke enters the matrix percolator, it is diffused through both horizontal and vertical slits.

Matrix percolators usually look like rounded, thick discs, and are often found in combination with other percolator styles as the “last stop” for a smoke before entering the main chamber.

Turbine Percolator

The turbine percolator is very unique in that it actually shapes how the smoke looks when passing through your percolator bong.

Turbine percolators are similar in shape to honeycombs but have slanted slits in them. When smoke is pulled through the turbine percolator, it swirls and creates a vortex effect.

Turbine percolators are highly aesthetic and desirable and are usually built into the design of the bong itself.

The Final Word On Percolators

This is hardly a definitive list of percolators available on the market, but we’ve definitely touched on some of the most popular and available styles of percolator bongs.

If you are shopping around for a new glass percolator bong, make sure to check out the certified cannabis businesses on our site!

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