For many years, the cleaner, cooler draw provided by water bongs has made them popular among smokers of both dry herbs and tobacco. Archaeologists have found bongs that are between 600 and 900 years old, and although they bore little resemblance to modern bongs, they are evidence of mankind's long-lived fondness for the devices. Modern water bongs, however, come in a dizzying array of styles, sizes, shapes and colors. The variety can be overwhelming, so we thought we would conduct our own research on the products that are currently available to find the best water bongs of 2016. Our top pick is the Helix Flare Base Bong from Grav Labs.
First of all, the Helix Flare Base Bong is manufactured by Grav Labs. Since 2004, this Austin, Texas, company has been making some of the most innovative, highest-quality products available. Grav Labs seems to stay in touch with what customers want and is constantly incorporating new technologies to make their products even better.
No matter how great the quality is, however, it would not matter if the bong did not deliver a satisfying smoking experience. The Helix Flare Base Bong delivers on all counts. The air slits provide superior air flow with every pull as well as infusing a helix pattern in the smoke. The swirling, spinning smoke enhances the smoothness of the draw for a satisfying experience every time.
At 9 inches, it is large enough for home use and small enough for travel. It is made from borosilicate glass, which is still widely used to make scientific equipment, including laboratory beakers and test tubes. Borosilicate glass is known for its ability to endure high temperatures without expanding as well as its resistance to contracting when subjected to cold. This makes it a very strong, durable glass that can — with proper care — hold up exceptionally well for many years even with daily use.
Although the unit is already engineered for exceptional balance, the flared base provides remarkable stability. There is no need to worry about the bong falling over if the table it is resting on receives a little bump. The increased stability makes it easier to fill and use, especially for those with limited mobility.
Who Should Buy This Product?
The Helix Flare Base Bong is ideal for novices as well as experienced smokers. However, although our research placed this unit at the top of our list of best water bongs, we understand that it may not be suitable for your particular needs. For example, some people might prefer a unit that is small enough to fit inside a pocket for greater discretion or maximum portability. If you are looking for a cool, clean draw with minimal harshness, however, we highly recommend this water bong.
• Height: 9 inches
• Helix Swiss Down-stem
• Engineered and manufactured in Austin, Texas, by Grav Labs
• 60 x 5 borosilicate glass
• 19mm joint clamp
• 14mm Helix spinner
• 14mm Helix one-hitter bowl
Flaws but Not Dealbreakers
We believe that reviews offer the most help when they are completely objective, so we searched for possible flaws in every product on our list of best water bongs. It was extremely difficult to find any flaws with the Helix Flare Base Bong, however. Some reviewers felt that the bowl could be a bit larger, but most felt that it was more than ample. The only other potential issue we found was the price tag — $150 may be beyond some people's budget. However, we feel that this is still a great value, considering the product's durability and strength as well as the quality of the smoke delivered.
A Budget Pick: The Papa Sherlock Pipe by Purr Glass
Like Grav Labs, Purr is an innovative manufacturer using only the best materials, and the company's Papa Sherlock Pipe is yet another example of how Purr expertly combines style, functionality and quality. The unit stands 9.5 inches high atop a stable 2-inch base. It features a multi-slit shower head for great bubbling action, a push bowl design and a fixed stem.
The Papa Sherlock is easy to use and delivers a highly diffused, clean and smooth draw every time. It is perfect for newbies as well as those with extensive experience with bongs. At $80, the Papa Sherlock is a great buy, especially considering the quality, and ideal if you are on a limited budget or just want to experiment with alternative methods of administering your herbal medications. All of these factors combined convinced us that the Papa Sherlock Pipe deserved one of the top spots on our list of the best water bongs for 2016.
If Money Were No Object:
Inline Dual Action Bubbler — Dab Rig and Dry Herb Bong by Grav Labs
True, the Inline Dual Action Bubbler is a bit pricier than our first two best water bongs. However, we believe this one is definitely worth saving up $250 to buy. It is another offering from Grav Labs, so you know that you are getting a superbly engineered product made from the finest materials. This bong looks great just sitting on a shelf, but it delivers an awesome experience every session.
Unlike many other bongs, you are not limited to one particular type of herbal medicine. One side can be used for dry herbs, and the other can be used for dabs. You can even load both sides simultaneously if you wish. This is one bubbler bong that provides truly great percolating action to deliver a smooth, clean draw every time.
The Inline Dual Action Bubbler comes with a dome and nail for concentrates, and it features a 14mm bowl for dry herb. The unit stands a full 12 inches atop a well-designed, stable base, but the bubbler's aesthetics were only one reason for its inclusion as one of the best water bongs. The primary reasons were that it delivers a great smoking experience, offers so much versatility and is so well-constructed that it should provide you with many years of service.
Other Runner Ups
If you have been trying to create your own list of the best water bongs, you have probably discovered that there are so many different ones available that it is difficult to choose just two or three. We had the same problem. We found many excellent bongs that were worthy of consideration, and narrowing the honorees to just a few was a challenge. We found three more items that we felt were worthy of inclusion on any list of the best water bongs of 2016. They are all good bongs, and if the competition had not been so fierce, any of these three might have earned a higher spot on our list.
The Nano Matrix Mini Bong has impressive looks and quality construction. It stands 9 inches in height atop a 3.25-inch base for remarkable stability. The mouth stem is bent to provide splash protection, and the matrix puck design delivers excellent percolation.
There were only two things that kept this item from earning a higher spot on our compilation of the best water bongs of 2016. Both of these were somewhat subjective, so you may disagree with our opinion. The first issue we had was the price; at $180, it is slightly more expensive than our top pick. The second issue was that we found the Nano Matrix Mini Bong slightly harder to clean than some of the other bongs we tested. However, it delivers a satisfying session and has a really cool ultra-modern appearance.
The Land Yacht by Summerland is the only ceramic bong to make our list of the best water bongs. This is truly an exceptional bong for a variety of reasons.
This is one stylish bong that you could display with pride. The pristine white ceramic design could double as a decorative item on your mantle or bookshelf. The double chamber means that the Land Yacht can hold more smoke, and each draw is mellow and smooth. It is made from food-safe, lead-free materials, and it features a cone 5 body for durability. The silicone grommet is made from high-quality materials, ensuring a clean smoke every time. At $180, the Land Yacht may be a bit more expensive than some glass bongs, but for a sophisticated, stylish, hand-made ceramic bong, we were surprised that it did not cost more.
With so much going for it, you may be wondering why the Land Yacht did not rank higher on our list of the best water bongs. The main reason is that although it can handle the heat of a match or regular lighter, the manufacturer advises against using a butane torch as the excessive heat could lead to cracking or breakage. At 12 inches in height and 6 inches in width, we felt that the Land Yacht's size could potentially pose a problem for those whose ability to maneuver its bulk might be compromised. The other reason is strictly a matter of personal preference; we find it easier to clean glass than ceramic since it is much easier to see what you are doing. Still, for anyone who wants to add a sophisticated touch to their sessions without sacrificing a quality smoke, the Land Yacht is one of the best water bongs we researched.
The Twisted Mixed Color Glass Bong definitely rates as one of the best water bongs in its price range. At $63, it is an excellent entry level bong for novices, but it delivers the "punch" that long-time smokers want as well. The beautiful colors, twisted glass and unique design make it sure to attract attention and praise.
Despite its 10-inch height, it is lightweight and well suited for those with small hands or limited hand strength. The rubber-on-glass design allows you to handle the bong with confidence. You can expect it to provide quality sessions for many years to come with minimal care.
Every time we prepare a "best of" list, we do so with a certain amount of trepidation. We know that everyone has different preferences, and what we find to be a drawback, others may consider immaterial. Our goal in preparing a list of the best water bongs was to provide readers with the objective results of our own research.
When compiling our list of the best water bongs of 2016, we examined a variety of criteria. We looked for products that offered quality hits time after time, were easy to use, featured quality materials and were easy to clean. Despite our best efforts, however, we know that no single device can be considered as one of the best water bongs for every individual. However, we firmly believe that our top pick — Helix Flare Base Bong by Grav Labs — will be more than satisfactory for the majority of our customers.
We welcome your comments regarding our choices for the best water bongs. Since we are committed to helping every customer select the perfect items, we also welcome your questions, so feel free to ask.