Downstems with slits in the bottom were the original percolators, and designs have kept evolving since. Tree percs function like a dozen downstems in one, giving more filtration the more arms it has. Showerhead percs also function on the multiple slit model. Other percs, like the honeycomb, use tiny holes instead of slits to filter the smoke.
While percolators may seem complicated, they are all designed to provide the user with added filtration. Some have more parts than others, but choosing the best percolator is all dependent on user preference. Keep in mind, tiny holes can increase the drag, but more holes will both decrease the drag and filter even more. You can also add perc attachments to your water pipe for maximum filtration, but more percs can also lead to increased drag.
The best way to figure out which perc is right for you is to experiment with different kinds and get a feel for the different levels of filtration and drag.
What is a Bong Percolator?
Percolator bongs and dab rigs look amazing, but their true awesomeness is in their function: The first purpose of a water pipe is to filter and cool smoke before inhalation. A percolator bong takes filtration a step further to create the smoothest its of all. They work by forming tiny bubbles as the smoke passes through, which gives the water more surface area to contac with the smoke.Water is a polar molecule, so it will attract to other polar contaminants found in the smoke and filter them away from the substance you’re ultimately trying to inhale. The more surface area the water has to contact with the smoke, the more it will filter out all of junk and leave you with the smoothest vapor for inhaling.
The goal of smoking out of a bong is to make the smoking process feel much smoother. In contrast, the goal of dabbing is to isolate and enjoy flavor. A percolator aims to further that goal by cooling down the smoke, and provide premium filtration.
If you're used to smoking from awater pipe then you know how harsh the hits can be. Percolator bongs filter, cool and moisturize your hits. Filtering smoke through water not only cools down the hit but is also much healthier as it removes toxins from smoke. Percolators help with this by removing the byproducts of combustion like ash and tar, especially since water has the superpower of attracting non-polar contaminants. The smoke gets cooled down as it travels through the different percos and can even turn into water vapor for more smooth hits.
Types Of Bong Percolators
1. Honeycomb Perc
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.The shape of honeycomb percs give them the functionality they need to filter smoke with such efficiency. The round discs fit perfectly in the tube of the dab rig, and the small holes excel in diffusing the smoke.
2. Tree Perc
You can easily say that the tree percolator looks exactly as the name describes. With multiple tubular arms full of little slits, they branch out and actually look like a tree.It connects at the top and air comes up from below and is forced into the central tube and down through each of the arms.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. This creates a crazy amount of small bubbles. The tree perc is one of the more delicate percs and can be more easily broken.Pillar percs fit under this category as well.
3. Inline Perc
Inline percolators are simply horizontal tubes with several slits in them-- the more slits there are, the more percolation takes place. 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. They often complement other percolators above them.
4. Matrix / Stereo Matrix Perc
If you really want your bong to be a great deal better, the matrix percolator is a perfect choice. Usually made in a cylindrical shape, it will be centered in the base of the water pipe. This perc features horizontal slits as well as vertical slits. It provides a very high volume of diffusion because the smoke can circulate in so many different directions and separation is made easier.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.
5. Turbine Perc
Turbine percolators excel in function while also delivering a unique aesthetic. The shape of the perc causes water to travel up the sides of the bong, providing effective filtration in addition to incredible visuals.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 bong.
The most powerful of all percolators, fritted disc percs are a similar, yet slightly more intense version of honeycomb percs. With even more holes, they will fill your piece with a ton of bubbles, producing plenty of smoke for you to inhale. The tiny holes can get clogged and might be hard for beginners to pull through but the amount of filtration is worth it.Unfortunately, the sheer quantity of holes makes cleaning a nightmare (though it’s well worth it for the adventurous smoker).
7. Showerhead Perc
Showerhead percolators use a tube that connects to the main chamber to bring smoke back through a larger tube, directing the smoke down and into another percolator with varying quantities of slits. From there, most pieces direct the smoke to a second percolator. Shower head 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.
8.Diffused Downstem Perc
While a diffused downstem might be considered the simplest of percs, it is still very effective for creating bubbles and helping cool your smoke. You can buy a bong with a diffused downstem or they are usually fairly simple to add to a dab rig. It is a small glass tube with slits on the sides at the bottom that creates the bubbles. The holes can be in a honeycomb or other patterns as well. It is attached extending from the bowl piece down with the slitted end submerged into the water inside the bong. It’s not a complicated design but it does the basic job of cooling the smoke. They can either be fixed or removable.
When it comes down to a percolator with the weirdest, wildest design, it has to be the Swiss perc. When a bong has this percolator is resembles a glass bottle that has been hit with a shotgun. However, the holes that are placed so randomly throughout the water pipe are actually the percolator itself. The air is forced around all of these holes and it filters your smoke without creating any drag on your hit. It’s a perfect choice if you want a bong that makes a great conversation piece. 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 bongs usually fall under this category.
Circ Percs are exactly what they sound like! They’re circular glass percolators, kind of like a rounded hockey puck, with slits around the outside. They are usually attached to the bowl’s joint at the bottom of a downstem. 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.
With a straight cylindrical design, it really looks like a barrel.It has gridded notches which also lends to the barrel appearance. Since the barrel perc has more holes than an average percolator, it allows for even greater diffusion and have more holesthan a typical percolator. Although the barrel shape will usually be upright, they can be turned sideways in some bongs and rigs that have the perc connected directly to a downstem.
If you really like a percolator that has a very interesting and scientific look, you might choose the coil percolator. Unlike other percs that are only made one way, the coil perc actually comes two different ways. 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.The glass coil percolator that diffuses as you think it would.
How To Clean Your Percolator Bong?
First pour your cleaning solution ((what ever it may be ) into the base of the bong.
Plug up the stem hole so that the fluid doesnt go everywhere, and shake the effing hell out of it until your base is nice and clean.
Get a piece of celophane and fold it into a small square big enough to cover the mouthpiece of your pipe. Using a hair tie, or a rubber band tightly secure the celophane in place.This will allow you to flip your pipe upside down, allowing all the water and salt to flow into your lower percolator.
3rd Step: Shake the effing hell out of it until it is clean.
Here's the tricky part:
To get everything into the top perc you can either unplug the stem hole and blow into it slightly while holding the pipe upside down. OR, you can pour some more cleaning solution in through the mouthpiece of the pipe-cover the mouth piece once again- hold your pipe horizontally, and shake shake shake shake shake.