What’s the Difference Between a Bowl and a Bong?

There are a few different ways in which you are able to consume marijuana. Whether it is through smoking, vaping, or in edible form – to name but a few – you are faced with a myriad of choices depending on your specific needs and preferences.
When it comes to smoking weed, you can still choose from different forms, whether it is in rolled up cigarette form or smoking with the likes of bongs and bowls.
While you may have a rough idea about what these devices are, the specifics and differences between them may be a bit blurry. This guide will walk you through what scenarios are best suited for using bongs and bowls, what their differences are, and how you can use them for your own needs

What are bongs?

Bongs are one of the most popular methods when it comes to taking cannabis, particularly when it is in the dried flower form. Some people refer to them as water pipes, and there are many other slang words that are used. Many people even go so far as to give their own bong a pet name, as it is so important to them when they light up.
The history of using water pipes to smoke substances dates all of the way back to the Ming Dynasty in China, many centuries ago. There are instances of these bongs being found right across history, all across the world.
Bongs are somewhat similar to hookah, which is a water pipe that is utilized in order to consume tobacco that is flavoured. A hookah has a hose which allows a multitude of individuals to smoke using the same bowl.
There are many different forms in which you will find bongs, all different sizes and shapes. Usually, they are created from glass.

There are five main parts of the bong.

The bowl is an attachment that is circular in form, and it is the area in which your dried marijuana is going to be added, where it will ultimately combust. Most of the time, you can remove the bowl from the bong.
The carburettor is the tiny hole in which the smoke is removed from the bong’s chamber, allowing for the completion of a toke. Usually, this will be a sliding or a pull mechanism, and you can find it once the bowl has been taken away.
The downstem is a narrow tube which carries the smoke out of the bowl and into the base. It is here that the smoke will mix and percolate in the water.
The base is, of course, at the end of the bong and can come in many different shapes and sizes. Usually, it will be shaped like a beaker or a bubble, and most of the time it will house the chamber of water where the smoke is cooled as a result of entering the water.
The tube has a mouthpiece at the top, and this is the region that becomes full of smoke once the water filtration has occurred.

Why do people use bongs to consume marijuana?

One of the main questions that we get asked when it comes to bongs is why a person would use one over smoking it in a traditional manner, as in cigarette form.
The predominant reason why people often prefer to use a bong is due to the way it can easily and quickly cool the smoke and filter it using the water. This allows you to have a smooth draw no matter what the quantity of inhaled smoke may be. There are also further benefits to using bongs when compared to other forms of consumption.
People who normally use cannabis rolled up in the form of joints will often like to use bongs on occasion, because this will allow for a cooler experience while still getting the most out of the flavors and smells associated with cannabis.
If you use a water pipe as opposed to a cigarette, the experience is going to be a lot smoother, and the smoke is less harsh on your lungs and throat because you do not have to deal with any form of dry heat.
Bubbler devices can often become easily dirty and clogged, needing a lot more regular and in-depth cleaning than when you use a bong.

What is a bowl?

As you probably noticed, the bowl is a component of a bong. It is the area in which the dried cannabis is placed and is made ready for it to be smoked using the water pipe. There are many different ways in which people prefer to pack their bowls, with different techniques making subtle changes to the effects you will derive from the smoking process.
When you are packing your bowl, you want to ensure that all of the weed has been broken down in an equal manner, but you don’t want it to be broken up into too fine a form.
Most people will use their hands to pull it apart, but the use of a grinder can be a lot less labor intensive. A lot of people will utilize a stem or a calyx when it comes to getting the marijuana right to the end of the bowl.
This ensures that particulates are able to pass through. Some people will even utilize a screen, as it enhances the level of airflow. You want to have a lighter packing in the bottom of the bowl and have it a bit denser towards the top to make sure that your smoking experience is a lot more equal and levelled out.
The cannabis at the top will keep burning, meaning you can easily inhale without having to worry about clogging.
There is some etiquette to consider when it comes to smoking with others. You should make sure that when you are packing the bowl it is the right proportion in terms of how large the circle of smokers is. If you are dealing with an individual or small scale smoking session, then you may prefer to pack personal bowls instead.
When it comes to heating the bowl, most people will use butane lighters, but there are also many non-butane options that are currently on the market. Some people even use hemp wick to light their bowls, which is a string made out of hemp that can easily light and will burn evenly – there is no associated aftertaste.


As you can see, bowls are a mechanism that is used on a variety of different types of smoking devices, whether it is pipes or bongs. The bong itself is an individual method of smoking cannabis that has a bowl as a key component where the dried cannabis is packed.

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