Bongs are a fun and popular way to enjoy your weed. You probably first tried one that resembled a high-school art project, made of a various collection of office stationery sticking out of a plastic bottle – not ideal.
Now, in the grown-up world of weed, there’s an endless selection of bongs to choose from. They vary not only in shape, size, colour and material; but also in style, mechanism, quality and purpose. While the main goal is still to get smoke into your lungs, every bong does it differently.
Some go for the biggest hit, some for the smoothest. Certain bongs are partial to being used with cooled water, ice and fridges; while the cooling mechanism for some is secondary to the filtering of smoke.
Because of all these options and nuances, it can be hard to choose a bong that best suits you, which is why we put this guide together. We’ve reviewed the five best bongs of 2019, each with their own pros and cons and functions. We picked five that are all quite different, yet the best in their own category, so that you’re spoilt for choice and utility.
- Best Bong Brands of 2019
- Best Bongs of 2019 in Review
- How to choose a Good Bong
- In conclusion
Like bongs, there seems to be an endless list of bong manufacturers out there, and it can be really hard to determine which companies are and aren’t making quality products.
For reliability, quality, and design, as well as having a wide range of options, we’ve chosen ROOR as our favourite bong brand. ROOR, founded in 1995 in Germany, is the four-time High Times Cup winner, and extremely commonly associated with high-profile weed connoisseurs, to the extent of having partnerships with folks like Cypress Hill and System of a Down. They’re known for designing and manufacturing some of the best bongs on the market.
Locally, however, we have our very own star bong company. Bongalong is known for their incredibly high-quality ceramic bongs. Apart from their products being manufactured entirely locally, cleverly creating jobs in the Cannabis industry via the paraphernalia loophole, they also have their ear to the ground and the local consumer in mind.
Bongalong organise the annual Cannabis Walks in Cape Town and Johannesburg, and have played an integral part in helping bring light and support to the campaign of legalization in South Africa. For this reason alone, we’re big fans of them, nevermind their quality products. It’s rare to find good bong brands who could get so involved in the legal process surrounding legalization, so they’re definitely worth supporting.
Here are our top five bong picks for 2019. They’re all from reputable, good bong brands and will do more than just get the job done, so take a read and see which one suits you best!
- Three Tree-style Percolators
- Upright Design
- Turquoise Accented Glass
This simple, but eye-catching bong from Badass Glass is a great way to get a silky-smooth hit every time. It has three separate chambers, each with their own tree-styler percolator do diffuse and recombine the smoke as it exits and re-enters the chambers.
With its spill-proof downstem, it’s a surefire way to keep things clean and tidy. With no carb, it’s easy to smoke without the worry of needing extra hands; and the bowl could easily be swapped out for a dab or vape modification if the need called for it.
One downside, however, is that it would be very hard to put ice in unless you crushed it to slush. Fridge-cooled water, however, will do the job just fine.
While a little on the pricey side, this is a quality piece of glass that you won’t soon get tired of especially if you’re looking for a filtered, clean and cool smoke.
- Simple two-hole percolator
- Only 14 cm in height
- Flared foot base for Balance
The Mini Upright Bubbler is a nifty little punch-packer from GRAV and is our all-round favourite middle-of-the-road bong for 2019. It’s made of quality hand blown borosilicate glass, with a two-hole downstem percolator for a little extra smoothness to your hit.
Accented with pretty black glass, the bong features a flared foot base to prevent accidentally knocking it over and fits nicely on a desk or dresser in an inconspicuous manner thanks to its tasteful design.
Other than that, there’s not much else to say about it. It’s a great daily driver that delivers a potent hit, at a good price. The bowl it comes with is quality, of a good size and easy to handle with your lighter-hand; and the design makes it easy to handle and use.
- Locally made ceramics and wooden base
- Comes with an aluminum downstem
- Buying a Bongalong helps support legalization efforts in South Africa
If you’ve smoked with any number of seasoned stoners in South Africa, then it’s more than likely you’ve encountered a Bongalong Naughty Vase. These beautiful ceramics were first discovered by us through the Cannabis March, and later at a collaboration between Bongalong and a Woodstock art gallery, where nine artists painted custom bongs and attendees stood a chance of winning one.
They’re incredibly well made by locals, for locals, and are one of the only fully-South African glass (or ceramics really) companies out there. Their bongs smoke easily and cleanly, stand up nicely on their own, and are weighty making them hard to knock over.
We do caution, however, to watch the size of the hit you take from these. Because of a combination of the weight of the piece, as well as it not being see-through, it’s very easy to take an all-too-large rip from one of these. They’ll really floor you.
A hot tip from Bongalong themselves: “Pop it in the fridge for 10 minutes and enjoy a whole new experience”.
- Ice Notches in Main Tube
- Two height options (35cm / 45cm)
- Extremely high-quality downstem
The ROOR Little Sista is a bong you’ve likely seen a hundred times before, whether in the background of a music video or in the B-Roll footage of a weed festival on TV. ROOR is one of the best-known manufacturers of borosilicate glass bongs in the world, and for good reason. Their glass is of the utmost highest quality, and they helped popularize the eye-catching beaker design.
The beaker design isn’t just for flare, however, the diameter of the base is design so as to offset imbalances, making the bong harder to knock over. In addition, there are three notches in the main tube, just a few centimeters above the water height level so you can fill it with ice for a smoother, cleaner smoke.
This bong is a staple of stoner/bong culture for good reason, and will likely remain on all the ‘top bong’ lists until the end of time.
- Cool Rocket Ship Design
- Honeycomb Percolator
- Limited Edition
This, quite frankly, hilarious bong is a wonderous piece from Empire Glassworks. Coming in at a high, high price point, it’s really only for the adventurous collector who’s looking for a piece of novelty to add to their glass shelf.
It’s beautifully crafted out of quality borosilicate glass, featuring two red and black rocket boosters on either side, a swirly coloured glass bowl and a pretty little rocket sitting on a glass asteroid atop a percolator in the middle.
Sure it smokes well, especially with the honeycomb filter, but the smoke is quite honestly the last thing you should be worried about with this bong – as weird as that sounds to say. It’s not only well-made and functional glass, but it’s made with artisanal care and love that you simply won’t find in your average mass-produced bong, save for maybe Bongalong’s products.
The main thing you want to look for when choosing a bong is how you’re going to use it. If you’re a quiet, solo smoker who really cares about flavour, and enjoying the process of smoking as well as the high, then it would make sense to spend a little more and get something fancy.
However, if you’re going to be smoking in big groups, passing a bong around again and again, then you might not want to spend too much on the highest-shelf quartz glass you can find. Remember, everyone promises to pay for the bong they’ve broken when it happens, but in our experience, it generally takes people a little longer than they claim to get with the program.
Aside from this, size is important too. A nice desktop bubbler could potentially give you a lot more use out of it when compared to a two-meter-long behemoth that you need two people just to hold in place to smoke.
Otherwise, go with your gut! Bongs are fun after all, and if it’s just another bowl to smoke out of, well then you may as well just go back to a plastic bottle and a pen (We’re joking, in case this wasn’t clear. Smoking out of plastic is really, really bad for you.)
You’re now spoilt for choice, as well as up-to-date on the hottest bongs in each of their categories. You should have no issue choosing the one for you, and if you still can’t decide? Go local. We can’t stress enough how great of an idea it is to support Bongalong (no, they didn’t ask us to say this), and support the South African weed culture and community.
Next time you’re ‘ripping a fat one’, ponder on where your glass came from, if it was made with love and care, and if it’s doing the job for you. There’s a little something for you to think about.