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Anyone who’s been a weed smoker for a while has probably had the chance to sample their favorite herb with a water pipe. And while they offer one of the best ways to get smooth hits and full flavor, water pipes aren’t exactly portable.
That’s where the bubblers come in. As one of the most unique smoking accessories, they provide a smooth hit and a much more pleasurable smoking experience than your regular glass pipe. And what’s more, they’re designed to go with you anywhere.
What is a Bubbler?
Bubblers are an interesting and unique way of purifying smoke with water diffusion. A simple way of looking at it would be that a bubbler pipe has the cool hit of your standard bong or water pipe, with the portability and easy handling of more compact weed pipes such as hand pipes.
Bubblers go by many different names, including water bubblers, weed bubblers, bubbler bong, glass bubbler pipes, and more. If it’s got “bubbler” in the name, though, you know it’s this type of compact water pipe.
Bubblers usually have many of the same features that you would find on other glass pipes and are made from the same borosilicate glass.
The most important component is the water chamber, which is often the part of the bubbler that you hold onto while smoking. Above the water chamber will be the carb hole and the bowl, which is usually a glass bowl but can be made of other materials.
Coming out from the top of the water chamber will be the stem or the drawtube, with the mouthpiece at the end. This is where you draw on the bubbler to take a hit.
There are countless different types of bubblers and variations of those types. Knowing the unique attributes of bubblers compared to other pipes will help you identify this smoking tool out in the world.
The Benefits of a Weed Bubbler
The two biggest benefits of a weed bubbler go hand in hand. First of all, it’s a water pipe, so you get a smooth smoking experience. Second, even though it’s a water pipe, you can handle it almost as easily as any other hand pipe.
This means that you can use a bubbler very similarly to a simple dry pipe while walking, standing, sitting, and even lying down. With a bubbler, you get the benefits of a water pipe without the hassle of using a full-size bong.
How Do Glass Bubblers Work?
The basic process for using glass bubblers is relatively simple, especially if it already has water in it. We’ll go over filling the water chamber in the next section.
For now, let’s assume someone handed you a bubbler water pipe that already has water in it. Here’s how to smoke it:
- Locate the bowl. It should be near the top of the water chamber on most bubblers. This is where your weed goes. Make sure to break up your weed a little before loading.
- Locate the carb hole, and hold the bubbler in one hand so that either the thumb or forefinger of that hand can cover the carb.
- With your free hand, grab a lighter.
- Spark the lighter and hold it over the bowl while you inhale through the mouthpiece until the bowl is lit. If the bubbler is larger, you may need a practice run to master the hand-eye coordination required for this move.
- Once you’ve filled the water chamber with smoke, take your finger off of the carb hole and inhale to clear the pipe. Be careful with this step! Even though you’ll have a very smooth, clearing the pipe still causes many new bubbler smokers to cough …
- Feel the need to cough? Immediately take your mouth off the mouthpiece! If you cough directly into the mouthpiece, you’ll push water up into the bowl, soaking your weed (and whatever else is around you).
How Much Water do You Put in a Bubbler Water Pipe?
While water does play a crucial role in the smoke cooling process, more water won’t necessarily eliminate more of the tars and resins that result from smoking.
To determine how much water you should put in your bubbler, first look at where the mouthpiece and the carb hole are. In most bubbler pipes, they will usually each be at about the same height relative to the bottom of the water chamber.
The most that you’ll want to fill your glass bubbler is about 2/3 of the way up from the bottom. If you put too much water in the bubbler and take a hit, there is a significant chance that you will get a mouthful of bubbler water.
How Durable are Marijuana Bubblers?
The best bubblers in terms of durability are going to be silicone bubblers.
While borosilicate glass bubblers are incredibly strong and can withstand significant abuse, use at your own risk! They can still be broken if dropped or not properly stored.
This just doesn’t apply to bubblers made of silicone. Even if they are dropped or suffer other harsh impacts, they won’t crack or break. They are heat-resistant to any temperature at which you’re going to be smoking weed, and they generally have a removable bowl as well so they can be easily cleaned, stored, and repaired if needed.
All silicone bubblers for weed will be made to similar physical standards for usability, with the removable bowls having stems of relatively standard metric diameters for easy replacement. But the artistry and engineering ingenuity really come through in the design of bubblers, and this is where glass bubblers really shine.
What Types Of Bubbler Bongs Are Available?
When browsing an online head shop looking for bubblers for weed, you’re going to see a lot of variance in the design and function of the bubblers you come across. While there are some similarities in weed bubbler design, the unique differences are what makes a bubbler truly yours.
We’re going to cover half a dozen main types of bubblers. While this list isn’t exhaustive, it should help you identify unique components in hybrids and variants that you may come across.
There are hammer bubblers, sherlock bubblers, double bubblers, silicone bubblers, mini bubblers, and more. We’ll take a look at some of the most common types, and go into what makes them unique and distinct.
The hammer bubbler is the classic bubbler water pipe design. There is a roughly fist-sized water chamber that houses the bowl and the carb hole, and there is a mouthpiece that comes off of the water chamber perpendicularly. User-submitted reviews found that some styles of hammer bubbler, like the GRAV Labs Mini Hammer Bubbler Hand Pipe, make it easier to avoid getting water in your mouth.
Some hammer bubblers are incredibly complex and feature multi-stage filtration and smoke percolation. However, the ultimately simple design of the hammer style allows artists to focus on more artistic elements and make more distinctly cute bubblers.
A sherlock bubbler is a water bubbler that has a unique shape reminiscent of the character Sherlock Holmes’ pipe. Except that instead of tobacco usage, Sherlock bubblers are meant for other legal herbs (consult your licensed health care provider with questions!). Sherlock bubbler water pipes are often seen as just a variation of the hammer bubbler, but with the unique and distinctive shape, many people maintain that they’re in their own category.
As you may infer from the name, a double bubbler or double chamber bubbler has two water chambers. This gives the bubbler pipe the ability to filter and cool the vaporized substances to a larger degree, providing a more pleasurable smoking experience.
What makes double bubblers really fun? There’s no standard as to how the chambers can be arranged. They can be side-by-side, one in front of the other, a double-decker with one on top of the other, and even one inside the other. The possibilities are endless.
Silicone bubblers are a type of bubbler water pipe that’s constructed completely, or almost completely, from silicone. This high-tech evolution of the portable water pipe is even immune to drops and impacts — something that not even the best borosilicate weed bubblers can brag about.
Another thing that makes silicone one of the best bubbler materials is that it’s so easy to clean. The sticky tars and resins that often clog conventional water pipes can be easily removed from the silicone surface without extensive effort or costly specialized cleaning products.
A mini bubbler, also known as a pocket bubbler, is exactly what it sounds like. These tiny titans can be taken just about anywhere and are extremely discreet. They are generally designed as a sealed water chamber with an integrated mouthpiece or straw.
With portability in mind, you can usually store mini bubblers with the water chamber already filled! Just add whatever legal dry herb you prefer and you’re ready to smoke.
Cleaning Your Weed Bubbler Pipes
Cleaning your bong or pipe isn’t something that most people get excited about. And even though your weed bubbler isn’t a full-sized bong, you’ll need to eventually clean it. For the best taste and smoking experience, you really should clean your bubbler frequently.
This doesn’t have to be such a chore, though. Since many bubblers are one solid piece, they don’t require extensive cleaning time. Moreover, any quality bubbler will be made with the understanding that eventually the owner will need to clean it.
The right bubbler will clean easily and be ready for a smooth smoking experience once again, with only a short cleaning session.
- Before you start, you need one of the most crucial smoking accessories for any serious smoker: a bottle of cleaner made for pipes like glass bubblers. This glass pipe cleaner will often be alcohol-based and may or may not have some form of natural abrasive incorporated into the formulation.
- If you recently smoked, let your bubbler cool down before cleaning. The last thing you want to do with hot glass is to add water! Otherwise, you’ll never forget the sound of that glass bubbler cracking …
- Before you can add a cleaning solution, you’ll need to empty your bubbler. Since the average bubbler water pipe is a one-piece design, you may need to tip the bubbler over and drain the water from the carb hole.
- Once the water is out of the bubbler pipe, you can add your cleaning solution per the manufacturer’s instructions. If you don’t have any pipe cleaner, you can use 70%+ isopropyl alcohol. The higher the concentration, the better it will work.
- Many cleaning solutions will work quickly. They may say to shake or agitate the bubbler for a minute or two, in which case you’ll need to shake it while keeping your fingers over the bowl, carb hole, and mouthpiece. Alcohol usually takes a bit longer and may need to soak for a few hours or even overnight.
- Dump out the dirty cleaning solution and rinse the pipe well. Make sure to rinse the pipe thoroughly until only clean, clear water comes out.
- Now the fun part: you’re ready to refill your weed bubbler and work on getting it dirty all over again.
Are Bubblers for Weed Better Than Bongs?
It really depends on your criteria for “better.” It can be a hassle to break out the big bong for a quick session, but you might still want water-cooled hits. That said, it’s much easier to get water in your mouth from an overfilled bubbler bong than from an overfilled standard bong.
What is the Point of Bubblers?
The main point of bubblers is to provide a more handheld, portable water pipe solution than your traditional bong. They still offer a cooling process far superior to hand pipes, but they don’t require a lot of real estate in your smoke room (or bag, or pockets).
Are Bongs and Bubblers the Same?
Yes and no. Bongs and bubblers are the same in the sense that they both filter and cool your smoke through water. They can also be made from the same materials, including silicone or glass smoking accessories.
They are very different, however, in their physical design and construction. While there are small mini bongs that are easier to handle and use for a single smoke session, they still aren’t bubblers.
How Much Should a Glass Bubbler Cost?
This is going to depend highly on the level of complexity that you want. You can purchase products for as low as $50-$75, while a scientific bubbler or intricate headpiece might cost several hundred.