If you’re trying to decide how to enjoy your legal herbs, you’ve possibly come across these options: bongs, bubblers and hand pipes. They share certain similarities, but each offers a different experience. Bongs are the more popular option, having been around for centuries and featuring a water filtration system that filters out the harmful toxins and carcinogens. With their large sizes, bongs can be hard to hide in your travel bag, and water spillage is an issue many people grapple with.
Hand pipes are on the smaller side, which is appealing if you’re looking for something that won’t take up too much space. However, it doesn’t offer the cleanest experience (it’s possible to inhale ash), the smoke is hotter, and pipes are used with much harder drugs, a perception that some find difficult to shake off. We’re left with the bubbler.
Unlike the more famous bong, bubblers have different mouthpiece styles, and their compact size makes them portable and easily usable. Some shapes can fit comfortably in your pocket, while others can hang around your neck for quick access. In this article, we will share everything you need to know before you make your first (or next) purchase of a cannabis bubbler.
What Exactly Are Bubblers Anyway?
Smoking legal herbs can be an incredible experience, especially when you consider the array of smoking accessories that are available to consumers. While the standard procedure is to roll up and light a joint, making use of smoking vessels such as bubblers can make the experience more pleasant. You can think of bubblers as a mix between a pipe and a bong. They’re much smaller, but look similar to pipes and function in the same way as bongs.
That’s where the similarities end, however. Bubblers are unique in their design and use and have distinct advantages when compared to the bong. A typical bubbler will have a mouthpiece, stem, bowl and water chamber through which smokes passes. The presence of this chamber is quite crucial to the overall experience: it cools and filters the smoke for a cleaner hit. Some bubblers also come with percolators, which are additional water chambers for extra cooling.
Beyond the functional features, many bubbler designs are pleasing to the eye. Their manufacturing process allows the inclusion of ornamental pieces, plus the glass molds into various shapes and styles. The wide array of styles is a big reason for its popularity. If you’re in a group setting and pull out your eye-catching bubbler, odds are everyone will want to give it a try.
There are hammer bubblers with flat bottoms that allow them to rest on most surfaces. Pendant bubblers feature a string worn around the neck as a fashion piece and easy-to-access smoking device. Double bubblers have two chambers for more cooling, while Sherlock bubblers resemble Sherlock pipes but offer the advantages mentioned. Concentrate bubblers are used for smoking essential oils and concentrates, while the sidecar bubbler ensures no water splashes back when smoking.
Where Do Bubblers Come From?
Smoking pipes and bongs have a long history, having been used by civilizations as far back as 2,400 years ago, based on excavations done in Russia in 2013. These works revealed that Scythian tribal chiefs interacted with gold bongs to enjoy their opium and cannabis. Before the discovery of the Scythian bongs, history records them being found in Ethiopian caves between 1100 and 1400 AD. Made out of primitive pottery and animal horns, these bongs had underground connections for cooling purposes.
Among the early civilizations to make use of the water pipe for smoking was China, with written history showing its use in the 16th century during the Ming Dynasty. While they were common with the citizens who smoked tobacco, the Empress Dowager Cixi seemed to have preferred water pipes over other methods. So great was her love for them that she was buried with at least three, and some of her collections preserved at the Palace Museum.
The growth of the bong ties closely with the flourishing of the glass industry and the establishment of tobacco as a cash crop. However, it wasn’t until the 20th century that the glass bong experienced an emergence, with Bob Snodgrass credited with designing glass bongs that would start a revival in the industry. It was Snodgrass who discovered the fuming process, which combines gold and silver in making the glass bong – and as his work gained popularity, so too did the number of people who started to sell them. So what are they made of?
- Glass: It’s the de facto material used for most bubblers and has numerous advantages. It doesn’t heat quickly, provides a smooth surface to grip, is easy to clean and can be easily molded during production.
- Bamboo: It’s not quite popular and can be frustrating to work with, but it is an excellent option if you’re a do-it-yourself type looking to experiment.
- Acrylic: Acrylic pieces are cheap and easy to find, but they’re not always the best quality. For people concerned with innovation and quality, they may not rank at the top of the list.
- Silicone: It can withstand hard falls, which glass can’t. Silicone pieces also tend to incorporate glass components in the overall design, and they’re easy to disassemble and clean.
- Plastic: It’s quite as popular as glass and can withstand drops on a hard floor. They don’t break easily, either. The downside is that the plastic material may affect the taste of the smoke.
- Ceramic: It’s a heavy material, so pieces made out of it tend to be fragile and bulky, making them less than ideal for travel. They’re also a bit more expensive but come in novelty sizes and colors.
- Metal: It’s durable and long-lasting, but not common on the market. Metal can impact the taste of smoke, and its finish can make it hard to determine when to clean it.
Just How Do Bubblers Work Anyhow?
Many people prefer the bubbler over a pipe because of the smooth hit that it gives. This is mainly because of the water chamber that cools the smoke as it passes from the bowl and into the smoke chamber. The water also filters the smoke, removing many harmful toxins. The more refreshing hit is a feature that favors the bubbler over other smoking accessories.
Glass blowing is the more popular technique for creating bubblers, with artists utilizing different shapes and sizes to come up with myriad designs. To begin the process, an artist dips a steel tube into a crucible and pulls out the molten glass, which is rolled on a flat steel table to straighten it and give it the general shape of the piece. Afterward, the artist blows through the tube to inflate the glass “bubble”, with the eventual result being a finished glass piece.
During the glassblowing process, artists can include other materials such as gold and silver to add flair to the finished product. Heating these precious metals produces fumes that give the glass a semi-opaque, colorful appearance. Furthermore, the glass used can have metallic compounds and pigments that result in striking color variations in the end product. The raw colored glass is quite expensive and requires extremely skilled artists to work with.
Glass blowing takes skill and patience so that artists who adhere to all the steps end up with pleasing bubblers that are both durable and appealing.
The Advantages Of Using a Bubbler
It’s no secret that many people prefer bubblers over bongs, and for good reasons. Here are some benefits of bubblers:
- Compared to bongs, bubblers are not quite as bulky and offer the same smooth hit.
- Bubblers can be carried easily outside of your home, whether you’re at a party or even traveling.
- Bubblers have a basic filtration system (the water chamber) that removes the rough feeling and harsh taste of smoke
- Bubblers come in many different shapes and styles, guaranteeing that you’ll find one that meets your requirements.
- Bubblers are conveniently sized, ensuring that you can bring it with you wherever you go.
- Bubblers tend to be quite easy to use, especially if you’re a novice smoker who may not be familiar with the more complex bong.
- Most bubblers are made from quality materials, meaning they can last you a while when used correctly.
- The glass used for bubblers doesn’t heat up quickly, so you don’t have to worry about burning your fingers trying to hold on.
Selecting The Best Bubbler For You
For a novice smoker, knowing how to distinguish a bubbler from other smoking pieces and accessories is vital. Other than being an informed consumer, it’s essential to understand the type of experience you want during your smoke session and the kind of equipment that will make this happen.
As you search for the perfect bubbler to use, personal preference on the color, style, and type of material used will come into play. If the material is good quality and you’re drawn to its look and style, it’s probably the right choice of bubbler to purchase.