How to Use a Bong: Beginner’s Guide

How to Use a Bong

If you’re new to bongs, you must be wondering how to use a bong like that stoner friend of yours you’ve always admired. In this guide, we’ll discuss the basics of using bongs and provide you with some essential tips for getting started.

You’ll see that mastering the bong isn’t challenging at all, so let’s get started!

What’s a Water Bong?

A water bong is one of the most traditional tools for consuming cannabis. It’s a pipe that uses water to cool and filter the smoke, providing you with a smoother and cleaner-tasting experience.

Smoking from a bong provides a full-bodied, strong hit that can suffice without needing a second one. Its exceptional filtration system enhances the flavor and provides a super clean hit. 

As many as 12% of adults in the US currently use marijuana, totaling more than 40 million people. Furthermore, medical marijuana is legal in 35 states for now. 

This recent increase of newcomers in the marijuana world promoted experimentation with methods of consuming this herb and, by proxy, made bongs more popular.

How Does a Water Bong Work?

The physics of a bong are simple:

Smoke is drawn through a chamber filled with water. The water cools the smoke, making it less harsh, as the smoke bubbles through the water and gets rid of fine particles of ash and tar.

What Does a Bong Consist Of?

Bongs can be made of bamboo, silicone, plastic, and other materials, but most are made of glass. They consist of several parts, each one essential for the ultimate smoking pleasure. 

The parts of a water bong include:

  • Mouthpiece
  • Slide (or bowl)
  • Chamber
  • Downstem
  • Carb (optional)

The bowl holds the marijuana, and it’s attached to a little tube called downstem, which descends into the water basin. Once the bowl is lighted, the smoke will enter the chamber through the downstem.

Chamber is the bong’s body, and this is where smoke is accumulated, cooled down, and filtered.

Your chamber may or may not have a carb hole above the water level, which allows you to get more smoke in the chamber when inhaling from a water smoking bong. You can control the amount of smoke by covering the hole with your finger. 

However, most water bongs don’t have this feature.  

The large hole at the top end of the bong is called a mouthpiece, and this is where you put your mouth and inhale the smoke. 

Bear in mind that you shouldn’t put your lips around the hole when inhaling the smoke, but you should keep them inside the mouthpiece with lips slightly pursed so as to create a strong vacuum.

How to Use a Water Bong

If you don’t know how to use a bong, don’t worry! Though this device may appear complicated, it’s incredibly easy to master. And after reading our guide, you’ll be an expert at using it. 

So, get your bong of choice, and get this party started!

Prepare Your Bong

First, attach your downstem to the chamber (if it’s removable). 

Then fill the bong halfway with water, just enough to cover the downstem (water should be way below carb if there’s one, so it wouldn’t spill through it). Pour the water through the mouthpiece, as this is the widest opening. 

Adding more water than necessary won’t improve the experience. On the contrary! More water simply means your lungs will have to work harder to pull the smoke through the water.

And there’s no right or wrong water temperature. It all comes down to personal preference. Cold, warm, room temperature — it’s entirely up to you!

Fill the Percolators With Water

If your bong has percolators, you’ll need to fill them with water, too, before starting to make some bong rips

Depending on the type of bong, they can be in the shape of rounded domes, branched trees, notched tubes, circular discs, or any other shape. 

They’re located in the bong’s neck and/or chamber, and they all serve the same purpose — to further cool and filter the smoke.

Pour the water into the mouthpiece and fill the percolators halfway with water, just enough to cover the air holes (a few millimeters of water should be enough).

Grind Your Marijuana

You must grind your marijuana before using a bong. Use a good weed grinder to produce the most homogenous and consistent grind. Put a medium-sized nug in the part where the grinding teeth are, put the cap back on, and wait for the marijuana to grind.

And even if you don’t have a weed grinder, there’s still a way to grind your weed. For example, you can use your fingers, mortar and pestle, or a pair of small scissors, but the outcome likely won’t be as good as with a proper grinder.

Fill the Bowl

Take a little bit of ground marijuana and put it into the bowl. Then, softly tap the marijuana into the bowl with your finger. Be careful not to pack the bowl too tightly to avoid having difficulties pulling smoke. 

After you’ve filled the bowl with marijuana, insert it into the downstem.

Light the Marijuana

Now you’re only one step away from hitting a bong. Light the corner of the bowl, put your mouth into the mouthpiece and start pulling in with your lungs. Your pull doesn’t have to be too strong. Instead, you can keep it steady and smooth. 

The smoke will travel from the bowl through the downstem and begin to bubble up through the water.

Clear the Chamber

Once the chamber fills with smoke, you’ll need to clear it before you take a hit. 

Remove the bowl from the downstem while taking air into your lungs. This will allow the air to move through your bong, pushing more smoke up and into your lungs quicker.

Clean Your Bowl When You’re Done

Smoking out of a bong every day will undoubtedly get your bong dirty (mainly because of resins from marijuana). 

So, every now and then, you’ll have to roll your sleeves and clean it:

  • Start by removing all of the ash from the bowl. 
  • Then detach the bowl from the downstem and place it in a ziploc bag with some salt granules and rubbing alcohol
  • Shake the bag and scrub the bowl with your fingers. Alcohol should dissolve the sticky resin, while salt will serve as an exfoliator. 
  • Once the bowl is cleaned, remove it from the bag and rinse it with clean water
  • Then repeat the process with the downstem (if it’s removable). 

Alternatively, you can use a commercially available cleaning solution for bongs.

Benefits of Using a Bong

The main benefit of smoking weed using a bong is that you’ll get to enjoy marijuana’s numerous benefits with no irritation to your through and lungs pulling smoke from a joint can cause. 

Other benefits include:

  • Providing larger, more powerful inhalations
  • Better filtration of the smoke thanks to the water (and ice)
  • A lovely, functional piece of glass art for your coffee table
  • No danger of getting ash in your mouth
  • No need to burn any paper
  • Smoother hits
  • Reduced risk of mold and bacteria

Difference Between Water Pipe and Bong

Although the terms bong and water pipe are often used as synonymous, there are some key differences between the two. 

Bong has a simpler design, and it’s made of a stem and a straight tube, while water pipe can have multiple percs, tiers, and chambers and can be a straight-tube, zig-zag, or beaker. 

Furthermore, a bong delivers a direct hit to the lungs, while a water pipe provides a more sophisticated experience, smoothing and enhancing the flavor of weed.

Wrapping Up

After reading this beginner’s guide, you can proudly state that you know how to use bongs. Try it a few times, practice a little bit, and you’ll soon be preparing and smoking a bong like a pro!

Happy smoking!


How do you use a handheld bong?

Using a handheld bong is incredibly easy:

  • Use your non-dominant hand to hold the handheld bong
  • Cover the carb hole with your thumb. 
  • Put your lips into the mouthpiece hole. 
  • Suck in some air to create a vacuum within the bong. 
  • Light the herb inside the bowl using your dominant hand.
  • Suck up the air while keeping your finger on the carb hole (this will intensify the vacuum inside the handheld bong, causing smoke to gather up). 
  • Release the carb hole and take a deep breath in.

How long do you boil a bong for?

It’s best to bring the water to a gentle boil rather than a rolling boil. Allow it to simmer for about half an hour. After that, carefully remove the bong from the water and set it aside to cool.

Why should you not put ice in a bong?

The only reason not to put ice in a bong is that you can damage your lungs by doing so. So, to avoid getting bronchitis and other lung problems, steer clear of ice.

How do you use ice in a bong?

Check if your bong has an ice catcher before dropping ice cubes down its neck. Ice catchers typically consist of three small indentations in the bong’s neck, and they form a sort of shelf for the ice to stand on. 

If your bong has an ice catcher, simply put ice in the ice catcher, and that’s it!

Make sure to use regular ice cubes from your freezer (not crushed ice).

And how to use a bong without an ice catcher? Add a few ice cubes directly to the water in your bong to cool it down.