Percolators: What They Do & What Are The Benefits
If you’ve been smoking for a while, then chances are that you’ve heard the word “percolator” or “perc” before. Even if you are a veteran smoker with plenty of experience, the word percolator might still be shrouded in mystery. However, percolators are critical to smoker culture. Though they are not required in a bong, they have become somewhat standard. Here, we’ll discuss the purpose and function of percolators, and the various types that can be included with water pipes.
This post has been updated from its original version in 2017.
What is a Bong Percolator?
The goal of smoking out of a bong is to make the smoking process feel much smoother. In contrast, the goal of dabbing is to isolate and enjoy flavor. A percolator aims to further that goal by cooling down the smoke, and provide premium filtration. There are several different types of percolators, and each has a slightly different effect.
Why Use a Bong With a Percolator?
For some who are not familiar with bongs, the prospect of smoking out of one may be slightly intimidating. The cultural stigma around bongs causes them to appear somewhat more potent than other smoking instruments. And, in a certain sense, they are.
While the smoke will lose some of the effect going through two chambers of water, the intake will be far easier. This will enable most people to ingest more smoke than they normally would. For most, this trade-off will be well worth it.
10 Styles of Percolators
All percolators will provide an additional layer of filtration for the smoke, making for a much more enjoyable and smooth smoking experience. However, different percolators will accomplish this in a different manner. They will also contribute a different aesthetic touch to each piece. These are some of the most common styles of percolators.
1. Honeycomb Percolators
The shape of honeycomb percs give them the functionality they need to filter smoke with such efficiency. The round discs fit perfectly in the tube of the bong, and the small holes excel in diffusing the smoke. Most of all, they accomplish this without slowing down the smoking process.
This piece has 3 honeycomb percolators, providing ample filtration and guaranteed cool hits.View More Honeycomb Percs >
2. Tree Percolators
Tree percolators are fairly simple. Within the tube of the bong, there is a collection of rods that resemble tree limbs. With a few slits per “limb”, there will be plenty of diffusion.
At Toker Supply, our premium online headshop has several bongs with tree percolators. While many tree percolators are easily broken, this one constructed from borosilicate glass is much more durable.View More Tree Percs >
3. Inline Percolators
Inline percolators are simply horizontal tubes with several slits in them-- the more slits there are, the more percolation takes place. They often complement other percolators above them.
This piece sacrifices a downstem in favor of an inline percolator, with an additional showerhead percolator placed above the inline perc.View More Inline Percs >
4. Matrix Percolator
Matrix percolators are located in the center, with plenty of space around them, making for quite the aesthetic. Because the top holes do not have much resistance, the lower holes are not likely to bring enough smoke in. A matrix percolator operates in a similar way to showerhead percss.
This piece is perfectly comfortable to hold at only 12 inches, and efficient at cooling smoke with both an inline and matrix perc.View More Matrix Percs >
5. Turbine Percolators
Turbine percolators excel in function while also delivering a unique aesthetic. The shape of the percolator causes water to travel up the sides of the pipe, providing effective filtration in addition to incredible visuals.
Our premium online headshop sells only the finest turbine perc bongs. This water pipe uses a crystal ball perc to start the diffusion process, and subsequently a turbine perc to finish the process. At 14 inches tall, this pipe will provide consistently excellent hits.View More Turbine Percs >
6. Fritted Disc Percolators
The most powerful of all percolators, fritted disc percs are a similar, yet slightly more intense version of honeycomb percs. With even more holes, they will fill your piece with bubbles, producing plenty of smoke for you to inhale. Unfortunately, the sheer quantity of holes makes cleaning a nightmare (though it’s well worth it for the adventurous smoker).View More Fritted Disc Percs >
7. Showerhead Percs
Showerhead percs use a tube that connects to the main chamber to bring smoke back through a larger tube, directing the smoke down and into another percolator with varying quantities of slits. From there, most pieces direct the smoke to a second percolator.
This piece uses the showerhead perc in addition to a recycler, which brings the smoke through the chamber several times before inhalation.View More Showerhead Percs >
8. Spiral Perc
Also referred to as a coil percolator, this style simply brings the smoke through the coil and increases the cooling potential. It is also a welcome visual feature. Compared to other percolators, spiral percs provide smoother and longer drags.
This piece allows the awesome visual of smoke rushing through the coil to shine with an otherwise bare-bones approach, aside from the ice catcher. The ice catcher prevents spillage within the bong.View More Spiral Percs >
9. Faberge Egg Percs
While a faberge egg percolator will not efficiently filter smoke independently, it will work well when paired with another percolator. Instead, placing a faberge egg perc within close proximity to another percolator will allow the smoke to filter and spread out, giving the bubbles more surface area. Additionally, they bring an appealing aesthetic to the table.View More Faberge Egg Percs >
Downstems are far more basic than percolators, in both appearance and function. In fact, they are what initially separated water pipes from dry pipes. A downstem is simply a tube that sits in the main water chamber, allowing air to enter the chamber. This creates an improved airflow.
Downstems are a common feature for water pipes. They can be easily removed and cleaned, and replaced by different downstems when needed. However, make sure that the downstem is the appropriate size.
This basic piece has a diffused, removable downstem, and is perfect for smoking alone or with friends.View More Downstem Percs >
Regardless of the percolator style that you prefer, a bong with a percolator will surely improve your smoking experience. There is no substitute for the feeling that continuous smooth hits give you. Toker Supply is an online headshop that provides all styles of smoking pieces and accessories. Our products are made to ensure the highest degree of quality and durability.