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Percolators: What They Do & What Are The Benefits

Many might not understand what a percolator is. However, if you have used a bong with and without a "perc", you will notice a stark difference.

For most smokers, percolators are vital to the smoking experience. The main reasons for having a perc in a bong is to stop the water from splashing back into your mouth, cooling the smoke down, and extra filtration.

Though they're not required in a bong, they have become somewhat standard. If you don't have one in yours, it is possible to add a percolator to certain bongs.

Here, we’ll discuss the purpose, function and benefits of percolators, and the various types that can be included with water pipes. But first, let's find out what a percolator is.

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 will cool 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?

Of course, there are numerous advantages of smoking from a bong. However, if you have used a bong without a perc, you are familiar with the burning throat feeling. That's where the percolator comes in. As the smoke moves through the chambers, the added filtration and cooling will make your huge bong rip smoother and more enjoyable.


10 Styles of Percolators

Similar to ice catchers, percolators are an effective way to eliminate the excess heat and harshness while preserving and highlighting the flavor.

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.

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Bent Neck Tree Perc Rig

2. Tree Percolators

Tree percolators are fairly simple. Within the bong's tube, there's a collection of rods that resemble tree limbs. With a few slits per “limb," there will be plenty of diffusion.

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Lookah Glass - Inline Perc to Sprinkler Perc Recycler

3. Inline Percolators

Inline percolators are simply horizontal tubes with several slits in them. The more slits there are, the more percolation you get when you hit the bong. They often complement other percolators above them.

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4. Matrix Percolator

You can find a Matrix Percolator directly in the bong's center, with plenty of space around them. Ultimately, this gives it a lot more aesthetic value. Because the top holes don't have much resistance, the lower holes aren't likely to bring enough smoke in. A matrix percolator operates in a similar way to showerhead percs.

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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.

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Crystal Ball Perc to Turbine Perc Bong

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'll fill your piece with bubbles, producing plenty of smoke for you to inhale. Unfortunately, the amount of holes can make it difficult to clean (though it’s well worth it for the ambitious smoker).

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7. Showerhead Percs

Showerhead percs use a tube that connects to the main chamber to bring smoke back through a larger tube. Then, it directs 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.

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14 inch Coil Perc Beaker Bong

8. Spiral Perc

Also referred to as a "coil percolator," this style simply brings the smoke through the coil and increases its cooling potential. It's also a welcome visual feature. Compared to other percolators, spiral percs provide smoother and longer drags.

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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.

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18mm to 14mm Tree Perc Downstem

10. Downstems

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.

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Our Final Thoughts on Percolator Bongs

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. Invest in a quality glass perc bong, and gone are the days of coughing fits and dry throat!

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.

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