Glossary of all the Different Types of Water Pipe Percolators (Percs)
The preferred smoking method for most smokers, water pipes offer many advantages. The smooth hits and filtration results from the water, filled up to a strategic level. Bong percolators, which are glass features that aid in softening the impact of each hit, also make this an easier experience. There are dozens of bong percs on the market, so it’s important to do some research and find the bong that is right for you. In fact, there are many bongs under $100 that have one or more percolators. All of these bong percs accomplish the same basic purpose, and are a staple for most smokers.
Straight (Diffused Downstem)
Straight percs, also known as diffused downstems, are the most basic and common smoke-filtering feature for water pipes. They are frequently found on straight water pipes and beaker bongs, but are also common for other pieces. This tube contains narrow slits, which filter the smoke as it goes under the water, producing bubbles. In doing so, it cools down the smoke.
A type of disc perc, honeycomb percs contain dozens of small holes, resembling a honeycomb. Situated in the tube of the bong, the honeycomb perc utilizes these small holes to diffuse the smoke, as it passes through and gradually forms again. With more holes, the honeycomb perc offers better diffusion, and less drag. This basic bong perc is ideal for people who are learning how to use a bong.
Tree percs are small rods that resemble tree limbs, which contain small slits. Bongs with tree percs can contain anywhere from 4-64 arms, and diffusion increases with the amount of arms. These branches can either be open or closed.
Sometimes called cyclone percs, turbine percs are another type of disc perc. When taking a hit, the smoke is pulled up through the disc, and through the many small holes for excellent diffusion, creating a cyclone whirlpool effect. Higher end water pipes can have as many as six turbine percs, and this visual is always impressive.
The Swiss perc bears a strong resemblance to Swiss cheese, and can go a long way in diffusing your smoke. Featuring vertically placed holes on a disc-like section of the bong, the Swiss perc cycles the smoke through several times for maximum diffusion.
Stereo Matrix or Barrel Perc
Matrix (or barrel) percs are centrally positioned within the bong. Matrix percs filter the smoke like showerhead percs, pulling the smoke in through bottom holes and releasing it through the top holes. Regardless of the specific style, pieces with barrel or stereo percs perform extremely well.
The inline perc, which is a horizontal tube that contains several slits, is another more basic percolator. Simply put, as smoke ethers the main chambers, it flows through these slits and becomes cooler and smoother. Inline percs also cause the bong to have minimal drag, which is great for smokers.
Not all percolators fit a particular model or style. In fact, glass manufacturers are constantly inventing new ways to alter glass in a way that enhances both the visual appeal of the bong, as well as the smoking experience. We always keep an eye out for on-the-rise trends in the bong world to provide you with the highest quality pieces.
The faberge egg perc does not perform well as the sole percolator, but will do a great job with filtration when paired with another. This perc -- which causes the bubbles from the smoke to spread out -- gives the smoke more surface area for filtration. This will complement any other percolator, and is fairly new within the context of bong history.
As a slightly more intense version of the honeycomb perc, fritted disc percolators are the most powerful version. This percolator contains even more holes, and will produce plenty of smoke to inhale. Cleaning can be difficult, but it’s worthwhile for smokers who enjoy a great bong hit.
Using a tube that connects the main chamber to route the smoke to a larger tube, showerhead percs are extremely proficient in filtering smoke. To provide an even smoother hit, most pieces bring the smoke to yet another percolator.
Often a welcome aesthetic embellishment within any bong, the spiral perc brings smoke through a coil-shaped feature. Notably, the spiral perc also makes for longer, more drawn-out drags.