Bongs, bubblers, and dry hand pipes are designed to burn and get smoke from a bowl, through a pipe, and into your lungs, but where the similarities start, the differences begin.123
So which is better? A bong, a hand pipe, or a bubbler? We will compare bongs, bubblers, and dry hand pipes across 7 different metrics. Talley the score at the end, and see who wins. Ready to see who wins? Let's find out.
1By a dry hand pipe - we are referring to all variations of the dry hand pipe including, and not limited to: [spoons], chillums, and steam rollers.
2By bubblers, we are referring to all hand pipes that use water to include some hammer pipes.
3By bongs or water pipew, we are referring to any large-sized rig used for smoking including, and not limited to, dab rigs and recyclers
Bongs Cleaning Vs Bubbler and Pipe Cleaning
Let's face it, eventually, after weeks of smoking, you're going to want to clean out your pipe unless you want it to look like this.
Now that is what I call one NASTY Bong! - reference: https://stock.adobe.com/images/close-up-of-dirty-bong-and-grinder-with-medical-marijuana-buds-on-the-white-table-smoking-cannabis-with-water-pipe/296776170
Bongs are better to hand pipes in the respect that they can be taken apart easier. Bongs normally have removable downstems and removable bowls, and some, like our separable bongs, can be completely taken apart section by section. It's advantageous to have detachable components so that you can get your cleaning solution into those hard-to-reach areas, and also expedites the cleaning process!
Hand pipes and bubblers, opposite to bongs, are typically fixed pieces that can not be taken apart. (The exception would be some of our higher quality, hammer pipes, that have removable features).
Keep in mind, that just because a bong is easier to take apart doesn’t necessarily mean that it will always be easier to clean. Especially with our large and tall bongs, you oftentimes have a lot more glass to clean, which can be a pain in the a$$, especially if your water pipe has many percolators. Straight tube (cylindrical bongs) are probably the easiest to clean, but let's face it: oftentimes your hand pipe will be much easier to shake clean with solution, even if the sections are not removable.
Bongs and Bubblers Can be Noisy
Bongs and bubblers are noisy and will make an audible water gurgle while the water is churning and the smoke is burning - until you take the toke.
Dry hand pipes on the other hand are quiet as a mouse, aside from the noise that the flick of the lighter wheel makes when your light the bowl. Obviously, the dry hand pipe wins when it comes to stealth smoking. But, hey some of you might actually enjoy the relaxing swoosh and gurgling of a bong( even if it is noisy).
Hand Pipes are Dry - Bongs and Bubblers are Wet
Hand pipes do not require water as bongs do, but will also result in harsher smoke hitting your lungs. Bongs and bubblers require water, which helps to get the smoke milder, and also helps trap ash. Hey, they might even help make you cough less!
The only drawback here would be the frequency of water change, with bubblers needing far more frequent water changes than a bong. Nonetheless, With water-based pipes and bubblers, you can enjoy the flavor of the smoke instead of feeling the scathing burn of dried-up ash mixing with your smoke
Bubblers and Hand Pipes are Portable - Bongs are Not
Glassmakers tend to blow bubblers and hand pipes into smaller dimensions than your typical bong. (Hey, but don’t get me wrong, there are small bongs available for sale as well.) Given, that mini-sized bongs are the outlier, you will have a much easier time taking a pipe or bubbler on the go because let's face it: It would be a pain the a$$ setting up an entire workstation in the middle of a park, with a mammoth bong, getting your water level right, just to take one puff! For portability, bubblers and pipes are a clear winner.
Pipes and bubblers are easier to handle too, in case you have a tendency to break nice things. Just don’t let the pipe fall out of your pocket!
Bongs Smoke more - Bubblers and Dry Pipes Smoke Less
Portability does have its disadvantages when you take the size of your pipe into consideration. Standard-sized bongs hold MUCH more smoke than your average-sized dried pipe or bubbler. With a bong, you can take nice, big gulps and get greater volumes of smoke into your lungs than a pipe or bubbler. The bowl to a bong can also be bought in bigger dimensions, just in case you have tons of hungry smokers to feed with thick, dense, smoke!
Bongs and Bubbler Cost Vs Dry Pipes
Bongs and bubblers tend to be much more pricey than your standard dry pipe. Professional hammer bubblers can even be more expensive than a bong! The process of blowing a glass hand pipe is typically much easier than a bubbler or bong, and it shows in the price, but don't get me wrong - there are ultra high-end, costly dry pipes as well. Pipes that are custom made, featuring high-end ornamental designs, and colors, or made by a reputable designer can quickly rise up in price. So while bubblers and bongs are typically more expensive, remember that this is not always the case.
Bong upgrades Vs Pipe and Bubbler Upgrades
You might have saved up money to buy that perfect bong, bubbler, or pipe, but let's say the year goes by and you want to upgrade - with a bubbler and dry hand pipe, you are typically out of luck with customizations, without buying an entirely new pipe.
Bongs, on the other hand, can be customized with a new-looking bowl, ash catchers, or maybe even upgrading your bowl piece to a banger or nail for dabs. All but the smallest of bongs can be upgraded, so if you’re going to want to “switch things up” a bong might be better in that regard.
Let's tally the scores.
Bongs are: harder to clean, noisy, have better tokes, are not portable, have bigger smoke, are pricey, and can be upgraded
The bong gets 3 of 7 features good or = 28 out of 100
Conclusion: The bong is best for the smoking experience
Bubblers are: easier to clean, quiet, better tokes, portable, smaller smoke, less expensive, and cannot be upgraded
The Bubbler passes on 5 of 7 features or = 71 out of 100
Conclusion: The bubbler is best for those that want “more” than a dry pipe
Dry hand pipes are: easier to clean, quiet, harsher tokes, portable, smaller smoke, less expensive and cannot be upgraded
The dry pipe passes on 4 of 7 features or = 57 out of 100
The dry pipe is a good low-budget option that is great for stealth.
So in a nutshell, a bubbler wins in all categories and wins overall by value, the dry pipe is the best budget option, and the bong is the best for the quality of smoke. But do keep in mind that not all bongs and pipes are made the same. We have small bongs and glow-in-the-dark bongs made from silicone that even outperforms the portability of a bubbler.
Quite frankly, if you want a piece of glass to use on your kitchen table, you're not going to even care about portability or noise.
Different users will naturally want different sets of features, luckily there is a hand pipe and bong for everyone!